New Officers Named For Tennessee Judicial Conference

July 6, 2021

The Tennessee Judicial Conference, which is comprised of Tennessee’s state court judges, elected new officers at its meeting in June.

Taking the helm as president is Chancellor J.B. Cox, who sits on the bench in the state’s 17th judicial district of Bedford, Lincoln, Marshall and Moore counties. Chancellor Cox was first appointed to the bench in 2000 and was reelected in 2006 and 2014. He is a graduate of the Vanderbilt School of Law and Middle Tennessee State University.

The new president-elect is 11th judicial district Chancellor Pamela A. Fleenor, who has served Hamilton County since she won election in 2014.  Chancellor Fleenor earned her law degree from the University of Cincinnati College of Law and her bachelor’s degree from the University of Tennessee, Chattanooga.

Judge Valerie L. Smith from the 30th judicial district was elected as moving vice president. She was first appointed to the bench in Memphis in 2016 and won reelection in 2016. Judge Smith earned her law degree from the University of Memphis Cecil C. Humphreys School of Law and her bachelor’s degree from the University of Memphis.

Court of Appeals Middle Section Judge W. Neal McBrayer is the vice president. Judge McBrayer was appointed to the Court of Appeals in 2013 and won reelection in 2014. He is a graduate of the Marshall-Wythe School of Law at the College of William & Mary and Maryville College.

Judge Darrell Scarlett, who serves Rutherford and Cannon counties in the 16th judicial district, is the organization’s new secretary. Judge Scarlett was appointed in 2018 and won reelection in 2020.  Judge Scarlett earned his law degree from Samford University and his bachelor’s degree from Tennessee Tech University.

Judge Kathryn Wall Olita, who serves in the 19th judicial district, will serve as treasurer. She was appointed to the bench in 2019 and won election in 2020.  She earned her law degree from the University of Memphis Cecil C. Humphreys School of Law and her bachelor’s degree from the University of Tennessee.

Three judges from each of the state’s three grand divisions also serve on the TJC executive committee. Representing West Tennessee are: Judge Carma McGee (Court of Appeals), Judge Jennifer Johnson Mitchell (30th judicial district), and Chancellor Tony Childress (26th judicial district). The Middle Tennessee representatives are: Judge Larry J. Wallace (23rd judicial district), Judge Jill Bartee Ayers (Court of Criminal Appeals), and Chancellor Melissa Blevins (12th judicial district). Representing Eastern Tennessee are: Judge James Gass (4th judicial district), Judge Barry Steelman (11th judicial district), and Judge Kyle Hedrick (6th judicial district).

The 2022 annual meeting of the TJC will be held in Middle Tennessee with Judge Barry Tidwell of the 16th judicial district and Gary McKenzie of the 13th judicial district serving as convention co-chairs. Sixth Judicial District Judge Kyle Hixson and 16th judicial district Judge Jimmy Turner will be hospitality co-chairs.