Davidson County Circuit Court Judge Barbara Haynes will retire after 29 years on the bench.
Haynes will step down Nov. 15. She began her judicial career in 1982 as a Davidson County General Sessions Court judge. In 1990, she was elected to the Circuit Court judge in the 20th Judicial District. Four years earlier, then-Gov. Lamar Alexander had appointed her chair of the Tennessee Sentencing Commission, a position she held until 1994. The commission redrafted the state's criminal code and reformed its sentencing laws.
“Judge Haynes represents everything a person could want in a judge,” said Supreme Court Chief Justice Cornelia A. Clark. “She’s bright, uses common sense, is fair and impartial, and has dedicated her heart and soul to the judiciary.”
Joe Binkley, presiding judge of the Davidson County trial courts, said “our courts won’t be the same without her.”
Haynes has in recent years heard some of the most contentious business cases in local courts, many of them land-use issues assigned to her court per a 33-year-old policy that was recently undone. Among those cases were the MDHA’s battles with Tower Investments — from which she recused herself after Tower Investments claimed she was compromised by her daughter's work at MDHA's firm, Miller & Martin — as well as the Musicians Hall of Fame and Music Row landowner Joy Ford.
Beyond the courtroom, Haynes has long championed women’s issues and last year was one inducted into the YWCA’s Academy for Women of Achievement. She received her undergraduate degree from the University of Tennessee and her law degree from Nashville School of Law.