District Judge Robert Haney has pounded his gavel for the final time.
“I am going to miss everyone,” Haney said during a retirement party at the Delaware County Courthouse in December.
After two decades of passing judgement on hundreds of cases in Delaware and Ottawa counties, Haney officially retired on Monday, Jan. 14.
Delaware County Associate Judge Barry Denney was sworn into the top post on the same day.
Haney said the first few weeks he plans to sleep in and then he and his wife, Mary, plan to travel and to both sides of the country, hitting Florida, California, Seattle and Vancouver, Canada visiting with children and three grandchildren and taking in the sites.
“There are no future lawyers,” Haney said of his grandchildren.
After more than 23 years in private practice, Haney took the county’s top judicial spot as District Judge on Jan. 11, 1999.
Compassionate - yet with a hand of justice - Haney has presided over some of the most heinous child abuse and murder cases to rather mundane civil matters.
One case that sticks out involved a murder suspect with mental issues.
After the trial Haney was contacted by the man who instructed Haney that the judge needed to get his letter to Aunt Bee who was living in Mayberry, North Carolina.
The prisoner had a fixation with the fictional character from the 1960s American television sitcom The Andy Griffith Show and told Haney she owed him a pie.
“He said ‘she’ll make it,’” Haney said. “‘She owes me 43 pies.”
Haney dutifully mailed the letter.
“The hardest case are the child abuse cases,” Haney said. “That includes when a child is raped.”
Other tough cases are the murder cases that are never solved, Haney said referring to the decades old cases of Raymond Frazier, Jennifer Judd and Tina Duffield.
“Twenty years goes by pretty fast,” Haney said.