TENNESSEE CODE ANNOTATED
© 2009 by The State of Tennessee
All rights reserved
*** CURRENT THROUGH THE 2009 REGULAR SESSION ***
*** ANNOTATIONS CURRENT THROUGH MAY 22, 2009 ***
Title 17 Judges And Chancellors
Chapter 5 Court of the Judiciary
Part 2 --Creation and Organization
Tenn. Code Ann. § 17-5-201 (2009)
17-5-201. Creation of court of the judiciary -- Composition -- Terms of office -- Vacancies -- Hearing panels -- Investigative panels.
(a) There is created a court that shall be known and designated as the Tennessee court of the judiciary, referred to in this part as "the court." It shall consist of sixteen (16) members as follows:
(1) Any combination of three (3) judges from the court of appeals and court of criminal appeals to be appointed by the supreme court of Tennessee;
(2) One (1) trial judge from each grand division to be appointed by the supreme court of Tennessee;
(3) One (1) practicing attorney from each grand division to be appointed by the board of governors of the Tennessee Bar Association;
(4) Three (3) public members who are not judges, retired judges, nor licensed attorneys of the state, one (1) to be appointed by the speaker of the senate, one (1) to be appointed by the speaker of the house of representatives, and one (1) to be appointed by the governor;
(5) One (1) general sessions or juvenile court judge licensed to practice law in this state from each grand division to be appointed by the supreme court. In any event, there shall always be at least one (1) appointee who currently and regularly exercises juvenile court jurisdiction; and
(6) One (1) municipal court judge licensed to practice law in this state to be appointed by the supreme court.
(b) The court shall select its own presiding judge.
(c) Service on this court by the three (3) appellate judges is mandatory. No trial judge shall be required to serve against the trial judge's will.
(d) Each member of the court shall serve for a term of four (4) years and shall be eligible for reappointment to one (1) additional term. Vacancies on the court for an unexpired term shall be made for the remainder of the term by the appointing power of the original appointment.
(e) (1) The presiding judge shall divide the court into a hearing panel of twelve (12) members and an investigative panel of three (3) members. Membership on the panels may rotate in a manner determined by the presiding judge; provided, that no members shall sit on both the hearing and investigative panels for the same proceeding.
(2) A hearing panel has the duty and authority to rule on prehearing motions, conduct hearings on formal charges and make findings, conclusions, and impose sanctions or dismiss the case.
(3) An investigative panel has the duty and authority to:
(A) Review the recommendations of disciplinary counsel after preliminary investigation and either authorize a full investigation or dismiss the complaint; and
(B) Review the recommendations of disciplinary counsel after full investigation and approve, disapprove or modify the recommendations as provided in § 17-5-304.
(f) The supreme court and any other appointing authority, in making its appointments, shall do so with a conscious intention of selecting a body that reflects a diverse mixture with respect to race, including the dominant ethnic minority population, and gender.
HISTORY: [Acts 1979, ch. 356, § 4; T.C.A., § 17-804; Acts 1981, ch. 425, §§ 1, 2; 1995, ch. 208, §§ 3-5, 18; 1999, ch. 151, § 1; 2004, ch. 914, §§ 3b, 3c.]
Grand divisions, title 4, ch. 1, part 2.
Ethical Obligations of Judges (Joe G. Riley), 23 Mem. St. U.L. Rev. 507 (1993).
NOTES TO DECISIONS
The legislative purpose expressed in § 17-5-101 prevents the court of the judiciary from being subject to Tenn. Const., art. VI, § 4. It is not a circuit or chancery court or other inferior court and it is not "assigned" any district in this state. It is clearly and completely outside the state court system as established by art. VI of the constitution. In re Murphy, 726 S.W.2d 509, 1987 Tenn. LEXIS 858 (Tenn. 1987).