1. Give personal background
I grew up with my parents and two brothers in Colorado. My wife and I moved to TN in 2001.
As a young man, worked as a bailiff and clerk for Colorado Judge; then attended law school at the Denver University of Law, a top 50 law school in the country where I was a Chancellor Scholar…a prestigious scholarship of which I am proud. Also during law school worked for the State of Colorado Public Defenders’ office – also a high honor for a law student.
2. Give work background
During Law school I was licensed provisionally to practice Law under supervision with The Colorado State Public Defenders Office.
After graduation, I went into private practice in Colorado handling all manner of cases; juvenile, divorce, civil and criminal cases.
After moving to TN..before receiving my license to practice law here, I worked at the Tennessee Board of Probation and Parole; working with people from all walks of life.
When I was finally granted license to practice in TN..I worked as a Public Defender with B. Campbell Smoot – I handled literally thousands of cases from murder to public intoxication.
I have more than 20 years experience in trial practice and would be able to start work as judge on day one.
3. Why did you decide to run?
I believe my wide ranging background as a trial lawyer; working with the courts, other attorneys, police offices and court clerks has given me a strong history in the courtrooms both in Co. and TN. Most judges have come from the prosecutorial side of law enforcement; and my background in defense would be an excellent balance for the position.
4. What are positives about being a judge?
Judges solve disputes; whether it be a dispute between the State of Tennessee against an individual accused of a crime (criminal case) or resolving a dispute between individuals (civil cases); A judge must hear evidence from both sides…apply the applicable law…and then make a decision. Not all decisions are popular but they must be weighed and measured against what is best for the individuals involved as well as the community at large.
5. Negatives about the job?
Again, not all decisions are what people want. Sometimes a dispute is not resolved to one individuals’ hopes; however, a judge MUST be impartial and weigh what is best according to the law, to the individual and to the community – not an easy thing to do and not always popular. Tough decisions must be made to protect both the people involved and the community at large.
6. Any changes you would like to make?
-First of all Coffee County currently has just one Sessions Court judge – who is now handling all the criminal and I believe most of the Civil cases…that’s thousands of cases a year. I know the current judge; Jere Ledsinger and I respect him deeply. I believe any changes would have to come from him on how to separate cases to make the workload fair and reasonable.
Our dockets are currently very large. I hope to sit down with the clerks and other Judges to attempt to streamline as much as we can and move the cases along more quickly.
7. Tell people why they should vote for you
Simply put, Experience!
I have substantially more years of practice than any of the other candidates in this race. I have handled more cases than any of the other candidates in this race. I have more trial experience than any one of the other candidates in this race. I have conducted more trials than ALL of the other candidates in this race, combined. I have practiced Law under my own license for over 20 years.
Most attorneys spend the majority of their careers in their offices…I have spent the majority of my career in courtroom – If experience is what counts and I believe it is…I am the most experienced out of the field of candidates, without question.
Another reason…I do not have a family in politics…nor do I accept donations. It’s my personal belief that judges should NEVER accept money or favors. Once a judge IS in office; if he’s seen to accept even a small gift from an individual, his or her ethics can rightly be questioned. BUT during a campaign, donations are perfectly acceptable. While legal, that makes no sense to me…therefore I am completely self-funded. I do not accept any funds from anyone.
I am in this race for all residents of Coffee County.