State can't make suspended judge pay substitutes

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) -- When a General Sessions Court judge from East Tennessee was suspended with pay for numerous ethical violations, prosecutors took the position that the judge was essentially getting a paid vacation.

Their effort to force Cocke County General Sessions Judge John Bell to pay the salaries of the replacement judges who will have to sit on the bench for him in Newport during his 90-day suspension failed this week.

The Tennessee Court of Judiciary, which ordered Bell suspended, has agreed with his arguments that prosecutors were improperly trying to get around state law that protects judges from having their salaries reduced during their term.

Bell was ordered on Wednesday to pay more than $3,000 to cover fees associated with his disciplinary hearing in June.


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