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Judge Simmons to retire in 2014

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By Cindy Simpson

Circuit Court Judge Russell E. Simmons Jr. announced he’s decided to retire after 23 years.

“I want to thank the citizens of Loudon, Meigs, Morgan and Roane counties for the opportunity to serve as your Circuit Court Judge since Sept. 1, 1990. Since I now desire to pursue other interests and spend more time with my family, I do not intend to seek re-election in 2014,” Simmons announced in a statement this week.

Simmons wouldn’t elaborate on his retirement plans now, but said this was a chance to give other attorneys time to prepare their campaigns if interested in the  seat.

Trial judges, including circuit court judges, have an annual salary of $165,204.

Before becoming a circuit court judge, Simmons he practiced law in the community, including with Pat Cooley.

“I practiced with Judge Simmons for five years and then he went on the bench September 1990. It has just been a pleasure to practice in front of him. He’s been a wonderful judge,” Cooley said.

“I hate it that he’s retiring.”

Simmons was not just a wonderful judge but a great employer, according to his assistant Darla Watson.

“He’s been a joy to work for,” Watson said. “He’s an incredible person. He just has an incredibly sweet personality.”