Opinion: Judicial Board’s Integrity Unfairly Attacked

In response to a June 7 article, immediate past president of the Tennessee Bar Association Cindy Wyrick denounces state Sen. Janice Bowling’s accusations that the Board of Judicial Conduct is “failing to do its job” and that members of the Judicial Performance Evaluation Commission were “pressured” into changing their votes. Wyrick defends the integrity of the board’s members, stating “In reviewing the performance of judges, the commission makes a preliminary finding. Fairness demands that judges have an opportunity for a hearing to offer an alternate viewpoint. Similarly, judges and lawyers who have experience with the judges being evaluated should, and did, come forward to recommend a different result. The implication that it was unusual or improper for those opinions to be offered to the commission is simply false. The idea that Commission members succumbed to ‘improper influence’ is equally incorrect and untrue.” She goes on to state that the board’s counsel found no misconduct, based on a careful reading of the Code of Judicial Conduct. “Inappropriate and unnecessary distractions that unfairly call into question the integrity of the ethics process should, therefore, be viewed in light of the fact that they conveniently come during an election year,” Wyrick concludes. The Tennessean has the full letter.