Retiring District Court Judge Bernard Staples Headed to Divinity School



ELLSWORTH — Fifth District Court Judge Bernard Staples will retire July 29 after nearly 22 years on the bench.

Fifth District Court Judge Bernard Staples will retire next month after nearly 22 years on the bench.—JENNIFER OSBORN
Fifth District Court Judge Bernard Staples will retire next month after nearly 22 years on the bench.—JENNIFER OSBORN

ELLSWORTH — Fifth District Court Judge Bernard Staples will retire July 29 after nearly 22 years on the bench.

“This is the end of my third term,” Staples said. “I’m 77. I think it’s time for me to go.”

Divinity school is next for the Rockland native.

“I’ve enrolled in Grace Seminary in Bangor,” he said, adding that he will study for a master’s of divinity degree, a three-year program.

But, Staples is not necessarily trading the bench for a pulpit.

“I might be ordained in some denomination or I may not,” the judge said. “I’m not necessarily pursuing that — it may come. I’m simply going to enjoy studying.”

Staples said he decided two years ago that he wanted to undertake divinity study.

“I want to read the word of God,” he said.

Incidentally, as Staples leaves his law career, his only child is starting hers. She graduated a few weeks ago from the University of Maine School of Law and is preparing to take the bar exam. Staples said she intends to pursue a general law practice in Hancock County.

Staples pursued his law career after spending a year as a teacher.

In 1965, he began serving a six-year stint as local prosecuting attorney.

Governor John McKernan Jr. appointed Staples to the bench in January 1989.

For more of the latest news, pick up a copy of The Ellsworth American.

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