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Welcome to court, Judge Don Arnold

Staff Report • Jan 11, 2013 at 11:34 AM

Congratulations to former state Sen. Don Arnold on being named Washington County’s new Sessions Court judge. County Commissioners appointed Arnold to the bench Jan. 3. The Johnson City attorney will have to put his name on the ballot in two years if he wants to keep the job.

As Press staff writer Becky Campbell reported last week, Arnold said he was eager to get to work. That’s good because Session Court Judges Robert Lincoln and Jim Nidiffer could use some help.

Their workload more than justifies adding a third Sessions Court judge, and county officials knew this day was coming years ago. That’s why they included space in the George P. Jaynes Justice Center for a third judge to hear arraignments, juvenile cases and civil matters.

In addition to those duties, the new Sessions Court judge will also decide cases involving violations of environmental ordinances and resolutions. When hearing these cases, the court will be referred to as the county’s environmental court.

Arnold will share all the powers bestowed on Lincoln and Nidiffer and will earn about $148,000 annually. That salary will be covered by the fees collected by Sessions Court, which turned in more than $2 million to the county’s coffers last year.

The addition of this third judgeship will not be a burden to county taxpayers. On the contrary, a third Sessions Court judge will be a benefit to county citizens who come before the court.

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