Court of Judiciary Elects New Leadership, Promises Transparency

Press Release by Tennessee State Courts; August 24, 2011:

Nashville, Tenn. – Shelby County Criminal Court Judge Chris Craft was today elected presiding judge of the Court of the Judiciary, the body that handles complaints against judges and imposes sanctions for judicial misconduct.  Craft replaces Judge Don Ash, who served as presiding judge of the Court of the Judiciary for the past four years.

“I appreciate the confidence the members of the Court of the Judiciary has shown in me by selecting me as their Presiding Judge,” Craft said. “I also want to thank Judge Ash for his incredible dedication to the Court of the Judiciary and commend him for his work as presiding judge during the past four years.”

“I look forward to working with the Court of the Judiciary and members of the legislature as we continue the very important task of safeguarding the ethics of the Judicial Branch of government and ensuring that all Tennesseans have ethical, fair and impartial judges,” Craft said.

Craft has served as criminal court judge in the 30th Judicial District since 1994. Prior to his appointment to the bench, Craft served as an assistant district attorney for 12 years, the last three of which he served as senior trial prosecutor in the major violations unit. Since 2001, Craft has served as an adjunct professor at the University of Memphis School of law. Craft is vice president of the Tennessee Judicial Conference and Dean of the Judicial Academy.

The Court of the Judiciary also elected Judge Jean Stanley as presiding judge pro tem, who will act as presiding judge in cases where the presiding judge must recuse himself. Since 1992, Stanley has served as circuit court judge in the 1st Judicial District, which includes Carter, Johnson, Unicoi and Washington counties.

During its meeting, the Court of the Judiciary also released its annual report, which provides statistical data and information about the Court’s efforts during the past fiscal year. During the 2010-2011 Fiscal Year, nine complaints resulted in a public reprimand.

In an effort to improve transparency, this year’s annual report offers greater detail about the Court of Judiciary’s efforts, including more comprehensive breakdown of the disposition of cases, a year-by-year comparison of statistical information and a summary about the types of conduct that resulted in private discipline.

“We believe Tennesseans deserve greater transparency about our efforts to investigate complaints against judges and this new annual report format serves as our first step in that direction,” Craft said.

The Court of the Judiciary’s 2010-2011 annual report, along with reports from the past six years, may be downloaded online at http://www.tncourts.gov/court-judiciary.

Download the annual report here: http://www.tncourts.gov/sites/default/files/docs/court_of_judiciary_2010-20011_annual_report.pdf