Sixteen Applicants for the Court of Appeals in the Eastern District of Tennessee

With the retiring of Court of Appeals Judge Charles Susano, a Democrat appointed by former TN Governor Ned McWherter the TN Governor’s Council for Judicial Appointments have 16 applicants to narrow down to 3 for Governor Bill Lee to consider.

The Eastern Section TN Court of Appeals is made up of Susano, Thomas R. Frierson, II appointed in 2013. (appointed by TN Governor Bill Haslam) Frierson served as Chancellor in the Third Judicial District of TN from 1996-2013. John Wesley McClarty, appointed in 2009. (appointed by TN Governor Phil Bredesen) McClarty once served as General Sessions Judge in Chattanooga. D. Michael Swiney appointed in 1999. (appointed by TN Governor Don Sundquist) Swiney was a private Attorney and from 1997-2006 served as adjunct Professor at the UT College of Law.


The Applicants in alphabetical order are

William T. Ailor, a Knox County Circuit Court Judge, Division II

Jerri S. Bryant, a Chancellor in Tennessee’s Tenth Judicial District (Bradley, McMinn, Monroe and Polk counties)

Dail Robert Cantrell, Attorney in Anderson County, TN

Joseph Christopher Clem, Attorney based in Hamilton County, TN. Served in the TN General Assembly from 2000-2006.

Timothy Wade Conner, Presiding Judge TN Workers Compensation Appeals Board

Kristi M. Davis, Circuit Court Judge, Div. I Knox County (Sixth Judicial District)

Melanie E. Davis, Attorney in Blount County, TN (serves as Maryville, TN City Attorney, Maryville City Schools Attorney, represents Tuckaleechee Utility District, South Blount Utility and Town of Greenback)

Pamela A. Fleenor, Chancellor Eleventh Judicial District

Samantha A. Lunn, Attorney and Partner in law firm in Chattanooga.

William Thomas McFarland, Roane County Attorney 1998-2004, City Attorney in Oliver Springs, TN, TN State Rep. 1994, Circuit Court Judge Ninth District (Loudon, Meigs, Morgan and Roane counties) 2014. As I reported here on September 23, 2019, McFarland is currently representing 10 Knox County citizens on suing Knox County and Knox County Mayor Glenn Jacobs. Also, here on September 24, 2019 is a little heads-up on the major issue of the lawsuit is that it involves the UOPP (uniformed officers pension plan)

Summer H. McMillan, Senior Judicial Law Clerk to TN Supreme Court Justice Sharon G. Lee. While other media have reported that McMillan is the spouse of Knox County Fourth Circuit Court Judge Greg McMillan. While that is true, the question would be, is that relevant to her work in the legal community and her ability to be on the Court of Appeals Eastern Doistrict? In my humble opinion, NO.

E. Jerome Melson, Attorney in Knoxville, TN, experience includes working for Congressman John J. Duncan, Jr. office in Washington, D.C.

Edward H. Trent, Attorney in Knoxville, TN

Joshua R. Walker, Associate General Counsel for University of Tennessee

Jeffrey M. Ward, Partner of Milligan & Coleman in Greeneville, TN

Thomas J. Wright, Circuit Court Judge, Third Judicial District (Greene, Hamblen, Hancock and Hawkins counties) of Tennessee.

Interviews and Public Hearings are next.

The Governor’s Council for Judicial Appointments interviews will begin at 10 a.m. EST on February 25 and 8:30 a.m. EST on February 26. The meetings will be held at the University of Tennessee at Knoxville’s Howard H. Baker Jr. Center for Public Policy in the Toyota Auditorium (Room 103).

Because of the large number of candidates, the applicants will be split between the two days and will give their opening statements and be interviewed on their assigned day. Candidates assigned to Tuesday, February 25 are: William T. Ailor, Jerri S. Bryant, Dail Robert Cantrell, Joseph Christopher Clem, Timothy Wade Conner, Kristi M. Davis, Melanie E. Davis, Pamela A. Fleenor, Samantha A. Lunn, and William Thomas McFarland. Candidates assigned to Wednesday, February 26 include: Summer H. McMillan, E. Jerome Melson, Edward H. Trent, Joshua R. Walker, Jeffrey M. Ward, and Thomas J. Wright.

The meetings will include a public hearing, during which members of the community may express any objections to any of the applicants. The interviews, which will directly follow the public hearing, are also open to the public.

The University of Tennessee at Knoxville’s Howard H. Baker Jr. Center for Public Policy is located at 1640 Cumberland Avenue, Knoxville and parking is available in the Vol Hall Garage, 1525 White Avenue, Knoxville, for a rate of $5 a day.





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