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Gov. Lee backs corrupt judge, lack of transparency

Rutherford County Juvenile Court Judge Donna Scott Davenport gives an interview at WGNS FM 101.9 Murfreesboro. (Photo WGNS Radio)
Gov. Bill Lee, a Republican, is seeking re-election

Gov. Bill Lee proposes that a judge who wrongfully and unlawfully “detained” children, “some of whom had not even been alleged to have committed a delinquent or unruly act,” be examined by the corrupt the Board of Judicial Conduct without transparency.

By John Gentry

The Board of Judicial Conduct, or TBJC, is run by judges who hold expressly prohibited offices in violation of Tennessee Consts. Art. VI Sect. 7.

The board has never once recommended removal or impeachment of a judge since its unlawful creation by the General Assembly in 1971 despite rampant corruption in our judiciary.

Abuse of weak, poor

Corruption like that of Rutherford County Juvenile Court Judge Donna Scott Davenport.

Just last session, Judge Dee David Gay, the new chairman of the recently “reconstituted” judicial conduct board stated at a sunset hearing that the board is impotent against the criminal conduct of judges, and that a judge under review by the TBJC need only resign to avoid prosecution by the board.

I presume Gov. Lee knows this, that he wants to protect the judge from prosecution. I make this presumption due to the fact that Gov. Lee selected as his cabinet chief operating officer a corrupt former judge that was a member of the board of judicial conduct, and also a member of Tennessee Court of Appeals.

Lee appears to be a lackey for the judiciary.


“We [Governor’s Office] are concerned about the recent reports and believe the appropriate judicial authorities should issue a full review,” Lee’s press secretary, Casey Black, said in an email Friday. “All criminal charging decisions are made within the judicial branch.” The Board of Judicial Conduct would do the review. It says such procedures are confidential and the public would be informed if the investigation resulted in a public reprimand or formal charges.

“[S]uch procedures are confidential? Tennessee Constitution, Article I, Section 19 states; “That the printing press shall be free to every person to examine the proceedings of the Legislature; or of any branch or officer of the government, and no law shall ever be made to restrain the right thereof.” Yet here we have a corrupt agency with judges holding prohibited offices operating in the dark.

“All criminal charging decisions are made within the judicial branch.”

Really? Article V states the House has the sole power of impeachment. Impeachments are tried in the Senate. It is a lie that the judicial branch makes all criminal charging decisions.

Sen. Heidi Campbell (D-Nashville) has filed a Senate Joint Resolution 0788 that

authorizes the Speaker of the Senate to appoint a committee to meet with a like committee from the House of Representatives to consider the removal of Donna Scott Davenport from the office of Juvenile Court Judge of Rutherford County by the Tennessee General Assembly acting pursuant to Article VI, Section 6 of the Constitution of Tennessee.

At least one senator encourages the legislative houses’ taking back their power, and checking one branch over another, to oversee misconduct by those such as Judge Davenport.

Power of impeachment awaits

The assembly should impeach Judge Davenport for the wrongful and unlawful incarceration of children.

Sen. Campbell should have filed proposed articles of impeachment.

Thomas Jefferson stated that impeachment is but a scarecrow. But our assembly won’t bother to impeach, and in so not doing, condones judicial corruption. It aids and abets judicial corruption.

$6 million settlement over judge harms

In a second story about Sen. Campbell’s resolution to create a committee for the consideration of the removal of Judge Davenport. The

resolution comes just a month after a federal judge approved a settlement of about $6 million to the families of hundreds of juveniles that were illegally jailed for over a decade. The cause listed in the ouster resolution says the judge violated state law and her oath of office: From at least 2008 until 2017, Judge Davenport oversaw an illegal detention policy that was in use in Rutherford County, resulting in the unlawful detention of children, some of whom had not even been alleged to have committed a delinquent or unruly act.

That Judge Davenport is on the bench today evidences our judiciary is above the law, that it acts with impunity, that it destroys the lives of tens of thousands of Tennesseans every year.

As governor, I will drop the hammer on the judiciary. I will restore accountability of our corrupt judiciary, restore justice to our people. Tennessee will set an example for the several states to help restore justice to the entire nation as our demands for reform spread.

By John Gentry is constitutional Republican and independent candidate for governor 2022.

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