Major Revision Of The Court Governing Judicial Ethics To Take Effect July 1

Friday, June 29, 2012
Legislation sponsored by Senator Mike Faulk (R-Church Hill) that dissolves Tennessee’s Court of the Judiciary and replaces it with the Board of Judicial Conduct will become effective on July 1 as a host of bills are enacted on Sunday.  The Court of the Judiciary was created by the legislature to investigate and, when warranted, act on complaints against judges. The action to reconstitute the body comes after the Court of the Judiciary received criticism for ineffectiveness in disciplining judges and for secrecy in its proceedings.
 
 
The Tennessee Supreme Court has already adopted new ethics rules for state judges in preparation for enactment of the new law.  The new ethics rules include a procedure for pursuing the recusal of a judge and a new process for getting an expedited appeal if a motion for recusal is denied.
 
“One of the most frequent concerns was that judges did not recuse themselves from hearing a case where there was a conflict of interest or possible bias against one of the parties,” said Senator Faulk.   “I am pleased to see that our new law is already working to address this matter and congratulate the Court for taking quick action to adopt these new ethics rules.”
 
Another rule adopted by the Court deals with the disability and impairment of a judge or attorney. The rule instructs judges to take appropriate action if they believe another judge or attorney is impaired by drugs, alcohol or other physical, mental or emotional condition.   The action comes after a Knoxville judge resigned when it was revealed he was addicted to prescription painkillers purchased illegally.
 
The new Board of Judicial Conduct consists of 16 members that will serve for a term of three years and be eligible for reappointment to one additional term. This new law requires the board, on a quarterly basis, to file a report with the chairs of the judiciary committees of each house detailing at least the number of complaints against judges filed during the previous quarter and the disposition of each complaint. It also changes the burden of proof to investigate a judge to probable cause that misconduct occurred instead of substantial likelihood that it did and revises other provisions regarding complaints against judges.
 
“The new law aims to provide transparency and fairness to both complainants and judges,” added Faulk.  “It also gives the Board a mechanism to use the new Rules of Judicial Conduct, which are nationally recognized as a model for other states, adopted by the Tennessee Supreme Court.”

Chattanooga Chamber Calendar Of Events May 30-June 2

Thursday, June 1 Downtown Chamber Council Meeting 7:30  - 9 a.m. Bessie Smith Hall: 200 E M L King Blvd. Speaker: Jay Raynor, Defoor Brothers Topic: City Center Development Join the Downtown Council for networking and breakfast from 7:30 - 8 a.m., with the program lasting from 8 - 9 a.m.   $15   East Ridge Chamber Council Meeting 11:45 a.m. - ... (click for more)

Chambliss Law Honored In National Rankings By 2017 Chambers USA

Chambliss, Bahner and Stophel, P.C. has been recognized in the 2017 Chambers USA: America's Leading Lawyers for Business report as a leading Tennessee firm in the areas of labor and employment, litigation: general commercial and real estate. In addition, two individual attorneys are recognized practitioners: Mark Cunningham for healthcare and Rick Hitchcock for environment.   ... (click for more)

Pool Chemical Leak Forces Evacuation Of Sports Barn North

Chattanooga firefighters responded to a reported haz-mat incident at the Sports Barn North on Hamil Road at  6:37  a.m. on Friday. Battalion Chief Carlos Hampton said an employee was working with some pool chemicals when some of the liquid leaked out of a container. The employee said he breathed in some of the vapors from the liquid and became ill. When the manager ... (click for more)

East Ridge Council Studying Restrictions On ATVs; City Forms Housing Re-Development Authority

The East Ridge City Council is studying an ordinance drafted by City Attorney Mark Litchford to address issues involving property in a residential neighborhood around John Ross Road, where an ATV track has been built. At the past two council meetings, people living in close proximity to the two-acre lot complained to the council that noise and dust created by almost non-stop use ... (click for more)

Scrutinizing Defense And Other Public Spending Is Right Thing To Do

I saw in the news today where U.S. senators were investigating and scrutinizing an Army "debacle," which has already spent $6 billion on a communications system developed by a defense contractor (WIN-T) that is virtually ineffective in use.   This is on top of a recent Navy scandal (Fat Leonard Scandal) where several current and former Navy admirals were sentenced to prison ... (click for more)

Roy Exum: The Suicide Letter

Two weeks ago there were five suicides and a fatal drug overdose in the same Chattanooga community. That absolutely tears me up inside because I am assured almost every day there is a better answer. I make no secret I struggle with depression and it is real. I want others to see if I can get through the valleys to climb the mountain, they can too. I take medicine every day that ... (click for more)