Judge Patricia McGuire was elected to her second eight-year term in August 2014. Her current term expires in 2022.
Lawrence County is part of the 22nd Judicial District, which also includes Wayne, Giles, and Maury counties. Four Circuit Judges serve this district: David Allen, Stella L. Hargrove, J. Russell Parkes and Chris Sockwell.
Circuit Judges are elected to serve eight-year terms. If a vacancy occurs, the governor appoints a replacement from a list generated by the Tennessee Judicial Nominating Commission. The replacement fills the remainder of the unexpired term, then runs in the next general election.
Circuit judges are assigned to one of the four counties for one year, then move on to another county in the district. They hear felony cases, which are punishable by more than a year in jail.
Even after a Circuit Judge completes his/her year in Lawrence County, he/she returns for probation and parole violation cases. All four Circuit judges come to Lawrence County two days a month for Chancery Court. This includes civil suits seeking over $25,000, divorce and custody hearings, and property issues.
Circuit Judge J. Russell Parkes was appointed to the court by Governor Bill Haslam on November 17, 2014, to fill the vacancy created by the elevation of Judge Robert L. Holloway to the Tennessee Court of Criminal Appeals. Parkes won the partial term unopposed on August 4, 2016. He was elected to a six-year term. The seat will be up for a full eight-year term at the next general judicial election in 2022.
Circuit Judge Christopher Sockwell was appointed to the court by Governor Bill Haslam on November 15, 2018, to fill the vacancy created by the retirement of Judge Robert Jones. He was elected without opposition in August, 2020 and will run for a full eight-year term at the next general judicial election in 2022.
In addition to presiding over trials, judges approve plea agreements, hold pretrial hearings and hear motions filed by attorneys on behalf of their clients.