My Vote Is For Rex Sparks - And Response (3)

Wednesday, June 25, 2014

My vote is for Rex Sparks.  I met him at one of his events and I was very impressed with him.  He understood my frustration when I had to sit for hours waiting to testify as a witness in a case in General Sessions Court.  I sat for hours and then they told me I had to come back on another day. I like his idea to make the court work better. If his idea to make court faster was in place, all my time wouldn’t have been wasted.  

I was very surprised to learn that Ms. Sell has voted as a Democrat several times going back to 1998.  It’s no wonder she is hiding that, especially since Hamilton County is such a strong conservative Republican area.  This information can easily be found at the Election Commission.   

I thought Rex was articulate, approachable and thoughtful in his responses. He is a strong Christian and not afraid or ashamed to show it.  I like that. I also like that he has been a prosecutor and knows the law and how to use it to put someone into jail. He also knows the law and how to use it to defend people when they need help.  Hamilton County needs a judge that is well balanced, experienced, ready and willing to work hard, thoughtful and kind with good moral character. That describes Rex Sparks.  He has my vote and I hope many more in Hamilton County.

Nancy Doyle

Signal Mountain 

* * * 

Christie Sell is touting the 99.9 percent approval rating of the Chattanooga Bar Association. Most of the members of the Chattanooga Bar Association do not practice in General Sessions Court.  Anna Heckleberry stated Tuesday, April 22, that the Chattanooga Bar Association, “This organization is out of touch with the community and is losing members every year.  I say to the public, do we want an attorney who is endorsed by the Chattanooga Bar Association and attorneys who practice law in Hamilton County who belong to an organization which is losing members every year?"  

Since Christie M. Sell was elected she has voted on the Democratic ticket for the State Primary for the Presidential selection.  Did she vote for Biden, Clinton or Obama? Yet, she never says she is a Democrat or Republican publically because she courts both sides and doesn’t want to offend either side, but tries to hide the fact that she has voted on the Democratic ticket four times.   

She designed a domestic violence program that she herself dismisses 62.7 percent of the cases and almost 65 percent of the cases are being dismissed by all the Sessions Court Judges (noted copy of letter per Clerk of the Court).  Domestic violence is much too serious an issue to let the violence issues go unaddressed because the court did nothing but dismiss the case and let the aggressor go home with no consequence.  

She has missed sitting on the bench and I have been told she has used 95 special judges to sit in her place in the past four years compared to Judge Bales 35, Starnes 12 and Statom 3.  

Do we really want a Democratic judge that has designed a flawed domestic violence court to continue on the bench so she can design a flawed mental health court as well?  

My vote is for Rex Sparks. He has more legal experience in prosecuting and defending criminal and civil matters, He has conservative values and has a servant's heart. 

Marie Burton
Signal Mountain 

 * * * 

I don't know about Marie Burton and Nancy Doyle but I am in court almost daily and in front of Judge Sell on a regular basis and I have no idea what these two are talking about. 

I doubt either of these people have sat in court and seen the "domestic violence victims" change their stories over and over and refuse to cooperate with the prosecution. This is not a Judge Sell problem, it's a society problem and frankly the responsibility of the District Attorney's Office to prosecute. If there is no case because the alleged victim will not cooperate then there is nothing any judge can do but dismiss the case. I would presume that the domestic violence cases being dismissed are also at the request of the District Attorney's Office. This happens in every court regardless of who the judge is. 

I don't care who Judge Sell voted for or didn't vote for as a Democrat or Republican as long as she does her job as a judge and frankly she does it well. 

Now let me make it clear that I have nothing personal against Rex Sparks and he possibly could make a good judge, however I think Judge Sell is doing a great job and I see no reason to replace her. 

Mike Cox 

* * * 

I am an attorney who has been practicing in the General Sessions Court of Hamilton County since 1999.  I have been "special judge" on multiple occasions for all of the judges, including Judge Sell as well as Judge Bales, Judge Moon (now deceased), Judge Statom and Judge Starnes.  In my opinion, the numbers listed above are not accurate.  

