UPDATED: Former Supreme Court Chief Justice Hassell dies
Leroy R. Hassell Sr., 55, former chief justice of the Virginia Supreme Court, died Wednesday after a long illness.
He served two four-year terms on the court and was the court's first African-American chief justice. He was suceeded Jan. 31 by Chief Justice Cynthia D. Kinser.
UPDATE: 12:31 p.m.: Lt. Gov. Bill Bolling (R) and Attorney Gen. Ken Cuccinelli (R) have issued statements mourning Hassell's passing.
I am saddened to hear of the passing of former Chief Justice Leroy Hassell, Sr. Chief Justice Hassell was an outstanding jurist and a good personal friend. He will be missed by all who knew him.
Chief Justice Hassell's impact on Virginia's judiciary will be felt for many years to come. As the first African-American Chief Justice of the Virginia Supreme Court, Chief Justice Hassell played an important role in continuing our state's progress toward a more perfect union. He was well respected by all who knew him and worked with him.
"In the days to come, I ask that all Virginian's keep Chief Justice Hassell's family in their thoughts and prayers. We have lost a good man and an outstanding public servant.
Today we mourn the passing of Justice Leroy Hassell, Sr., who has left us in the prime of his years. The Norfolk native will be nobly remembered by Virginians for many things, including his intellect, his warmth, and his concern for the downtrodden.
Justice Hassell served as the commonwealth's first black chief justice, which he accepted with both a measure of discomfort and resolve.
'I do not wish to serve, however, because I happen to be black,'Hassell told the Richmond Times-Dispatch in 2003. 'Rather, I desire to serve because I am a Virginian by birth who has a strong affection and love for the commonwealth and its people.'
Chief Justice Hassell played an important role in helping our generation look beyond the racial lines that separated us, and toward a culture of merit and justice that unite us. He was both generous and resolute in his determination to help his fellow man. Virginia is greater and stronger because of his example, and he will be greatly missed.
Today we pray for the repose of his soul and for God to comfort Justice Hassell's family and friends, as we give thanks for his service to our beloved commonwealth.
| February 9, 2011; 10:31 AM ET
Categories: Anita Kumar
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