BECKLEY, WV (WVNS) — Raleigh County Prosecuting Attorney Ben Hatfield said a decision by Raleigh County Circuit Court Judge Robert Burnside, Jr., to not seek re-election in May is a loss for the county.

Burnside has served on the 10th Judicial Circuit, one of the state’s busiest circuits, since 1988.

On Monday, September 25, 2023, the judge confirmed rumors he did not intend to serve on the bench once his current term is completed.

Hatfield said Judge Burnside leaves a legacy of fairness and that Judge Burnside’s leadership has influenced generations of attorneys.

Hatfield said the judge is known in legal circles as a textualist – a judge who sticks strictly to code when making decisions.

“In this day and age, when you look at someone who is going to look at the law, apply the facts to the law, the same way, regardless of the means of the defendant, or the situation, I think that that’s fair to the citizens, and I think it will be a tremendous loss,” said Hatfield.

Judge Burnside said he will continue on the bench until 2025 when a newly elected judge will take office.

Raleigh County Delegate Brandon Steele announced Thursday that he plans to run for a judgeship in the 10th Circuit.