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Little Rock District Judge Melanie Martin says she'll run for re-election next year, while candidates have stepped forward for three circuit judgeships that will open in the March 2020 election.

Martin was elected in November after defeating three challengers in an election and a runoff to fill the last two years of Alice Lightle's six-year term. Lightle retired in 2017. The 2018 race was the first time the Little Rock District judge was selected by a countywide vote.

Since taking office in January, Martin, a former Pulaski County senior prosecutor, has made reducing recidivism a top goal and conducted "leniency court" to give offenders with outstanding fines and warrants options to resolve their cases. She also revised policies on court records to make them more accessible to the public.

Lawrence County District Judge Adam Weeks says he is running for circuit judge in the 3rd Judicial Circuit, comprising Jackson, Lawrence, Randolph and Sharp counties.

Weeks, 42, is running for the seat previously held by Circuit Judge Kevin King, who died in January. The post is now held by Tom Garner by appointment of Gov. Asa Hutchinson. Garner cannot run for the judgeship because he is an appointee.

Weeks, of Powhatan, was elected district judge in 2014 after being in private practice. He's also been the city attorney for Walnut Ridge and Hardy. He was a member of the Conway City Council from 2000 to 2006.

In Saline County, where two of the four circuit judges, Gary Arnold and Grisham Phillips, are retiring, Benton attorney Bobby Digby, 40, has announced plans to seek a position on the 22nd Judicial Circuit bench.

An attorney in private practice with the James Law Firm, Digby ran his own law firm for eight years. He spent six years as a part-time public defender in Saline County and judge advocate general for the American Legion of Garland County.

Digby also has been recognized as a "Top 10 Under 40" attorney by the National Academy of Criminal Defense Attorneys and "Top 40 Under 40" by the National Trial Lawyers.

In the 2nd Judicial Circuit, attorney Matthew Coe of West Memphis says he is running to replace retiring Circuit Judge John Fogleman. Clay, Craighead, Crittenden, Greene, Mississippi and Poinsett counties make up the circuit.

A partner in the Rogers, Coe and Sumpter law firm, Coe, 39, has been a deputy prosecutor since 2012 for Crittenden County, which Coe said has one of the highest criminal caseloads by population in the circuit. He's also handled civil litigation, divorce and child custody cases, and worked in juvenile court.

Metro on 04/30/2019

Print Headline: 4 Arkansans announce '20 bids for judicial posts


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