ELIZABETHTON — Criminal Court Judge Lynn Brown started the session on Wednesday with a surprise when he announced he will be retiring at the end of March.
“I have always been blessed with good health,” Brown said during his lunch break. His good health changed with a spate of illnesses this year.
He has suffered with blood clots in his leg and one of the remedies would be difficult for any judge. His doctor has ordered him to limit the time he sits down. As he answered questions for this interview he remained standing.
“I am well into recovery now,” Brown said. “I figure it might be time to enjoy my good health, so I made the announcement.”
Brown said he has no big plans for his retirement and he has no intention of continuing as a senior judge.
“I know never to say never, but I can’t see myself doing that,” Brown said.
The plans he does have is to spend more time with his children and grandchildren, who live away from the region. He also want to devote time to his hobbies.
“I have old cars to work on and a boat to sail,” Brown said.
His decision to retire brought back memories of his grandfather.
“My grandfather Brown was active in the lumber business and then became a foreman at Tennessee Eastman. He was my age when he decided to retire. I remember he said ‘It is time for a younger man to do this job.’
“Of course it might not be a younger man,” Brown said.
Brown made his plans official with a letter to Gov. Bill Haslam dated Dec. 10. He wrote in the short letter “This is to inform you that I shall retire as Criminal Court Judge, Part II for the First Judicial District at the end of March 2013. It has been an honor to serve in this position since 1988. With the best wishes for the holiday season, very truly yours, Lynn W. Brown, Criminal Court Judge.”
He said he made his announcement so far in advance to ensure plenty of time for the procedure for selecting his successor to work. After the applicants have been reviewed, the final decision will be made by the governor.
Brown has served as Criminal Court Judge since the legislature decided to expand the court system in the 1st Judicial District by adding a new judge position in 1988. Prior to being a judge, Brown served 11 years as a prosecutor with the First District Attorney General’s Office.
Brown expects many area attorneys to be interested in the position he is vacating. He gave some advice for their consideration.
“Being a judge is so much different than being a trial attorney,” Brown said. “As an attorney, your focus is on getting results. As a judge, your focus is on fairness and getting jury instructions right.”
“It has been an interesting job,” Brown said of his career.
Two attorneys have already stated their desire to succeed Brown. Assistant District Attorney Dennis Brooks has already made his intentions clear that he will run for the position in 2014. After he heard about Brown’s announcement, Assistant District Attorney Ken Baldwin said he would be seeking the governor’s appointment.