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Posted at 5:45 PM ET, 02/10/2011

Former Va. supreme court justice to lie in state in Richmond's Capitol rotunda

By Rosalind S. Helderman

Virginia Capitol police say they expect between 1,000 and 1,500 people to pay their respects to Virginia Supreme Court Chief Justice Leroy Rountree Hassell Sr. on Friday, when the jurist who died this week will lie in state in the rotunda of the Virginia Capitol.

Hassell, 55, was the first African-American to serve as the state's top judge and was considered a friend and mentor by many in Virginia's legal and political community. Hassell had stepped down as chief justice on Jan. 31 but had three years remaining in his 12-year term on the bench. He died Wednesday.

He was a widely respected civic leader, who modernized the state's mental health care system. Read the Post's obituary for Hassell here.

Tributes to the jurist have poured in since his death. He was memorialized on the floors of the Virginia House and Senate, and in Washington, where U.S. Rep. Eric Cantor (R-Va.) entered a statement into the Congressional record in his honor.

Gov. Bob McDonnell (R) emotionally told reporters Thursday that he often lunched with Hassell and considered him a good friend. He said his death is a great loss for the state.

The public is invited to pay respects between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m. at the Capitol Friday. His funeral will be Saturday.

By Rosalind S. Helderman  | February 10, 2011; 5:45 PM ET
Categories:  Robert F. McDonnell  
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