Juvenile Court Judge Dan Michael defeated as City Court Judge Tarik Sugarmon wins highly contested race

By , Daily Memphian Updated: August 05, 2022 4:09 PM CT | Published: August 05, 2022 12:15 AM CT
<strong>Memphis City Court Judge Tarik Sugarmon speaks at a press conference hosted by DA candidate Steve Mulroy at Election Headquarters on Friday, July 22.&nbsp;Sugarmon beat Juvenile Court Judge Dan Michael in a rematch of their 2014 election that Michael won.</strong> (Ziggy Mack/The Daily Memphian)

Memphis City Court Judge Tarik Sugarmon speaks at a press conference hosted by DA candidate Steve Mulroy at Election Headquarters on Friday, July 22. Sugarmon beat Juvenile Court Judge Dan Michael in a rematch of their 2014 election that Michael won. (Ziggy Mack/The Daily Memphian)

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Memphis City Court Judge Tarik Sugarmon upset Juvenile Court Judge Dan Michael Thursday, Aug. 4, in one of several upsets in the long slate of judicial races.

The victory by Sugarmon in the nonpartisan race breaks a chain of Juvenile Court judges that stretches more than 50 years to the late Kenneth Turner and his handpicked successor, Curtis Person Jr., and Michael, who was first hired to work at the court by Turner.

<strong>Dan Michael</strong>

Dan Michael

Sugarmon beat Michael in a rematch of the 2014 election that Michael won as the hand-picked successor to Person.

The race also included attorneys Dee Shawn Peoples and William Ray Glasgow.

With all 142 precincts reporting, the totals were: 

  • Sugarmon 52,360
  • Michael 39,974
  • Glasgow 16,139
  • Peoples 10,916

Michael, who inherited a 2012 agreement for U.S. Justice Department oversight of Juvenile Court following findings of due process violations and disproportionately harsher treatment of Black children than white children, portrayed himself as a reformer of the court from within.

That was despite Michael’s vocal opposition to the federal oversight and him seeking an end to the oversight with Trump administration officials who granted the wish. 

Sugarmon said the talk of reform by Michael wasn’t sincere and campaigned as he did eight years ago on changes in the way the court works without advocating a wholesale house- cleaning at the court.

Several other judges appeared to have been upset by the delayed vote count.

Among them: 

Chancellor Part I Judge Gadson William Perry, who in the partial returns was losing to challenger Melanie Taylor Jefferson.

Circuit Court Judge Bob Weiss, who was losing by 10,000 votes to challenger Damita Dandridge with former federal prosecutor Larry Parrish a distant third.

General Sessions Criminal Court Judge Gerald Skahan, who was about 3,000 votes behind challenger Sheila Bruce Renfro.

General Sessions Criminal Court Judge Loyce Lambert Ryan lost to challenger Christian Johnson by 919 votes in the final unofficial combined returns.

Appointed Memphis City Court Judge Carolyn Watkins lost the special election to remain in the post to challenger Kenya Hooks.

Probate Court Judge Karen Webster was upset by attorney Joe Townsend.

General Sessions Criminal Court Judge Ronald Lucchesi survived a challenge by former Judge Mischelle Alexander Best in a race that saw the lead change several times during the delayed vote count.

In the eight open judicial positions with no incumbent seeking reelection:

Former judge Lee Wilson claimed the General Sessions Criminal Court division known as the Drug Court. Wilson campaigned with the endorsement of retiring Judge Tim Dwyer. Wilson had a better than 2 to 1 lead over attorney Perry Hayes with John Parker trailing.

Former Memphis City Council member, state Representative and mayoral contender Carol Chumney is the new judge of Circuit Court Division 2, beating attorneys Carlos Bibbs and Kenneth Margolis.

Judicial Commissioner David Pool had an 1,100 vote lead over prosecutor Reginald Henderson and defense attorney Ross Sampson in the race for Criminal Court Judge Division 7.

Attorney Cedrick Wooten won Circuit Court Division 6 over attorney Stuart Breakstone.

Attorney Jennifer Fitzgerald was leading a pack of five attorneys for Criminal Court Judge Division 2.

Attorney James Jones is the new judge in Criminal Court Division 3 over prosecutor Michael McCusker.

Juvenile Court Magistrate Carlyn Addison claimed Criminal Court Division 5 over prosecutor Chris Lareau.

In the largest field of any of the 70 judicial races on the ballot, attorney Greg Gilbert emerged at the top of the six-candidate field for General Sessions Criminal Court Division 10 with judicial commissioner Rhonda Harris his closest competitor.


2022 judicial races Judge Dan Michael Tarik Sugarmon

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Bill Dries

Bill Dries

Bill Dries covers city and county government and politics. He is a native Memphian and has been a reporter for more than 40 years.


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