published Thursday, January 26th, 2012

Hamilton County General Sessions Court Judge Bob Moon dies

Hamilton County General Sessions Judge Bob Moon.
Hamilton County General Sessions Judge Bob Moon.
Photo by John Rawlston.
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Hamilton County General Sessions Court Judge Bob Moon has died from what appears to be a massive heart attack, according to courthouse officials and secretarial staff.

Staff members said it appears Moon died between last night and early this morning at his home.

Moon was found at his computer by his wife, said Hamilton County Commissioner Mitch McClure.

Members of the legal community expressed shock when they learned the news.

“He had a larger than life personality, both in his outdoor accomplishments and in his strongly held position at the courthouse,” said Lee Davis, former prosecutor, now private defense attorney. “You expect to see him like you would the walls of this building. The idea of Judge Moon being gone today is like having the courthouse crumble."

Hamilton County District Attorney General Bill Cox described Moon’s death as a “terrible tragedy.”

“I’ve known him for years and years. He’s been a tremendous public servant. He’ll be missed in the courthouse. We’re just all shocked,” he said.

Moon was a lifelong resident of Hamilton County. He graduated from Chattanooga High School and the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga. He earned his law degree at Memphis State, graduating cum laude in 1976.

When Moon was running for re-election, he said the following about sessions court: “The General Sessions Court is one of the most important courts in our legal system. The court disposes of both civil and criminal cases and personally touches the lives of more citizens in a single day than any other court. It is truly the people’s court and formulates the opinions of more people about our judicial system than any other court.”

This month, Moon was reprimanded by the Tennessee Court of the Judiciary on three separate complaints, including that he didn’t allow a defendant to receive proper counsel in his courtroom.

Moon responded to the reprimands.

“Although, there is a respectful, but definitive, difference of opinion in the interpretation and applicablity of the law and legal opinions relevant to these issues, the Court of the Judiciary is there to assist us and to make us better judges,” Moon said in a statement.

Services for Judge Moon have been set for Saturday at 3 p.m. at First Presbyterian Church on McCallie Avenue with Dr. Fred Steelman and the Rev. Chris Ehlers officiating.

Burial will be in Hamilton Memorial Gardens.

The funeral announcement said that the family on Friday from 6 to 8 p.m. will receive friends at the North Chapel of Chattanooga Funeral Home and then on Saturday from 1:30 to 3 p.m. at First Presbyterian Church.

about Ansley Haman...

Ansley Haman covers Hamilton County government. A native of Spring City, Tenn., she grew up reading the Chattanooga Times and Chattanooga Free Press, which sparked her passion for journalism. Ansley's happy to be home after a decade of adventures in more than 20 countries and 40 states. She gathered stories while living, working and studying in Swansea, Wales, Cape Town, South Africa, Washington, D.C., Atlanta, Ga., and Knoxville, Tenn. Along the way, she interned for ...

about Todd South...

Todd South covers courts, poverty, technology, military and veterans for the Times Free Press. He has worked at the paper since 2008 and previously covered crime and safety in Southeast Tennessee and North Georgia. Todd’s hometown is Dodge City, Kan. He served five years in the U.S. Marine Corps and deployed to Iraq before returning to school for his journalism degree from the University of Georgia. Todd previously worked at the Anniston (Ala.) Star. Contact ...

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