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VOL. 118 | NO. 196 | Thursday, October 28, 2004

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Law Talk Judge Jon Kerry Blackwood

Blackwood Retires From Bench, Changes Direction

LANE GARDNER CAMP

The Daily News

Circuit Court Judge Jon Kerry Blackwood of the 25th Judicial District in Somerville is retiring at the end of the year after nearly 20 years on the bench.

Blackwood was appointed to his position in 1985 by then-Gov. Lamar Alexander to fill the unexpired term of Judge Herman L. Reviere. He was elected in 1986 and re-elected in 1990 and 1998.

Previously, Blackwood had a general law practice in Somerville. From 1975 to 1985, he was an assistant district attorney in the 25th Judicial District. Blackwood earned a bachelors degree from Tennessee Technological University in Cookeville and a law degree from the University of Memphis.

 

Q. Why have you decided to retire before the end of your term?

 

I have spent the majority of 30 years in the criminal justice system. Day-to-day tragedies I have heard during this period have had a profound and dispiriting effect. I have felt myself becoming jaded and frustrated. I want to move on to more uplifting opportunities while I am still relatively young.

 

Q. What do you look forward to doing in retirement that you were not able to do while working?

 

I do not consider this so much a retirement as a change of direction. I would like to have an opportunity to serve as a senior judge, teach, mediate or have a limited law practice.

 

Q. What are your impressions of how the legal profession has changed in Fayette County during your lifetime (since you were born and raised there)?

 

The legal profession in Fayette County is much more hectic and fast-paced than when I started. The business side of the legal profession plays a more prominent role today.

 

Q. What do you wish the public better understood about Circuit Court and a judges role?

 

A judge does not have the wide discretionary roles that are so often visualized by the public. We are constrained by guidelines and rules of evidence and procedure that the public does not understand. We play a very small role in the outcome of any case.

 

Q. If you could do anything over in your law career, what would that be and why?

 

I would have sought the advice of an older and more experienced lawyer more often than I did. The older lawyers have been through the learning process and their experience is invaluable.

 

Q. What has it been like this year having a name so close to that of presidential candidate Sen. John Kerry?

 

My Democrat friends want tickets to the inauguration. My Republican friends ignore me.

 

Name: Jon Kerry Blackwood

Position: Judge

Company: Circuit Court of the 25th Judicial District in Somerville

Basics: Blackwood retires at the end of the year after nearly 20 years on the bench.

 

I want to move on to more uplifting opportunities while I am still relatively young.

- Jon Kerry Blackwood

 

RECORD TOTALS DAY WEEK YEAR
PROPERTY SALES 69 119 21,696
MORTGAGES 64 113 16,530
FORECLOSURE NOTICES 0 11 1,515
BUILDING PERMITS 0 325 42,816
BANKRUPTCIES 28 64 6,781
BUSINESS LICENSES 0 14 3,183
UTILITY CONNECTIONS 0 0 0
MARRIAGE LICENSES 0 0 0