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Dotson resigning from 30th Judicial Circuit bench in August

Mike Still • Feb 23, 2020 at 5:30 PM

WISE — Wise County Circuit Court Judge Chadwick S. Dotson will be leaving the bench in August.

In a copy of a Feb. 10 letter to Virginia Supreme Court Justice Donald W. Lemons and released to the media Saturday, Dotson said he will resign from his post Aug. 2.

“I am incredibly grateful for the opportunity to serve as a judge in the Commonwealth of Virginia for the past thirteen-plus years,” Dotson wrote to Lemons. “I’ve greatly enjoyed and appreciated the opportunities I have had to serve the Commonwealth. I will forever be humbled that the General Assembly entrusted me with the duty to resolve disputes in a fair and just manner, to preserve the rule of law, and to protect the rights and liberties guaranteed by the Constitution and laws of the United States and Virginia.”

Dotson on Saturday said the resignation was an “incredibly difficult decision, but I’m excited.”

“I had to decide whether I wanted to remain a judge my entire career, or whether I wanted to chase some other goals.”

Dotson, 46, began his state legal career when elected Wise County and Norton commonwealth’s attorney in 2003. He also served as a special assistant U.S. attorney until his appointment as a Wise County General District judge in 2007 and to the Circuit Court bench in 2011.

“I’m equally grateful that I’m able to go out on my own terms,” Dotson said of his time on the circuit bench. He pointed to his reappointment by the General Assembly in 2019 to another full term as judge and to the state House and Senate’s Courts Committees’ acknowledgement of his good judicial performance evaluations.

“I suppose I could have stuck around for another 27 years until the mandatory judicial retirement date,” Dotson said, “but I’m excited to start writing another chapter of my family’s story.”

Dotson, who has written a book and monthly magazine column while teaching at the Appalachian School of Law in Grundy, Virginia, declined to give details on his post-judicial plans.

“Well, I am still holding out hope that the Cincinnati Reds will sign me to play shortstop,” Dotson said, “but in the event that call never comes, I do have some plans that I hope to be able to announce in the very near future.”

Dotson said he has no input into his replacement, but the Southwest Virginia legislative delegation representing the 30th Judicial Circuit — Republican Sens. Ben Chafin and Todd Pillion and Delegates Terry Kilgore and Will Wampler — are involved in the process to appoint Dotson’s successor.

“Others can evaluate my effectiveness as a judge,” Dotson said, “but when it’s over, I know I will be able to look in the mirror and say that I tried to do the best job I could, to treat people as fairly as possible, and work as hard as I could over my 13-plus years on the bench.”

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