ROGERSVILLE — Rogersville prosecutor Alex Pearson told the Times-News this week he believes the Third Judicial District needs more than one criminal court judge to address the increased caseload.
As a 2014 candidate for the circuit court judge seat currently held by Judge John Wilson, Pearson said one of his campaign platforms will be to utilize one of the three civil court circuit judge positions in the district to serve as both a civil and criminal judge.
Last week candidates for the May 6, 2014, Hawkins County primaries began picking up their petitions at the Election Office. Pearson, who has served as an assistant attorney general in Rogersville for the past seven years, was among the first to pick up his petition.
The Third Judicial District, which encompasses Hawkins, Hamblen, Greene and Hancock counties, currently has four circuit judges, three of whom are focused solely on civil cases, and one who serves as a full-time criminal judge.
“I believe our district needs a circuit judgeship that hears a balance of both criminal and civil cases,” Pearson said. “The current criminal caseload has really become too heavy for only one judge to be handling, and I have the experience and desire to assist the current criminal court judge in managing the volume of criminal cases. A circuit judge who hears a number of both criminal and civil cases will help provide faster trials for criminal defendants and swifter justice for victims and the community.”
Pearson is a lifelong resident of Hawkins County. He earned his undergraduate degree at East Tennessee State University and his law degree at the University of Tennessee.
All but one Hawkins County elected office will be on the primary ballot in 2014, as well as all 21 county commissioners and the seven constables.
It’s Hawkins County’s biggest election year in the eight-year cycle because each of the district and county judge seats, as well as the attorney general seat, are also up for election.
As of Tuesday evening several other potential candidates had picked up their candidate petitions from the Election Office.
Among the eight-year Third Judicial District candidates to pick up petitions as of Tuesday evening were recently appointed Chancellor Doug Jenkins of Rogersville; Pearson for Circuit Judge Part I; incumbent Circuit Judge Part II Thomas Wright of Greeneville; and recently appointed Circuit Judge Part III Mike Faulk of Kingsport.
As of Tuesday no candidates had picked up petitions for Criminal Judge or Attorney General.
Incumbent Hawkins County Sessions Judge J. Todd Ross has picked up his petition for re-election, as has incumbent Juvenile Judge Daniel Boyd. Those are eight-year terms as well.
As four the four-year Hawkins County offices, three candidates have already picked up petitions for county mayor including incumbent Melville Bailey of Rogersville, Kelly Markham of Rogersville, and Dennis Deal of Church Hill.
Incumbent Ronnie Lawson of Rogersville has picked up his petition for sheriff; as has incumbent Sarah Davis for clerk of courts; Lisa Harmon Winstead of Bulls Gap and Nancy Klepper Davis for county clerk; Becky Lawson Rogers of Rogersville and Jim Shanks of Surgoinsville for trustee; and for the highway superintendent seat, incumbent Lowell Bean of Surgoinsville and Robert “Frog” Trent of Rogersville.
No petitions had been picked up for the register of deeds seat.
Other potential candidates who have picked up petitions include:
•For District 7 commissioner: incumbents Robert “Bob” Palmer, Charlie Newton, and Lynn Short, as well as Carl “Ketron” Bailey and Frederick C. Grillot.
•For District 6 constable, Wayne Cunningham.
•For District 5 commissioner: incumbent Charlie Freeman and Donnie R. Eidson Sr.
•For District 4 constable, incumbent James Hammonds.
•For District 3 constable, incumbent Jerry Matlock.
•For District 2 commissioner, incumbent B.D. Cradic.
•For District 2 constable: Freddie L. Castle and Lyle H. Kincheloe.
•For District 1 constable: Bill Creasy and Corey Roman.
The deadline for May 6 primary candidate petitions in the sheriff and road superintendent races is Feb. 6. The deadline for all other candidates to file is Feb. 20 at noon.