Pemberton’s swearing-in will be Sunday

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By Damon Lawrence

Between judge school, winding down his law practice and dealing with a new lawsuit, the weeks following the Aug. 7 election have been busy for 9th Judicial District Circuit Court Judge-elect Mike Pemberton.

“I’m as busy now as I was before the election,” Pemberton said.

Pemberton will take a break from the hectic schedule Sunday afternoon, so he can be sworn in.

He plans to take his oath with other Roane County elected officials during a 2:30 p.m. swearing-in ceremony at the courthouse.

“I’m very much looking forward to it,” he said.

Pemberton defeated Tom McFarland in the election.

McFarland responded to his defeat by filing a complaint in Roane County Chancery Court.

He alleges the election results should be voided because Pemberton didn’t meet the one-year residency requirement to run for judge.

Pemberton denies McFarland’s allegations.

Pemberton said the pending lawsuit makes his swearing-in bittersweet.

“I would be lying to you if I told you it didn’t,” he said.

Pemberton is taking over for Russell E. Simmons Jr., who is retiring Sunday after 24 years on the bench.

Pemberton could hold court as early as Tuesday.

“I don’t know what’s on the docket ... yet,” he said. “Judge Simmons and I are meeting again tomorrow (Thursday) to discuss that. If there’s anything that’s on the docket for Tuesday, I’ll have to start preparing for it over the weekend.”

Pemberton’s father-in-law is retired judge James “Buddy” Scott.

“He’s given me three tips, and they were patience, patience and patience,” Pemberton said. “I think that’s true, particularly when you’re a new judge.”

It’s not mandatory that officials are sworn in at the ceremony on Sunday. Sheriff Jack Stockton was sworn in Aug. 22 by General Sessions Court Judge Jeff Wicks.

“I wanted him to swear me in and just get it behind me,” Stockton said.