State Sen. David Johnson (D-Little Rock) today announced that he’s running for district court judge for Jacksonville District Court and Maumelle District Court in next year’s election.
Rumor mill on who might run for Johnson’s senate seat: former state representative and Democratic party chairman Will Bond (Bond now lives in Little Rock, but represented Jacksonville in the legislature). Other possibilities: lawyer Nate Coulter, a former Democratic nominees for lieutenant governor; lawyer and banker John Adams, who has made recent unsuccessful runs for Congress and the state House; and public relations consultant Jordan Johnson. Not expected to run: freshman state Rep. Clarke Tucker of Little Rock.
Johnson previously worked as deputy prosecuting attorney in Pulaski County from 1998 to 2004, including work in the Jacksonville and Maumelle District Courts. In 2004, he was elected to the state House, where he served two terms before being elected to the Senate in 2008.
Jacksonville and Maumelle previously had separate district courts, each with its own judge; beginning January 1, 2017, the district courts will be combined under a single judge. The current judges are expected to retire.
Press release from Johnson after the jump:
Senator David Johnson announces today that he is running for district court judge for Jacksonville District Court and Maumelle District Court in next year’s election. If elected, Johnson would be returning to familiar territory. From 1998 to 2004, Johnson served the people of Pulaski County as deputy prosecuting attorney, and, for the first two years of that service, he worked full-time in Jacksonville District Court and Maumelle District Court.
“Working as a young attorney in Jacksonville and Maumelle District Courts was a great experience for me. There, I first learned how a courtroom should be run. I would be honored to return to those same courtrooms as a judge.” – Senator David Johnson
Senator Johnson is ready to be district court judge. During his time as deputy prosecuting attorney, Johnson tried fifty-two jury trials for cases ranging in nature from petty theft to capital murder. Over his seventeen years as a licensed attorney in Arkansas, Johnson has tried hundreds of non-jury trials to judges in district court and circuit court for almost every variety of criminal offense and a wide range of civil cases. His work has demanded mastery of the rules of courtroom procedure, which he is prepared to enforce as judge. Johnson has served as special district court judge.
Senator Johnson is committed to serving the people and families of Pulaski County. In addition to his service as deputy prosecuting attorney, Senator Johnson has spent over a decade representing Pulaski County families first as State Representative and then as State Senator. At the legislature, Johnson made our streets safer by sponsoring legislation to strengthen Arkansas DWI law. He supported criminal justice reform measures that increased funding for effective diversion courts including drug courts and improved probation and parole services to get past offenders on the right track. And Johnson provided much-needed support to schoolchildren by spearheading legislation to strengthen Arkansas’s anti-bullying laws. For his steadfast support at the legislature of Arkansas’s courts, Arkansas Judicial Council, which is the association of circuit and appellate court judges in Arkansas, awarded Johnson the First Branch Award.
Senator Johnson and his wife, Amy, are the parents of three daughters. He served as chairman of the Board of Stewards for First United Methodist Church of Little Rock and as member of the board of directors of Youth Home.
Historically, each of Jacksonville District Court and Maumelle District Court has been served by its own judge. Judge Robert Batton has served as Jacksonville District Court judge since 1977. Judge Roger Harrod has served as Maumelle District Court judge since 2005. Effective January 1, 2017, however, a single judge will serve both district courts, and each court will have jurisdiction of all of Pulaski County. Voters of Pulaski County will elect that judge in 2016.
Pulaski County is home to nearly 400,000 people. Reaching Pulaski County’s voters will be no small task. Senator Johnson estimates that a campaign for district court judge may cost as much as $150,000.