Circuit Court Judge Robert Crigler, who oversees criminal cases in the 17th Judicial District, announced Thursday that he will retire from the bench at the end of May.
Crigler was appointed to the bench in 2005 when he succeeded Judge Charles Lee and then elected to an eight-year term in 2006. Prior to that, he served for 16 years as a state prosecutor in the district, which includes Bedford, Lincoln, Marshall and Moore counties.
“It’s been a great privilege and honor to serve the people of the 17th Judicial District as a prosecutor and judge over the past 25 years,” Crigler said. “Hearing all the criminal cases in the district takes more of a toll on you than you might think.
“I’ve really enjoyed it, but it’s time to step aside,” he added. “I hope I’ve done a good job for the district. I know I’ve tried my best.”
A graduate of the University of Tennessee’s College of Law and the University of Virginia, Crigler also spent several years in private practice.
His wife, Cyndi, is a teacher and also will be retiring at the end of the school year. The Criglers have three adult children – two daughters and one son.
The Administrative Office of the Courts began Monday accepting applications or completed applicant questionnaires from attorneys or judges interested in the position – to serve as a judge in the 17th Judicial District, one must also reside within the district. The deadline for applications is at noon on Feb. 14, according to Michele Wojpiechowski with the Administrative Office of the Courts.
“Sometime in late February or early March, the Judicial Nominating Commission will hold an open public hearing and interviews,” she said, noting that during the hearing attorneys and members of the public may express their approval of or objections to candidates.
The commission, then, nominates no more than three candidates for the judicial vacancy, and from those, Gov. Bill Haslam will make an appointment or ask for a slate of more nominees. The successful nominee would serve the remainder of Crigler’s term, which would extend into 2014. At that time, the judgeship would then be placed on the ballot.