Monday, June 6, 2011

Judicial race in the making

Posted By on Mon, Jun 6, 2011 at 2:24 PM

PATTI JAMES
  • PATTI JAMES
Little Rock lawyer Patti James announced today that she'd run next year for election to the juvenile division circuit judge seat left vacant by the recent death of Melinda Gilbert. Deputy Prosecutor John Hout announced for the seat last week.

James' news release is on the jump. She had given some thought earlier to running for a retirement-created opening in the 16th division. Chip Welch of North Little Rock has announced his candidacy for that seat.

Some time this week, Gov. Mike Beebe is expected to make some interim appointments to various openings on the bench, the juvenile seat here and a couple in Benton County. One name to consider: Elizabeth Burgess of Perryville for the juvenile court seat. She's the daughter of Herby Branscum, a lawyer and influential Democrat.

NEWS RELEASE


Little Rock attorney Patricia “Patti” James announced today her candidacy for the Circuit Court Judge, Sixth Judicial District, 11th Division. This Juvenile court seat was recently vacated by Judge Melinda Gilbert, who passed away in early May.

“Judge Gilbert was one of my very best friends, and I share with her a calling to serve our community by working with those who need it most, our children,” said James. “I can think of no better way to honor our long friendship and Judge Gilbert’s strong commitment to our community than to carry forward with her good work in the juvenile court,” she said.

James is often appointed by family law judges to serve as an Attorney Ad Litem for children in divorce cases. “My experience in domestic cases, serving as attorney for these voiceless children, has given me a clear understanding that children must have a strong advocate in a legal system originally designed to handle adults,” she said.

“I believe that my solid reputation for protecting children, both in and out of the courtroom, will translate well into a juvenile courtroom to prevent life-course criminality,” she added.

“These juveniles, as well as their families, face many adversities; I believe a strong voice that holds everybody in the system accountable is key to giving these troubled youths reason to contribute to society, lead productive lives, and have families of their own,” says James.

James served in 2010 as President of the Pulaski County Bar Association, and graduated from the University of Arkansas at Little Rock, William H. Bowen School of Law, where she was a member of and published in the UALR Law Review. She lives in Little Rock with her husband Bill of 21 years and their three children. The nonpartisan judicial election will take place on May 22, 2012.

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