Hamilton County's five General Sessions Court Judges officially confirmed their decisions to seek re-election in 2014. Judges Christie Sell, David Bales, Clarence Shattuck, Gary Starnes, and Lila Statom will be running on the General Election Ballot in the Aug. 7, 2014 election. General Sessions Court judgeships are nonpartisan seats.
General Sessions Court Judges deal firsthand with Hamilton County citizens in a variety of criminal and civil cases, including traffic violations, murder cases, landlord/tenant, contractual disputes, personal injury cases, and mental health commitments. The five presiding judges oversee thousands of cases, working daily to maintain the peace and the safety of our community. Their commitment to impartiality, fairness, and honesty makes them an asset to the Hamilton County judicial system.
Division I is held by Judge Christie Sell. In 2006, Judge Sell became the first woman elected as judge to Hamilton County General Sessions Court. Judge Sell was a partner at the Shumacker Witt Gaither & Whitaker, P.C. law firm and a Rule 31 Approved General Civil and Family Mediator in Tennessee. Judge Sell serves on the boards of the Chattanooga Women's Leadership Institute and Chattanooga Bar Association, which recently named her a Chattanooga Bar Association Fellow for outstanding records of service to the bar and the community. She is also a member of the Chattanooga Rotary Club, Harrison Ruritan Club, and Southeast Tennessee Legal Association of Women.
Division II has been held by Judge David E. Bales since 2005. Judge Bales served as an assistant district attorney general in Shelby County. He also served as an attorney with Farris, Hancock, Branan & Lanier law firm and later with Maroney, Sisson & Bales, where he specialized in criminal law. He is a member of the Chattanooga Rotary Club, University of Tennessee Alumni Association, Harrison Ruritan Club, and Highland Sportsman Club. Judge Bales also serves on the board of directors of the Cherokee Council of Boy Scouts of America.
Division III has been held by Judge Clarence Shattuck for 31 years. He was instrumental in securing necessary changes in the procedures and administration of the General Sessions Court when the court's criminal and civil jurisdiction was increased. Prior to his judgeship, Judge Shattuck was a partner in the law firms of Kelley Dirisio & Shattuck, Shattuck & Payne, and Shattuck & Durby. Judge Shattuck has served the community in innumerable civic positions, boards, and activities. He was recently elected to the inaugural Soddy Daisy Hall of Fame and is an honorary life member of the DuPont Elementary PTA and Board of Merit from the Cherokee District Boy Scouts of America.
Division IV is held by Judge Lila Statom. She was appointed to Division IV by Governor Haslam in 2012, replacing Judge Ron Durby. She served as the Assistant District Attorney in charge of General Sessions Court for seven years. Judge Statom also served as an Assistant District Attorney in Nashville, Tennessee for nearly 10 years before her 14-year tenure as an Assistant District Attorney in Chattanooga. She earned her LL.M. in Litigation from Emory University. Judge Statom is on the Board of the Mary Ellen Locher Foundation and a member of the Harrison Ruritan Club, Chattanooga Women's Leadership Institute, Chattanooga Bar Association, and Southeast Tennessee Law Association for Women.
Division V has been held by Judge Gary Starnes since 2012. He practiced law with Spears, Moore, Rebman, & Williams for six years. In August 1993, Judge Starnes started his own private law firm in Chattanooga where he handled civil cases in all state and federal courts in Tennessee and Georgia for 20 years. Judge Starnes is also a Rule 31 Listed General Civil Mediator & Arbitrator in Tennessee and registered general civil mediator and arbitrator in Georgia. He has been involved in the Children's Advocacy Center, Chambliss Children's Home, and Shepherd's Arms Rescue Mission. He is also a member of Harrison Ruritan Club.