May 14, 2014

Superior Court judge race: Blevins wants to balance justice with mercy

— David Blevins said he could make more money in private practice many years, but he wants to remain a Superior Court judge in the Conasauga Judicial Circuit covering Whitfield and Murray counties because he cares about making a difference.

“My life would be simpler — some years wealthier and some years not wealthier if I were back in private practice — but I care what happens to these people and I care about the law,” said Blevins, a Whitfield County resident who is almost 57.

In Tuesday’s nonpartisan election, Blevins seeks to keep the seat he was appointed to by Gov. Nathan Deal in 2012 after Robert Adams retired. Assistant District Attorney Scott Helton and Dalton Municipal Court Judge Jim Wilbanks are also seeking the post.

Blevins graduated from Carson-Newman College in Tennessee and moved to Douglas County where for three years he taught American history and high school math. He later decided on a law career, obtaining his degree from the University of Georgia School of Law in 1985. He began working as an associate in the law office of Robert Whitlow before eventually opening his own practice. Blevins said his practice concentrated on civil litigation.

In one case in 1992, he and Whitlow represented then candidate Dan Becker, now chairman of Georgia Right to Life, in a struggle to air a television campaign advertisement that showed images of aborted fetuses. Blevins said the issues centered on whether an Atlanta television station could refuse the advertisement. The station, Blevins said, argued that Federal Communications Commission (FCC) rules prevented them from airing gruesome images. Blevins and other attorneys working for Becker argued that banning a political ad based on content violated Becker’s First Amendment rights.

Blevins said the attorneys fought the case through the court system in the days before the November general election. He said he sought an emergency order from the United States Supreme Court to have the advertisement air. The request wasn’t successful, but Becker eventually won his case through an appeal to the FCC. By then, it was too late for the advertisement to air before the election, but Blevins said the experience was one he’ll never forget, and it helped establish a precedent for future candidates.

If elected Tuesday, Blevins said he wants to pursue justice while balancing it with mercy.

“I can’t lower your taxes, and I can’t promise to give you anything,” he said. “I have a passion that we have a just society and that people in all aspects of the legal process are treated fairly, honestly, and that (with) the law you call it like you see it.”

Blevins and his wife, Sheri, who is Whitfield County Probate judge, have three children. Elizabeth is working on her doctorate in history at the University of Tennessee. Rebecca will graduate this weekend from Union University in Jackson, Tenn., with an undergraduate degree in microbiology. Sarah recently completed her sophomore year at Lee University in Cleveland, Tenn.

Blevins attends Grove Level Baptist Church. When he has time, he enjoys hiking and camping. He said he also enjoys reading history, theology and philosophy.

He can be contacted at dblevins46@gmail.com or at (706) 694-2887. His campaign website is davidblevinsforjudge.com.

The salary for Superior Court judge is a little more than $140,000 a year with most of that provided by the state and about $20,000 supplemented by Whitfield and Murray counties.

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