Circuit Court Judge Royce Taylor is retiring in spring 2020.
Taylor sent Gov. Bill Lee a letter Aug. 23 announcing his retirement effective March 2, 2020 after 21 years on the bench for the 16th Judicial District, covering Rutherford and Cannon counties.
The judge wrote, “It has been an honor to have been entrusted by the citizens of the district with the responsibility of serving in this capacity.”
Taylor wrote he was giving notice so the replacement process could proceed.
Tennessee State Courts director of communications Barbara Peck said the Trial Court Vacancy Commission will post the vacancy online on tncourts.gov and take applications. They will hold public hearings where people can show support or opposition. They will send three names to Lee, who will appoint a judge to serve until the general election in August 2020, when that person can either run or not run for the seat.
Other judges in the 16th District can sit and help with Taylor’s docket, among other measures to help out, Peck said. However, given the short amount of time for the vacancy, that may not happen, she said.
Whoever wins the August 2020 race will have to run again when all state judges will be up for election in August 2022, Peck said.
According to the Tennessee State Courts website, Taylor practiced law in Murfreesboro for 23 years. He served on active duty for six years with the U.S. Navy in underwater demolition as a SEAL. He graduated from the University of Tennessee in 1975 and U.S. Naval Academy in 1966. He retired from the U.S. Naval Reserve as a captain.