GAINESVILLE - A judge with nearly 26 years on the bench in Hall County will retire after completing his latest term as Chief Judge of Hall County State Court.
Judge Charles S. Wynne of Gainesville quietly shared his decision not to seek re-election next year. Wynne, elected to State Court in 2000, will make 2016 his last year as a full-time judge.
"It was a decision I made after careful consideration and discussion with my family," Wynne said Tuesday afternoon.
Wynne, who will turn 64 next year, is a 1974 graduate of Georgia Tech and a 1977 graduate of the University of Georgia School of Law.
While he practiced law for over ten years before becoming a judge, Wynne said an early two-year stint as a staff attorney in the Superior Court of Fulton County sparked his interest in becoming a judge.
Beginning in 1990, he served for a decade as a Hall County Magistrate Court Judge, the last four as Chief Magistrate. He was first elected a Hall County State Court Judge in 2000, winning re-election three times.
Wynne said the main thing anyone learns as a judge is to listen carefully to all parties involved and weigh everything presented.
"Some things are black and white, but some things are not. If you just try to take all the facts and apply the law as fairly as you can to the facts as you find them to be," Wynne said.
Wynne was part of the development of the DUI Court of Hall County in 2003, one of only three such DUI accountability courts in the state at the time. He said the program has probably brought him the most personal and professional gratification as a state court judge.
"Being able to see the positive public safety impact of DUI courts and the other accountability courts and seeing so many personal examples of lives and families that have been restored is very gratifying," Wynne said.
The end of Wynne's term is in December of 2016.
"I felt it was time to let someone else have a chance to run before the voters of Hall County and let the voters of Hall County choose who they wish to be in this position."
While he's looking forward to more time for family and leisure a year from now, Wynne said he may seek a senior judge appointment. For now, he's preparing for another year on the bench.
"I still plan to have an active year in 2016. We have a busy caseload. We will have a full calendar so it'll be a while before I leave, but I think it's the proper time and way to do it," Wynne added. "I have appreciated my opportunity. I appreciate the voters having given me the opportunity over these years to have served the courts."