|Local judge issued public reprimand |
|Posted: Tuesday, April 10, 2012 9:13 pm |
The Tennessee Court of the Judiciary has issued a public reprimand against Obion County General Sessions Court Judge Jimmy C. Smith in re-sponse to a complaint filed against him.
Judge Jimmy C. Smith
The reprimand relates to Smith’s alleged action as judge in ordering the release on recognizance of his son after his arrest for driving under the influence in October 2011 in Obion County.
Smith was issued the public letter of reprimand in a letter dated April 2 and it was released publicly Monday when it was posted on the Tennessee Court of the Judiciary’s website.
According to the letter of reprimand, upon Smith’s receiving notice of the complaint from the Disciplinary Counsel to the Tennessee Court of the Judiciary, he promptly responded and admitted he had set the conditions of release for his son, indicating he had been arrested on a Saturday evening and he had ordered him released on Sunday.
“You further indicated that you had no intention of hearing the case against your son and had asked for a special judge to be appointed to hear the case,” according to the letter signed by Tennessee Court of the Judiciary Presiding Judge Chris Craft.
The letter indicated Smith’s participation as a judge in a matter involving his son was a violation of Canon 3E of the Code of Judicial Conduct as set for in the Rules of the Supreme Court of Tennessee which provides, in part, that a judge shall disqualify himself in a proceeding in which the judge’s impartiality might reasonably be questioned.
“The entry of this order by you releasing your son after his arrest is also a violation of Canon 2A, which requires that a ‘judge shall respect and comply with the law and act at all times in a manner that promotes public confidence in the integrity and impartiality of the Judiciary,’” according to the letter.
In closing, Craft said the letter constitutes a public reprimand for Smith’s actions.
Smith’s son, James Cutler Smith, was charged with first-offense DUI and violation of the implied consent law following his arrest Oct. 15, 2011, in Troy. When it went to court Dec. 16, the case was handled by a special prosecutor from outside the judicial district and was heard by Judge Ricky Wood of Decatur County.
The DUI charge against James Cutler Smith was dismissed and a guilty plea was entered to the implied consent charge. The younger Smith’s driver’s license was suspended for one year and he was ordered to pay court costs, according to General Sessions Court records. Published in The Messenger 4.10.12