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Thursday, May 5, 2016

Courtroom to classroom

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Chuck Crawford
District Attorney Chuck Crawford, the top prosecutor in Bedford, Marshall, Lincoln and Moore counties' criminal courts, has been hired by the Fayetteville City School System to teach American history and government.

Dr. Janine Wilson, director of the city school system, announced to the Board of Education on Monday night that Crawford, who's also served as Lincoln County's session and juvenile court judge, would be teaching at the city's new high school next fall.

Primary reasons

It's a position the attorney sought for at least three reasons.

In his resignation letter to Gov. Bill Haslam last week, Crawford said prosecuting suspects charged in gruesome crimes is physically and emotionally draining, and the people deserve 100 percent from the district attorney.

In a weekend interview for which publication was delayed until after the school board meeting, Crawford said he wants more time to be a father for his daughter and two sons. Their ages range from four to 12.

Another reason for the career change is his family heritage. His father, a teacher, met Crawford's mother in the principal's office lobby when she successfully applied for a job at Flintville High School in the late 1950s.

Crawford's grandmother taught at Kelso and Smithland. His grandmother's brother, John Morgan, taught at The Webb School, and his mother's sister taught at Riverdale High School in Murfreesboro. Crawford's wife, Terri, teaches in the Lincoln County school system.

Interim term

Crawford succeeded Mike McCown as district attorney for the 17th Judicial District nearly six years ago. DAs, like judges and public defenders, are elected to eight-year terms. That leaves two years in the term.

"The governor appoints an interim district attorney in the case of a vacancy and that district attorney would serve until the next biennial election," said Dave Smith, a spokesman for the governor's office.

The next biennial election for the position is in 2014.

"Typically those interested in the vacancy tend to make that known through various channels," Smith said. "The governor would make an appointment at an appropriate time after reviewing the candidates' experience, skill, character and competency."

"I've given the governor until July to come up with someone" to serve two years in an appointed position, Crawford said.

What's next

The next DA must live in the district. When Crawford's predecessor took medical leave he remained the DA, but Assistant District Attorney Eddie Barnard, then of Nashville, now of Murfreesboro, was tapped to manage case assignments and make day-to-day decisions.

"It would be my desire for him to select someone who would keep the staff together," Crawford said. "It's an outstanding group of lawyers."

Circuit Court Judge Robert Crigler of Shelbyville worked with Crawford in the DA's office, both starting in 1988, and they've been good friends.

"I can understand the pressures of the job," Crigler said. "If it's the best for him, I'd want that."