Eight local attorneys have filed applications for a Chancery Court judgeship opening up with the retirement of Chancellor Richard Johnson.
Johnson, whose eight-year term ends in 2014, announced his retirement in May. His official retirement date is June 30. The chancellor serves the four counties — Washington, Carter, Unicoi and Johnson — that make up the 1st Judicial District.
Chancery Court handles civil matters, much of which is domestic, child support and child custody issues, adoption, divorces and contract/debt cases. The Chancellor also hears probate cases in Washington, Carter and Johnson counties.
The applicants for the position are:
- Charles Keith Bowers Jr., 42, Elizabethton. He received his law license in 1999 and practices at two firms in Carter County. He currently serves as city attorney for Watauga and the attorney for the 1st Utility District of Carter County. In addition to representing the two governmental agencies, he also handles private cases that include domestic, probate and bankruptcy.
- Gregory H. Bowers, 50, Elizabethton. He received his law license in 1987 and is a co-equal partner with his brother at Allen, Nelson & Bowers. He currently has an exclusively civil practice handling probate cases, serving as special master, successor trustee and attorney-ad-litem, real estate and general civil cases.
- Suzanne S. Cook, 44, Johnson City. She received her law license in 1995 and is a partner at Hunter, Smith & Davis, LLP. Cook handles tort cases and family law matters, including clients in Juvenile, Sessions, Circuit, Chancery and state appellate courts as well as federal trial and appellate courts.
- James Collins Landstreet II, 62, Johnson City. He received his law license in 1988 and has a private practice handling general litigation divided between criminal and civil matters. Landstreet also takes appointments in Sessions Court one day a week for the Public Defender’s Office in Washington County.
- William Larry Monk Jr., 38, Jonesborough. Monk received his law license in 2000 and currently works as an assistant district attorney general in Jonesborough. He works mostly in Sessions Court handling criminal matters, but also works in Juvenile Court prosecuting delinquent cases. Monk also handles cases for the attorney general’s office in the other three counts of the district.
- John Chase Rambo, 43, Jonesborough. He received his law license in 1994 and currently serves as the county attorney for Washington County. Prior to that, Rambo had a private practice in which he worked under a contract as the county attorney. While in private practice, he handled probate matters, domestic cases and personal injury cases.
- Regina L Shepherd, 43, Elizabethton. She received her law license in 1999 and currently practices civil law at Rice & Shepherd in both the 1st Judicial District and 2nd Judicial District. Shepherd primarily handles domestic law cases, including contested and uncontested divorces, custody disputes, child support issues and adoptions.
- Lois Bunton Shults-Davis, 55, Unicoi. She received her law license in 1980 and is a partner at Shults and Shults Law Offices in Erwin. Shults-Davis handles a variety of family law cases, including adoptions, property disputes, divorces, liability, probate and child support matters. She has also served as town attorney for Unicoi since December 1999.
All eight attorneys will go through a public interview session with the Judicial Nominating Commission next week. The commission will meet at 9 a.m. June 14 at the DoubleTree Hotel, 211 Mockingbird Lane, Johnson City. The commission will choose three of the applicants that day to submit to Gov. Bill Haslam. He and his legal staff will interview those three at a later date and Haslam will then decide who will fill the position.
Johnson served Carter, Unicoi, Johnson and Washington counties since 1988. He was appointed by then-Gov. Ned McWherter to fill the remaining two years of former Chancellor Leon Jordan’s term.
Johnson was re-elected in 1990, 1998 and 2006. As chancellor, Johnson served as presiding judge of the district.