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THE TENNESSEE COURT OF THE JUDICIARY Presented to the Tennessee General Sessions Judges Conference February 8th, 2011 by Tim Discenza.

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Presentation on theme: "THE TENNESSEE COURT OF THE JUDICIARY Presented to the Tennessee General Sessions Judges Conference February 8th, 2011 by Tim Discenza."— Presentation transcript:

1 THE TENNESSEE COURT OF THE JUDICIARY Presented to the Tennessee General Sessions Judges Conference February 8th, 2011 by Tim Discenza

2 Purpose of the Court Tenn. Code Ann Provide an orderly and efficient method for making inquiry into: 1. The physical, mental and/or moral fitness of any Tennessee judge. 2. The manner of performance of duty. 3. The judges commission of any act calculated to reflect unfavorably upon the judiciary of the state or bring the judiciary into disrepute or which may adversely affect the administration of justice in the state; or 4. The conduct of candidates for judicial office

3 Judicial Offenses Tenn. Code Ann Willful misconduct relating to the official duties of the office. Willful or persistent failure to perform the duties of the office. The commission of any act constituting a violation of so much of the Tennessee Rules of Professional Conduct as set out in Tenn. Sup. Ct. R. 8. as is applicable to judges. A persistent pattern of intemperate, irresponsible, or injudicious conduct

4 Judicial Offenses Tenn. Code Ann A persistent pattern of discourtesy to litigants, witnesses, jurors, court personnel, or lawyers. A persistent pattern of delay in disposing of pending litigation; and Any other conduct calculated to bring the judiciary into public disrepute or to adversely affect the administration of justice.

5 Composition of the Court Tenn. Code Ann Three judges form the Appellate Courts. One trial judge from each grand division of the state.(3) One practicing attorney from each grand division.(3) Three public members who are not judges or attorneys. One General Sessions or Juvenile Judge from each grand division. One Municipal Judge

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7 July 1 st, 2009 – June 30 th, 2010 Complaints filed344 Summary Dismissals & Dismissals after PI28884% Dismissed by Panel after Appeal113% Total Summary Dismissals29986% AVERAGE COMPLAINTS PER MONTH29

8 Types of Summary Dismissals Complaint about Decision 214 No facts to justify a complaint 23 No jurisdiction over the person who is complained about 30 Total 267

9 NATURE OF COMPLAINTS FILED Failure to comply with the Law25374% Bias, prejudice, unfairness5115% Discourtesy82% Abuse of Office1.5% Conflict of interest51% Delay154% Ex parte communication62% Disability1.5% Political violation21% Miscellaneous21% TOTAL344

10 ACCUSED JUDGE Criminal8725% Circuit7121% Chancery257% General Sessions8324% Juvenile288% Municipal102% Referee72% Commissioner31% Probate21% Supreme Court51% Appellate62% Sr. & retired Judge62% Other113% TOTAL 34 4

11 DISPOSITIONS 7/1/2009 THROUGH 06/30/2010 Dismissal by Disciplinary Counsel26983% Dismissal after preliminary investigation165% Dismissal with warning after preliminary investigation41% Dismissal after appeal of summary dismissal124% Dismissal after full investigation00% Dismissal with warning after full investigation00% Deferred Discipline Agreement52% Private Letter Reprimand00% Private Censure00% Public Reprimand11% Public Censure00% Retired based on termination of Judge Status72% Other82%

12 Types of Action Where Judge Received a Warning or Discipline Failure to Comply with law 5 Bias, prejudice, unfairness 4 Conflict of Interest 1 Delay 1 Political Violation 1 Miscellaneous 1

13 THE LINE BETWEEN LEGAL ERROR AND JUDICIAL MISCONDUCT The Mere legal error doctrine. / Clear legal error. Appealable Demeanor Failure to Exercise Discretion Pattern of Legal Error Decisions Made in Bad Faith Egregious Legal Error Contempt


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