There are two candidates for Circuit Court Judge Division 2: Curtis Johnson and James F. Russell. It doesn’t take much investigation to figure out that you should vote for James F. Russell in this race.

The Commercial Appeal notes:

Circuit Court Division 2: Judge JAMES F. RUSSELL is seeking a second full term on the bench. He was appointed in 1997 and elected the following year. Russell, 61, spent 26 years in private practice before being appointed to the bench, and his judicial service has been exemplary. His opponent is Curtis Johnson, 39, a Memphis attorney who has been censured twice by the Board of Professional Responsibility of the state Supreme Court for mishandling cases. He offers no strong alternative to Russell’s re-election.

Attorney David Caywood is more explicit:

Judge James Russell is running for reelection in Division 2 of Circuit Court. He has an outstanding record and is a member of the Vestry at St. John s Episcopal Church. His opponent has twice been publicly reprimanded by our Supreme Court Disciplinary body, the Board of Professional Responsibility. In addition he has several judgments rendered against him in General Sessions Court for nonpayment of debts. Judge Russell’s opponent was also sued in Chancery Court for paternity and child support where it was alleged he caused the woman to quit her full time job and then withdrew all financial support from her.

Caywood includes copies of the Supreme Court censure which reads in part:

Memphis lawyer Curtis D. Johnson was publicly censured by the Tennessee Supreme Court on July 27 2004. Pursuant to Section 16 of Tennessee Supreme Court Rule 9, Johnson submitted a guilty plea in exchange for a stated form of discipline. He acknowledged that he had. been negligent in the handling of certain client matters, that he had charged an excessive fee and that he had failed to adequately communicate with his clients.

Another attorney, Richard Fields, agrees:

Judge James F. Russell has been a Circuit Judge since 1996. His 9 years as a judge and his experience in private practice for 26 years has resulted in his ability
to run a fair and efficient courtroom with respect and collegiality. He is
exceptionally gracious to all parties.

Judge Russell was rated the best overall Judge in Circuit Court (Memphis Bar
Association 2005 Survey) and received the 2002, “Judge Charles A. Rond Judge
of the Year Award.” He served as President of the Memphis Bar Association in
1992 and is a member of the Special Judicial Ethics Committee appointed by the
Tennessee Supreme Court.

Unfortunately, his opponent Curtis D. Johnson, Jr., may be the most unqualified
candidate in all the judicial races. Mr. Johnson has received two public censures
by the Tennessee Board of Professional Responsibility in 2001 and 2004 for
mishandling client matters. He has a series of judgments and pending cases
against him in general sessions court for court reporter bills, expert witness fees,
and a personal injury case. He also was sued in Chancery Court for paternity and
child support where it was alleged that he withdrew all financial support when the
mother, a client, would not terminate the pregnancy. He currently has a $13,000
judgment for back child support with a contempt aspect still pending. He filed for
bankruptcy in 1998. Mr. Johnson clearly does not have the qualifications to be a
judge, much less a practicing attorney.

James Russell has been endorsed by:

His opponent, Curtis D. Johnson, Jr., has been endorsed by:

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