Not many people get a building named after them when they retire. But Second Judicial Circuit Judge Charles Francis received that very present during his retirement party on Wednesday (3/28).
That building is the Leon County Courthouse Annex on Thomasville Road. Present Chief Judge Jonathan Sjostrom noted it was saved by a nearly total rebuild not many years ago.
"This building probably should have been bulldozed," he remarked during a brief ceremony in the building's parking lot. "And the reason it wasn't bulldozed was because of Charlie Francis. The reason that people can come and resolve their disputes here in a decent facility with decent parking is because of Charlie Francis."
Praise for Judge Francis also came from another judicial colleague, County Judge Nina Ashenafi Richardson.
"You have made in each one of our lives a positive impact and made our community better, our legal system better and individually we are better because we knew you," she said.
Judge Francis humbly accepted all the honors.
"I was kind of flabergasted," he admitted. "But I'm very proud, I'm humbled and I appreciate it."
And, having served as chief judge for a dozen years before term limits took effect, Charles Francis will forever have the title of the circuit's longest serving chief judge.