Commission sets plan to replace retiring judge Emery

The Knox County Commission will set in motion a plan on Oct. 25 to appoint a successor to retiring Sessions Court Judge Geoffrey Emery  that will probably result in a new judge by the end of the year.

Emery, a Republican, made public his plans to retire on Dec. 31 in a news release on Sept. 24, but the word was already out with three candidates filing reports with the Knox County Election Commission that named campaign treasurers so they could start raising money.

Commission Chairman Richie Beeler  said Emery’s notice of retirement will be “spread” on the minutes at the October meeting. “Then we can proceed with the process,” he said.

“I’m not inclined to fast track (the appointment). We could do the appointment in November. That is not out of the question. My guess is we will officially solicit applications and give a window for candidates in November of December,” he said. He said anyone who wants to be considered, including those who plan to seek election, can apply.

The commission’s appointment would last until a new judge is elected in 2022. County primaries are May 3 and the general election is Aug. 4.

Emery has held the judicial post since 1986. He previously was Knox County’s first full-time assistant law director. He was a president of the Tennessee General Sessions Judicial Conference during his tenure.

Among those who have named a treasurer is prominent Republican Ray Jenkins, a former Knox County GOP chairman and a sitting magistrate who has announced he is running as an Independent. This is because it is not ethical for judicial candidates to pay a $500 fee under a schedule that the Tennessee Republican Party approved in August, he said.

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