After presiding over a Delaware County Common Pleas courtroom for 23 years, Judge Everett H. Krueger is stepping down at the end of this year.
Krueger said he hadn’t really thought about becoming an attorney until his father, an attorney, asked him what his plans were after he graduated from college. Krueger said he took the LSAT and was able to get into Capital University Law School, where he’d later graduate with a law degree in 1975.
“It worked well for me. I liked it,” Krueger said. “That all happened. It wasn’t something I planned on. It was kind of fortuitous.”
Krueger worked as an assistant prosecutor in Franklin County from 1975 to 1976 before transitioning to a role as a trial attorney from 1976 to 1983.
In 1984, Krueger was elected as a Delaware Municipal Court judge, where he served until he was elected to the Delaware County Common Pleas Court in 1995.
As a common pleas judge, Krueger has presided over thousands of criminal and civil cases. He added the longest case he ever presided over was almost three weeks.
“What I enjoy about the job most is not the paperwork,” Krueger said. “I don’t like continuances, but I like trying the cases. I think that’s the most challenging aspect of the job. Every trial you learn something.”
Krueger said many things have changed since he began serving as a judge, especially technology.
“There’s not a trial now where you don’t have some aspect of a cell phone,” Krueger said. “The technology aspect of it is what’s changed.”
Krueger said the other biggest change is the county itself, which has grown massively since 1995. Krueger said he’s tried numerous civil cases about developments brought on by the county’s growth.
“It’s kind of unique to our county,” Krueger said.
He added one of the most rewarding parts of his job has been his role in the drug recovery docket.
“It made me more empathetic,” Krueger said. “Instead of just seeing someone come in and enter a guilty plea and three days later you sentence them, you develop a relationship with people over a two- to three-year period. You glory in your successes and grieve in their losses, including their lives.”
Krueger said when he officially retires at the end of 2018, he’s looking forward to being able to make his own schedule and not have his life dictated by a docket.
“I have no plans to be a visiting judge, but that might change after six months,” Krueger said. “I’ve always been at the mercy of a schedule. I know exactly what I’m going to do every day, because it’s sitting in front of me. Now, instead of being at the mercy of a schedule, the schedule will be at my mercy. Flexiblity is what I’m looking forward to.”
As for his retirement plans, Krueger said he’s looking forward to seeing his grandkids and traveling.
On Dec. 21, Krueger swore in his replacement, Jim Schuck, an attorney from Genoa Township. Schuck’s term officially begins on Jan. 1.
At Schuck’s investiture ceremony, Schuck said he knows he has “big shoes” to fill after Krueger leaves, and he hopes Krueger won’t mind giving him advice every once in a while.
At the ceremony, Delaware County Juvenile and Probate Court Judge David Hejmanowski said Krueger retiring is “the end of an era.”
Glenn Battishill can be reached at 740-413-0903 or on Twitter @BattishillDG.