James Dunham announced today he is a candidate for the First Division Circuit Court seat in the 5th Judicial District. The 5th District includes Franklin, Johnson, and Pope Counties. In his announcement, Dunham emphasized his desire to bring special attention to the duty of Judges to promote public confidence in the court system.


Dunham said, “I believe it is important for the public to have confidence in the court system. For that to happen we must expect and in fact it is required for Judges to ‘respect and honor the judicial office as a public trust.’ A Judge must ‘strive to maintain and enhance confidence in the legal system.’ If elected to this important position I promise to maintain the dignity of judicial office at all times and avoid both impropriety and the appearance of impropriety in both my professional and personal life. The position of Judge is a 24 hours a day commitment, and I give you my word that I will be independent, impartial and act with the utmost integrity to ensure the greatest public confidence possible.”


Dunham is a partner in the Russellville law firm, Dunham & Faught, P.A., where he practices with attorney Jeff Faught. “My law office has been in Russellville for 30 years. During that time, I have regularly represented individuals in all of the courts in Franklin, Johnson, and Pope Counties. In my general law practice I have experience in all areas of the law which come before the Circuit Court, including criminal law, domestic law including divorce and custody cases, civil lawsuits, personal injury, probate, guardianships, and Specialty Courts. In addition, I have served as the Managing Public Defender for the 5th Judicial District for over 22 years which includes supervising 5 attorneys and 3 support staff employees, with duties in all three counties of this District. I believe the variety of my law practice before local District Courts and Circuit Courts, as well as Appellate Courts such as the Arkansas Supreme Court, has prepared me to serve in this important judgeship.


Dunham graduated from Law School at the University of Arkansas at Little Rock School of Law with a Juris Doctor Degree in 1989, and he received his undergraduate degree from Arkansas Tech University in 1986 with a Bachelor of Science Degree. He is a member of the Atkins High School Class of 1982. He is active with many legal service organizations including the Pope County Bar Association, where he is a former President and the current Vice President, the Pope County Drug Court Team, and the Pope County Law Library Board.


In 2009 Dunham was appointed by the Arkansas Supreme Court to the Supreme Court Committee on Professional Conduct. This Committee oversees lawyer ethics regulations for all licensed attorneys in the State of Arkansas. Dunham was recently re-elected as overall Chairman of this attorney disciplinary committee, and currently holds that position.


Dunham, and his wife, Renae Willcutt Dunham, reside in Atkins and are the parents of 4 children. He grew up in Atkins and attended the Church of the Assumption Catholic Parish. He and his family attend St. John’s Catholic Church in Russellville, where he is a member of the Knights of Columbus. James and his wife have been active in coaching youth sports in the Arkansas River Valley since 1997. Dunham is the son of Calvin and Erma Dunham of Atkins. Calvin is a former professor at Arkansas Tech University, and Erma taught first grade for 25 years in Atkins. He has 3 sisters, Cathy Dunham Meyer, Carol Dunham Stapper, and Karen Dunham Ghasemi, as well as 1 brother, Dr. John Dunham. All graduated from both Atkins High School and Arkansas Tech University. His wife, Renae Dunham, graduated from Atkins High School. She is the daughter of Charlie and Diane Willcutt, and has 2 sisters, Scharlette Willcutt Fason and Rachel Willcutt Epperson, and 1 brother, Wesley Willcutt.