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Judge Don Poole listens as Hamilton County District Attorney General Neal Pinkston speaks during a pretrial hearing in the Johnthony Walker case Monday, Feb. 5, 2018 at the Hamilton County Criminal Courthouse in Chattanooga, Tenn.

After almost 16 years on the bench, Hamilton County Criminal Court Judge Don W. Poole on Friday announced he will retire in 2022.

"For almost 16 years the people of Hamilton County have entrusted me with that position and I am eternally grateful for that," Poole said in a letter. "I have worked very hard and tried very hard to earn that trust."

"Now is the time, however, to announce that I will not seek re-election in 2022."

Poole, who was first elected in 2006 and unopposed for re-election for an eight-year term in 2014, received his bachelor's and law degrees from the University of Tennessee in 1964 and 1965. He later worked as a law clerk for the Tennessee Supreme Court, served as a judge advocate general in the U.S. Armed Forces, and spent three years as a Hamilton County assistant district attorney.

Before his judicial election, Poole worked as an attorney in private practice for 33 years.

He will continue to be the judge in the Janet Hinds case, which is scheduled for trial beginning Monday, Sept. 20. Hinds is charged in the hit-and-run death of Chattanooga Police Department Officer Nicholas Galinger in 2019.

(Read more: Attorney tries to strike evidence from record in case against woman accused of hitting, killing Chattanooga police officer)

Following the news of Poole's retirement, Boyd Patterson of the Public Defender's Office announced his candidacy for the open Division III Criminal Court judge seat.

"Judge Poole set a standard of professionalism and dedication that I will work with diligence to continue. The incredible support I've received to date, from so many sectors of our community, keeps me both humble and encouraged. I look forward to our campaign with the same enthusiasm I will bring to the role itself," Patterson said in a news release on Monday.

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Boyd Patterson, Jr., speaks at an interfaith remembrance titled Chattanooga Strong Together held at UTC on Saturday, July 16, 2016, in Chattanooga, Tenn. The program was held on the anniversary of last year's shootings at military facilities which left 5 servicemen dead.

Patterson has bachelor's and master's degrees in psychology, plus two years of experience counseling delinquent youth, and he has served as gang task force coordinator for Hamilton County. His experience allowed him to help establish the Hamilton County Mental Health Court, according to a news release from his campaign.

He pledges to fairly follow the laws that he has litigated as both a prosecutor and public defender.

Republican primary voting is set for May 3, 2022.

Contact Kelcey Caulder at kcaulder@timesfreepress.com.

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