Tennessee judge that ordered mother to change child's name fired

Tennessee judge that ordered mother to change child's name fired


NEWPORT (WATE) - The judge who ordered a Cocke County baby's name to be changed from Messiah has been removed from the bench.

An order from the Fourth Judicial District states Judge Lu Ann Ballew was terminated as the Child Support Magistrate for the district as of midnight, January 31.

Ballew ordered Jaleesa Martin and Jawaan McCullough to rename their son Messiah last August, saying he should be named Martin.

The judge wrote in her opinion it is not in the child's best interest to have the name Messiah, explaining that Messiah means Savior, Deliverer, the One who will restore God's kingdom. She said the title is "held only by Jesus Christ."

Another judge reversed Ballew's order the following month, saying Ballew had acted unconstitutionally.

In October, Ballew was charged with judicial code violations by a three-member investigative panel associated with Tennessee's Board of Judicial Conduct.

The formal charges said she failed to promote confidence in the judiciary or uphold the law without bias or partiality.

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