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Candidates profiles for 21 st District Circuit Court

Three candidates are vying for a single opportunity to be 21st Judicial District Circuit Court Judge. Although the judgeship covers the Perry, Hickman, Lewis and Williamson counties, each of the candidates hails from Williamson County. They are: Derek Smith, who was recently named to fill the vacancy to the position by Gov. Bill Haslem after Judge Jeff Bivens was named to the Appellate Court; Mike Binkley and Judy Oxford.

Name: Mike Binkley

Office being sought: Circuit Court Judge for the 21st District

Address: 509 New Highway 96 West, Franklin

Age: 60

Occupation: Attorney

Family: Mike and his wife, Sandy Binkley, have two daughters, Krissie and Beth. Krissie works as a consultant for a major healthcare company. Beth is a senior at Princeton University.

Community activities: I have served for many years on the board of the EAR Foundation, which focuses on integrating persons who are hearing impaired into mainstream. I also served for four years on the board of the Martha O’Bryan Center, which works to help vulnerable families in East Nashville. For many years I worked with Habitat for Humanity, and participated for more than 25 years in the Room in the Inn Program through my church.

Have you ever held public office before? No, I have not. But after 33 years of practicing in all areas of the law, I have reached the point in my career where the next step for me is public service. As the candidate with the best and broadest experience and qualifications, I will bring to the bench the wisdom, patience and integrity that have been the hallmarks of my career as an attorney and small business owner.

How long have you lived in Franklin? I have lived in Franklin for 25 years.

I was born and raised right here in Middle Tennessee. I went to high school at BGA. I made Franklin my permanent home 25 years ago so that I could raise my children in a community that shared mine and my wife’s conservative principles and values. My children are now grown and my wife and I continue to live in this wonderful community.

Briefly explain why you have sought this office? I want to give back to my community by offering  my experience and expertise acquired over 33 years of being in the “trenches” in all areas of both civil and criminal law. Our community needs a judge who can follow subtle and complex legal arguments in all types of cases. My diverse experience will allow me to be an excellent judge and to make a significant,  positive impact on the citizens in our community.

Name: Judy Oxford

Office being sought: Circuit Court Judge for 21 st Judicial District, Division III, unexpired term

Address: 400 Sugartree Lane, Suite 520, Franklin, TN 37064

Age: 52

Occupation: Attorney

Family: I am married to a Williamson County Sheriff’s Department Detective.

Community activities: I am a member of St. Paul’s Episcopal Church in Franklin, where I have responsibility for the garden on the Sixth Avenue side of the grounds.

I give back to the community through my profession. I have served on the Board of Directors of the Legal Aid Society since 2007. I am on the list of volunteer attorneys for Williamson County, and regularly handle pro bono cases. I have been a member of an investigating committee for the Tennessee Board of Law Examiners since 2003.

I am a member of the Williamson County-Franklin Chamber of Commerce, the Williamson County Republican Career Women, and the Williamson County Republican Party.

Have you ever held public office before? I have not held public office before.

How long have you lived in Franklin? I have lived in Franklin for more than 13 years. I grew up in Fairview, living there from 1964 to 1978, and graduating high school there. While I attended Belmont and Vanderbilt Law School, I lived in Nashville. I continued to live and work in the Nashville area after graduating law school. But when I decided to begin my solo law practice, I opened my office in Franklin in 1996, and moved here in 1998.

Briefly explain why you have sought this office? I believe I have a lot to offer. Serving as Circuit Court Judge is the way I want to serve my community and the 21st Judicial District.

I am:

  • the only candidate who has been continuously practicing both civil and criminal law for the last 15 years;
  • the candidate who has practiced in many areas of civil law during her career;
  • a trial lawyer with 24 years of experience;
  • a graduate of Vanderbilt Law School;
  • caring, responsible, and direct, while following the law;
  • and firm, but fair.

Name: Derek K. Smith

Office being sought: Circuit Court Judge for the 21st District

Address: 232 Stanton Hall Lane, Franklin

Age: Not provided

Occupation: Circuit Court Judge, 21st Judicial District. Until my appointment as judge by Gov. Haslam, I was Deputy District Attorney for the 21st Judicial District. I joined the DA’s office after graduation from Vanderbilt School of Law 19 years ago.

Family: My wife Ginger and I live in Franklin in the Fieldstone Farms Subdivision. We were born and raised in Tennessee and have extended family throughout the state.

Military Service:

I served as Lieutenant in the U.S. Naval Reserves for eight years before receiving an Honorable Discharge. 

Community activities: My community service includes coaching the Franklin High School Mock Trial Team and serving as a board member for the Boys & Girls Club of Franklin. I have served as Judge for the Vanderbilt National First Amendment Mock Trial Competition. I lecture before Citizen Police Academies and newly hired prosecutors. I am a member of the Williamson County Bar Association. I served as past president of the Franklin Civitan Club. I lecture on legal topics before the Williamson County Sheriff’s Department Gun Safety Course. 

Have you ever held public office before? No, but I am a longtime member of the Republican Party and vote in all elections – both local and national.  

How long have you lived in Franklin? Upon graduating from Vanderbilt University School of Law, the then District Attorney General Joe Baugh hired me as an assistant district attorney, which brought me to Williamson County. I lived in Brentwood from 1995 to 1998. In 1998, I moved to the Fieldstone Farms subdivision in Franklin where I currently live. 

Briefly explain why you have sought this office? Gov. Bill Haslam appointed me Circuit Court Judge for the 21st Judicial District after being selected as a nominee by the Judicial Selection Committee, a committee comprised of both lawyers and non-lawyers. Before being appointed judge by Gov. Haslam, I served the public as an assistant district attorney general for 19 years, prosecuting cases ranging from capital murders and white-collar crimes to rapes, burglaries, child molestations, and thefts. I have prosecuted thousands of cases and have tried hundreds of cases before a jury, not only in Williamson County, but also in Hickman, Lewis and Perry Counties, all of which constitute the 21st Judicial District. I hope to be retained as judge by the voters of Williamson County and the district and to continue to bring my experience in the courtroom and my understanding of the Rules of Evidence and Procedure to bear on the fair administration of justice for all of the residents of Williamson County and the 21st Judicial District. 





Posted on: 2/8/2012


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