Has Served Since
'04 In Greeneville
By AMY ROSE
KNOXVILLE -- U.S. District Judge J. Ronnie Greer, of Greeneville, was honored here Friday night as the 2008 Trial Judge of the Year by the Tennessee Chapter of the American Board of Trial Advocates (ABOTA).
Also recognized was Greeneville attorney John T. Milburn Rogers for his service as president of the organization.
An estimated 90 attorneys, judges, and their guests attended the annual black-tie dinner and award presentations at Knoxville's Cherokee Country Club.
Among them were the two judges who work with Greer at the James H. Quillen United States Courthouse in Greeneville: Magistrate Judge Dennis H. Inman and Bankruptcy Judge Marcia Phillips Parsons.
The invocation was given by Thomas R. "Skip" Frierson, of Morristown, chancellor of the Third Judicial District.
Attorney Charles Terry, of Morristown, presented the award to Greer.
"This is a very special night for me," Judge Greer said. "I am honored by this award."
Greer noted that recognition from ABOTA is special to him "because this organization has as one of its goals promotion of professionalism and civility in the law."
The group also honored retiring Tennessee Supreme Court Chief Justice William M. Barker, of Chattanooga, as the 2008 Appellate Judge of the Year.
Installed In 2004
Judge Greer was installed in March 2004 as sitting judge for the Northeastern Division of the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Tennessee.
In that capacity, he succeeded U.S. District Judge Thomas G. Hull, who retired later in 2004. Judge Hull died this July.
Greer began hearing cases in June 2003 as Hull took senior status prior to his retirement.
Judge Greer hears cases from the 10 counties of the Northeastern Division: Greene, Carter, Cocke, Hamblen, Hancock, Hawkins, Johnson, Sullivan, Unicoi and Washington.
Terry, who previously practiced law in the same firm as Greer, said he has seen Greer "work his magic" in jury trials.
He said Greer had a knack for dealing with clients to settle cases in an agreeable manner.
Terry presented several statistics about Greer's judgeship since June 2003.
He said Judge Greer has been assigned 1,287 civil cases and has closed 978 civil cases, Terry said.
Judge Greer has been assigned 501 criminal cases and 742 defendants and has disposed of 444 criminal cases and sentenced 656 defendants, Terry said.
He has spent 1,774 hours in trial and 410 days in trial, Terry said.
While not in trial, Greer has spent 709.5 hours in court on other incidental matters, Terry said.
In 2005, Greer had more hours in trials and more days in trials than any other judge in the district, Terry said.
Through August of this year, Greer has been assigned 169 civil cases, 15 more than any other judge, and has closed 157 civil cases, 28 more than any other judge, Terry said.
Served In State Senate
A native of the Doe Valley community near Mountain City in Johnson County, Greer served as a Republican state senator from the First Senate District from 1986 to 1994.
He represented Greene, Hamblen, Cocke and Unicoi counties in the state senate and served for eight years as chairman of the Senate Environment, Conservation and Tourism Committee.
He chose not to be a candidate for re-election in 1994.
Greer had moved to Greeneville to practice law in the early 1980s.
He was special assistant to then-governor Lamar Alexander in 1980-81 and served as county attorney for Greene County in 1985-86.
Greer earned a bachelor of science degree from East Tennessee State University and a law degree from the University of Tennessee.
President George W. Bush nominated him for the federal judgeship on April 9, 2003. The U.S. Senate voted 97-to-0 on June 10, 2003, to confirm his nomination for the judgeship.
Greer and his wife, Bunny, have one daughter, Hannah.