An Experienced Common Sense Approach

If you ask Shawn McBrien, what he’d bring to the bench if elected as the next Circuit Court Judge for the 15th Judicial District, he stops for a minute, and then thoughtfully answers back, “I’d hope to bring some simple common sense

This from a man with over 33 years of legal experience as both a lawyer and mediator. A man who has been married for over 35 years to his wife Karen, a local nurse, and who together with her, has raised four children in their hometown of Lebanon, Tn. A man who many know as a generous person who has given of his time both to his church and various civic organizations by helping those in need both close to home and far away.

“I’d also bring a strong work ethic and my sense of fairness,” he adds.
Hard work is a quality that Shawn McBrien is known for. Ask any attorney in town and they will tell you that Shawn works hard, is honest and always shoots you straight. “For over a decade, I have known Shawn as someone that has used faithful morals and years of legal experience to serve his clients selflessly. There is no doubt Shawn will serve from the bench using the same legal expertise and faithful morals.” notes Jason Denton, a local attorney.
Shawn started practicing law 33 years ago and during these past three decades has handled almost every kind of civil or criminal case there is. “I’m ready on day one to take over Judge Wootten’s docket. I handled many cases in front of Judge Wootten and greatly respected his knowledge of the law, his decorum, and his patience. I certainly was saddened to hear he was retiring because I loved to try a case in front of him and I hope if elected to continue to handle cases just like he did.”

A Tennessee native, Shawn received his Bachelor of Science from the University of Tennessee in 1983 and Doctor of Jurisprudence from Cumberland School of Law at Samford in 1986. He began his legal career in Chattanooga, Tn and for several years practiced law in the same town as his late father, also an attorney, and then later moved to Wyoming where he continued to expand his practice. A growing family and a yearning to be closer to home led he and Karen to move back to Tennessee in 1992 and since that time Shawn has been representing local citizens throughout the District. Upon his return, Shawn initially worked for the Law Offices of Hugh Green for two years before establishing his own practice in 1994. Ten years later, he formed a partnership with Brody Kane and together they formed the law firm of McBrien and Kane. In 2018, Shawn opened the McBrien Law Group where he currently practices both as an attorney and mediator.

McBrien has handled hundreds, if not thousands of cases, in both State and Federal courts during the last 33 years. He has been involved in jury and non-jury cases and argued for his clients in front of state judges, federal judges, mediators, arbitrators, and appellate court judges. And in the last few years added Mediator to his long list of experiences.

“It’s during these mediations that I realized being a Judge is what I wanted to do. For years I’ve advocated one side or another for my clients but being a mediator taught me to see both sides of an issue. I read documents provided to me, listen to both parties and their attorneys and then work out the issues. But when we get so close and their decisions come down to emotion or just a lack of common sense, it is frustrating. As a mediator, I cannot make a decision and it becomes the Final Order, as a judge can. In those cases, I feel sorry for the parties because now they are going to a trial. And I know first hand the cost, pressure, and emotions that these parties are going to face. It is in those situations that I wish I could make a decision so that they can move forward with their lives.

Being a mediator and lawyer has enabled me to help so many people in my community. I take pride in knowing I made a difference and did all I could to right a wrong.”

But law isn’t the only place Shawn has made a difference, from coaching all four of his children in sports to being on the Board of Directors of The Glade Church in Mt. Juliet and local non-profits such as the Lebanon Noon Rotary Club, to being a board member of Ducks Unlimited and Delta Waterfowl, Shawn is definitely a man of varied talents. And getting down and dirty is one of those things that Shawn never shies away from. When Hurricane Katrina hit New Orleans, Shawn with his children traveled with his church to help with the recovery. He has also helped in his own community such as moving people, mentoring children, chopping firewood and making repairs. When the floods hit Nashville several years ago, Shawn took off work and with his children helped his fellow neighbors there as well.

“Raising my children and being a good example to them as a provider and protector has been my greatest accomplishment thus far. I’m so proud of my wife for what she does as a nurse in our community and our children bring us our greatest joy. They are all adults now making their way in life and so the time seems right for me to do this. I’ve had a long, solid history of being a lawyer in my community and I’m ready, if the people honor me with their vote, to take on the role of Judge”

Being a Judge is not an easy job. Someone always leaves the court a little unhappy. But the best Judges I’ve ever practiced in front of were the ones who gave my clients a fair shot. They listened to the evidence, carefully reviewed the law and then when they made their ruling they explained the why behind their decision. Even when I lost the case, I felt the court had allowed my client to be heard. This is what I plan to do if elected.

Listen carefully, apply the law, treat people with respect, be fair and use common sense, if elected I pledge to do all these things.

To learn more about Shawn McBrien visit his website teammcbrien.com or find him on Facebook @mcbrienforjudge, Instagram @mcbrienforjudge or Twitter @mcbrienshawn.

This is an advertorial paid for by the Committee to Elect Shawn McBrien Circuit Court Judge, Bill Easley, Treasurer. 

Relentless Pursuit of Justice For All

  Javin Cripps was the first to announce his commitment to run for Judge Wootten’s seat upon his retirement in early January.  And since that day has relentlessly worked to earn the vote of the citizens in Wilson, Trousdale, Smith, Macon and Jackson county – the counties that make up the 15th Judicial District. 

