Though Rayburn Nall Jr., judge of the 59th state District Court in Sherman, has announced his retirement intentions, he isn’t planning to walk away from the bench completely.


Nall said he plans to take senior status and work as a visiting judge when he leaves the 59th. He has been on the bench in the 59th for 20 years and said he is excited to work in other courtrooms throughout the state. With years left on his current term, some might wonder why Nall picked this year to leave his seat.


“Age mostly,” Nall said.


He is 68 and retiring is something he said he has been thinking about since the first of the year. He said sometimes there is just an internal switch that tells one it is time to do something. He wants to do it now while he is still young enough to enjoy other things.


Nall said he has enjoyed a really good working relationship with the county commissioners and the probation department. He said he is the most proud of the work that he has been able to do with the Drug Court program and the people who have graduated from that program.


Statistics kept by the program show 165 people have participated and that 138 people have graduated from it. And participants have given birth to 13 drug free babies.


“I am really happy it has worked out,” Nall said, adding there were other things that he would have liked to have seen done while he was on the bench but it is hard to get everyone to agree to make changes. “I am happy with what we have done. I have enjoyed it for 20-something years.”


Just who will replace Nall on the bench in the 59th and when that will happen is still up in the air.


Reggie Smith, chairman of the Grayson County Republican Party, said the idea of Nall leaving is still so new that most folks haven’t had time to figure out what happens next.


He said state law says the governor could appoint someone to fill the seat until the a new judge can be elected. The Herald Democrat attempted to reach the Governor’s Office about Nall’s retirement and a possible replacement, but those calls were not returned.


If the governor elects not to appoint a replacement, then a visiting judge would likely be appointed to conduct business in the court until a new judge could be elected. That visiting judge would be assigned by the district’s administrative judge.


The state of Texas is divided into 11 administrative judicial regions and Grayson County is part of the First Administrative Judicial Region along with Collin, Dallas, Kaufman, Ellis, Rockwall and Fannin counties. Mary Murphy is the presiding judge for the region and said she would assign a visiting judge to sit in the 59th until such time as the governor either appoints someone or the seat is filled by an election.


The bench in the 59th wouldn’t normally be up for election in November 2018, but Nall’s retirement means it will be up for grabs along with the seat in the 397th. Brian Gary currently sits in the 397th. The first day to file for the primary election for that race is Nov. 11 and the deadline do so is Dec. 11 at 6 p.m.