Clay native Bray joins Hollars and Sells as judge candidates

 

By MARY JO DENTON

Cookeville Herald-Citizen 

COOKEVILLE-Wesley Thomas Bray of Algood, who practices law in Cookeville, has joined two other attorneys seeking to gain appointment to replace 13th Judicial District Judge John Turnbull, who is retiring.

Bray, a Clay County native, filed his application to compete for the governor’s appointment last week.

The others who have applied are attorney Amy V. Hollars of Livingston and attorney Lillie Ann Sells of Cookeville.

Hollars, the daughter of Judge Turnbull, is currently holding the judgeship, filling in by appointment of the governor since Turnbull took disability status last fall.

Turnbull is retiring in June for health reasons. He has back problems and suffers pain when he sits for long periods of time, he said upon announcing his retirement recently.

Later this month, Gov. Phil Bredesen will receive a recommendation from the Judicial Selection Committee for one of the three attorneys seeking the appointment. The governor will then choose the person who will hold the office until next year’s election. In that election, the judgeship will be on the ballot for the purpose of electing someone to fill out the rest of Turnbull’s elected term, which runs till 2014.

Bray runs his own law practice, concentrating on criminal defense cases in the Upper Cumberland area and the 13th Judicial District at the General Sessions and Circuit Court level. He also handles civil court cases.

Amy V. Hollars practiced law in Knoxville and then in Livingston before being appointed special judge to fill in for Judge Turnbull.

Lillie Ann Sells is a former assistant district attorney and was also a Criminal Court judge here from 1998 to 2006.

The deadline for applicants seeking the governor’s appointment to the position passed on May 5.

As part of the process of selection, the Judicial Selection Commission will meet in Cookeville at the Justice Center on Friday, May 22, for a public hearing on the candidates.

An 8:30 a.m. session that day in Circuit Courtroom II is open to the public and anyone who wishes may “express, orally or in writing, suggestions of possible nominees and/or such citizen’s approval of or objections to any suggested nominee for the judicial vacancy,” according to the Tennessee Administrative Office of the Courts.