Having a "special judge" is a necessary process as all persons including judges have doctor's appointments or sick relatives, etc. at inconvenient times. Judge Christie Sell is an excellent judge, and the allegation that she is responsible for a high percentage of dismissals on domestic violence cases is ludicrous.   I have daily experience with the phenomenon that officers who respond to domestic violence calls are expected to arrest and in many ways mandated to arrest at least one party on scene.  Long gone are the days in which the police arrive and determine that the parties should separate and cool off.  In the post-OJ Simpson world, someone is going to jail.  This leads to congestion in the courts and a number of cases which should be resolved with anger management and/or counseling and a dismissal to avoid such a devastating conviction on someone's record. 

Christie Sell is not responsible for the delays holding witnesses in court.  The district attorney's office, for the most part, does a great job of speaking with witnesses  to get the information they need and attempting to resolve the cases on that day's docket as expeditiously as possible but the sheer volume is an obstacle.   I 

 have experience working with Rex Sparks.  He is a great man, but he lacks the ability, in my opinion, to manage the caseload required of a General Sessions judge.  Ironically, he always spent an extraordinary amount of time on individual cases as a district attorney general, and this resulted in quite a backlog with his docket and other district attorneys having to carry a heavier portion of the caseload.   

Unfortunately, the justice system is not always efficient.  Fairness should trump efficiency when it involves any restriction on a citizen's freedom.  Most people despise criminals and think they are given too many rights, but most people know of someone they love who has been falsely accused or fallen on hard times as a result of drug addiction, etc.  Judges must dispense justice fairly regardless of race, age, gender, economic class and party affiliation. That is why party affiliation is a red herring.   

If you vote for Rex Sparks because you "think" he is the Republican and Christie Sell is the Democrat, you have chosen poorly.  Knowing each of these people as I do, I am certain that they would both rule in a like fashion in 98 percent of cases.  It is Christie Sell's superior ability to manage a voluminous caseload over Rex Sparks that cements my decision.    

Lorrie Miller
Red Bank


Supporting Gee, Howley And Spalding For Signal Mountain Town Council

I am writing in support of the candidacies of Dick Gee, Chris Howley and Bob Spalding for Signal Mountain Town Council. I feel it is time for a change in the leadership of this town. This change began four years ago with the election of Dick Gee. Dick has served our town well. He is an independent voice who doesn’t blindly follow any one faction, but seeks the advice of input ... (click for more)

Roy Exum: He Can Never Go Home

When Florida State quarterback Jameis Winston sparked top-ranked Florida State to a 56-41 comeback over N.C. State last Saturday, you would have thought the world had forgotten and virtually excused his vulgar rant from the week before. His inexcusable mid-week antics kept him sidelined during the Clemson game and brought down the nation’s scorn but less than a week later he was ... (click for more)

Teen, 17, Charged With Aggravated Rape In Attack On 69-Year-Old North Chattanooga Runner

A 17-year-old has been charged with aggravated rape in connection with an attack on a 69-year-old runner in North Chattanooga on Monday morning. Since the person charged is a juvenile, the only information given was that he is a black male. The incident happened at approximately 7:30 a.m. on Mississippi Avenue. P olice initially said the suspect was described as ... (click for more)

Berke Implements New Pay Plan For Chattanooga Fire Department

Mayor Andy Berke joined the International Association of Fire Fighters (IAFF) and leadership of the Chattanooga Fire Department to unveil the Department’s new pay plan Wednesday afternoon. At a press conference at Fire Hall #1 on Main Street, Mayor Berke and IAFF Local 820 President Jack Thompson signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) which sets forth regular raises for ... (click for more)

East Hamilton Personnel Losses Boost Other 5-AAA Hoop Teams

(Story will be updated) CLEVELAND, Tenn. – East Hamilton’s loss has been solid gains for two other basketball teams in District 5-AAA and Ringgold, Ga. One of the Hurricanes’ top players, Kenny Bunton, left the program two days after Rodney English replaced fired Michael Stone and transferred to Walker Valley where he will play for coach Bob Williams’ Mustangs. “I took ... (click for more)

John Shearer: Memories Of Watching 38 Baylor-McCallie Games

Back in the fall of 1971 when I was in the sixth grade at Bright School, I listened on the radio to the exciting football game between Baylor and McCallie schools, the first since the series had been discontinued after 1940. I was hoping to attend Baylor School as a student the next year, so I was quite excited that Baylor won, 9-7.  And the next year as a seventh-grader, ... (click for more)