New judge appointed in Chapel Hill

Friday, May 17, 2013

By Karen Hall


A new judge will be presiding over Chapel Hill's monthly court, starting in June.

Aldermen voted unanimously in favor of making Debbie Zimmerle the town's judge, said Town Administrator Mike Hatten.

The previous judge was Lewisburg attorney Bill Haywood, who held the job for at least 12 years, said Hatten.

"We decided it was time for a change," the administrator said.

Zimmerle was pleased to accept the appointment.

"I am honored to serve the people of Chapel Hill where I grew up," she said.

Zimmerle, a 2004 graduate of Forrest, got a bachelor's degree in political science from the University of Tenneessee at Martin and then went to Loyola University College of Law in New Orleans. She passed the Bar exam in the summer of 2011, and joined David McKenzie's law firm in November that year.

Since joining McKenzie, Zimmerle has been specializing in family law and juvenile work, such as divorces and child custody cases, but she has also done some real estate, probate and estate planning work.

Recently Zimmerle married a man from Louisiana she met in law school, currently a prosecutor in Bedford County General Sessions Court, but said she would stick to her maiden name for professional use.

When the new judge appears for her court in Chapel Hill at 1 p.m. on the first Friday of June, Hatten said she would most likely be facing 25 to 35 people who received speeding tickets, or were cited into court for failure to provide proof of insurance, and so on. The codes officer also sends 15 to 20 people to court a year for code violations, Hatten said.