KNOX COUNTY, Tenn. — On New Years Day, Knox County will have a new interim judge.
Earlier this year, Governor Bill Lee chose Kyle Hixson to temporarily take over the honorable Bob McGee's seat as a criminal court judge. Hixson, currently a Knox County Deputy District Attorney General, officially takes the interim judgeship on Jan. 1.
The judgeship will on the ballot in August.
Whoever wins the election will take over the rest of McGee's term on Sept. 1 and serve through 2022. Hixson said he plans to run for the judgeship.
According to Hixson's election website, he's an active member of the Republican Party. He is Parliamentarian for the Knox County GOP, President of the West Knox Republican Club, and Delegate in the Rocky Hill Precinct.
At 36, Hixson is relatively young for a judge. He said his age is an advantage in a complicated modern world.
"We're dealing with issues in the criminal justice system that we've never dealt with before," Hixson said. "I think that I can bring a fresh perspective -- a way to handle issues with novel approaches. I'm prepared to do that."
McGee, 70, officially retires on Dec. 31. Hixson said the change is part of a larger trend in the U.S. judicial system.
"We're at a point where the leaders in our judiciary, they're passing the torch to a new generation," Hixson said. "And I'm really proud to be a part of that, absolutely."
Hixson said new technology like social media is "bleeding over" to the criminal justice system. As a younger judge, he said he's ready to work with evolving technology.
"There will be more technological changes taking place in the criminal justice system," Hixson said. "I'm going to be very comfortable dealing with those issues and handling them and really making the transformations that we need to be making within the system."
Hixson, a career prosecutor, handled several high-profile cases in Knox County. One case involved UT football players A. J. Johnson and Michael Williams.
Hixson said his work as a prosecutor prepared him for his upcoming interim judgeship.
"You know, the people of Knox County, they know me. They're familiar with me. They've trusted me to prosecute some of their most dangerous criminal offenders. And they can trust me in this position as well," Hixson said.
Hixson's first day on the judge's bench is Jan. 6.