By Bob Salsberg, Associated Press

BOSTON (AP) – Supreme Judicial Court Associate Justice Judith Cowin has announced she will retire from Massachusetts’ highest court, effective in April.

Cowin has served on the SJC for 11 years. She would reach the mandatory retirement age of 70 for judges in April 2012.

In explaining her decision to leave a year early, she said she told Gov. Deval Patrick she wanted to spend more time with family and friends.

Cowin’s announcement follows the retirement this fall of Chief Justice Margaret Marshall. Justice Roderick Ireland was elevated to the chief position, and Fernande “Nan” Duffly was confirmed last week as the newest member of the court.

Patrick will now have an opportunity to appoint a fifth-member to the seven-person court.

(Copyright 2011 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)


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