One by one, fellow judges, attorneys and friends spoke at Robinson’s retirement ceremony Tuesday. Robinson served as judge for 10 years, two months and is officially retiring Sept. 3.
“I think back to the beginning of my relationship with Charlie,” said Pell City Mayor and former judge Bill Hereford, who served with Robinson on the bench. “He was one of the first people I met, when he was the district attorney.”
Hereford said Robinson made him feel welcome.
“We worked with each other,” he said. “The Robinsons have been responsible for so many things in town. He is a good friend to many of us, and a good friend to the community. I want to thank him for all he’s done for our home county.”
St. Clair County District Court Judge Robert Minor said he has tremendous respect for Robinson and his wisdom.
“I am proud to say I can call you a friend,” Minor told Robinson at the ceremony.
St. Clair County District Court Judge Phil Seay said he worked as a clerk for Church, Trussell & Robinson Law Firm in Pell City, where Robinson was a law partner for 15 years.
“He gave me an assignment on a big case he and Bill Trussell were working on,” Seay said. “I completed the assignment and when I turned it in, he thanked me for the work and said it helped him. He gave me confidence. I practiced for him for five years before I went to the bench.”
Seay said he always felt comfortable in Robinson’s courtroom.
“I got an inspirational quote on my phone a couple days ago that I think fits Judge Robinson,” he said. “The true measure of an individual is how he treats others who can give him absolutely nothing. Thank you for what you’ve done for this county for the last 46 years.”
St. Clair County Circuit Court Judge Jim Hill said he has known Robinson for 35 years.
“Our first case, I got a little heated with him,” he said. “I didn’t know him that well and didn’t know if he would be mad at me. But we were friends when we walked out of the courtroom.”
Hill said St. Clair County wouldn’t have two circuit court judges if it wasn’t for Robinson.
“It’s been a real pleasure to be a judge with you the last six years,” he said. “I will miss you.”
Former law partner Billy Church said Robinson was one of the people who helped entice him to come to St. Clair County.
“I’ve always been grateful for that,” he said. “I had the privilege of being against Charlie when he was D.A. He was a fierce opponent, but fair. And I never felt he treated me unfairly.”
Church said his relationship with Robinson and the Robinson family has been very meaningful.
“It’s been an honor and a privilege to work against you as D.A. and then as a judge,” he said.
Former law partner Bill Trussell said there are three ideal characteristics that make Robinson a great judge.
“He knows the law, he has an easygoing disposition and he has the patience of Job,” Trussell said. “And he knows everybody in the county.”
Robinson is expected to go into private practice for the third time with his son, Charles Robinson Jr., after his retirement.
Robinson Jr. said at Tuesday’s retirement ceremony he is proud to be able to look out and call Robinson “dad.”
“Being a judge’s son—there are not a lot of privileges,” he said. “But I’ve been all over and there was not a place I went where they didn’t say, ‘How’s your daddy?’”
Robinson Jr. said the older he gets, the smarter his father gets.
“I sit here and look out and think he’s got a lot of friends and is blessed,” he said. “It means a lot to me that his former partners and judges—the accolades they say I know they mean it. He’s touched a lot of peoples’ lives, that people don’t know the how or why. He could make a phone call and get things done.”
The St. Clair County Bar Association presented Robinson with his portrait, which will hang in the courthouse.
“I want to thank you all for coming up here,” Robinson said. “It is a great honor for me.”
Robinson said he is proud of his wife, Mary Anne, and children and grandchildren.
“I can’t tell you how proud I am,” he said. “There were a lot of things said, and I appreciate them. I’ve tried to treat people the way I wanted to be treated. I think it’s a good way to live.”
Contact Elsie Hodnett at firstname.lastname@example.org.