Governor appoints attorney to serve as judge
By Christian Avard
Staff Writer | November 23,2012
NORWICH — An attorney and familiar face at criminal court in White River Junction is leaving his practice for a new challenge.
Kevin Griffin of Norwich has been appointed by Gov. Peter Shumlin to serve as a Superior Court judge in Chittenden County in Burlington. It has not been determined which court he will serve on, but Griffin is very excited about the new position and challenges he will face.
“It’s a once in a lifetime opportunity,” Griffin said. “The chance to serve on the bench is probably one of the most amazing opportunities for a lawyer to have. You have a tremendous impact on people’s lives every day, whether in criminal, family or civil court.”
Griffin sought the vacancy after Judge Patricia Zimmerman retired in August and was appointed to the post Monday. He will be leaving his law firm, Griffin, Mariscovetere and Wilkes, in White River Junction and is expected to start in January 2013.
Once he transfers cases and closes up other assorted business, Griffin will go to Superior Court in Burlington and begin training. He will serve on the court for six years and may consider another term in the future.
As for now, Griffin’s more important task is to prepare for the demanding job that lies ahead.
“It’s an extraordinarily difficult job. I have no illusions about that. Caseloads are high and resources are tight, but somehow I’ve been given a chance to join the ranks,” he said.
Griffin began his law career as a law clerk to Justice William Hill in 1982. He went on to work for Welch, Graham and Manby Esq. and opened his own law firm in 1993.
Griffin has been an adjunct professor at Vermont Law School since 1986 and taught courses related to trial practice and criminal law. In addition to serving on legal committees, Griffin served on the Ottauquechee Health Board in the 1990s, and is currently a board member of the Hartford Dismas House.
Griffin spent most of his legal career in Windsor County and will miss the area, he said. He enjoyed representing clients, especially ones charged with serious crimes, and established positive relationships including Windsor County State’s Attorney Robert Sand.
“Robert and I established a collegial relationship over the years. We didn’t fight over the small stuff. We fought over things that were important,” Griffin said. “Most cases resolve one way or the other. With Bobby, he’s favored a lot of creative alternatives to case dispositions.”
Sand thought that Griffin will make a fine judge in Chittenden County.
“Kevin is a skilled and compassionate attorney and a professional and personable adversary. He will be a great judge. We will miss him in Windsor County,” Sand said.