Judge Griffin retiring next year | NevadaAppeal.com

Judge Griffin retiring next year

Carson District Judge Mike Griffin said Wednesday he will retire from the bench Jan. 1.

When he leaves, Griffin will have served 28 years. Since the retirement of Washoe District Judge Peter Breen at the start of this year, Griffin has been senior among the active judges in the state.

Griffin, 62, first won election in 1979 in a contested race. But since then, he has been unopposed in four re-election campaigns.

“I guess people think I’m doing a pretty good job,” he said. “I still think I’m doing a good job. I may be demanding in court, but I think the job calls for that.”

He has submitted his formal letter of resignation to Gov. Kenny Guinn, who will appoint a replacement to fill out the remaining two years of Griffin’s term.

As a judge, “you try to make a difference and you think you make a difference,” he said.

But, he said, judges sacrifice some freedom, and often find the job isolates them.

“The problem with this job is you’ve got to watch what you say – everywhere,” he said. “It’s just common sense that a judge can’t talk about what you think because it will come back on you.”

He made it clear he will enjoy having that burden lifted once he retires.

Griffin’s resignation will open the door to a number of potential candidates for his seat, but he declined to get into details beyond predicting six or more people may be interested.

“I’ve got no dog in that hunt,” he said.

Griffin is a native of Carson City as were both his parents. After graduating from law school, he spent four years in the U.S. Army, completing his service as a captain in the Judge Advocate General’s Office. In addition to three years at Fort Ord, Calif., he spent 13 months in Korea. He and his wife, Jill, have a daughter Gina Solari and two sons, John and Matt who are both lawyers.

Before running for the district court, Griffin was in private practice and a public defender along with longtime Carson lawyer Gary Sheerin.

He said he has tried for both fairness and consistency as a judge.

“My goal is to try be fair and predictable,” he said. “That helps when you’re trying to resolve cases because both sides can tell their clients here’s what we think the judge is going to do. We have a pretty good local bar that tries to settle cases and that has helped.”

In retirement, Griffin said he wants to travel, visit his grandchildren and spend more time both playing and collecting guitars. But, he said, he is also considering staying on as a senior judge when needed, and possibly serving as a mediator.

However, he pointed out, he’s got 10 months to figure out what’s next.

— Contact reporter Geoff Dornan at gdornan@nevadaappeal.com or 687-8750.

Michael Griffin

Age: 62

Occupation: Carson District Judge, Department 1 since 1979

Spouse: Jill

Children: Gina, John and Matt