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Scoville Reply to Tennessee Board of Judicial Conduct's Denial of Records Requests of May 19, 21, and 23, 2014

Scoville Reply to Tennessee Board of Judicial Conduct's Denial of Records Requests of May 19, 21, and 23, 2014

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Published by George Scoville
A letter appealing Judge Chris Craft's denial of three lawful, constitutional requests for records pertaining to investigations of judges' professional behavior.
A letter appealing Judge Chris Craft's denial of three lawful, constitutional requests for records pertaining to investigations of judges' professional behavior.

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Published by: George Scoville on Jun 23, 2014
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08/16/2014

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George
S.
Scoville
III
Via Certified Mail
with
Return
Receipt RequestedJune
10,2014
Chris
Craft,
Board Chair
The Tennessee
Board
of
Judicial Conduct511 Union Street
Suite
600Nashville, TN 37219
Dear
Chairman Craft:
I
am
in
receipt
of
your
reply, dated May
23,2074
and,
postmarked
May 30,
20t4,to
my requests
of
the Board
of
tudicial
Conduct
(hereinafter
"the
BlC")
for
copies
of documents
and
other
communications
pertaining
to
formal
and/or
informal
charges
and/or
investigations
into the
ethical conduct
of Tennessee Supreme
Court
Chief
lustice
Gary
R.
Wade and
Davidson County
]uvenile
Court Magistrate Carlton
Lewis.
Thank you for
your attention
to
these
matters.
It
is
curious that you did not
mention either
Chief
fustice Wade's
or
Magistrate Lewis's
names
inyour
correspondence to
me,
however.
Based on
previous records requests
sent
by
me
via
CertifiedMail
with
Return
Receipt Requested
to
Timothy
R.
Discenza,
Disciplinary
Counsel
-
who
is an
agent
of
the
Bf
C,
and
conducts
business on
behalf
of
the
BJC,
regardless
of
his employment
or contractor
status
-
I
can
only
assume
that you refer to
either
Chief
]ustice
Wade,
Magistrate
Lewis,
or both,when you
write
to
me, "no
formal
charges have been
filed
against
the
judge you mentioned in
your
request."
Could
you
please
clariff
to whom you were
referring?
I
am
perplexed,
too, by
your
comments correcting my
use of
the nomenclature "Board
of
f
udicial
Conduct of
the
Supreme
Court
of Tennessee,"
writing
to
me
that the
Bf
C
is
an
"administrative
body
which
is
solely the creation
of
the
Tennessee
legislature
and none of
its members
are
members
of,
or appointed
by,
the
Tennessee Supreme
Court."
While
I accept
that
the contents
of
this phrase
as
fac
please
explain to
me
why, in the
same
correspondence, you
later
assert
that
Rule
B
of
the
Rules
ofPractice
and
Procedure
ofthe
Board
of|udicial
Conduct fhereinafter
"the
Rules"J
derives
itsauthority from
the approval
of
the Legislature, pursuant to
T.C.A.
16-3-404.Is
it
not
true
that
Title
16
Chapter
3,
Part 404
of
the
Tennessee
Code
Annotated provides
for
the mechanism
by
which
the
Tennessee Supreme
Court's rules
of
practice
and
procedure, drafted
pursuant
to
T.C.A.
76-3-401
and
T.C.A.
t6-3-402,
may
take
effect?
Why
would
the
Rules of
the
Bf C
need
to
be
approved by theLegislature under
this provision if
the
BIC is,
as
you
say,
an
"administrative
body
which
is
solely thecreation
ofthe
Tennessee
legislature,"
and
not
part
ofthe
Tennessee Supreme Court?
I
am also
baffled
by
your
reliance
on Rule 8
as
an
abridgment
of
the
Tennessee
Public
Records
Act
fhereinafter
"the
PRA").
Although the
PRA
refers to
other
"laws"
that
may
provide statutory
exemptions to its
other lawful
provisions, under
what authority
are
the
Rules of
the
BfC
considered"law"?
Please
advise
your ability
to
rely
on Rule
B
consistent
with
my
response
herein.
 
Here is
another question:
since
the
BIC
is an
"administrative
agency" created
by the Legislature,
is
the
BfC
subject to the
Uniform Administrative
Procedures
Act
(hereinafter
"the
UAPA")? Or is
there
another exception carved out
in
the
Rules
that
would
exempt the
BIC
from
the
UAPA?
I
know that
the
Tennessee Supreme
Court
has
held
that
the Board
of
Professional Responsibility
is
not
anagency, and
therefore
not subject to the
UAPA.
Would you
please
clarify
this
for
me?
Finally, you invoke
T.C.A.
17-5-304(f),
which
states,
"ln
the
event
the investigative panel finds
that
there
is
reasonable
cause
to believe that
the
judge
committed
a
judicial
offense, and
theinvestigative panel directs
disciplinary
counsel
to
file
a
formal
charge,
then
from
the
filing
of
the
formal
charge
forward,
all records, actions
and
proceedings
of
the court
shall
be
subiect to
theprovisions
of
$
10-7-503
and
title
8,
chapter
44, except
that the
court
may deliberate
in private,"
to
privilege
records I
seek
from
the
reach
ofthe
PRA.
Strangely,
this provision
does
not
create
a
lawthat
holds that the records
made
prior
to the
determination
of
whether
or not to
file
a
formal
charge
against
a
judge
are
confidential
(as
stated
in
the
BIC's
Rule
B).
Only
the reverse
is
true in
statute, that when the
disciplinary
counsel files
a
formal
charge,
records
are
public. There
does
not
appear to
be
any
"law"
that
makes
the records
and
investigations
of
the
Bf
C
"confidential"
as
you
claim.Consistent
with
the tenets
of
Article
I,
Section 19 of
the
Tennessee
Constitutionr,
which
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,"
I am here
renewing my requests
for
access
to
and copies of
the records described
in letters
sent by
me
via Certified Mail
with
Return
Receipt Requested
to
Timothy
R.
Discenza,
Disciplinary
Counsel,
dated May
19,2074,May
2t,2Ot4,andMay
23,2014,
received
on
May
20,20L4,May
22,
2014,
and May 24,2014, respectively,
copies of
which
are
hereto attached to
assist
you
with
the
search and
production
ofthe
records.Thank you for
your
assistance.
Your
timely
response
is
appreciated.
Sincerely,George
S.
Scoville
III
Enclosures:
(25)
Cc:
fudge Chris Craft
The
Criminal
Court
of Tennessee
3gur
fudicial Disffict
at Memphis201 Poplar AvenueMemphis, TN 38103Michael
W. Catalano,
CIerk
100 Supreme
Court
Building
401
Seventh Avenue,
North
Nashville, TN 37219-1407
I http:
/ vtvrw.capitol.tn.gov
/
about
docs/TN-Constitution'pdf

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