Tennessee Code Annotated

Title 17: Judges and Chancellors

Chapter 5: Court of the Judiciary

Part 2: Creation and Organization

TCA 17-5-201: Creation of court of the judiciary -- Composition -- Terms of office -- Vacancies -- Hearing panels -- Investigative panels.

(a) Notwithstanding any other law to the contrary, the court of the judiciary is dissolved effective July 1, 2012, and the terms of the present members of the court of the judiciary shall terminate on such date. On that date, there is created the board of judicial conduct to consist of sixteen (16) members to be selected in the following manner:

(1) One (1) current or former trial judge from each grand division, to be appointed by the Tennessee judicial conference;

(2) One (1) current or former general sessions court judge from each grand division, to be appointed by the Tennessee general sessions judges conference;

(3) One (1) current or former municipal court judge, to be appointed by the Tennessee municipal judges conference;

(4) One (1) current or former juvenile court judge, to be appointed by the Tennessee council of juvenile and family court judges;

(5) Two (2) current or former court of appeals or court of criminal appeals judges, with one (1) being appointed by the speaker of the house of representatives and one (1) being appointed by the speaker of the senate, from a list of six (6) recommended by the Tennessee judicial conference;

(6) Two (2) members of the public who are not judges, one (1) of whom shall be an attorney who regularly practices in the courts of this state and may be a member of the district attorneys general conference or a member of the district public defenders conference, and one (1) of whom shall be neither a judge nor an attorney, to be appointed by the speaker of the senate;

(7) Two (2) members of the public who are not judges, one (1) of whom shall be an attorney who regularly practices in the courts of this state and may be a member of the district attorneys general conference or a member of the district public defenders conference, and one (1) of whom shall be neither a judge nor an attorney, to be appointed by the speaker of the house of representatives; and

(8) Two (2) members of the public who are not judges, one (1) of whom shall be an attorney who regularly practices in the courts of this state and may be a member of the district attorneys general conference or a member of the district public defenders conference, and one (1) of whom shall be neither a judge nor an attorney, to be appointed by the governor.

(b) The board shall select its own chair. The board also shall select a vice chair and shall select one (1) member to serve as a direct liaison to the members of the general assembly.

(c) Each member of the board shall serve for a term of three (3) years and shall be eligible for reappointment to one (1) additional term. Vacancies on the court for an unexpired term shall be made for the remainder of the term by the appointing power of the original appointment.

(d) (1) The chair shall divide the board into hearing panels of six (6) members and investigative panels of three (3) members. At least one (1) member of each investigative panel shall be a member other than a current judge and at least two (2) members of each hearing panel shall be members other than current judges. Membership on the panels may rotate in a manner determined by the chair; provided, that no members shall sit on both the hearing and investigative panels for the same proceeding.

(2) A hearing panel has the duty and authority to rule on prehearing motions, conduct hearings on formal charges and make findings, conclusions, and impose sanctions or dismiss the case.

(3) An investigative panel has the duty and authority to:

(A) Review the recommendations of disciplinary counsel after preliminary investigation and either authorize a full investigation or dismiss the complaint; and

(B) Review the recommendations of disciplinary counsel after a full investigation and approve, disapprove or modify the recommendations as provided in SC 17-5-304.

(4) No attorney member of the board shall sit on any investigative or hearing panel if the attorney has ever appeared before the judge against whom the complaint is filed.

(e) The appointing authorities, in making their appointments, shall do so with a conscious intention of selecting a board that reflects a diverse mixture with respect to race, including the dominant ethnic minority population, and gender.

History: Acts 1979, ch. 356, SC 4; T.C.A., SC 17-804; Acts 1981, ch. 425, SCSC 1, 2; 1995, ch. 208, SCSC 3-5, 18; 1999, ch. 151, SC 1; 2004, ch. 914, SCSC 3b, 3c; 2012, ch. 819, SC 1.