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Delaware's Chief Justice announces his retirement

The Chief Justice of Delaware’s Supreme Court is stepping down.

Leo Strine informed Gov. John Carney of his decision to retire in a letter Monday.

Strine was named Delaware's eighth Chief Justice by then-Gov. Jack Markell in 2014.  He intends to leave this fall about midway through his 12-year-term.  He told Carney he is willing to seve until the end of October so his successor can be put in place.

Strine did not offer a specific reason for his departure.  A spokesman for state courts says Strine is on vacation and not avaialble for comment.

"I can say to you with confidence that the judiciary of this state is strong, that we are addressing our challenging and diverse caseloads with diligence, skill and dispatch and that we are continually looking for new ways to serve the people of Delaware even more effectively," said Strine in his letter to Gov.Carney.

Perhaps the biggest ruling during Strine’s tenure as chief justice was the Delaware Supreme Court’s 2016 decision ruling the state’s death penalty unconstitutional.

"I’ve known Chief Justice Strine since we worked together in the office of then-Governor Tom Carper, and I’ve known him to be one of Delaware’s top legal minds, and a real public servant on behalf of the people of our state,” said Carney in a statement. “Since our time in Governor Carper’s office, he has served as Chancellor and Vice-Chancellor on Delaware’s Court of Chancery and as Chief Justice, leading our world-class judiciary, helping to protect Delaware’s reputation as the premier venue for business litigation, and working to make our criminal justice system more fair for all Delawareans.”

Strine served on Delaware’s Court of Chancery from 1998 until replacing Myron Steele as the state’s Chief Justice in 2014. He was a Vice Chancellor from 1998-2011, then Chancellor from 2011-2014. Prior to serving on Chancery Court, he was legal counsel to then-Gov. Tom Carper.

Gov. Carney will nominate the next Chief Justice – a choice that must be confirmed by the State Senate.

Tom Byrne has been a fixture covering news in Delaware for three decades. He joined Delaware Public Media in 2010 as our first news director and has guided the news team ever since. When he's not covering the news, he can be found reading history or pursuing his love of all things athletic.
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