Changing of the guard

Published 2:50 am Monday, January 15, 2007

By By Kerry Whipple Bean – publisher
Circuit Judge Joseph Brogden oversaw nearly 10,000 cases in his career - but he presided over the courtroom at the Escambia County Courthouse for one of the last times Wednesday, as family and friends wished him well in his retirement.
Brogden's &#8220retirement” is only from his current position - he now becomes the city judge in Atmore. His last day on the circuit bench is Monday.
Brogden will essentially trade places with Bert Rice, the Atmore judge who was sworn in Wednesday as the new judge for Escambia County. He joins current Judge Bradley Byrne, who also serves the 21st circuit.
The Escambia County Bar Association hosted the retirement and investiture ceremony for the judges in the main courtroom Wednesday. Bar Association President Bill Stokes praised both men for their service.
And Stokes said attorneys in the county also clearly respect Rice, as shown by the fact that he ran unopposed for his new position.
Brogden, who received the gift of a new Browning hunting rifle from the bar association, thanked everyone for
Brogden thanked his family, co-workers, county residents and bar association members.
Brogden said he learned an important lesson from his predecessor, Circuit Judge Douglas Webb.
Brogden said he always strived to decide each case on the law - &#8220nothing more, nothing less.”
Brogden swore in his successor.
Rice asked those who packed the courthouse for the ceremony for their support for all judges and those who practice law.

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