Earning each and every vote by getting out and meeting the people of the community has been priority number one in the Cripps household. On any given day, you’ll find a squad of people knocking on doors, handing out flyers, wearing Cripps For Judge t-shirts and espousing all the reasons Javin Cripps would make a good Judge. 

Those working hard not only include Assistant District Attorney Javin Cripps but also his wife Melanie Cripps, a local Smith County Chiropractor, as well as Javin’s daughters Addie and Anna and the family pet, German Shepard Gus. 

“It’s a family affair for sure,” notes Cripps. “I love getting out there and meeting folks and telling them about my background and what qualities I’d bring to the bench. What  I love the most though is that my girls are with me when I’m doing all this. I want them to know that if you work hard and put in an honest day’s work, you can accomplish anything you put your mind to.”

Javin Cripps certainly has the experience for the job having served the citizens of the 15th Judicial District as an Assistant District Attorney for more than 13 years and before that was an attorney in private practice handling civil cases – everything from divorces to business litigation to worker’s compensation and social security cases.

“I had the privilege of practicing in front of Judge Wootten and understand all the different perspectives of a courtroom. As an Assistant District Attorney I’ve had to make some very tough decisions. I’ve met with the victims of crimes and their families, and I’ve been involved in jury trials and non-jury trials. I’ve made decisions in over 10,000 cases in the last five years alone.” 

Cripps believes one of the biggest problems our community is facing is drug addiction. 

“I’ve seen it first hand as an Assistant District Attorney in the 15th Judicial District because with my job I work in all 5 of our counties. All our counties are a little different, some being more rural than others, each having different economies, some having more crime than others, but in all, drugs are our biggest problem. The court dockets are jam packed with drug cases. Drugs impact our criminal court as well as our civil, domestic courts. Knowing this first hand, I’ve met with the Sheriff in every county as well as all of our local Judges, trying to determine, if elected, how best we can all work together to help solve our growing problem. My kids are 12 and 10, their mother and I were raised in this community, our families are here, this is where we are going to raise our girls and hope one day they choose to make this area their home. I’ve got a vested interest in making sure my girls are safe and that your children are safe too. It’s why I left private practice to join the District Attorney’s Office and why I’m now seeking the office of Circuit Court Judge. I want to help my community.” 

And preserving and protecting his community is something Cripps holds dear to his heart. 

Cripps grew up on the family cattle farm between Smith and Wilson County and worked every day on that farm when not in school. During summer breaks he’d join his father, a general contractor, at work. Thereafter, Cripps continued to work 30 to 40 hours a week, in construction, while earning his undergraduate degree at MTSU. He went on to earn his contractor and plumbing licenses before entering law school. 

While in law school at University of Memphis, he interned for the Shelby County Public Defender’s Office and returned home to Middle Tennessee to start his career. First working with a well-established private practice handing civil matters and later joining the District Attorney’s Office prosecuting crimes within the 15th Judicial District.  

“I have built relationships with the people in my community and with the legal and law enforcement communities in every county in the district. Over the years, I have prosecuted every type of case from speeding tickets to first degree murder. Justice has always been my goal. I know when to prosecute a case but at the same time will work with a defense counsel, to hear the accused’s side of the story. Justice is not just about throwing people in jail but also about preserving and protecting our constitution and the rights of all citizens to a fair and impartial legal system.” 

This Court, however, is not the Criminal Court. It’s a Circuit Court that handles quite a bit of civil work such as divorces and termination of parenting rights as well as criminal cases, so it’s important whoever is elected has a good understanding of both areas of the law. 

On the domestic front, Javin notes that “not only have I handled divorces for other people, but I’ve experienced a divorce first hand. I’m proud to say the mother of my children and I work very well co-parenting our two amazing girls. We share custody and so I know first hand what many of the people are going through who will be coming before this Court. Part of the job of a circuit court judge is to help families navigate the process of becoming co-parents, and I having experienced that process as an attorney and as a father.  I can bring a level of understanding and insight that families who go through this difficult transition often need. 

This is a big job but I’ve got the experience as well as the energy to make some positive changes in our community as the next Circuit Court Judge. I’ve been privileged to work for this community as an attorney for many years and I’d be honored if this community would elect me to take over where Judge Wootten left off. 

All I can do is work hard day in and day out to earn your vote. I took a leave of absence in January from my job because I’m committed to getting out there and meeting our citizens. I want to answer their questions, I want to show them I’m relentless and hard working and if elected will bring this same passion, energy and tenacity to our Circuit Court.”  

To learn more about Javin Cripps go to 

Crippsforjudge.com or follow him on FB @ Javin Cripps for Circuit Court Judge or on Instagram @CrippsForJudge or Twitter @ CrippsForJudge.

This is an advertorial paid for by the Committee To Elect Javin Cripps Circuit Court Judge, Madeline Jennings, Treasurer.

2020 – JUDICIAL ELECTIONS EXPLAINED

By Judge Brody Kane,  Criminal Court Judge for Wilson, Macon, Smith, Trousdale, and Jackson County

By Judge Brody Kane,
Criminal Court Judge for Wilson, Macon, Smith, Trousdale, and Jackson County

In 2020, the Judges who cover the 15th Judicial District comprised of Wilson, Smith, Macon, Trousdale and Jackson counties will undergo a bit of a makeover.

The path to this election is different than most as Circuit Court Division II Judge, John Wootten, retired effective January 1, 2020, five and a half years into his eight-year term. Continue reading “2020 – JUDICIAL ELECTIONS EXPLAINED”