Updates on Judges, Issues

Eddie and Eve Settles write to report that their guide to the 2014 judicial elections is not complete. They added three more sections at their Back in River City Blog.

“Addition to Appellate Courts tab: Analysis and commentary on Tennessee Supreme Court incumbent retention elections

“Section IV: Amendment #2: Selecting Judges (appears on a new tab/page accessed from our home page). This section covers the proposed constitutional amendment on the Nov. 2, 2014 ballot. It will change the way we select judges in our appeals courts and the Tennessee Supreme Court

“Appendix: Tennessee’s Judicial System (appears on a new tab/page named Appx: TN Court System). Here you will find definitions of all courts in the Tennessee system so you can feel less intimidated when you face the lengthy Aug. 7 ballot (also useful for playing Legal Trivia).

“We have also changed one of our candidate recommendations. Many of you saw a disturbing article about General Sessions Court Judge Lonnie Thompson in Sunday’s Commercial Appeal. We knew that Judge Thompson had been charged in 2006 in a domestic violence incident. Noting the outstanding ratings Judge Thompson received from our attorney panel and the fact that the charges were dropped, we initially recommended Judge Thompson over newcomer Christian Johnson in the Div. 6 race. After reading the CA account of two more domestic violence incidents (1994 and 2013; all three incidents with separate women), we were forced to reconsider. Even though charges were dropped each time, the appearance of a pattern of conduct is deeply disturbing.

“Under normal circumstances, we would not endorse a judicial candidate with a resume as thin as Mr. Johnson’s (he just passed the bar in October 2013). Mr. Johnson is, quite frankly, an unknown quantity. Still, the options here are not terrific. Mr. Johnson worked his way through law school at the University of Memphis as a paralegal, and therefore has more experience than the average new JD. We are more comfortable with Mr. Johnson at this time than we are with Judge Thompson, and he will have our vote in the General Sessions Div. 6 race.”

Back in May, Christian Johnson appeared at our Midtown Republican Club. Here’s what he had to say:

How many judicial candidates – or judges – can say they’ve carried the torch at the Olympic games, served honorably in the Marine Corps, driven a tow truck drive, or were an EMT and firefighter? Probably none.

But Christian Johnson, who is running for General Sessions Judge Division 6 can.

After his varied early career, the father of four moved his family to Memphis and went to Southwest Community College. He then went on to U of M and got his law degree there and became an attorney and a paralegal. “I graduated at the top of my class,” Johnson told members of the Midtown Republican club at the monthly meeting.

With his eclectic background he feels “I will bring empathy and understanding to the bench. And that’s his motto: “A vote for Christian Johnson is a vote for integrity, honesty and honoring the law.”

He’s on Facebook at Facebook.com/Christian for judge. His opponent is Lonnie Thompson.

It was unusual that the Commercial Appeal hit Thompson so hard with their front page story about allegations he has been involved in some domestic altercations. So far there has not been much push back from Thompson about it.

“We suggest you consider both candidates very carefully before making your own decision.”

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