With his first day on the bench being one of the largest dockets in months, new General Sessions Judge Bill Locke said the view from the bench is certainly different than from the prosecutor’s table.
“It’s definitely a different situation being on the bench after being a prosecutor for many years,” said Locke after hearing a 77-person docket Tuesday and a 103-person docket Thursday. “We had a lot of cases this week due to the holidays and with Judge Ross’ retirement.”
Locke was appointed as interim General Sessions/Juvenile Court Judge by the Warren County Commission on Monday after the retirement of Judge Larry Ross who served 13 years on the bench. Locke won appointment over five other candidates, the closest being Mary Little Pirtle whom he topped 14-10. Locke is expected to see those same competitors, along with former district attorney Susan Marttala, when the general election is held in August to elect the person who will serve out the two years left on Ross’ term.
Given an election looming in seven months, Locke said it will be a challenge to hear the case load and to get out and campaign.
“The good thing is every day on the bench I’m earning experience I can then use during the campaign,” said Locke, noting he has been working in courts for over a quarter century.
As for any changes he may make, Locke said things have been too busy to really make any such decisions.
“We really haven’t had time to step back and catch our breath,” Locke said, noting that once he is acclimated to the position he may then look at changes that could be made.
Locke said one thing he may consider is holding some court action on Friday to help alleviate the case load on other days.
“Things like that are something I will be taking a look at,” Locke said.