Friday, July 29, 2022

The Judge From Cookeville

The Tennessee Board of Judicial Conduct has suspended a judge for 30 days.

One set of allegations involved his public comments in opioid litigation where he took on the role of public advocate rather than impartial judge.

A second set involved his communications with a woman in an adoption matter which ranged from "flirtatious to sexual before, during and after" the proceeding.

He requested intimate photos and had sex with her in a hotel in Cookeville. He also requested she use an app that would automatically delete their communications.

He nonetheless did not recuse himself and entered an order granted the husband's adoption and had failed to respond to the notice of charges.

The order notes that he had been previously reprimanded for his social media communications with multiple women.

Ten News reported on the prior matter

Young presides in the 13th Judicial District, which includes Putnam and Cumberland counties. He often handles family matters.

An investigation by the board in August found Young sent inappropriate messages to various women from 2015 to this year. Besides sending flirtatious and even sexual messages, he sometimes asked for photographs, the investigation found.

Most of his communications on the social media platforms occurred while he used a photo showing him in his black judicial robes.

Among the women who got his messages were one whose firm has business in his court and an unnamed litigant who had a child custody case before him, the investigation found.

His activities at times put lawyers in awkward positions of having to seek counsel on whether they needed to disclose to their clients what they knew about Young, the board found.

In at least one case alluded to in the reprimand, board Chairman Dee David Gay noted that a party knew about the judge's activities and used it to their "strategic advantage."

Judges are supposed to act professionally and personally in a way that is above reproach. They're supposed to conduct themselves in a way that instills confidence by the public.

The board said Young's behavior failed to follow that standard of conduct.

Young cooperated with the investigation and admitted what he'd done, the Oct. 5 letter from Gay states. That worked in his favor.

Mercifully, his term of office expires on August 31, 2022. (Mike Frisch)

Judicial Ethics and the Courts | Permalink


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