David Tunnell, an attorney with the Corbett Law Firm in Springfield, prides himself on his patience, common sense and an ability to listen to all the evidence. He believes those are attributes needed by a good judge.
Tunnell, who lives in Marshfield, is a candidate for 30th Circuit judge in the August Republican primary.
He has handled all kinds of cases all over Missouri, but specializes in personal-injury cases such as car wrecks and workman’s compensation.
“I’ve always wanted to be a judge,” he said, “and with Judge Sims retiring, this gives me the opportunity. I believe I can be impartial in making decisions without being rash. I have common sense and live a wholesome life, which are great attributes.”
Tunnell pledged that he will treat people fairly regardless of how rich or poor they are or how popular or unpopular they are.
He stressed that if elected he will change a local rule that has been in effect for decades that says there can’t be a trial setting until “discovery” is complete. He said he will change the rule to say there can be a trial setting as soon as a defendant’s attorney files an answer.
“The reason the current rule doesn’t work well is that discovery takes a long time to complete,” he said. “And then when you do get a trial setting it might be 18 months to two years before the trial takes place. This is way more than enough time to complete discovery.”
He believes that if attorneys are allowed to get a trial setting immediately it will cause more cases to be settled in a timely fashion — only 5 percent of cases go to trial.
Discovery means interrogations — written questions each side sends to each other, plus written requests for such things as accident reports, insurance policies and medical records. This also includes depositions of the parties, witnesses and experts.
Tunnell is a 1994 graduate of Marshfield High School and earned his bachelor’s degree in political science at the University of Missouri-Columbia in 1997 and his law degree at the University of Missouri-Columbia Law School in 2001. He has worked for the Corbett Law Firm since 1999. He and his wife, Rebecca, were married in 2006 and have a son, Luke, born in 2011.