Circuit Court Judge Walter Kurtz of Nashville will retire effective March 21, after more than 25 years, to become the state's fifth senior judge, he said in a letter to Gov. Phil Bredesen.
"I have applied for and the chief justice has offered me a position as a
senior judge," Mr. Kurtz wrote. "I will miss my service as Fifth Circuit Court judge, but I am looking forward to serving a four-year term as a senior judge."
Chief Justice William M. Barker of Chattanooga said Judge Kurtz will be missed as a trial court judge, but will continue to serve Tennesseans in his new position. Senior judges are former trial and appellate court judges who may be assigned on a temporary basis to any state court.
"He is as well-respected as any judge in the state, and for good reason," Judge Barker said. "My colleagues on the Supreme Court and I are pleased that he has agreed to become a senior judge."
Mr. Kurtz, 64, has been a judge since 1982 and previously served one term as a public defender in Davidson County.
"I wish to express my appreciation to the people of Davidson County who have
elected me four times as judge and one term prior to my judgeship as public
defender," Mr. Kurtz wrote to the governor. "I am thankful to them for the trust they have placed in me since 1978."
Information on the process for filling the 20th Judicial District Circuit Court position, and a Chancery Court position left vacant by the appointment of former Chancellor Richard Dinkins to the Tennessee Court of Appeals, is available on the court system website at www.tn.courts.gov.