Judge Edward Hogshire retired earlier this week after 16 years on the bench in Charlottesville Circuit Court. Hogshire is now reflecting on his judicial service - hoping in retirement people remember him as a fair judge who listened inside the courtroom.
Simply put, Hogshire says the job isn't easy.
"I can't play God. I can't judge them in the eyes of a higher power,” said Hogshire.
Hogshire says there has to be substantial justice.
“Whatever that means. You have to define it in your own context, but if I've done that, then it's the best I can hope for,” said Hogshire.
Hogshire says he has struggled through some tough cases throughout his judgeship, but adds he has to apply the law in Virginia with compassion.
"We have to look deep down and say what is the right thing to do with a capital 'R' that's consistent with the law and ethics. And then you do that and then you gotta leave it here, because if you take it home, it will drive you crazy,” he said.
But one case in particular Hogshire couldn't leave here. It was an alleged sexual assault involving a teenager. The case had no DNA evidence; strictly credibility. After the fact, Hogshire called his own judgment into question and threw out his decision.
"It caused me so much angst that I sort of vowed from then on I'd never have a false like that without a jury,” said Hogshire.
Over time, advances in evidence collection and technology are now forcing more guilty pleas inside the courtroom. Hogshire says access to DNA as well as computer and cellphone records make cases easier to prosecute - but if it's a case of he said/she said, Hogshire says it can be a coin toss.
"I'm fooled every day, I can tell you that,” said Hogshire. “You have to make those calls and they're hard to make. They're hard to make."
Hogshire's time on the bench came to a close on Monday – but after some time off, he will return to the bench to help out as a substitute.
Judge Edward Hogshire Interview Part 1: Reflections of Time on the Bench in CharlottesvilleMore>>