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Hunter Recognized for Recovery Court Efforts

Sumner County General Sessions Judge James Hunter was one of two Tennessee judges recently recognized for their work helping people with substance use disorders at the Tennessee Association of Recovery Court Professionals’ 15th Annual Recovery Court Conference in Franklin.

Hunter and 21st Judicial District Circuit Court Judge James G. Martin III both received TARCP’s 2019 Making a Difference Award at the conference. Senator Ken Yager (R-Kingston) and Representative Ron Travis (R-Dayton) were given the Rod Bragg Recovery Hero Award. In addition, Ellen Abbott, the Director of Criminal Justice Services for the Tennessee Department of Mental Health and Substance Abuse Services, was presented with the Christy Vernon Spirit Award.

This year’s awards ceremony was dedicated to longtime recovery court and Coffee County General Sessions and Juvenile Judge Tim Brock, who passed away in November. Judge Brock received TARCP’s Making a Difference Award in 2017.

Judge Hunter was introduced by Tracye Bryant, the director of the Recovery Court of Sumner County. She praised him for his work ethic and for the compassion he shows toward those in recovery.

“He is very dedicated and committed,” she said. “He loves the participants, and the participants love him. He goes above and beyond on a daily basis. He’s always there to answer their needs, to help them.”

His dedication extends to those on the Recovery Court staff, Bryant said.

“If I walk in the courtroom and I need something he’s willing to stop and say, ‘What do you need?’ and that means a lot,” she said.

Accepting the award, Judge Hunter said that the gratification he gets from his work with the Recovery Court stands out in his professional life.

“There is no greater satisfaction than to see a person change their life and become somebody that they knew they could be, but they just didn’t know how to get there,” Judge Hunter said. “All of you are giving people the chance to become the people God made them to be. It’s what has kept me here and what keeps me going. You just don’t get this kind of satisfaction anywhere else.”

Judge Hunter has been on the Sumner County General Sessions bench since 2003. He received his law degree from the Nashville School of Law.

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