A Day at The McDowell County Courthouse….

Historic McDowell County Courthouse
McDowell County Courthouse

On Tuesday, January 29, 2013, there was a meeting of the local District Bar to vote on nominees to refer to the Governor. He would then pick one person to fill the vacant judgeship in District 29A. Last I heard, there were ten names on the original ballot. As many readers know, Frank Webster was one of those names. In the previous two posts, I have voiced my questions and concerns. Today was the day when my concerns would either continue or they would be directed in other areas.

In the morning, I had a court date for work, as I had to visit the magistrate about a “complaint for money owed.” That was fairly uneventful, but, I took time to get my pictures of the courthouse not knowing what the afternoon would hold. I returned about 1:10PM and not to my surprise saw some familiar folks mounting the steps into the courthouse. When I parked, another group of attorneys was in front of me and I heard one say in a heated tone, “… and they want to tell me what my religion has to be!” I could not hear the rest of the remarks, but I thought that I was in the right place.

As I entered the courthouse and passed through security, it was clear that this meeting had many attendees. I decided to take a seat by the magistrate door and view the attorneys as they went by. There was no doubt I knew several of them. Time passed and I spoke to several people I knew. I also struck up a conversation with the magistrate I had visited earlier. He was pleasant and was fully aware of the proceedings.

By the time I made it into the meeting, the “elevator speeches” were almost done. One fellow was just ending and the director of the meeting called Frank’s name. He rose and stepped away from his seat to be better seen. Regretfully, I did not take notes right away and will not try to retell his speech verbatim. As I remembered from years past, he was well spoken and could easily be heard. Best I can remember he said he had been in Rutherford County 23 ½ years. He had been six and a half years on the Superior Court. He mentioned moving paperwork through efficiently and then listed many different kinds of cases he had tried. It was quite a list and I will not attempt to recount. Frank then began to tell a story I had heard before and not remembered until that moment.

The story was about him receiving a book as a gift after a few months on the job. His D.A. had written an acknowledgment to confirm that in a short time, Frank had earned the respect of the defense team and law enforcement community. As he told that story, I remembered back in the day when I heard it the first time. I was inside Word of Faith Fellowship (WOFF) and was aware that we were all to revere this acknowledgement. I have/had no doubts it was sincere and that his fellow WOFF attorneys were probably remembering the same service when it was first told.  Frank went on to say that the respect he earned was because he truly cared about people and that he worked hard to help people. He closed with a promise to do the same in District 29A, if he was chosen. For certain, Frank was well spoken and could be heard all over the large courtroom.

The President then gave instructions for voting and pointed out the rules were available to be checked if needed. The ballots were marked and collected. It is my understanding though I did not view the rules, that there would be three rounds of voting as a minimum – if enough candidates got the needed majority votes. The district officers exited the room to count the votes. From there the room broke out in talking, laughing and “fellowship”.

Shortly thereafter, I struck up a conversation with the bailiff. I had heard him downstairs and he was definitely cutting up. Once up stairs, I expected the same thing. After exchanging cordialities as folks do to find some point of commonality, he took a deep reflective tone and said– this is an important election. I thought, buddy, if you only knew. I said it was important to all the citizens of the District. He agreed and stated he wanted to vote. Yes, I could tell he was serious. The bailiff appeared as if he needed to elaborate. He said he loved his job and had been in law enforcement thirty years. He loved his Monday through Friday schedule after working many twelve hour shifts and knew that this election would directly affect him.

After several minutes, the votes were tallied and the results announced. Rob Martel has been selected as the first nominee. There was some applause and the names of the four other candidates were announced. The names were David Norris, Jim Goldsmith, David Rogers and Michelle McIntyre. (if misspelled, please, forgive me) It took me a minute or two to realize that Frank had not made the cut for the next round of voting.

The ballots were prepared for the next round and the “fellowship” appeared just as spirited. David Norris was selected for the second position. There was applause and the final ballot prepared. As the meeting progressed, several folks expressed their versions of what may happen with the ballots and voting procedures, but, in the end the President ran the election. I feel sure if the rules were examined, it all went according to the rules.

Since I had other responsibilities, I left before the third round of votes had been counted. Later, I called back to be told that Jim Goldsmith had secured the third nominee position.

Since leaving the meeting, I have reflected on the last several days. What has been my message here? First, I have no qualifications to discern or assess Frank Webster’s legal training or knowledge of court procedures. As mentioned, I have no doubt he has been cordial and equitable in his dealings as I would expect nothing less. For that matter, I do not know the other candidates qualifications either. My point has been that, in my opinion, his involvement in WOFF cannot be ignored and had to be considered.

In reality, I have no way to measure if my message and concerns had any effect on the election. I did not do a complete interview of the voters. Since I do not know the other candidates, to say that Frank was bypassed because of WOFF would be presumptuous.  I will not say that. I will say that the attorneys voted their free conscience and three candidates were selected. It would be safe to presume that the attorneys of the Bar could and would select the most qualified candidates to be referred to the Governor. After all, it is for sure, this election affected them as well.

Thank you, for taking time to visit and read this blog. Please, consume the information on this site responsibly. The author is not a licensed mental health professional and encourages those that need professional help to seek it. The intent of the material is to inform and be a resource. Be sure to tell every member that you know at WOFF about this blog. There are readers at WOFF. Comments are invited from all readers, including present or former members. Polls are not scientific and no private information is gathered.

Look on the right side of any post for the option to subscribe by email for notifications or RSS feeds notifying of new postings. It is a great feature. Also, find more posts by selecting “Categories”.

Guest posts reflect the opinions of the writers. Their opinions do not necessarily reflect the opinions of John Huddle or any other persons affiliated with this blog.

Please, take time to read the Terms of Use for this personal blog. As mentioned, for posts written by John Huddle, any information about WOFF is from his memories and recollections as perfect as that may be or not be. Scripture references are Amplified Version unless otherwise noted. (Copyright © 1954, 1958, 1962, 1964, 1965, 1987 by The Lockman Foundation ) This is post number 425.

Technorati Tags: , ,

2 thoughts on “A Day at The McDowell County Courthouse….”

  1. John, You are to be commended for taking the time to care. It is a well written, thoughtful post.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *