Mt. Juliet City Judge Andy Wright announced his candidacy recently for Judge of the Wilson County General Sessions Criminal Court (Div. II). Judge Bob Hamilton, who is retiring after faithfully serving the citizens of Wilson County for nearly three decades, currently holds the position. The election to fill Judge Hamilton’s seat will be on Thursday, August 7th, 2014, with early voting beginning on July 18th.
Judge Wright has spent 23 years serving the public and ensuring justice as a judge, a prosecutor, a criminal defense attorney, and a police officer. “I’ve been in a lot of courtrooms over the last 23 years, including Judge Hamilton’s, and I am the only candidate in my race that has served the people in every professional capacity in the courtroom,” Wright said. “I have aspired to be a General Sessions Judge for many years and I have tailored my professional activities and education for this opportunity.”
In 2009, Judge Wright was appointed the Mt. Juliet City Judge and has a developed a stellar reputation as a fair, respectful, and honest judge serving the citizens of Mt. Juliet. Additionally, for the last 10 years, Wright has been the Lebanon City Attorney and Prosecutor. He continually strives to “enhance the community by protecting the citizens of Mt. Juliet and Lebanon from unruly neighbors, traffic violators, and from retailers who provide beer to those under the legal drinking age.” Wright was in private practice as a defense attorney in both the criminal and civil arenas, working for the law firms of Farrar & Bates, PLLC, in Nashville and Lowery, Lowery, & Cherry, LLC, in Lebanon, from 2002 to 2004. “I spent a little over two years ensuring my clients’ rights were protected,” Wright said. “Every citizen has basic Constitutional rights and I worked tirelessly to provide my clients with the best representation possible.”
Prior to becoming an attorney, Judge Wright served as a Metro Nashville Police Officer from 1991 to 2002, spending eight of those 11 years as an undercover drug enforcement agent. During his time as a police officer, Wright received numerous awards and honors, as well as nine letters of commendation for his work, including one each from the FBI, the DEA, the U.S. Customs Service, and the Nashville District Attorney’s Office, all regarding major drug investigations. Among his awards are the Police Department Exemplary Service Award for Meritorious Actions and he was named the Nashville Downtown Optimist Club’s Investigator of the year.
“During my time as a police officer, I spent many hours in the General Sessions Criminal Court and it was there that I first developed my great admiration for the general sessions judges,” Wright said. “From then on, I aspired to one day be a general sessions judge and started law school in 1997 for that very purpose.”
In addition to his professional experience, Judge Wright volunteers his time participating in community activities and in engaging in endeavors that enhance the profession of law. Always willing to help out, Wright’s community involvements include acting as a “celebrity judge” at community events, serving on the Leadership Wilson (Class of 2008) and Lebanon/Wilson County Chamber boards, and being a member of the Lebanon Noon Rotary Club.
Wright also serves as an appeal hearing committee member for the Tennessee Board of Professional Responsibility, the entity charged by the Tennessee Supreme Court with the disciplining of attorneys. He is also a regular volunteer judge for the Tennessee High School Mock Trial Championships and has presided as a judge over the Wilson County Teen Court.
Always seeking out judicial educational opportunities, Judge Wright has attended numerous Tennessee judicial educational conferences and has completed three courses of study at the National Judicial College in Reno, Nevada, an internationally recognized institution with the purpose of educating judges in how to achieve judicial excellence.
Receiving the endorsements of both of Wilson County’s Fraternal Order of Police Lodges, Sam Houston Lodge #71 and Lebanon Lodge #83, to be Wilson County’s next General Sessions Judge, Wright said, “I have spent 23 years ensuring justice as a police officer, a criminal defense attorney, a prosecutor, and a judge. I am the only candidate in my race that has served in every professional role involved in the prosecution of a criminal case and with such an outstanding criminal justice and public service background, I am the right judge for Wilson County. I humbly ask the citizens of Wilson County for their vote and remember, don’t vote wrong…vote Wright!”
Judge Wright holds a bachelor’s degree in Criminal Justice Administration from MTSU (1992) and a Juris Doctor degree from the Nashville School of Law (2001). Wright and his wife Jill are charter members of Victory Baptist Church in Mt. Juliet. Jill, a graduate of Mt. Juliet High School and Tennessee Tech University, moved to Mt. Juliet with her family in 1979. They married in 1991 and have been raising their family as part of the Wilson County community since 2002, residing in the recently named “Downtown Mt. Juliet District” with their two children, Drew (12) and Abby (9), and their two Shih Tzus, Molly and Casey.