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Staff photo by Erin O. Smith / Circuit Judge Jeff Hollingsworth speaks during a legislative breakfast Thursday, Jan. 4, 2018 at the Doubletree Hotel in Chattanooga, Tenn.

Hamilton County Circuit Court Division II Judge Jeff Hollingsworth announced he is retiring and will not run again for his seat.

Hollingsworth was elected in 2006 and re-elected in 2014. In a statement announcing his decision, Hollingsworth said it was a great honor to serve as a circuit judge.

"I am sincerely grateful for the continued support of my staff, fellow judges and lawyers who practice in this court for making my time as judge the highlight of my career," Hollingsworth said in a statement. "I am also grateful to the citizens of Hamilton County for allowing me to serve in this capacity. Serving on the bench has exceeded my expectations. It has been great, but it is time to move on to the next stage of life and see what the Lord has in store for me."

Jim Exum, a Chattanooga attorney with Chambliss Bahner & Stophel, announced this week he's running for the open seat.

Exum is a Chattanooga native who graduated from the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga and the Cumberland School of Law at Samford University and has spent his entire law career of almost 15 years within the Hamilton County court system.

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Contributed photo / Jim Exum

Exum has experience in bench and jury trials in circuit court, family law, divorce and child custody matters, as well as specializing in law enforcement issues in state and federal courts across Tennessee and Georgia, according to his campaign.

"Individuals coming before Circuit Court do so at one of the most challenging times in their lives," Exum said in a statement. "I understand the inner workings of the court and what is at stake for those coming before the court. I intend to take those experiences and apply them as judge in cases coming before me."

Exum also serves as the administrative hearing officer for Collegedale and Red Bank, hearing property and zoning violations and rendering decisions on those violations.

"Judiciary positions should never be viewed as political offices," he said. "It's important to have professionals who have spent their careers practicing law in courtrooms where they know the procedures, court professionals and the types of cases coming before the court."

Contact Patrick Filbin at pfilbin@timesfreepress.com or 423-757-6476. Follow him on Twitter @PatrickFilbin.

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