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Circuit Judge Stays on Bench after Retiring

By: Deborah Tuff
By: Deborah Tuff

In the district attorney's office sits a picture of Circuit Court Judge Jerry White, when he served as the D.A. in the early 70's.

Now, more than 30 years later, there is a different picture of the now 65-year-old judge in his courtroom, grey haired, but still doing the thing he loves most.

"I love Dothan, I love Houston County. I love the law. I'm still healthy" says Judge White.

After graduating from the University of Alabama with a degree in business administration, he later got his law degree.

He started his career with the county as an assistant district attorney.

Soon after, he was appointed interim circuit court judge, and later ran and won uncontested, four terms in a row.

Judge White retired in 1987, and went into private practice, but returned right before the turn of the century to help out with the well-known Houston County Courthouse caseload.

He even swore current District Attorney Doug Valeska into office.

"He could retire, go home and draw his money and do nothing, but he cares about the community and wants justice for everybody" says Valeska.

He has received criticism because he doesn't have to run for reelection, but Judge White doesn't let that bother him.

Plus, he does the job for free, and when he isn't overseeing the daily grind of 10 or more cases, he enjoys traveling to see his kids, their families, watching sports and gardening.

Now, with a new position for circuit judge opening for the 2007 election, Judge White says he doesn't know where he fits in. "I'm not sure if they're really going to need me or even want me to do it after the new judge comes along and I certainly do not want to be in the way, so we'll have to wait and see,” he says.

Judge White also received the King Solomon Award for Judicial Excellence.

The award is named after him.


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