Tennessee’s longest serving State Judge, Herschel P. Franks, Presiding Judge of the Court of Appeals, has announced that he will be retiring from the Court on December 31, 2012. In a letter to Governor Bill Haslam, he wrote: “Words cannot adequately express my heartfelt and sincere appreciation for Tennessee’s voters who have elected me as one of their judges in seven elections.”
Judge Franks served in the U.S. Air Force during the Korean War, and after graduating from law school he practiced law in Chattanooga with the firm of Harris, Moon, Meacham & Franks. He is a past President of the Chattanooga Bar Association.
In 1970 Judge Franks was appointed Chancellor, and served as Presiding Judge of the Hamilton County Trial Courts, and was Tennessee’s representative to the National Conference of State Trial Judges. As a Chancellor with probate jurisdiction, he saw the need for a law governing smaller estates, and authored the Act known as “The Small Estates Law.” He also authored the Act establishing the Tennessee Trial Judges Association. In 1978 he was appointed to the Court of Appeals. While on the Court of Appeals, he has served on numerous cases as a Special Justice on the Tennessee Supreme Court and as a Judge on the Court of Criminal Appeals.
Judge Franks is the recipient of the Optimist Clubs’ Community Service Award, the Chattanooga Bar Association’s Foundations of Freedom Award, and the Tennessee Bar Association’s Justice Frank F. Drowota, III Outstanding Judicial Service Award.
Judge Franks, a seventh generation Tennessean, was born in Hardin County and educated in the public schools of Savannah. He is a graduate of the University of Tennessee College of Law, and the National Judicial College. He is married to the former Judy Wood, an attorney, and has one daughter, Ramona Hagmaier, granddaughter Megan, and two step-daughters, Mary Beth and Ann Black.