Judge Smith to step down
Jeffrey A. Smith announced Wednesday that he is resigning from his position as judge of the Bradford County Court of Common Pleas, effective Feb. 7, 2013.
Smith, who is one of two judges of the Court of Common Pleas, is the president judge.
"Effective at the close of the court's business on Feb. 7, 2013, I will resign my commission as judge of the Court of Common Pleas of Bradford County," Smith said in a written statement issued on Wednesday. "I have given written notice to Pennsylvania Governor Thomas W. Corbett of my decision to vacate the full-time office of judge, and I will ask the Pennsylvania Supreme Court to grant me certification as a senior judge. It is my hope to be assigned to preside as needed on a part-time basis in both Bradford County and other counties of the Commonwealth.
"I am leaving full-time office, because I wish to devote more time to my wife, my children, and my extended family. They have given me more than I could ask, and I hope to return some measure of their sacrifices.
"I leave comforted by the knowledge that the obligations of president judge will pass to my dear friend and colleague, the Honorable Maureen T. Beirne, who is supremely qualified, by experience and temperament, to lead the judicial system of Bradford County. She will bring a renewed vigor and a fresh perspective to the office of president judge. I know that she will make our courts better.
"It is not possible to acknowledge all of those who have helped to make my job easier, but I must above all express my gratitude to my court administrator of 29 years, Mary Lou Vanderpool. In my years as judge, I have made tens of thousands of decisions, but none was better than my decision to select Mary Lou as court administrator. To the extent that our court operates inefficiently, I am responsible; to the extent our court operates efficiently, Mary Lou deserves the credit. "Over the years, I have been blessed to have outstanding personal staff and department heads. They will have my enduring gratitude and affection. My many co-workers in the courthouse, including other elected officials, deserve special mention. While government employees are sometimes denigrated, I can attest that in the more than 30 years I have worked in the courthouse, I have always found that the county's employees care deeply about their fellow citizens. Working with limited resources, they routinely go beyond their duties, serving others with commitment and compassion. They are what I will miss most.
"I must also commend the many fine attorneys whom I've had the pleasure to know. The overwhelming majority of Bradford County's attorneys continue to treat the practice of law not as a business, but as the honorable and invaluable profession that it is. Countless times I have witnessed firsthand their selfless commitment to the highest ideals of our constitutional republic.
"Lastly, I wish to thank the people of Bradford County. For three decades, I have been graced with unique perspectives to gauge your character. I have seen you as victims and litigants facing painful and daunting struggles; I have seen you as witnesses committed to the search for truth; and I have seen you as jurors dedicated to justice for your fellow citizens. I believe there are no finer people on the face of the earth. I will be eternally grateful for the honor and privilege of serving you. May God bless you always."