KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (WATE) — Ahead of a competitive race for the coveted Knoxville municipal judge position, the incumbent broke a judicial code during his press conference Wednesday.
Judge John Rosson violated a judicial code by using court resources for his campaign. He received endorsements from former judge candidates Mary Ward and Andrew Beamer during a presser in his city courtroom, which is against the code.
CANON 4 — A JUDGE OR CANDIDATE FOR JUDICIAL OFFICE SHALL NOT ENGAGE IN POLITICAL OR CAMPAIGN ACTIVITY THAT IS INCONSISTENT WITH THE INDEPENDENCE, INTEGRITY, OR IMPARTIALITY OF THE JUDICIARY.
Rule 4.1 Political and Campaign Activities of Judges and Judicial Candidates in General
(A) Except as permitted by law, or by RJCs 4.2, 4.3, and 4.4, a judge or a judicial candidate shall not:
(10) use court staff, facilities, or other court resources in a campaign for judicial officeTenn. Sup. Ct. R. 10, Canon 4, Rule 4.1(A)(10)
Rosson has admitted to his mistake and apologized for it, stating that he was not aware of the rule.
“First of all I wanted to apologize,” said Rosson. “I haven’t had to run a campaign in the last 20 years and it’s just not something I was thinking about. And I’m sorry I should have done more research. I did try to check into it, that’s the only person I knew who to call, the Board of Judicial Conduct but I couldn’t get a response from them and I was under some pressure to get this out of the way. I apologize.”
Tyler Caviness, Rosson’s opponent in the primaries, expressed his concern over the violation.
“That is a rule that I am aware of. I think we have an obligation to educate ourselves on the rules and regulations of the office we are in or seeking. It does concern me, when it’s a clear reading of the rule,” said Caviness.
Rosson received 38% of the vote in the primaries, edging out Caviness who had 36%. They will compete against each other in the polls next month.
As of now, there are no violations or rulings against Rosson.