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VOL. 125 | NO. 131 | Thursday, July 8, 2010

Memphis Bar Releases Judicial Candidates Poll Results

By Bill Dries

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The Memphis Bar Association’s poll of most qualified judicial candidates on the Aug. 5 ballot is good news for the three appointed incumbents in the races.

There are five special elections for judge on the ballot. But the polls mirrored recent elections in its low turnout. And the category “no opinion” was the choice of at least 16 percent in each of the five races.

The MBA asked 3,000 attorneys in Shelby County, members and nonmembers, to judge who was best qualified in each of the races. There were 795 attorneys who responded.

The results released Thursday morning show:

In the 20-candidate field for General Sessions Criminal Court Division 7, the largest field of candidates in any race – primary or general – on the Aug. 5 ballot, assistant county attorney Janet Lansky Shipman came out on top with 16 percent. Fifteen percent of the attorneys who responded ranked prosecutor Billy Bond as best qualified.

Attorney Bill Anderson Jr. followed with 10 percent. Everyone else was in single digits. But most of those responding, 22 percent, had no opinion.

Prosecutor Bobby Carter was top of the six-candidate field for Criminal Court Division 3 at 27 percent. Criminal defense attorney Gerald Skahan followed closely with 24 percent.

Division 4 Circuit Court Judge Lorrie K. Ridder was ranked as best qualified to keep her seat by 66 percent of those responding.

Division 8 Circuit Court Judge Rhynette Hurd was ranked most qualified in the Division 8 field by 37 percent of those responding. But 26 percent of the attorneys had no opinion.

Division 10 General Sessions Criminal Court Judge Lee Wilson was ranked most qualified in his race with former General Sessions Court Judge Chris Turner by 48 percent of the attorneys.

The MBA has conducted a poll of attorneys on contested judicial races for more than two decades.

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