Wootten seeks 15th District, Division 2 circuit judge seat

Staff Reports • Updated May 28, 2014 at 12:17 PM

Judge John D. Wootten Jr. will launch his re-election campaign in Lebanon on Thursday.  The public event will be held from 4:30 to 7 p.m. at the Veterans Building at the James E. Ward Ag Center.

A former prosecutor and current president of the Tennessee Trial Judges Association, Wootten is the first popularly elected Division II circuit judge of the 15th Judicial District.  The court hears both criminal and civil cases in Wilson, Smith, Trousdale, Jackson and Macon counties. 

Wootten said he and his wife, the former Melissa Beasley, of Hartsville, look forward to seeing everyone at the event.

“My family and I are privileged to have many friends and supporters in Wilson County and throughout the entire district. We look forward to seeing as many people as we can before Election Day given my court schedule and fulfilling my daily duties as a circuit judge,” Wootten said. “I have traveled and worked throughout these five counties for many years.  It is an honor to serve as your circuit judge, and I humbly ask the people for their votes and confidence in me going forward.”

The Tennessee Supreme Court appointed Wootten to hear a variety of both criminal and civil cases in the mid-state area outside of the 15th District. Wootten was recognized by his peers in the Tennessee Judicial Conference with appointments to serve on the executive committee and on the committee on Pattern Jury Instructions for criminal cases. Lt. Gov. Ron Ramsey also appointed him to the committee to select the director of the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation.

Prior to his election as circuit judge, Wootten served as assistant district attorney in the 15th Judicial District for 14 years, serving with District Attorney General Tommy Thompson.  Wootten was a top prosecutor in the office, handling and trying more criminal homicides than any other attorney in the Upper Cumberland area.  He was also appointed district attorney general pro tempore in other judicial districts to prosecute a variety of crimes across the state and served on the legislative committee of the District Attorneys General Conference.

Retired from the Tennessee Air National Guard, his military career, including active duty, reserve duty and service, spanned 1978 to 2004. He retired holding the rank of colonel.  Wootten’s last duty assignment was staff judge advocate at headquarters of Tennessee Air National Guard, the ranking attorney in the state air guard.  

While in the U.S. Air Force as judge advocate and stationed at Pope Air Force Base, N.C., he was the only defense counsel representing hundreds of Air Force members accused of military crimes as well as criminal defendants accused of minor to major crimes.

Following Wootten’s active Air Force duty in 1982, he returned to Lafayette, his hometown, and began a private law practice handling both criminal defense and civil litigation.  

Wootten has served as a member of the board of directors and also is a past president of the Macon County Park Commission. Additionally, he is a former Jaycee and member and past president of the Lafayette Rotary Club. Wootten serves as a member of the Board of Trust at Cumberland University in Lebanon. He is a member of the Lafayette United Methodist Church.

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