Local candidates vie for judge vacancy

Wednesday, September 27, 2017
Robert Dalton

Two Lewisburg attorneys are in the running for a seat on the Circuit Court bench for Marshall County.

Quinn Brandon Stewart and Robert Dalton applied to fill the upcoming vacancy created after Judge Lee Russell announced his retirement from the bench, effective November 30.

The local pair are among five lawyers from the four-county district who have applied to fill the seat.

Quinn Brandon Stewart

Russell, along with Forest Durard, is one of the two Circuit Court judges serving the 17th Judicial District, which encompasses Marshall, Bedford, Lincoln, and Moore Counties.

He has served in the elected position since 1990.

He currently handles both civil and criminal cases in the district.

Stewart comes from a Lewisburg family with a long legal tradition.

She was the first woman ever elected to the Lewisburg City Council in 2007 and has served, in the past, as town attorney for both Cornersville and Mt. Pleasant.

She has served as the town judge for Petersburg since 2005 and is also the current chair of the Lewisburg Gas Department Board.

“The law has served me very well all these years and I want a chance to give back,” Stewart said. “Judges encounter more people and can help more people from that position.”

Dalton is a Lewisburg native, as well, with experience in criminal and civil cases.

He ran unsuccessfully for the office of the Public Defender in 2014.

Dalton currently serves as a member of the Executive Committee for the Marshall County Republican Party, as well as the local party’s chaplain.

His memberships include the ACLU, the NAACP, the Tennessee Firearms Association, and the Republican Liberty Caucus of Tennessee.

“Being a trial judge is as close as our systems gets to a higher calling,” said Dalton. “It’s a position that I hold to be sacred in the judicial system.

“It’s different from being an advocate,” he added, noting a judge’s responsibility to ensure “everyone is treated fairly and procedures are instituted fairly.”

Marshall W. Burk and Trisha L. Henegar of Shelbyville and John H. Richardson, Jr. of Fayetteville are the other applicants for the position.

The five candidates will appear on Friday at the courthouse in Fayetteville to interview with the Trial Court Vacancy Commission.

A public hearing period is scheduled for 9 a.m. for anyone wishing to speak in opposition to any of the candidates.

After the interviews, the commission will vote and then forward the names of three of the applicants to Governor Bill Haslam, who will make the appointment.

The successful appointee will fill the seat until the general election in 2018, when they will run to hold the seat.