NASHVILLE -- Tennessee Court of Criminal Appeals Judge Tom Greenholtz and fellow Chattanoogan Michael Richardson are among five attorneys seeking to fill an expected state Supreme Court vacancy that will occur Aug. 31 when Justice Sharon Lee retires.
Others applying for the appointment are Court of Appeals Judge Kristi M. Davis of Knoxville, 1st District Chancellor John C. Rambo of Jonesborough and Dwight Tarwater, a Knoxville attorney who served as legal counsel to then-Gov. Bill Haslam.
Greenholtz, 49, previously served as a Hamilton County Criminal Court judge. Earlier this year, he was nominated by Gov. Bill Lee, a Republican, to sit on the Tennessee Court of Criminal Appeals, Eastern Division. He later won confirmation by the General Assembly. He joined the court Sept. 1.
He received his bachelor's degree from the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga in 1996 and his law degree from the University of Tennessee College of Law in Knoxville in 1999. Greenholtz later worked for the Chattanooga-based law firm Chambliss, Bahner & Stophel from 2006 until his judicial appointment. He has worked as an arbitrator as well as an adjunct professor of political science at UTC.
Greenholtz once served as a law clerk for then-Tennessee Supreme Court Justice William M. Barker, also of Chattanooga, for three years.
Richardson, 68, also a UTC graduate, received his law degree in 1980 from then-Memphis State University's School of Law. He worked in several Chattanooga-based law firms, handling criminal and civil cases. He is now a solo practitioner.
He stated in his application that he once had a complaint filed against him by a client who claimed he would not file a lawsuit against a bank following a foreclosure. Richardson said the claim turned out to have no merit and that "I will not file any lawsuit unless it does have substantial merit." Richardson said he received a public censure with the board hearing panel finding he had committed a "technical violation" because he had not had the client sign his engagement letter. The panel, Richardson said, found as a mitigating factor that he had served the client well.
The Governor's Council for Judicial Appointments will consider the five candidates when it meets Jan. 4 at the Howard Howard H. Baker Jr. Center for Public Policy in Knoxville at 9 a.m. Interested individuals, including any members of the public, may attend the public hearing.
Members of the public may express, orally or in writing, objections concerning an applicant or applications for the judicial vacancy. The council is expected to vote immediately following the interviews and will forward three names to the governor for his consideration.