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Vt. federal judge takes senior status - WCAX.COM Local Vermont News, Weather and Sports-

Vt. federal judge takes senior status

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Judge William Sessions-File photo Judge William Sessions-File photo
Judge William Sessions-File photo Judge William Sessions-File photo
MONTPELIER, Vt. -

Vermont's chief federal court judge, William Sessions, is getting set to step off the bench.

Sessions was first appointed federal judge back in 1995. Now, he plans to work part time under senior status.

During his 18 years as a federal judge, Sessions presided over many cases that have made news, including the capital murder trial of Donald Fell for killing Terry King of North Clarendon, Vermont's 1997 Campaign Finance Law that limited candidate spending and an EPA case allowing Vermont and other states to set their own auto-emissions standards.

Legal expert Cheryl Hanna of the Vermont Law School says Judge Sessions is one of the most progressive judges Vermont has ever seen.

"I think he's a very forward-thinking judge and he's been concerned about a host of issues, both in his work as a trial judge but also in the judiciary more generally, for example, for his work around sentencing guidelines. He's a very thoughtful judge and I think he's extremely well respected by the bar and I think his bench is going to leave a big hole," Hanna said.

Sen. Patrick Leahy says he will work with Sen. Bernie Sanders, Rep. Peter Welch and the Vermont Bar Association to create a commission to find a full-time replacement for Judge Sessions.

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