“What kind of judge are you?” is a question Judge Jim Russell is asked.
“A good one” was his answer. Then he got serious and detailed the kind of work that is done in Circuit Court Division 2.
“I always point to ads on TV,” he said by way of explanation. “Auto accidents, medical malpractice and divorce cases with and without juries is what goes on in Circuit Court. I’ve done every kind of case including health liability, too.
“I had 26 years practicing law before Governor Sundquist appointed me to the bench. I’ve thoroughly enjoyed my 17 years on the bench and want to continue to serve.”
Judge Russell was named Charles A. Rond judge of the year in 2000 and Best Overall Judge in Circuit Court in 2005 in the Memphis Bar Association Survey.
“I’m a Midtowner and a Midtowner at heart,” Judge Russell said, pinpointing his previous house at Willett and Rozelle. He now lives out east.
He does not list a website.
His opponents are Kevin Reed and Robert Wampler. Reed’s website is Kevinereedforjudge.com and there doesn’t appear to be one for Wampler.
In Circuit Court Division 8, there are four candidates competing for that judgeship.
The incumbent is Judge Bob Weiss.
“I came to Memphis in ’92,” Weiss said. “I am a graduate of the University of Memphis and stayed here because Memphis had its hooks in me.
“I practiced law for 14 years in civil matters and ran in 2010 because I felt I had the proper demeanor to be a judge.” He won that race and “I’ve tried all manner of cases from divorces to more than 40 jury trials. I am proud that I have kept my dockets moving and don’t have any backlog.
“I have gotten the endorsement of the ShelbyGOP in this race,” Weiss added.
One of his challengers is Venita Martin Andrews.
“I grew up in Westbrook,” she said. “I went to Lake Forest College and got a degree in political science. Then I applied to law school at UT. I clerked for the Tennessee Supreme Court.
“I do both individual and business cases and I represent the Memphis Police and Fire Departments. I’ve practiced for 18 years. I love the law and believe in adhering to the law and using it to push justice further,” said Ms. Martin Andrews.
A third contender is Cedric Wooten.
“I’m a lifelong Memphian,” Wooten said. “I graduated from Melrose, went to LeMoyne Owen and Ole Miss. I got a masters in education leadership, worked for Memphis City Schools for ten years and then went to law school.
“I believe common sense and compassion should not be left in the judges chambers. The law is not interpreted in a vacuum,” he told us.
The other candidate is Charles W. McDonlad, who did not attend our meeting.