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Judicial Branch, State of New Hampshire

For Immediate Release:
October 3, 2018

Kelly steps down as administrative judge of circuit court
Will stay on bench to hear cases until retirement in three years

CONCORD, N.H. - The Judicial Branch announced today that the Hon. Edwin W. Kelly is stepping down as the Administrative Judge of the Circuit Court system, but will remain on the bench hearing cases until his mandatory retirement in December of 2021.

Expressing the Supreme Court's gratitude for Kelly's many years of outstanding service, Chief Justice Robert J. Lynn noted that Kelly has been on the bench for 33 years, starting in 1985, making him currently the state's longest serving jurist. While the chief justice said that losing an administrative judge of Kelly's caliber is always difficult, he understands Kelly's desire to make a change after serving as administrative judge since 1991.

“Judge Kelly embodies all of the qualities that you look for in a great judge,” said Chief Justice Lynn. “He's fair, he knows the law, he has always shown excellent judicial temperament, and he has been a first-rate administrator. I cannot say enough about Ed's outstanding service to the Judicial Branch both on the bench and as an administrator. I am delighted that he will be staying on to hear cases for three more years.”

Commenting on his decision, Judge Kelly said, “To have had the privilege of helping guide the growth of the Circuit Court and its predecessor courts over these last three decades has been an honor, the likes of which I could not have imagined 40 years ago when I arrived in New Hampshire as a new lawyer. I look forward to returning to work as a trial judge which is how I began back in 1985 in Plymouth District Court.”

Lynn added that the highlight of Kelly's tenure is how he and Judge David D. King led the way in establishing the state's Circuit Court system back in 2011, something the chief justice described as a “Herculean” task. The move merged all district, probate and family courts into a single, streamlined system designed to improve services and produce cost savings. The creation of the Circuit Court was the most significant overhaul of the New Hampshire Judicial Branch since the early 1980's, when the legislature unified all the state courts under a single administrative and financial structure.

Today, New Hampshire's Circuit Court includes 32 district, 28 family, and 10 probate court locations that handle 90-percent of all cases filed in the state court system. In 2017, the total number of cases processed was 127,328. Those filings included civil and criminal cases, plus small claims, landlord/tenant, motor vehicle, domestic violence, probate, divorce, adoption and other family matters.

Chief Justice Lynn also announced that the Supreme Court has appointed Judge David D. King, the former Administrative Judge of the Probate Court system and currently the Deputy Administrative Judge of the Circuit Court, as the new Administrative Judge of the Circuit Court. “Judge King is a most worthy successor to Judge Kelly on the Circuit Court,” said Lynn. “David, who has been on the bench since 1990, is smart, hard-working, fair-minded, and has a wealth of judicial and administrative experience. I have no doubt that he will do an outstanding job in his new position.”

The chief justice added that, because this is an opportune time to reassess the current management structure of the Circuit Court, the position of Deputy Administrative Judge is currently under review.


Media Contact:
Carole Alfano, Esq.
Communications Manager
NH Judicial Branch
One Charles Doe Drive
Concord, NH 03301
603.271.2646 (ext. 0243)