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VOL. 9 | NO. 17 | Saturday, April 23, 2016

Four Judicial Races on Aug. 4 Ballot

By Bill Dries

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Two years after the big ballot of judicial positions that are up for election once every eight years, there are four judicial races on the Aug. 4, 2016 ballot.

Four judicial races will be decided in the Aug. 4 elections, including three seats currently occupied by appointees seeking to fill the remainder of those terms in office.  (Memphis News File/Andrew J. Breig)

The two races for Bartlett Municipal Court Judge and races for Shelby County Circuit Court Judge and Shelby County Chancery Court reflect a last-minute ballot switch by the Shelby County Election Commission as well as continued turnover in countywide courts.

Here are the races and the candidates in those races:

Shelby County Circuit Court Judge Division 3:

Attorney Valerie Smith was appointed in March by Tennessee Gov. Bill Haslam to fill the vacancy created by the 2015 death of Judge D’Army Bailey.

Smith is running in the August special election to serve the remainder of Bailey’s eight-year term of office through 2022.

She is an attorney at Nahon, Saharovich and Trotz. Before that she was an assistant district attorney and clerked for Circuit Court Judge James Russell.

Smith is being challenged by Michael G. Floyd, an attorney in private practice who has run several times over the years for judicial positions.

He most recently ran for criminal Court Judge Division 1 in 2014, finishing third – behind the winner of the race, Paula Skahan, and attorney Nigel Lewis.

Chancellor Part 3:

Attorney James Newsom was appointed by Haslam in September to fill the vacancy created by the 2015 death of Chancellor Oscar C. “Bo” Carr III.

Newsom had been a member of the law firm Harris Shelton Hanover Walsh PLLC and served as a special master of Chancery Court before becoming Chancellor.

Newsom ran in 2014 for Chancellor of Chancery Court Part 2, finishing second to attorney and former state Sen. Jim Kyle.

On the August ballot, Newsom is seeking to serve the rest of the eight-year term to 2022 originally won by Kenny Armstrong in the 2014 judicial elections.

Armstrong was appointed by Haslam as a judge on the Tennessee Court of Appeals before Election Day in 2014, so a vacancy was created even before election results were known. Carr was appointed to the vacancy and Newsom was then appointed to the vacancy created by Carr's death.

Also running in the special election is Joedae Jenkins, an administrator in the General Sessions Court Clerk’s office and an attorney for 26 years.

Attorney David Ferguson also is running for the position. Ferguson is an employee at the Shelby County Criminal Court Clerk’s office.

He became an attorney in 1983 and served as chief staff attorney and child support services director of Memphis-Shelby County Juvenile Court, as well as serving as a Juvenile Court Magistrate.

Bartlett Judge Division 1:

Incumbent Judge Tim Francavilla was appointed to the position in February by the Bartlett Mayor and Board of Aldermen following the December death of longtime Bartlett municipal judge Freeman Marr.

Francavilla was an attorney with the Brannon Law Firm before his appointment.

Attorney Henry Miller of the Miller Law Firm is challenging Francavilla.

The winner of the race serves the rest of the eight-year term of office through 2018.

Bartlett Judge Division 2:

Incumbent Judge Dan Brown was effectively re-elected at the April 7 filing deadline when he drew no opposition in the nonpartisan race.

Brown won election to the position in 2010. He has worked as an attorney and business officer for the University of Memphis, and was an assistant dean and assistant professor at the University of Tennessee Health Science Center.

The Bartlett judicial races had been scheduled for the November ballot, topped by the presidential general election.

But the Shelby County Election Commission moved the elections to the Aug. 4 ballot while the filing period for the August elections was already underway.

The Election Commission said because the Municipal Court is a court of record, the elections had to be held with the other two special elections for Shelby County Circuit and Chancery Courts.

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