published Tuesday, August 5th, 2014

Cleveland, Tenn., picks interim city judge

Attorney George McCoin, left, was sworn in by Cleveland, Tenn., Mayor Tom Rowland to serve as interim city judge until early September.
Attorney George McCoin, left, was sworn in by Cleveland, Tenn., Mayor Tom Rowland to serve as interim city judge until early September.
Photo by Paul Leach.

CLEVELAND, Tenn. — Attorney George McCoin was the Cleveland City Council's unanimous choice Monday to serve as the interim city judge until early September, filling the role of the late Bill Moss, who was found shot to death July 14.

The council voted 6-0 to appoint McCoin during a special meeting.

"I accepted the appointment to give the city the opportunity to make a proper selection for the next city judge," McCoin said. "My interim service will give them time to fairly consider the qualified candidates."

McCoin said he does not plan to seek to serve as municipal judge beyond the interim period.

He was approached last week about the possibility of assuming the role of interim city judge, McCoin said. Two other attorneys had been asked to serve, he said.

"George is really involved in our community, and it's really an honor to have him serve in our court," Cleveland Mayor Tom Rowland said.

McCoin said he would do his best to live up to the standards set by Moss during his long tenure at municipal court.

"Everyone left his court feeling like they got a fair hearing," McCoin said.

The city will accept applications for the position of municipal court judge until 10 a.m. on Aug. 15.

The Cleveland City Council plans to vote Aug. 25 on an appointee, who will be sworn in on Sept. 8. The term of appointment is two years.

Applicants must meet a number of requirements to be considered for the city judge position.

In addition to having a license to practice law in Tennessee, a qualified candidate must have been a resident of Cleveland for at least one year and have lived in the state for five years.

An applicant must be at least 30 years old, be a registered voter, and hold no other elected public office.

Candidates will not be eligible if they have been convicted of "any criminal offense involving malfeasance in office or moral turpitude," according to the application document.

The Cleveland Police Department opened an investigation when Moss was found dead in a Fourth Street parking lot between Worth and Broad streets.

His gunshot wound may have been self-inflicted, but official autopsy results are pending, said Evie West, public information officer for the Cleveland Police Department.

Moss, who had served as a municipal judge since 1975, was described by Rowland as "dedicated public servant" and "a longtime friend."

"Bill was a real people person who gained the respect of everyone who came from his court," Rowland said.

Paul Leach is based in Cleveland. Email him at paul.leach.press@gmail.com.

Previous news report about Moss' death:

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