MILTON — Two months after winning reelection to a fourth term, Robert J. Bolton is stepping down as district judge in Milton due to medical problems.

“It’s a very emotional thing for me,” he said of his Feb. 29 retirement.

The news took Northumberland County President Judge Robert by surprise.

“I’m sorry to see him leave,” Sacavage said. “He is the senior member of the magisterial judge staff and is a total team player.”

The $82,303-a-year position will be filled temporarily by a senior district judge.

Since there is no planned municipal election this year, Sacavage said, Gov. Tom Corbett will likely be asked to appoint a replacement.

Bolton’s departure is the second time in a year that a district judge in Northumberland County has retired before the end of a term.

Last January, William F. Kear gave two weeks notice of his decision to leave office early after serving in Milton for 25 years.

Bolton, 60, said he ran for reelection unopposed last November fully intending to serve the full six-year term.

“It was not my choice, I’m doing it on doctor’s orders,” he said of his pending retirement. “It was a very, very hard decision.”

Bolton would not disclose the nature of his medical malady, noting, ““It’s personal. I don’t want people pitying me.”

For most of his tenure as district judge, Bolton worked in Sunbury.

In March, following Kear’s abrupt resignation, he and three office staff relocated to Milton and cases were reassigned as one of five district courts was closed. That left district courts operating in Sunbury, Milton, Mount Carmel and Shamokin.

There was even more disruption in the court system when Carl B. Rice, the other district judge serving in Sunbury, died of a heart attack in July at the age of 49.

Senior District Judge Richard P. Cashman was appointed to the office until city attorney Benjamin Apfelbaum was elected in November.

The loss of Bolton will bring “increased pressure upon the courts administratively,” Sacavage said, adding that in the meantime the remaining veteran district judges, John Gembic III and Hugh Jones, will be asked to serve as mentors and assistance will be sought from the Administrative Office of Pennsylvania Courts.

 

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