In addition to having jurisdiction over criminal cases, Criminal Court judges hear misdemeanor appeals from lower courts.
• Juris Doctorate, Antonin Scalia School of Law at George Mason University, Arlington, VA; 1999
• Masters of Human Relations, University of Oklahoma, Norman, OK; 1995
• Bachelor of Science in Agriculture, University of Tennessee, Knoxville, TN; 1981
• Certificate from the National Criminal Defense College Trial Practice Institute at Mercer University School of Law, Macon GA; 2004
• Certificate from the National Trial Advocacy College at the University of Virginia School of Law, Charlottesville, VA; 2007.
I have successfully litigated thousands of criminal and civil matters in General Sessions and Circuit Courts throughout Middle Tennessee. My primary practice has been in criminal law. The cases range from parking infractions to First Degree Murder Jury trials.
I believe that I have a unique skill set and possess diverse experiences that would bring a fresh and positive perspective to the Davidson County Criminal Court. I believe in accountability and ensuring victims are protected and made whole. I also believe we must address the root cause of criminal behavior once individuals have been held accountable. I will ensure that Drug Court “DC4” continues to change lives reducing recidivism and I will continue to build on the legacy of Judge Seth Norman by developing new and innovative programs that address the root causes of criminal behavior.
I will embrace criminal justice reform and adopt best practices that address rehabilitative processes designed to reduce recidivism.
As our society continues to reform our criminal justice system Judges must do a better job of addressing the root causes of criminal behavior by holding individuals accountable for their actions and rehabilitation.
Mass incarceration and the resulting negative impact on families and society as a whole.
The increase in serious juvenile crime is just one of the negative outcomes of mass incarceration.
University of Mississippi, 08/84 – 05/88, Bachelor of Arts (English), awarded May 1988.
University of Mississippi School of Law, 08/88 – 05/91, Juris Doctor, cum laude, awarded May 1991.
National Intelligence University, Washington, D.C., 08/06 – 07/08, Master of Science in Strategic Intelligence, awarded July 2008.
Trial Judge, Criminal Court, Division IV, 20th Judicial District of Tennessee, serving Metropolitan Nashville and Davidson County
My broad experience and knowledge in criminal justice over 25 years as a practitioner and jurist set me apart for the position of Criminal Court Judge. I have a proven record and experience as a Judge since November 2018, managing a high-volume criminal court docket and supervising a separate residential drug treatment court. As an attorney for the State of Tennessee, I handled criminal law cases at all levels of the state and federal appellate courts, including the Tennessee Supreme Court and three arguments before the United States Supreme Court. I have substantial trial-court experience in private practice defending individuals accused of criminal violations. I bring a commitment to service that provides a solid foundation for the exercise of judgment tempered by compassion. I gained strong leadership and management skills through 20+ years of military service and deployments. I am also a mother to two teenage sons and have a deep commitment to the Nashville community.
I have served as Criminal Court Judge since my appointment to the position in November 2018. As a sitting judge, I am sworn to uphold and apply the law fairly and impartially in all cases that come before me. I am committed to the fair and just treatment of every person who comes into Division IV Criminal Court, treating all persons with dignity and respect and seeking solutions in every case that facilitate treatment and rehabilitation. As presiding Judge of the Davidson County Drug Court (DC4), I am a strong proponent of recovery-based supervision that diverts non-violent offenders away from prison and restores individual lives, families, and communities. If elected to retain the position, I hope to expand the drug court capacity through added bed space and program offerings, including formalized vocational training. And I will strive to maintain an atmosphere of professionalism and civility in the Criminal Court.
Improving the effectiveness of community-based supervision as an alternative to incarceration is an issue that I hope to address going forward. Community engagement to establish partnerships aimed at educational and economic opportunities for individuals in the criminal justice system is critical to breaking the cycle of criminal behavior, and I plan to focus my efforts on growing the list of community partners that can provide more options and opportunity for persons seeking to turn their lives around. Recovery courts are also a proven model for reducing recidivism and diverting individuals from incarceration. My number one priority is seeking additional funding for expansion and improvement of Nashville’s flagship drug treatment court – DC4 – so that it continues to be a model for the country of what real criminal justice reform can look like.