Three finalists chosen for appeals position

photo Retiring Appeals Court Judge Herschel P. Franks, left, receives a plaque from Tennessee Supreme Court Justice Sharon G. Lee on Friday at the Sheraton Read House.

One of three finalists chosen Friday for the Tennessee Court of Appeals is from the Chattanooga area.

The Judicial Nominating Commission chose Chancellor Jerri S. Bryant, of Athens, along with Chancellor Thomas Frierson, of Morristown, and State Sen. Mike Faulk, of Church Hill, from among the 11 candidates.

The three names, vying for the seat of retired Judge Herschel P. Franks, will be sent to Gov. Bill Haslam for final appointment.

Franks recently announced his retirement after 42 years of public service, most recently in the Eastern Section of the appeals court. At the beginning of Friday's applicant interview process in the Sheraton Read House, Franks was honored with a plaque presented by Tennessee Supreme Court Justice Sharon G. Lee.

Local attorney Chris Clem serves as the nominating commission's vice chairman and helped lead the interview process, which lasted most of the day.

"We had 11 extremely qualified candidates from Bristol and Johnson City down to Chattanooga," Clem said. "It was a very hard task."

Clem said each of the applicants received votes.

Based on recent judicial nominations, Clem estimated the governor to take two to three months to select the replacement for Franks, who will officially retire on Dec. 31.

Bryant, 50, has served as chancellor for the 10th Judicial District since 1998. The district includes Bradley, McMinn, Monroe and Polk counties.

Frierson, 54, has served as chancellor for the 3rd Judicial District since 1996. The district includes Greene, Hamblen, Hancock and Hawkins counties.

Mike Faulk, 59, was elected to the Tennessee senate in 2008. He did not seek re-election this year and his term has expired. He is a private practice lawyer.

Local attorneys Hugh J. Moore, of Chattanooga, and Magistrate Jesse Dewayne Bunch, of Cleveland, also applied for the position.