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Two Republicans seek 3rd District Circuit seat vacated by retiring Judge Wilson

April 4th, 2014 11:13 am by Jeff Bobo

Two Republicans seek 3rd District Circuit seat vacated by retiring Judge Wilson

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ROGERSVILLE — Two Republican candidates in the May 6 primary are seeking the Third Judcial District Circuit Court Judge Part I seat which is held by retiring Judge John Wilson.

That judge seat currently presides over civil court cases in Hawkins, Hamblen, Greene and Hancock counties.

The candidates include Alex Pearson from Rogersville, and Linda Thomas Woolsey from Greeneville.

There are no other candidates in this race, which means the outcome of the election will be determined in the May 6 Republican primary. 

Candidates are profiled in alphabetical order.

  • Pearson, who has served as an assistant attorney general primarily in Hawkins County for the past eight years, said he chose to seek this office because he sees a need to merge one of the district's three civil court judges into part time criminal judge to ease the caseload of the lone criminal judge.
  • "As a prosecutor, I have seen the criminal caseload continue to rise," Pearson said. "Much of the reason for this is due to prescription pill drug abuse."

    He added, "I believe our district needs a Circuit Judgeship that hears a balance of both criminal and civil cases. According to the official state statistics, the current criminal caseload has become too excessive for 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."

    Pearson noted there are similar judge positions in Sullivan, Jefferson, Sevier, Grainger, Cocke counties to name a few.

    Pearson earned a B.B.A. at East Tennessee State University in Operations Management and then a Doctorate of Jurisprudence from the University of Tennessee College of Law. After law school, he returned home to Rogersville to serve as prosecutor, and is currently Hawkins County senior prosecutor .

    Pearson said, "The nature of my job has provided me with extensive in-court experience in front of numerous judges, both within and outside this judicial district, and this experience in conjunction with my legal education has provided me with the necessary skills to perform the duties incumbent in a Circuit Court Judge."

    Among Pearson's goals are implementing a transition-to-work program for youthful, non-violent first time offenders. As a prosecutor Pearson has observed that whether first time offenders are incarcerated, sent to drug rehabilitation, or placed on probation, if they do not learn job skills and successfully transition to a regular job, "they will become the career offenders of tomorrow."

    "One of the most important things that a judge can deal with in civil matters is child custody issues," Pearson said. "My experiences weekly in Juvenile Court and my work with the Child Protective Investigative Team have given me invaluable experience working to protect children."

    He added, "I have been entrusted by the State of Tennessee to prosecute the most serious cases in the State including several murders and other homicides as well as a whole host of other serious violent and nonviolent crimes, and I have not taken this obligation lightly. I consider it an honor to have served this Judicial District as an Assistant District Attorney. I pledge to work hard, to be fair, and to follow the law without any biases or prejudice as Circuit Court Judge."

  • Woolsey said she made the decision to run for the judgeship because she believe she has the skills, extensive experience, qualifications, personal temperament and commitment to service that are necessary to be a fair, effective and hardworking judge.
  • She has been married for over thirty-four years to Roger A. Woolsey, who is also an attorney; they live on a farm in the northern area of Greene County, above Baileyton. She is active in her church, having served as Choir/Music Director, Youth Director, Sunday School teacher, etc.; and is active in the lives of her two children — having served as head coach for numerous rec league teams, president and other officers in various booster clubs, home room mother, etc.

    She also has a lengthy record of service to the community.

    Professionally, Woolsey received her law degree from the University of Tennessee and then worked as the staff attorney at Greene Valley Developmental Center before forming a legal partnership with her husband in 1982.

    Since then she has been engaged in the private practice of law as a trial attorney.

    "I have extensive courtroom experience, in both civil and criminal courts, with an emphasis in civil law in recent years," Woolsey said. "I have also served as part-time Municipal Judge for the Town of Greeneville for more than 20 years and for the towns of Baileyton and Tusculum for more than 8 years. I have served as a part-time judge for over 20 years, and am experienced at being in charge of a courtroom, maintaining control while treating all who appear before me with courtesy and respect."

    Woolsey added, "I have over 30 years experience as a trial attorney, handling literally thousands of cases in both civil and criminal law, with a strong emphasis on the civil side. I have personally dealt with all sides of most issues that come before this Court; I have seen the actual effects of decisions on the lives of my clients, and have seen what has worked and hasn't worked."

    Woolsey said she also has the life experience that she feels is crucial for a common sense approach in applying the law to the cases that come before this Court.

    "I believe I have the conservative values and the moral convictions that would well serve the citizens of this District and I sincerely hope that, upon your review of my qualifications and experience, you will find me to be uniquely qualified for this position and worthy of your vote in the upcoming primary," Woolsey said.

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