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Voting Smart Feedback

July 24, 2014



It’s been great to hear from so many of you this week and to know that Voting Smart has been helpful in your ballot decisions.  We have received  a rash of emails; Facebook comments; new Likes; and blog comments from new followers, old friends, incumbent judges and judicial candidates.

Judge Betty Thomas Moore, who has held court in General Sessions Div.5  since 1998, asked to respond to opponent Ellen Fite’s allegations that complaints against Judge Moore prompted her decision to run. We alluded to Ms Fite’s comments in our “What We Know” summary on her, with a link to a March 24, 2014 article on

The article by Georgeann King said in part:

 . . . Fite, who has already sat as a special judge in the court in which she is running, says she “had so many people come to me and ask me to run this year. I thought about running 16 years ago and even 8 years ago.” There have been complaints about the judge who runs the court currently and that spurred her to seek the post.

“Both lawyers and litigants feel abused in there. People complain about her judicial demeanor and that she is often late. The judge has an absentee rate of 27%.  She is abusive and yells at people.”   . . .

Judge Moore responds (as written):

I appreciate the chance to respond. I appreciate that you personally endorsed Ms. Fite for a number of reasons. I have been an experienced sitting Judge for almost 16 years and she has not; the Bar Poll gave her a few more percentage points than me but I did not go out and solicit votes as my opponent did because I trusted that the lawyers (and candidates) would follow the rules to vote only if you had cases in that court. Unfortunately, that did not happen and as a consequence of the distrust of the outcome of poll, endorsements and e mail have been sent from numerous attorneys and law firms supporting my re election who were appalled at the results.  I have over 300 attorneys, and counting, who agreed to be placed on literature. I have done that in the past but chose not to do that this time.  I have notes and letters from citizens who come to my court who applaud what I do as a judge, how I run my court room and my fairness and integrity.  That is what I am most thankful for.  I recognize the trust that the citizens of Shelby County have placed in me.  I recognize that I must be accountable with the taxpayers time and money, I too am a taxpayer and therefore am harder on myself.  I am at work as required, sometimes having special setting at 7:30 or 8 am to accommodate litigants who work and lawyers who may have court elsewhere, when our court starts at 10 and 1:30.  I do not take off a lot of time from work unnecessarily, never have, never will. I have 24 years with the county and would be entitled, as a regular employee, to at least a combined 45 days of sick and annual days.  My record shows that my off days have been extremely reasonable. I know that you are aware that this is campaign season and unfortunately, as I believe, in this case, the truth can get stretched, discarded or completely changed around.  I am proud to say that I have done a good job as Judge in this court, many of the lawyers and litigants who come into my court agree with that.  Everyone may not leave out completely happy, because everyone can’t always get what they came for but they will admit that I know the law, I am fair, I treat folks with respect, I am firm where I need to be, and I am a jurist of integrity.  I appreciate that, though your personal endorsement is for my opponent, that your Attorney endorsement recognized me as the most qualified and did endorse me for re election.  Thanks again . . .

We are happy to post all (civil) comments and questions from readers and candidates. So far, only one comment has not passed our Back in River City  Civility Test (and you know who you are)  If you have something to say, it should be helpful to voters and encourage further dialogue. No profanity or ad hominem attacks, please. Your comments can help others, and make our Guide more complete.

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