KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (WATE) — Judge Lanning P. Wynn, Sevierville’s first and only Municipal Court judge, hung up his robe for the final time Tuesday. Wynn is retiring after 43 years of service.

Wynn, 70, said he wants to be closer to his daughter, who is expecting a child, in Atlanta.

“We want to be down there more to help her with the child and, even though I only hold court once a week, it’s sort of hard to go back and forth to Atlanta,” he said.

Judge Lanning P. Wynn, back left, and his wife and grandchildren.

While Judge Wynn is retiring from his part-time municipal court duties, he plans to continue practicing law as long as his wife lets him. Wynn specializes in real estate law, which he said is booming in Sevierville. 

“I don’t know how to fish or play golf, so if I wasn’t practicing law, I’d be in the grocery store bagging groceries. At least I’m not on my feet all day long doing this,” Wynn said. 

Wynn began his time on the bench in December 1979 after then-Mayor Gary Wade appointed him. The two men were law partners before Wade went on to become chief justice of the Tennessee Supreme Court. Wade eventually retired from the state Supreme Court and lead the Lincoln Memorial University Duncan School of Law.

Wynn replaced the city recorder who was handling the court’s duties.

“The U.S. Supreme Court said it wasn’t right for a city employee to be the city judge, so the board of aldermen decided they needed an independent judge,” Wynn said. “The mayor pretty much said, ‘You need to be city judge.’ I said, ‘What do I do?’ and he said, ‘Figure it out.’ So, here I am 43 years later.”

Wynn credited the people he’s worked with through the years for keeping the court running smoothly.

“I’ve had excellent clerks during my tenure that have basically taken care of everything that I needed to be done,” he said. 

“We treat everybody personally. I always tell everyone municipal court is the bottom of the judicial food chain, but it’s where most people end up in court and it’s surprising the number of people who are very nervous and scared to come into city court. So, we always try to put everybody at ease and make them feel welcome,” he said.