COLUMBUS, Ga. (WRBL) — Muscogee County Superior Court Judge William C. Rumer says it’s simply time to retire.
“My daddy died at 72. My big brother died at 72. And I am 71,” Rumer said Wednesday morning during a break from a domestic hearing he was holding on Zoom. “So, life began to focus.”
Rumer submitted his resignation to Gov. Brian Kemp in a letter dated July 13. His final day on the bench will be Aug. 31.
That creates an opening for Kemp, a Republican, to appoint a new Superior Court judge in the six-county Chattahoochee Judicial Circuit. One contender has emerged. Prominent criminal defense attorney and former assistant district attorney Stacey Jackson tells News 3 he will put his name into consideration for the opening.
Jackson, a Republican, was recently appointed by the governor to the Public Defender Supervisory Panel in the Chattahoochee Circuit.
Rumer was appointed to the bench in 2010 by former Gov. Sonny Perdue. Rumer asked Kemp in his resignation letter to appoint him Senior Judge, a position that allows a retired judge to continue to hear cases in a limited capacity.
Rumer said it was not an easy decision to leave the bench. He said the decision arose out of conversations with his wife of 45 years, Becky.
“I married over my head,” he said. “… And I have some great children and even greater grandchildren. So, I want to spend some time traveling with my wife, and being with my wife. And just being around my children and grandchildren. ”
Rumer says he’s at peace with the decision to retire.
The subject first arose from my wonderful wife.,” he said. “And I was opposed to it. But she has a better view of how I am doing and what my future should be and what her future should be.”
Rumer is a Columbus native and 1968 Jordan High School graduate. After attending Emory University, Rumer got his law degree from the University of Georgia. He began his practice in Columbus in 1975.
Rumer tells News 3 the last 15 months have been difficult because of the pandemic.
“I guess everyone will say in my office and elsewhere that I am a courtroom-type judge,” Rumer said. “And I miss the courtroom. And we have been replacing it because we couldn’t have in-person hearings because of COVID. So, we went to doing Zoom and I just really don’t like Zoom that much. It’s difficult for me. And I love the beauty and grandeur of the courtroom. And I believe that’s where I want to be. Not in front of a computer screen.”
In his more than a decade on the bench, Rumer has tried 54 cases to a jury verdict, with 41 of those criminal trials.