VOL. 132 | NO. 118 | Wednesday, June 14, 2017
Tipton County DA Dunavant Nominated as US Attorney
By Bill Dries
President Donald Trump has nominated District Attorney General Mike Dunavant of Tipton County as the new U.S. attorney for West Tennessee. And he could be close to nominating a new federal district judge for West Tennessee as well.
Dunavant would succeed Ed Stanton as chief federal prosecutor for the West Tennessee grand division between the Mississippi River and the Tennessee River if confirmed by the U.S. Senate. That grand division includes Memphis.
Stanton resigned earlier this year to take a job with Butler Snow law firm. His resignation followed Stanton’s nomination by former President Barack Obama to be a federal court judge, which the U. S. Senate did not act on.
Meanwhile, the Chattanooga Times Free Press reported Monday, June 12, that state Senate Majority Leader Mark Norris of Collierville is being vetted for appointment to the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Tennessee – the position now held by Judge Samuel Hardy Mays that Stanton was nominated for last year.
The vetting process is a background check, usually conducted by FBI agents prior to the president considering a nomination. A list of possible nominees usually comes from the highest ranking elected officials of the president’s political party in that state or region.
Norris has been readying a bid for the Republican nomination for Tennessee governor on the 2018 ballot since last year.
Senior Assistant U.S. Attorney Larry Laurenzi has been the acting U.S. attorney for West Tennessee since Stanton left.
Dunavant was recommended for the appointment by U.S. Sens. Lamar Alexander and Bob Corker of Tennessee.
Dunavant’s judicial district covers not only Tipton County but Fayette, Hardeman, Lauderdale and McNairy counties with six offices in the 25th judicial district.
He was elected district attorney general in 2006 after having a private law practice for 11 years, primarily in criminal defense, including death penalty cases.
A native of Ripley, Tennessee, Dunavant has a bachelor’s degree in political science from the University of Tennessee-Knoxville and earned his law degree at the University of Mississippi.
Alexander described Dunavant as “a well qualified and dedicated prosecutor who will serve West Tennesseans with integrity.”
“I look forward to introducing him to members of the Senate Judiciary Committee, and I hope the Senate will quickly consider his nomination,” Alexander added in his written statement.