Tennessee has a long history of preserving the integrity of the judicial system and enhancing the public confidence of the judiciary. The current Board of Judicial Conduct was created by the Tennessee Legislature through Public Chapter 496, amending TN Code § 17-5-101 and went into effect on July 1, 2019. The current board has three predecessors – the Board of Judicial Conduct (July 1, 2012 – June 30, 2019), the Court of the Judiciary (1979 – 2012), and the Judicial Standards Commission (1971 – 1979).
The Board of Judicial Conduct is charged with: providing an orderly and efficient method for making inquiry into the physical, mental, and moral fitness of any Tennessee judge; the judge's manner of performance of duty; and the judge's commission of any act that reflects unfavorably upon the judiciary or brings the judiciary into disrepute or that may adversely affect the administration of justice.
The law creating the Board also provides a process by which appropriate sanctions may be imposed.
The Board is divided into three-member investigative panels and five-member hearing panels. Hearing panels have the authority to rule on prehearing motions, conduct hearings on formal charges, compel witnesses and the production of evidence, make findings and conclusions, impose sanctions, and dismiss cases. The Tennessee Rules of Civil Procedure and the Tennessee Rules of Evidence apply to Board proceedings.
Complaints are placed into the following categories:
(A) Failure to comply with the law; (B) Bias, prejudice, and unfairness; (C) Discourtesy; (D) Abuse of office; (E) Delay; (F) Ex parte communication; (G) Disability; (H) Political violation; (l) Recusal; and (J) Miscellaneous.
Rules of the Board of Judicial Conduct
Download a report detailing the history of the Board of Judicial Conduct and its predecessor, the Court of the Judiciary and Judicial Standards Commission.
Board of Judicial Conduct Reports
The Board of Judicial Conduct, as mandated by Tenn. Code Ann. § 17-5-207, has provided statistical data for the number of filings and dispositions handled by the Board.
Court of the Judiciary Reports
The Court of the Judiciary ceased to exist June 30, 2012, and was replaced by the Board of Judicial Conduct. Monthly and quarterly reports on filings and dispositions occurring after June 30, 2012, may be accessed at Board of Judicial Conduct Reports above.
2011-2012 final annual report
2010-2011 annual report
2009-2010 annual report
2008-2009 annual report
2007-2008 annual report
2006-2007 annual report
2005-2006 annual report
2004-2005 annual report
Tennessee Code Annotated § 17-5-101, et seq. may be found at the Lexis Law Publishing web site.