Judges and attorneys reminisce about former judge Don Sirmons

Local News

Judges and lawyers remember Judge Sirmons’ patience and respect toward everyone in his courtroom.

PANAMA CITY, Fla. (WMBB) — Judges and attorneys reminisced about former judge Don Sirmons, who died on Tuesday, Sirmons was 72 years old. 

Sirmons became a county judge in 1977 at just 28 years old, becoming the youngest judge in Florida.

“His patience and his demeanor basically were his hallmark,” 14th Circuit Chief Judge Christopher Patterson said. “And he demanded that attorneys be prepared, act professionally.”

Judge Sirmons presided over a number of the area’s highest-profile cases like the murder trials of Dr. William Sybers, Kayle Barrington Bates, Priscilla Ann Trexler, and many more.

“A lot of judges, including myself, that are serving now owe a great deal to Judge Sirmons,” Patterson said. “He always cared about the profession of the law. He cared about developing attorneys, he cared about his judges. And he cared about the rule of law.”

Sirmons served as a mentor to many judges and attorneys in the Bay County Courthouse. He demanded that lawyers remain cordial in his courtroom, and always act professionally and with respect.

“Me and two of the public defenders went on a vacation together to Alaska,” 14th Judicial Circuit Judge Joe Grammer said. “And I don’t think we could have done that, I don’t think we would have gotten along had it not been for Judge Sirmons had it set up for us to work against each other yet together.”

Grammer said that Sirmons taught him how to act as a judge, and was always available to answer any questions that he had. 

“He just seemed like one of those people who would always be there,” Grammer said.

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