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Three Candidates Moving Forward In Criminal Court Judge Appointment Process

/ The Upper Cumberland's News Leader
Three Candidates Moving Forward In Criminal Court Judge Appointment Process

Three candidates will move forward in the appointment process for a vacant criminal court judge position in Tennessee’s 13th Judicial District.

That after more than five hours of interviews conducted by the Tennessee Trial Court Vacancy Commission Tuesday at Stone Memorial High School. The Candidates include Attorney Shawn Fry, Attorney Brandon Griffin, and Public Defender Benjamin Marsee.

Fry, 54 years old, is the longest-practicing of the three applicants and currently works as a partner at Fry, Fry, Knight, and Looper in Cookeville, TN. He said there are issues arising from weaponization of the law in certain areas of the district, and hopes to redress these by reestablishing old standards of professionalism.

“I’ve decided to submit my bid for the criminal court judgeship because it’s a perfect spot for me based on my history, and it’s basically the best time in my life to do so,” Fry said. “With my kids grown now, I think I can devote my time to giving my service to the community with my number of years of experience.”

At just 35 years old, Griffin, who began practicing law in 2013, is the youngest of the applicants, but he said he views his youth as an advantage. He said establishing his self-made law firm in such a short period has taken long hours and hard work, and also that he can be a long-term investment for the commission as he could see himself serving the position for 30 years or more.

“I’m looking to give back to the community; I’ve been very fortunate to have been able to go get a good education and have several people from the community reach out to say they think I’d make a good candidate,” Griffin said. “I wanted to put myself forward and hope I get to serve the community and apply the law fairly and justly to everyone here in this beautiful district of ours.”

Public defender Marsee, 40 years old, has worked in a variety of roles from mediation to litigation, to where he is now in the courtroom. He said he will focus on establishing more efficiency among hearings in the district to make sure underserved counties escape the backlogs of cases they face.

“My experience has been that it matters very much who your judges are, Marsee said, “And it matters very much that the people who are going to serve on the bench have a deep appreciation for the fact that the decisions they make, from one day to the next, from one case to the next, affect the real lives of the people in this district. ”

Candidates William Blaylock and Rebecca Brady did not move on from the initial round of interviews on account of a first-round vote from the commission.

Fry, Griffin, and Marsee will see the Governor decide which one will be appointed to the position


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