|Circuit Judge Bill Acree not seeking re-election
|Posted: Tuesday, September 11, 2012 9:04 pm
By CHRIS MENEES
Circuit Judge William B. “Bill” Acree Jr. will not seek re-election when he finishes his current term on the bench in two years.
Acree, 68, confirmed Monday that his current term as Circuit Court judge for the 27th Judicial District — comprised of Obion and Weakley counties — will be his last.
His term will end Aug. 31, 2014, and he said, “That will be my last day.”
“By that time, I will have spent 20 years on the bench,” he said.
Acree was appointed to the bench in 1994 by the late Gov. Ned McWherter to replace Circuit Judge David Hayes, who was elevated to the Tennessee Court of Criminal Appeals. Prior to the appointment, Acree was an attorney in private practice in Union City and had also served as county attorney for Obion County.
He later won election to the bench in 1994, filling out the four years which remained on Hayes’ eight-year unexpired term, and he was then elected to his own eight-year terms in both 1998 and 2006.
Acree said having the opportunity to serve the people of Obion and Weakley counties as Circuit Court judge has been an enjoyable experience.
“I have enjoyed it,” Acree told The Messenger. “I’ve got mixed emotions about it, but it’s time to step aside (in two years). Twenty years will be long enough.”
However, Acree doesn’t plan to entirely leave the legal system when he retires from the bench in 2014. He said he plans to do civil mediation two to three days a week.
“I’m not going to go out to pasture yet,” he said.
In recent years, Acree has served as president of the Tennessee Judicial Conference, which includes all state appellate and trial court judges.
He has also served as a special judge on the Tennessee Court of Criminal Appeals, the Tennessee Court of Appeals and the Tennessee Supreme Court Worker’s Compensation Panel and has been a special master appointed by the Supreme Court. He has been a member of the Governor’s Task Force on the Use of Enhancement Factors in Criminal Sentencing and has served as president of the Tennessee Trial Judges Association.
In 2003, he was instrumental in starting a successful drug court in the 27th Judicial District; and in 2009, he was honored as a Pride of Obion County award recipient as a result of his service to the community.
Several names in the local judicial community have surfaced as being interested in seeking the judgeship upon Acree’s retirement in 2014, including Union City attorney and mediator John Miles and Weakley County General Sessions Judge Tommy Moore.
Miles praised Acree for his service as a judge.
“He’s been an excellent judge a long time,” he said, adding he was just made aware of the judge’s intentions when he told him of his decision last week. “And I understand he has other worthy things he intends to do with his time.
“Given his decision not to run, I’m definitely going to give it heavy consideration.”
Moore lauded Acree’s efforts, too, noting his role in bringing the drug court to the area.
“One of his great legacies was the successful drug court program that he helped start 10 years ago,” Moore told The Weakley County Press. “We all received training for the program and did exactly what we were trained to do. He got everybody to buy into this program and turned around and sold it to local law enforcement and the DA’s (district attorney’s) office. Because of this, I think, it has brought all of us closer together.”
He said the drug court program has seen 100 graduates in the 27th Judicial District.
“We have been able to reduce the crime rate through this program and given these people a new lease on life. Many of them have not turned back to crime and take care of their bills and their families. He has been a very effective Circuit Court judge,” Moore added.
Published in The Messenger 9.11.12