Arvada’s first full-time judge will be laying down his gavel for the last time June 28 after 35 years of service.
Judge George Boyle, 68, was a practicing lawyer when he applied for and was appointed by the city council as a part-time municipal judge in 1978.
In 1995, the city of Arvada had four part-time judges when Boyle brought to the council the suggestion of hiring one full-time judge to be more efficient and save money. He was hired and gave up his private law practice at that time.
“I like being a judge,” Boyle said. “I like to work with people.”
And the number of people Boyle sees in his court has grown over the years, too.
When he first started, Boyle handled about two cases per month; now, he hears more than 25 each week. Most infractions involve traffic tickets, but cases involving marijuana are on the rise.
“Thirty-five years ago I don’t think we had a marijuana ordinance,” Boyle said. “Now I see 25-30 violations per week. Most juvenile offender cases today deal with marijuana. It’s more marijuana than alcohol.”
With the economic downturn, Boyle said he has seen an increase in theft cases. No matter the offense, Boyle strives for fairness.
“When you see people, I try to be friendly to them and treat them with respect,” he said. “I usually tell them. ‘I hope I don’t see them back here,’ and many reply, ‘I hope I don’t see you again, either,’ and I take no offense to that.”
Repeat offenders appear in his court, but, “I hope I’ve made a difference in quite a few people’s lives,” he said. “A few times people have come up and thanked me for what I do.”
Boyle said he thinks he has left the Arvada court system in good shape for his successor, David Cooke, who was appointed by council June 3. Boyle said he felt it was time for him to retire so he can spend more time with his wife.
“My wife retired seven years ago and she’d always ask me ‘When are you going to retire?,’’” he said. “And I finally said June 30, 2013.”
Everyone asks him how he’ll spend his “Golden Years,” and he gives them the same answer: “On July 1, I’ll wake up and see what to do with the rest of my life,” he said.
He and his wife plan to travel, go hiking and walking, spend time with their three granddaughters and walk to a coffee shop at least one morning per week for a cup of Joe.
“We put together a good court with good staff, and I will miss them,” Boyle said. “I think I’m leaving a good position here for the future.”