Sixth Circuit Unified Family Court Judge William R. Webb enjoyed his last day on the bench granting adoptions. From the Tampa Tribune:
NEW PORT RICHEY – He just as easily could have spent the day romping with his 2½-year-old grandson or reading the novel he never had time to open while serving as a circuit court judge for the Sixth Judicial Circuit.
Instead, Judge William Webb, 67, spent New Year’s Eve, the first day of his retirement, at the Pasco County Courthouse — officiating at the adoption of a group of children he had shepherded through the court system.
Webb wouldn’t have had it any other way.
“Judges need to see the happy ending,” he said.
In his usual unassuming manner, Webb marked his retirement from 21 years on the judicial bench with little fanfare. His absence, however, reverberates throughout the Sixth Judicial Circuit’s courthouse in New Port Richey where Webb presided over an untold number of arraignments, hearings and trials.
“I definitely have some big shoes to fill,” said Judge James R. Stearns, who is assuming Webb’s role presiding over the Unified Family Court division. “I had the pleasure of having him as a mentor, and there’s a well-worn path between our chambers. But I always know he’s just a phone call away and won’t hesitate to be here if needed.”
Presiding in the family court is arguably one of the most emotionally taxing and demanding assignments in the circuit court system. Every day, judges must make weighty decisions that can affect a child for life.
“As a senior judge, Judge Webb had his pick of assignments,” said Stearns. “But he chose family court. He chose to help children and worked tirelessly to ensure they were safe and protected.”