NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) - A Criminal Appeals judge who pleaded guilty to a DUI charge in Knoxville last year has decided to retire.

Judge Jerry Smith's decision to step down comes as he faced a possible negative recommendation from the commission that evaluates judicial performance.

A negative evaluation means a judge must face a contested election if he or she decides to run for re-election.

A positive evaluation means a judge faces only a retention referendum where voters decide whether to keep the judge on the bench with a yes-no vote.

A preliminary vote by the Judicial Performance Evaluation Commission was for replacement. The commission has not yet taken its final vote.

No appeals judge has faced a contested election since before 1994, and only one has lost a retention election since then.