RUTHERFORD COUNTY, Tenn. (WKRN) – Lawmakers are calling for the impeachment of Rutherford County Juvenile Judge Donna Scott Davenport. She’s the judge accused of jailing black elementary school students for crimes that don’t exist.
Judge Davenport is now running for re-election in the county south of Nashville.
The group of lawmakers led by Democrats says impeaching Davenport is necessary to protect children in Rutherford County. “I think it’s time for us to take action and have this judge removed,” said Nashville Sen. Brenda Gilmore.
Strong words are continuing to come from lawmakers regarding Judge Davenport.
“I believe we don’t need to see her running in another election — children are at stake,” said Knoxville Rep. Gloria Johnson.
In the joint resolution, filed by Nashville Senator Heidi Campbell and Rep. Johnson, to form a committee lawmakers say:
“Judge Davenport has violated State law and her oath of office, the General Assembly finds it necessary to commence proceedings for the removal of Donna Scott Davenport from office as Juvenile Court Judge for the following cause: From at least 2008 until 2017, Judge Davenport oversaw an illegal detention policy that was in use in Rutherford County, resulting in the unlawful detention of children, some of whom had not even been alleged to have committed a delinquent or unruly act…”
“The fact that the rate of children being jailed in Rutherford County is 48% compared to 5% in the state of Tennessee is worth our efforts,” Gilmore said.
The effort is a rare one, to remove a sitting Tennessee judge, but those backing the impeachment effort say what Judge Davenport did was ‘illegal’. “It’s important to remember that those charges were made up that she took those kids from that school, cuffed them, and locked them up,” Johnson said.
In December, a federal judge ruled Rutherford County would have to pay out $6 million to families of children who were illegally arrested and jailed.
There’s currently a judicial review going on due to a complaint filed against Davenport. News 2 reached out to Judge Davenport and has not heard back.