Judicial Candidates, Circuit Court, Div. 1

Last night’s Midtown Republican Club meeting was a continuation of the April one with judicial candidates coming forward to tell us why we should vote for them.

More than 80 positions in the courts are going to be on the August ballot. It is hard for a layman to find out much information about them. Since they are at the end of the ballot, many worry that they will be ignored or overlooked by voters. Yet, they are pivotal to a well run county.

Not all showed up at the meeting. This reporting is not necessarily an endorsement. It is just what they related to members. Their efforts to come, however, do express a concern for our vote and pride in what they have to offer.

Judge Lynn Cobb acted as MC since he is familiar with many of them.Judge Cobb told us that this big vote comes once every eight years, as that is the elected term for them. That’s a good chunk of time – more than a state rep, governor or even senator. That makes it especially vital that the best are elected. We asked them to keep their speeches to around 2-3 minutes, but many went over their allotted time.

The first candidate to speak for the judgeship in Circuit Court Division 1 was Leah Roen. “I’m a Midtowner,” she said, “in the past 24 years I’ve appeared in most of these courts. I also know how to run a business.” Roen explained that the seat is vacant in Division 1 because the judge is retiring.

Roen is active in the Central Gardens Association and her husband works for the FBI. Her website is leahroenforjudge.com and on it she has a long list of endorsements including Shelby County Sheriff Bill Oldham, Shelby County Commissioner Steve Basar, Shelby County Commissioner Terry Roland, Shelby County Commissioner Heidi Shafer, Memphis City Councilman Jim Strickland, Asst. Shelby County Attorney Danny Presley, Bartlett Area Chamber Pres. John Threadgill and Thomas Locke, Asst. Director, FBI, Ret.

Also running for this spot is Julie Dichtel Byrd. She said she has been an attorney for 24 years, “born and raised in Memphis. I have worked on divorce cases, bankruptcy, wills and probate. Divorce makes up about 35% of cases in the court and mediation is the most common single thing we do. I want to help unclog the court system.”

She is a single mother of three and a small business owner. Her website is juliebyrd.com.

A third candidate for this judgeship is Felicia Corbin-Johnson. “I’ve practiced law for 17 years. I’m a mother, wife and grandmother, married to Anthony Johnson who played for the Memphis Chicks as well as the Montreal Expos. I was the first African American hired at Thomason Hendrix law firm and worked for Mayor Herenton for three years, then for Omnicare and have had my own private practice since 2004.

“I’m an entrepreneur and a business person,” Corbin Johnson said. “I have four law firms: one downtown, one in Hickory Hill, one in Whitehaven and one in the Raleigh Millington area. I’ve done a lot in family law, divorces and child custody, bankruptcy, criminal law and probate. A general practitioner so to speak. I practice in Circuit Court every day. I have the judicial temperament. Judges have to make tough decisions and have to be willing to give 300%. I can do that and carry on retiring judge John McCarroll’s good work.”

Her website is electcorbinjohnsonjudge.com.

The other candidate for this post is Kyle Wiggins. He did not attend the meeting.

ShelbyGOP has not endorsed a candidate in this race.

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