The University of Tennessee, Knoxville

Tennessee County Municipal Advisory Service

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Judges

Reference Number: MTAS-95
Tennessee Code Annotated
Reviewed Date: September 12, 2017
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Training of City Judges and Court Clerks
City judges and city court clerks must receive three hours of training each year provided through the Administrative Office of the Courts. Failure of the judge to receive the training after a six-month grace period renders his/her judgments null and void. Both judges and clerks must be compensated and reimbursed for the training in accordance with the municipality’s travel policy. T.C.A. § 16-18-309. The Administrative Office of the Courts and the Department of Safety must also provide annual training to court clerks on the necessity and importance of preparing and forwarding to the Department of Safety the abstract forms for conviction of traffic violations. T.C.A. § 55-10-306(f).

Concurrent Holding of Other Offices by Judge
The municipal judge may not hold any other office, such as city recorder or mayor, with the municipality. Judges holding other offices on March 1, 2005, who are recorders or mayors or another city official, are grandfathered. T.C.A. § 16-18-308.

Sitting by Interchange
T.C.A. §16-18-312 allows municipal court judges to sit by interchange for other municipal court judges.

Tennessee Municipal Judges Conference
Each municipal judge is a member of the Tennessee Municipal Judges Conference and must attend its annual meeting unless physically incapable. The municipality must pay the costs of attendance. T.C.A. § 17-3-301.

Other Provisions
City judges in cities with a population of more than 160,000 must be lawyers authorized to practice law in Tennessee courts. T.C.A. § 17-1-106(d). City judges in general law modified city manager-council cities also are required to be licensed attorneys.T.C.A. § 6-33-102. All municipal judges are under the jurisdiction of the Board of Judicial Conduct. T.C.A. §§ 17-5-102 and 17-5-201 [1]. T.C.A. § 16-18-303 empowers municipal court judges to administer oaths.

Every magistrate or judge of a court shall keep or cause to be kept a record of every traffic complaint, warrant, traffic citation or other legal form of traffic charge deposited with or presented to the court or the traffic violations bureau of its jurisdiction, and shall keep a record of every official action by the court or the traffic violations bureau of its jurisdiction in reference thereto, including, but not limited to, a record of every conviction, forfeiture of bail, judgment of acquittal and the amount of fine or forfeiture resulting from every traffic complaint, warrant, or citation deposited with or presented to the court or traffic violations bureau. T.C.A. § 55-10-306(a).

Administrative Inspection Warrants
Municipal judges, who are lawyers, may issue administrative inspection warrants. See, T.C.A. § 68-120-117. [2]


[1] The Board of Judicial Conduct is set to terminate June 30, 2018 by T.C.A. § 4-29-239.

[2] T.C.A. § 68-120-117 (a)(3)(C) specifies that an issuing officer means, "Any municipal court having jurisdiction over the agency making application for an administrative inspection warrant; provided, that the judge of the court is licensed to practice law in the state of Tennessee."

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