The Governor’s Council for Judicial Appointments met on April 9 in Chattanooga to hold a public hearing and conduct interviews of candidates for the upcoming criminal court vacancy in the 11th Judicial District, which serves Hamilton County. After interviewing the candidates and conducting a vote, the Commission submitted three as nominees to Gov. Bill Haslam for the vacancy: Mike A. Little, deputy public defender, district public defender’s office, 11th Judicial District; Leslie Anne Longshore, assistant district attorney, sex crimes unit, Hamilton County District Attorney’s office; and Boyd M. Patterson, Jr., assistant district attorney general, 11th Judicial District.
The vacancy was created by the announcement by Judge Rebecca Stern that she will retire June 1. Completed applications of the nominees can be found on TNCourts.gov.
Each candidate cited different reasons for seeking the position.
Little said it’s important for him to become involved in his legal community. “One way is to step into local government, and for me, because of my legal experience, the judicial branch is the natural choice. The position requires someone with experience, integrity, knowledge of the law, and an understanding of judicial temperament,” he said.
“I have gained valuable experience working in the legal profession, and believe that experience would suit me well as a criminal court judge. I want to help serve my community in a way that will hopefully maintain the respect of the community for the courts and the law.”
Longshore said her desire to protect the citizens of Hamilton County and better the community drove me to seek the position. “I have committed my career to public service for Hamilton County and its citizens. Beginning with my work as a conservator for elderly and disabled persons and continuing through my service as both an assistant district attorney and as the director of human resources, I have focused my career on making this community better and safer for everyone,” she said.
“As judge, I will protect the community with tough sentences for the convicted violent and persistent offenders, while scrupulously protecting the rights of all criminal defendants. I will ensure a fair process for both parties while following the law.”
Patterson said the position would allow him to pursue his scholarly interest in trial-related legal topics, hopefully resulting in a high level of clarity that helps both the state and the accused to fairly assess their cases.
“I have always made career decisions that allow for the pursuit of my authentic interests in ways that benefit others. My interest in the ‘why’ and the ‘what can we do about it’ will hopefully help the community by separating defendants who pose a continuing danger to society from the defendants truly motivated to change their life trajectories, providing the latter with the rehabilitative opportunities most fitting for their circumstances,” he said.
“As every felony-level offense that happens in my home county passes through one of the three Criminal Court Divisions, I understand that a great responsibility comes with every decision. However, I am personally motivated to serve my community by continuing to grow professionally in areas I believe will facilitate the most legal sound decisions.”