Governor Ronnie Musgrove made an appointment this week that fills the Circuit Court Judge seat left vacant by retiring Judge John Whitfield. His choice was prosecutor Steve Simpson who has been the Assistant District Attorney in Cono Caranna's office for the past seven years.
Simpson is only 42 years old, and he's cleaning out his office. Steve Simpson has been using this space for years as the prosecutor for the District Attorney's Office for the Second Judicial District. Now instead of prosecuting cases he'll be ruling on them.
This week he was appointed by Governor Ronnie Musgrove as the new Circuit Court Judge, an announcement that leaves him in awe.
"I'm delighted, very honored and even humbled," Simpson says. "I was kind of on the periphery of the candidates who are offering themselves to serve, and when I got the call from the Governor's office I was excited and surprised."
He'll be just across the hall now sitting on the bench covering the rest of Judge John Whitfield's term and says he will run for re-election.
Judge Whitfield announced his retirement and plans to return to practicing law which left the seat open for Simpson who says he's up to the challenge.
"I've always felt like you need to continue to grow mentally, spiritually, and this is a career opportunity that although was presented to me on a pretty short notice, it was one I felt I couldn't pass up," Simpson said.
The courtroom is no stranger to Simpson. He has tried six death penalty cases as a prosecutor and won each time; his signature is also on 12 murder cases which he prosecuted and won all 12. He is the youngest Circuit Court Judge ever on the coast but Governor Musgrove chose him based on his resume which doesn't doesn't reflect his young age.
"I've been in the District Attorney's Office a total of about seven years, and I've prosecuted every type of case that comes across the desk, including some death penalty cases, so I think what I bring to it is, I hope, a fair and impartial playing field to all the parties," Simpson said.