Judge William Russell describes his retirement from the
bench as "bittersweet."
Russell announced his plans to retire earlier this year,
which forced the position onto the August Ballot and was won by local lawyer, Rex Dale who takes
over in September.
"We have an excellent bar both in Loudon County and surrounding counties
I've had an opportunity to work with," Russell said.
He also complimented the members of
local law enforcement, the district attorney's office and public defenders.
"It's a good
county," he said.
Russell was elected to the position in 1998, and his time there has not
been without challenges.
He has promoted the Court Appointed Special Advocates for
Children program and will serve on its board after he leaves the bench.
"I've had some good
moments in juvenile court, seeing people turn around and do well," he said.
been interesting moments too. Russell recalled a recent case where a man refused to enter a plea or
have a lawyer represent him on a minor traffic violation because his mind was being monitored by the
FBI and other government agencies.
"I've oly been threatened to get blown up twice," he said,
including one individual who said he was going to blow up the justice center and Russell's
He said overall they've had very few instances of violence.
Russell has been in
public service for 33 years including time in the Marines and as deputy commissioner of conservation
under Governor Winfield Dunn.
He said he has no intention of leaving Loudon County.
"I'm going to travel some, take pictures, garden and fish," he said.
He will also
serve on the board of directors for the Visitor's Bureau.
"I intend to stay here until I
die," he said, but he has ruled out any public office in the future.