Born August 17, 1955 in Norfolk, Virginia
Died February 9, 2011 in Richmond, Virginia
Appointed by Governor Gerald L. Baliles on December 7, 1989 to fill the vacancy created by the resignation of John Charles Thomas and began his service on December 28, 1989. First elected by the General Assembly on January 25, 1990 to a 12-year term beginning February 1, 1990. Service terminated by death.
First elected chief justice by the other justices on the court on August 27, 2002 to fill the vacancy created by the retirement of Harry L. Carrico and sworn in on February 1, 2003. Reelected in 2006 to a second term as chief justice beginning February 1, 2007. Service terminated by retirement.
University of Virginia, B.A., 1977
Harvard University, J.D., 1980
Private practice of law in Richmond, Virginia, 1980-1989
Member, Richmond School Board, 1985-1989 (chairman, 1986-1989)
Appointed, Donald P. Baker, “Richmond Lawyer Named to Virginia Supreme Court,” Washington Post, December 8, 1989, B1; sworn in, 239 Va., v, ix; elected, Journal of the House of Delegates of the Commonwealth of Virginia, 1990 Regular Session, 338, 340; elected chief justice, Tyler Whitley, “Hassell to Lead Court,” Richmond Times-Dispatch, August 28, 2002, A1; sworn in as chief justice, 265 Va., v; sworn in, second term as chief justice, 273 Va., vii; resigned as chief justice, 281 Va., v; birth, death, education, and career, transcript of memorial on February 28, 2011, published in 281 Va., xxix; member and chair, Richmond School Board, Whitley, “Hassell to Lead Court,” 2002; portrait unveiled in January 1995, Virginia Bar Association Journal. By statute passed in 2002, the chief justice is chosen by a majority vote of the justices of the court to serve a term of four years. Previously, the justice with the most seniority was designated chief justice. Digital image of the portrait courtesy Kelly Parrish.