More than a dozen local lawyers in Washington County — including four current and one former assistant district attorneys general and an assistant public defender — have applied for a General Sessions judicial vacancy that opened when Judge James Nidiffer stepped back due to health issues.
The list of applicants includes 15 attorneys:
• Devon Muse works as a senior judicial law clerk for the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit in Memphis. He graduated from East Tennessee State University in 2014 and the University of Memphis Cecil C. Humphreys School of Law in Memphis.
• Janet Vest Hardin is in private practice with the Scott Firm now, but served as an assistant district attorney general in the First Judicial District for 31 years and had a brief stint in the Sixth Judicial District. She has worked in Criminal and General Sessions courts within the First District. She received her law degree in 1979 from the University of Tennessee College of Law.
• Joshua P. Southerland III works at the Holston Legal Group in Abingdon, Virginia. He started there in 2002 after two years with a private attorney’s office in Lebanon, Virginia. He graduated from the Appalachian School of Law in 2000.
• Lisa Witherspoon has had a private practice since 2010. Prior to that she worked as an affiliate broker at The Brokers, Realty & Auction, three years at James R. Miller & Associates law firm and prior to that she served an externship, worked as a legal assistant and was deputy assessor of property in Jonesborough.
• Mark Edmonds attended the University of Memphis and University of Tennessee to earn his law degree in 1996. He has worked as an attorney since then, including having his own practice now and serving as the assistant municipal judge for the town of Jonesborough.
• Mark McFall has had a private practice in Johnson City since 2018. His previous experience includes a partner law firm, a paralegal, he owned a dry cleaning and laundry business, and worked as a solo practitioner in Florida. He graduated from the Cumberland School of Law of Samford University in 1988.
• Michael Rasnake has worked as an assistant district attorney general in the First Judicial District since October 2005, with the past 10 years solely in Washington County General Sessions Court. He has previously been assigned to Criminal Court in Washington and Carter counties. He has worked in private practice and as public defender. Rasnake graduated from the University of Memphis Cecil C. Humphreys School of Law in Memphis.
• Michelle Caggiano has worked in private practice since 2012, primarily in Washington County Juvenile Court where she represents parents in custody issues as well as guardian ad litem, a position that represents the child’s best interest. Her previous experience includes civil and family law mediator, law clerk, paralegal and law assistant. She graduated from the Appalachian School of Law in Grundy, Virginia, in 2011.
• Robert L. King is a Washington County-based private practice attorney since 1986 with experience in civil and criminal representation. He served as a state representative for Washington and Carter counties from 1978 to 1984. Prior to that he worked at the Johnson City Press, the Associated Press, Knight newspapers and Gannett Newspapers as a reporter. He received his law degree from the College of Law in Knoxville while serving as a state representative.
• Russell Jamerson is a major at the Washington County Sheriff’s Office where he serves as the department’s staff attorney. He started his law enforcement career at the WCSO in 1989 and received his law degree from the Nashville School of Law in 2011.
• Stephanie Sherwood received her law degree from New England Law in Boston in 2008. She has worked as a legal intern, law clerk, summer associate, legal assistant, columnist for Due Process Magazine, quality compliance manager at East Tennessee State University and in private practice since 2008.
• Tessa Lunceford earned her law degree in 2014 at Appalachian School of Law. She is an assistant district attorney general in the First Judicial District and has worked all four counties of the district. Prior work includes an assistant district attorney general in the Eighth Judicial District, law clerk, legal intern, paralegal intern and legislative intern.
• C. Todd Hull earned his law degree from the Nashville School of Law in 2010. He started as an assistant district attorney general in the First District in 2011. He serves as a prosecutor in Johnson County and handles General Sessions, Juvenile and Criminal Court. Prior to that he was an investigator for that office, worked for Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency and the Washington County Sheriff’s Office as an investigator.
• Wesley K. Taylor is an assistant public defender in the First Judicial District where he has been since 2012. Prior to that he had a private practice. He earned his law degree from Appalachian School of Law in 2011. He has been assigned to Washington, Carter and Johnson counties.
• William Monk earned his law degree from the University of Memphis and has worked for the First Judicial District attorney general’s office since 2004. He handles cases in Criminal Court, General Sessions and Juvenile courts. Prior to his current job, Monk worked at the Memphis/Shelby County Juvenile Court, as a child support attorney in Gibson County and as a site acquisition specialist for a telecommunications business.