County’s lone trial judge retiring this year

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CORUNNA, Mich. (AP) - A man who has been the only Circuit Court judge in Shiawassee County for nearly 30 years says he won’t run for re-election in 2014.

Gerald Lostracco could run one more time before turning age 70, the limit under Michigan law, but said a three-decade career is a good run “by any standard.”

Attorney Matt McKone told The Flint Journal (http://bit.ly/1f3ZomN ) that the small county, west of Flint, is losing a pillar of the community. Prosecutor Deana Finnegan said she cried when she heard the news.

Lostracco, 68, was first elected in 1985. Only two people have been Circuit Court judge since 1974.

His cases include the 2009 trial of Harlan Drake, who killed an Owosso abortion protester and a businessman. Drake was convicted of first-degree murder and sentenced to a mandatory term of life in prison.

Drake called Lostracco a hypocrite. The judge said he regretted that he could not order “hard labor.”

Finnegan said Lostracco, who hears criminal and civil cases, has a reputation for being prepared, no matter the subject.

“He never legislates from the bench,” she said. “He follows the law.”

Retirement might give him more time for a pastime: the accordion.

“Everybody has to have an outlet to maintain your sanity,” Lostracco said.

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Information from: The Flint Journal, http://www.mlive.com/flint

Copyright 2014 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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