Wednesday, March 12, 2008

Ten apply for Davidson County judgeship

Bar favors council member Jameson By CHRIS ECHEGARAY • Staff Writer (Tennessean) • March 12, 2008 Ten candidates are vying for a seat on the Davidson County Circuit Court when Judge Walter Kurtz retires March 21. A recent poll shows Metro Councilman Michael Jameson is a favored candidate among the Nashville Bar Association. Twenty-four percent of the 1,083 bar members taking the poll "highly recommended'' Jameson. "I'm humbled by that," Jameson said. "I don't think there's a person who graduates law school that thinks about being a judge someday." Jameson, 44, a Nashville native, has been on the council for five years. Jameson specializes in civil litigation. He's a Vanderbilt University graduate and got his law degree from the University of Tennessee in 1990. If Jameson is selected, he would have to give up his seat on the council. Several residents have expressed interest in the seat, including Kenny Byrd, David Griswold, former Metro Councilman Jeff Ockerman and Peter Westerholm, a councilman at large candidate. Other bar association favorites, according to the poll, include Mary Ashley Nichols, special master of Davidson County Circuit Court, and lawyer Joseph Binkley Jr. Binkley, with 20 percent, and Nichols, with 19 percent, were second and third, respectively, as the "highly recommended'' candidates, according to the bar association's judicial evaluation poll. Other candidates are Katherine Dent "Kitty'' Boyte, an attorney with Howard, Tate, Sowell, Wilson & Boyte; Jefre Scot Goldtrap, a Joelton attorney; Amy Adams Gowen, an attorney with Hardeman & Montgomery; Marian LeRoy Kohl, a judicial clerk/special master in Judge Hamilton Gayden's office; Cynthia M. Odle, a Nashville attorney; Russell T. Perkins, an attorney in the state attorney general's office' and Sarah Stein, an attorney with Mitch Grissim & Associates in Nashville. Interviews are today The 10 candidates will appear before the Judicial Selection Commission at 8:30 a.m. today at the Nashville Airport Marriott, 600 Marriott Drive. There will be a period for public comments and then the selection panel will interview each candidate privately. After the commission picks the top three candidates, their names are forwarded to the governor, who makes the appointment. Binkley, 63, has practiced criminal defense, personal injury and divorce law in Middle Tennessee his entire career. Besides a good learned legal opinion from a judge, litigators want something else, Binkley said. Courtesy and patience are what litigants want from a judge, he said. "I know what it's like to be a trial attorney, and I will not forget that if I become a judge,'' he said. Nichols, 51, was appointed to special master in 1998. Nichols, a former reporter at the now-defunct Nashville Banner, said there are many qualified candidates in front of the selection commission. "There are many candidates who are not as well known as we are but must be recognized," she said.

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