Updated Wed, Dec 19, 2012 1:44 pm
An Athens County Common Pleas Court judge is leaving the bench after 20 years.
Judge Michael Ward announced Wednesday he will retire effective December 31.
Ward has been judge since 1992. Prior to that, he was the Athens County prosecuting attorney from 1981 to 1992.
According to a release, Ward says he plans to accept assignments as a visiting judge.
Ward cited changes in the state's pension law as a reason for his retirement.
Ward's current term expires in 2016.