Judge charged with judicial code violations in baby Messiah case

Judge charged with judicial code violations in baby Messiah case

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Child Support Magistrate Lu Ann Ballew's order would have forced Jaleesa Martin to change her baby's first name from Messiah to Martin. Child Support Magistrate Lu Ann Ballew's order would have forced Jaleesa Martin to change her baby's first name from Messiah to Martin.

NEWPORT (WATE) - A judge who ordered parents in Newport to change the name of their baby they had named Messiah is charged with judicial code violations.

The charges were filed Wednesday by three-member investigative panel associated with Tennessee's Board of Judicial Conduct.

The formal charges against Child Support Magistrate Lu Ann Ballew say she failed to promote confidence in the judiciary or uphold the law without bias or partiality.

Ballew ordered Jaleesa Martin in August to change the name of Martin's eight-month-old baby Messiah Deshawn Martin.

Ballew stated in her ruling that the name Messiah would offend local citizens and is a name only held by Jesus Christ.

Cocke County Chancellor Telford E. Forgety Jr. reversed that decision in September, saying Ballew had acted unconstitutionally.

Martin and the baby's father, Jawaan McCullough, filed a complaint against Ballew with the Board of Judicial Conduct.

Ballew has 30 days to answer the board's charges. A hearing on the case will then be scheduled within 60 days.

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