Retired Court of Appeals Chief Judge Charles D. Susano, Jr. Honored with Portrait Unveiling

April 6, 2021

One of the state’s most admired and respected jurists, former Court of Appeals Chief Judge Charles D. Susano, Jr., now has a permanent place in a prominent Tennessee courtroom.

A portrait of Judge Susano was unveiled recently in the Knoxville Supreme Court building where he heard countless cases over the course of his judicial career. The unveiling ceremony celebrated Judge Susano and his 25-year tenure on the Court of Appeals and was attended by a small, socially distanced audience of family, friends, and colleagues.

One of the speakers at the event was Tennessee Supreme Court Justice Sharon G. Lee. Justice Lee spoke about Judge Susano’s generosity as a mentor to young lawyers and judges, including herself when she joined the Court of Appeals in 2004, and mentioned some of his many accomplishments while on the bench, such as authoring over 1,000 opinions and winning numerous notable awards.

“The long and prestigious career of Judge Charles Susano, Jr. shows us that if we persist, work hard, respect and love others, and take advantage of those opportunities, we too can prevail,” she said.

Justice Lee also spoke about Judge Susano’s unstoppable spirit, a quality that always propelled him forward in life, even when he faced harsh trials.

“He has faced more obstacles and challenges than any of us can truly know and understand,” Justice Lee said. “He has made his paralysis look easy, but we know it is not. The portrait that we will hang today will be a source of inspiration for years to come to everyone, especially those with physical challenges.”

Prior to his time on the bench, Judge Susano was a respected attorney in private practice in Knoxville for 30 years. He was appointed to the appellate bench in 1994 by Governor Ned McWherter and subsequently won election to his seat on the Court of Appeals four times, in 1994, 1998, 2006, and 2014. He served as presiding judge of the court from 2012 to 2014. At the time of his retirement in April 2020, Judge Susano was the longest serving appellate judge in the state.

Judge Susano grew up in Knoxville, attended the University of Notre Dame as an undergraduate, and received his Juris Doctor from the University of Tennessee College of Law.

Judge Susano has been the recipient of numerous awards and honors over the course of his career, including the Justice Frank F. Drowota III Outstanding Judicial Service Award, the Appellate Judge of the Year Award from the Tennessee Chapter of the American Board of Trial Advocates, the Courage in the Face of Adversity Award from the Knoxville Bar Association, and the Disability Resource Center’s Spirit of the ADA Award.

To read more about Judge Susano, visit the following links:

Judge Charles D. Susano, Jr. Announces His Retirement:

Retirement Ceremony Celebrates Court of Appeals Judge Charles D. Susano, Jr.:

Judge Charles D. Susano, Jr. with family at his portrait unveiling

Judge Susano looks on as his portrait his hung in the Knoxville's Tennessee Supreme Court building