Tuesday, March 4, 2014

Magistrate: State Must Protect Children From "Potentially Detrimental Names"

The Tennessee Magistrate facing ethics charges for changing a child's name from Messiah to Martin has filed a statement denying the charges.

The submission seeks to distinguish cases cited by Disciplinary Counsel and concludes

Of all the forms of human expression, there are none with such permanent, life-altering consequences for another human being who lacks any ability to counter it, then the choice of a name. Children have no control over their names, and a child's only protection from potentially detrimental names lies with the state. Magistrate Ballew made a very difficult decision and she based that decision on her knowledge of the community and the future difficulties she thought that a child named "Messiah" might face.

Thus, the Magistrate seeks dismissal of the charges for lack of clear and convincing evidence.

Remarkable that the Magistrate would cite community intolerance as a basis to take this action.

Update: The New York Times is reporting that the matter has been concluded with a censure.

Update II: A Tennessee termination of parental rights case was just remanded. The child's first name is Karma. What goes around comes around.  (Mike Frisch)


Judicial Ethics and the Courts | Permalink

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