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Judicial Branch, State of New Hampshire
Laura Kiernan
Communications Director
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PHOTO/ Justice Galway

Supreme Court Justice Richard E. Galway Announces Retirement

Manchester native will have been a judge for 14 years

CONCORD--October 30, 2008--Associate Supreme Court Justice Richard E. Galway said today that he will retire from the Supreme Court effective February 1, 2009, following 14 years of service to the Judicial Branch, including nine years as trial judge on the Superior Court. Galway, a native of Manchester, was named to the Supreme Court in January 2004.

    In a letter he hand-delivered to Gov. John Lynch, Justice Galway said it has been a “great personal honor to serve the people of my state as a justice of the Superior Court and of the Supreme Court.”

    “This service has allowed me to sit in every county, and to do my best to interpret the Constitution, the laws, and the regulations of this state. I have especially enjoyed meeting my fellow citizens and attempting to be of assistance to them,” Galway wrote.

    Chief Justice John T. Broderick Jr, who has know Justice Galway since the two men practiced law together at Devine Millimet & Branch in Manchester, said his departure from the court “is a real loss.”

    “I have known and respected Judge Galway since we first met in 1972. He has served with genuine distinction in the trial court and on the Supreme Court. He always understood the public trust that was bestowed on him and over 14 years as a judge he fulfilled it,” Chief Justice Broderick said.

    “I will miss his humor, his insight and his extraordinary dedication to the people of New Hampshire,” the Chief Justice said.

    During his tenure on the Supreme Court, Galway wrote decisions for the court on a variety of legal questions including tax issues, election law, criminal and civil law and procedure, family law, product liability and public utility regulation.

    Galway, 64, graduated Phi Beta Kappa from the University of New Hampshire in 1966 and was a Fulbright Scholar at the University of Leeds, England. He graduated from Boston University Law School in 1970. As a private practitioner at Devine Millimet, where he worked for 25 years, Galway built a reputation as a trial lawyer and an expert in workers' compensation law and authored two books on the subject. Galway also served as president of the New Hampshire Bar Association from 1981 to 1982.

    In 1995, then Governor Stephen Merrill nominated Galway to the Superior Court bench. During his term on the Superior Court, Galway primarily presided in Hillsborough South Superior Court in Nashua and in Rockingham Superior Court in Brentwood, hearing a wide variety of civil and criminal matters.

    In January 2004, then Gov. Craig Benson selected Galway for the seat on the state Supreme Court vacated by the retirement of then Chief Justice David A. Brock. News accounts at the time said Benson praised Galway as “direct and assertive” and said he believed the judge “calls them as he sees them.”

    During his confirmation hearings, 41 professional colleagues and friends offered support for his nomination, describing Galway as a hard working consensus builder, who was steady in his beliefs. The highlight of the proceeding may have been however when—to the surprise of Justice Galway—his third grade teacher, Sister Mary Agnes, came to offer her assessment of her former student at St. Joseph's Grammar School in Manchester. “He was an honest lad, a smart lad, a good lad and an ambitious lad,” Sister Mary Agnes told the executive councilors.

    Following his unanimous confirmation by the Executive Council, Justice Galway, whose father had been a member of the state legislature, was sworn in by Benson during a ceremony in the State Senate chamber, which had been the original home of the Supreme Court.

    “I want to thank the governor, for his nomination allows me to fulfill a dream I've had since I started practicing law in New Hampshire in the early ‘70s,” Galway said.

    Following his retirement, Galway will assume senior status and will be eligible to sit, as needed, on the trial and appellate courts.