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 

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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 

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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



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