KINGSTON, Tenn. (WATE) — The state has suspended a Roane County General Sessions Judge for 30 days following an October 2021 wreck in which he received a citation for having an open container of alcohol in the car.
Dennis W. Humphrey has served as a general sessions court judge in Roane County since 1998. As such, he is subject to the provisions of the Tennessee Supreme Court Rule 10, otherwise known as the Code of Judicial Conduct.
“When any judge, but especially a judge who adjudicates substance abuse or chemical dependency matters such as Judge Humphrey, is convicted of DUI or related offenses, respect for the judiciary and the administration of justice suffers,” the board wrote in the suspension order.
Humphrey was involved in a car wreck in October 2021 in which he received a citation for having an open container of alcohol in his car, as well as for failing to use due care. Humphrey pled guilty to both offenses and paid fines associated with the citations. Humphrey pleaded guilty to a charge of driving under the influence.
On March 17, an investigative panel of the Board of Judicial Conduct authorized a full investigation of the matter. Within days, Humphrey was advised that he was found in violation of the Judicial Code of Conduct.
Among violations listed in the suspension order are “conduct calculated to brings the judiciary into public disrepute or to adversely affect the administration of justice,” and “personal activities that would appear to a reasonable person to undermine the judge’s independence, integrity, or impartiality.”
In a reply on April 6, the order states Humphrey admitted to the events.
“Judge Humphrey, who has been transparent and cooperative throughout this matter and has accepted full responsibility for his actions, agreed to accept the sanctions described herein in lieu of the filing of formal disciplinary charges,” the board wrote in the suspension order.
The suspension will be served in two terms, from July 1-15; and again September 1-15.
Humphrey reported the accident to the Administrative Office of the Courts, contacted the Tennessee Lawyers Assistance Program and then checked himself into a Knox County facility for 9 weeks of in-patient treatment of alcoholism, according to facts in the suspension order.
After completing the treatment program, Humphrey is being monitored by TLAP, attends Alcoholics Anonymous meetings, and will undergo random alcohol screenings for the next 5 years, according to the suspension order.