Hamilton Herald Masthead


Front Page - Friday, July 22, 2022

Three apply for 11th judicial district criminal court vacancy

The Trial Court Vacancy Commission is considering three applicants from Hamilton County for the criminal court vacancy in the 11th judicial district. The confirmation of the Hon. Tom Greenholtz to the Court of Criminal Appeals – Eastern Section created the opening.

The applicants are attorneys Robert Davis and Amanda Dunn and Judge Alex McVeagh.

Robert Davis

Davis is a partner at the law firm of Davis, Kellse & Davis in Chattanooga and a municipal judge in Decherd. He has been licensed to practice law since 2011. He concentrates primarily on personal injury cases.

Davis holds a degree in business administration from the University of Tennessee at Knoxville and a juris doctor from the California Western School of Law. He also obtained a Master of Law in Alternative Dispute Resolution from the Chapman School of Law and is a Keenan Trial Institute graduate.

Davis is a member of the Tennessee Trial Lawyers Association, the Tennessee Bar Association and Common House Chattanooga.

“In today’s world, fewer and fewer lawyers have jury trial experience,” Davis wrote in his application for the vacancy. “I believe my jury trial experience will have me ready, Day One, for the job of criminal court judge.”

Amanda Dunn

Dunn focuses on state and federal criminal defense work at the law firm of Houston & Alexander in Chattanooga.

Dunn has been practicing law since 2004 when she handled insurance defense cases at Luther Anderson in Chattanooga. She later became interested in criminal defense work and has since tried multiple serious felony cases, including first-degree murder.

Dunn previously applied for the criminal court vacancy in 2015 and was chosen to interview with former Gov. Bill Haslam. The governor ultimately appointed Greenholtz to the bench.

Dunn was also a candidate in the Republican primary for criminal court judge in 2022.

Dunn holds a degree in political science from the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga and a juris doctor from Wake Forest University School of Law.

She served on the board of directors for Legal Aid of East Tennessee from 2013-2021 and is a member of the Chattanooga and Tennessee bar associations.

Legal Aid presented Dunn with its Outstanding Pro Bono Lawyer of the Year award in 2006.

“For almost 18 years, I have used my abilities as a lawyer to serve individual clients, some of whom were facing life imprisonment or other life-changing circumstances,” Dunn wrote in her application. “My goal has been to improve the lives of my clients, their families and the community at large. I’m seeking this judgeship because I want to use my legal skills for the highest purpose within my profession.”

Alex McVeagh

McVeagh is judge of Division II of Hamilton County General Sessions Court, where he works with Greenholtz on the county’s Drug Recovery Court Team.

Haslam appointed McVeagh as a special judge in 2017 after Judge David Bales took medical leave. Judge Bales has not yet returned to the bench.

McVeagh is running in the Aug. 4 nonpartisan general election to retain his current position.

McVeagh became licensed to practice law in 2013 after graduating from Vanderbilt Law School. He began his legal career at Chambliss, Bahner & Stophel, where he worked as a litigator and municipal law attorney.

The Chattanooga Bar Association honored McVeagh with its Albert L. Hodge Volunteer of the Year award in 2019. The Young Lawyers Division of the CBA named McVeagh its Volunteer of the Year in 2017.

“My decision to seek this appointment has not come easily, largely because I believe I have helped to positively impacting the lives of Hamilton County’s citizens,” McVeagh wrote in his application. “Yet after much prayer and discussion with my family, I believe I can make an even greater impact as (a criminal court judge) and believe I’m qualified in experience and passion to do just that.”

The Trial Court Vacancy Commission will hold a public hearing Friday, Aug. 5, 9 a.m. at a location to be announced soon. Members of the public may attend the hearing to express, orally or in writing, objections concerning applicants for the vacancy.

The commission is expected to vote immediately following the interviews and forward the names of qualified candidates to Gov. Bill Lee for his consideration.

The Tennessee General Assembly unanimously confirmed Judge Tom Greenholtz to the Court of Criminal Appeals – Eastern Section in April.

Greenholtz will succeed Judge Norma McGee Ogle, who has announced her retirement, effective Sept. 1.

Sources: Tennessee State Courts