Athens County Common Pleas Judge Michael Ward announced Wednesday that he'll be retiring from the bench effective Dec. 31. In a news release, Ward cited recent changes to the state's public employees retirement system as the reason for his decision.
Ward has been a common pleas judge since 1992. Prior to that, he served as Athens County Prosecutor from 1981-1992. He is a U.S. Army veteran, and has also served as an assistant county prosecutor, a legal aid attorney, and the Nelsonville city prosecutor. He is a past president of the Ohio Common Pleas Judge Association.
Currently, Ward is a board member of the Ohio Supreme Court's Judicial College, and serves as board secretary.
Ward said he plans to accept assignments as a visiting judge after retiring. He has served in this capacity in Hocking, Meigs, Vinton, Jackson, Gallia and Montgomery counties.
He and his wife Barbara have two sons and a granddaughter.