Monday, October 17, 2005

Three candidates seek Judge Westbrook's seat

According to this story in the State newspaper, the candidates are:

1. 11th Circuit Family Court Judge Kellum Allen
2. Knox McMahon, a former prosecutor with Lexington and Richland counties now in private practice in Columbia
3. Lisa Lee Smith, a Lexington lawyer

Allen, 54, of West Columbia has been a family court judge since 1998. He attended the University of South Carolina, earning a bachelor's degree in 1973 and a law degree in 1976.
He served two years as an assistant public defender in Greenville County before joining the West Columbia law firm of Kirkland, Wilson, Moore, Allen & Taylor, where he practiced primarily civil and family law for 20 years. He also has been an associate municipal judge in West Columbia.

McMahon, 57, of Lexington spent 10 years as an officer with the USC police, Columbia police and Lexington County Sheriff's departments before becoming a prosecutor.

He earned bachelor's and law degrees from USC in 1975 and 1978, respectively.
McMahon worked for 11th Circuit Solicitor Donnie Myers from 1983 through 1994 and was Myers' first deputy solicitor. He was one of the most experienced death-penalty prosecutors in the state, handling about 25 capital murder cases.

In 1995, McMahon joined the office of newly elected 5th Circuit Solicitor Barney Giese as senior assistant solicitor. In 1999, he made an unsuccessful bid for an at-large circuit court seat.

McMahon left Giese's office in 2002 and joined the Columbia practice of Jim Anders, a former Richland County solicitor. After Anders' death last year, the firm became known as Whetstone Myers Perkins & Young.

Smith, 36, of Lexington was a law clerk for 11th Circuit Court Judge William Keesley for 1 and 1/2 years before joining the Lexington firm of Nicholson Davis Frawley Anderson & Ayer eight years ago.

Smith said last week that her time with Keesley, whom she described as a great mentor, was a big factor in her decision to make her first try for a judgeship. If elected, Smith would become the 11th Circuit's first female circuit judge, Shuler said.

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