Wright tabbed new MJ judge

By TOMI L. WILEYSpecial to The Wilson Post

MT. JULIET -- Mt. Juliet City commissioners voted July 6 to hire Lebanon’s city attorney as its municipal judge.

At a special city commission meeting Monday night, Lebanon City Attorney Andy Wright was unanimously approved to serve as Mt. Juliet’s new municipal judge. The hire comes quick in the wake of Stephen Grauberger’s resignation from the post on June 27 via email to city officials.

Former Mt. Juliet city judge John Gwin, who currently serves as Division III General Sessions Judge for Wilson, agreed to sit in as an interim judge.

District 1 Commissioner Ted Floyd nominated Wright, who was the only nominated candidate.

Wright served 11 years as a Metro Nashville policeman, the attorney said, focusing for eight years on undercover drug enforcement. In 2001 he graduated from the Nashville School of Law and began practicing in 2002. Wright worked for one year with the Farrar & Bates law firm in Nashville, which serves as counsel for the Tennessee Municipal League. Wright then worked in the firm of Lowery & Lowery in Lebanon for one year before becoming the City of Lebanon’s full-time staff attorney five years ago.

As a city attorney, Wright said, he has experience prosecuting in court and has been involved in the court system “for six or seven years.”

Wright said he is familiar with “the need for a productive and efficient city court.”

“I understand the need to work with the police department,” Wright said Monday. “I know the need for an efficient, productive court docket.”

In the May 13 edition of The Chronicle of Mt. Juliet, outgoing judge Grauberger voiced his concerns about the Mt. Juliet city court system and how it is conducted.

Grauberger took office early this year but experienced some friction with Mt. Juliet Police and city leaders in May, when results from an evaluation of his first 90 days in office raised concern about his track record in court rulings versus those of Gwin.

Grauberger called a meeting with commissioners in May, reported in the May 13 edition of The Chronicle, and said his main objectives in calling the meeting was to discuss who has control of the court docket, an analysis of his decisions made from the bench during his first three months versus those made by outgoing Gwin during his final three months on the bench, and who dictated the decision for the number of court dates to be reduced. Grauberger remarked at that time that City officials are currently looking to increase the number of police officers in Mt. Juliet, which along with the onset of summer months (and restless, driving teenagers) will only increase the number of dockets.

To read that entire article visit www.thechronicleofmtjuliet.com.

This story was first reported on The Chronicle website on Monday, July 6.

Editor’s Note: Tomi L. Wiley is the editor of The Chronicle of Mt. Juliet.