New Judge in the 20th Judicial District

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Former Assistant District Attorney Butch Binford began his new duties as circuit court judge on Tuesday.

He fills the vacancy left on the bench, after Judge Denny Holloway stepped down last week.

It’s been a whirlwind of activity for Judge Binford in the last two days; Monday, a call from the governor and Tuesday final confirmation.

Tuesday afternoon, he was sworn in and started his courtroom experience from the other side of the bench.

Judge Binford hit the ground running on his first day. He was sworn in and started reviewing cases he will take over from retiring Judge Holloway.

He also set his first official docket of 92 cases for March 1st.

“There are a lot of cases there and a lot of criminal cases and I really want to get to work on that and try to clear some of those cases out,” Judge Binford said.

In fact, after a review of the case load, the administrative office of the courts came back with a surprising decision.

Judge Lawson Little, with the 20th Judicial Circuit said, “There will be a fifth circuit judge to be added this spring. We had applied to AOC a year and a half ago. We felt like we needed another judge. They did a survey; in fact, they said we were two judges short.”

The fifth judge will be determined by the voters in the June Primary and November General Elections.

Carla Woodall, Clerk of Courts, said, “In 2009 we will have five judges to be able to distribute all new cases among which anytime you add man power that helps your productivity. So, more cases will be disposed of faster since we well have more judges on the benches.”

Officials say any cases Judge Binford handled as a district attorney cannot be heard by him, unless it's waved by the defendant and his attorney.

A retirement ceremony for Judge Holloway recognizing his many years of service with the court will be held this Friday, February 15th.

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