Nineteen years on the bench, Judge Paul Blake has been serving since 2005.
He calls it an honor to be elected by your fellow citizens to any office; whether it be judicial, legislative or executive.
Blake says someone like himself, who came out of a coal camp — his father was a miner and mother was a cook — he never aspired to run for office, but circumstances thrust him into it in 1981.
“I’ve had the privilege of serving the citizens of Fayette County in all three capacities,” the judge said. “I was in the House of Delegates, I was prosecuting attorney for a number of years, and judge. And I just feel so fortunate.”
He’s had an illustrious career spanning decades, during which he’s helped many people reclaim their lives. Judge Paul Blake is set to retire at the end of his current term. Thank you, for all your dedicated years on the bench.
According to Blake, it’s changed so much since 1974 when he graduated law school. Technology has taken over the system. And what frustrates him the most is the drug epidemic… drugs permeate just about every case that comes through his court.
“Whether it be abuse and neglect, juvenile delinquency, criminal cases, and I’m sure it’s in the domestic relations court too,” the judge said. “And if I could change anything — it would be that. It never ceases to amaze me… how drugs get ahold of a person, that they will give up their babies. I’ve had several mothers and fathers tell me, ‘I can’t break this habit — give my kids to somebody else to raise.”
Rewarding, Blake says was seeing drug court graduates get their life back on track, be a mother and a productive member of society. Also, there were those he placed on probation who completed it successfully.
“And that I’ve gotten letters from them thanking me for giving them that opportunity,” said the judge. “And I think I’ve shown good judgment in the cases. I think that’s why the voters have rewarded me all these years with the confidence that they’ve placed in me.”
What prompted Blake to consider retirement he says is almost 47 years in the law business is long enough. He says there’s more to life than this courthouse, and the system will go on whether he’s there or not.
“I’m still in relatively good health, got a loving wife, been married to for 55 years. I want to spend some really quality time with her,” the judge said. “She has sacrificed a lot for me; two great-grandsons that I plan on spending time with — without having to worry, ‘now I can’t go on this trip because I’ve got a trial scheduled.’ the freedom you don’t have while you’re here.
Blake plans on taking senior status with the Supreme Court — where he said he could be called into service if another judge is ill or can’t hear a case.