Vermont’s top judge for trial courts plans to retire this fall

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Brian grearson
Superior Court Chief Justice Brian Grearson listens to testimony before the House Judiciary Committee at the Statehouse in Montpellier on Thursday, January 31, 2019. He plans to retire on November 1. Photo by Glenn Russell / VTDigger

The Chief Justice of the Superior Court of Vermont Magistrates’ Court is retiring and his replacement has already been chosen.

Justice Brian Grearson submitted a notice of retirement effective Nov. 1, the Vermont Supreme Court said in a press release Friday afternoon.

Grearson will be replaced by Superior Court Judge Thomas Zonay.

Grearson practiced law at Barre for nearly three decades before being appointed a superior court judge in 2004, and was appointed chief justice of the superior court in 2014, the statement said.

Zonay was president of the Vermont Bar Association and served on the board of directors of the New England Bar Association. He practiced law in Rutland for 18 years before being appointed a superior court judge in 2007, the statement said. Previously, he graduated from the Vermont Police Academy and worked as a police officer in Woodstock.

He received a bachelor’s degree from Delaware Valley College in 1985 and received his law degree in 1988 from Vermont Law School. Among many other activities, he was chairman of the Vermont Human Rights Commission and a member of the Woodstock Union High School Board.

The Chief Justice oversees the administrative responsibilities of bailiffs in the superior courts of Vermont as well as in the judicial office.

In a statement, Chief Justice Paul Reiber said Grearson’s work “has been distinctive, benefiting every person in our great state.”

“The current public health crisis has been particularly difficult and Justice Grearson has often shown the way, leading with knowledge and heart towards our mission of access to justice for all,” said Reiber. “We wish him a good retirement.

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