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How will Daniel Boyd's law license suspension affect his judgeship?

Jeff Bobo • Updated Oct 19, 2017 at 8:57 AM

ROGERSVILLE — Although Hawkins County Juvenile Judge Daniel Boyd's impending law license suspension isn't related to his actions while serving on the bench, he may be facing separate sanctions from the Tennessee Board of Judicial Conduct.

On Wednesday, the Times-News learned that Boyd, who has been Hawkins County's juvenile judge since 2011, had agreed to plead guilty to violating three Tennessee Rules of Professional Conduct pertaining to his private law practice: diligence, truthfulness in statements to others and misconduct.

As a result, the state Supreme Court's Tennessee Board of Professional Responsibility (TBPR) is expected to sign off on the agreed 120-day law license suspension and three years of probation.

The TBPR polices attorney law licenses, but a separate agency, the Tennessee Board of Judicial Conduct (BJC) polices judges.

BJC Disciplinary Counsel Timothy R. Discenza told the Times-News Wednesday that an elected judge may not sit on the bench without an active law license. But, once that suspension is completed, the judge can return to the bench.

The BJC has no power to remove an elected judge. The only body that has that authority is the Tennessee General Assembly through the impeachment process.

Discenza said there are three possible actions the BJC might take with regard to Boyd's impending law license suspension.

1. If the BJC determines that it's not a violation that would be cognizable under the Code of Judicial Conduct. In that case the BJC's review of Boyd's case and disposition wouldn't be released to the public.

2. If the BJC determines some action is merited, that process is confidential and wouldn't be released to the public. If, following an investigation, the BJC determined that no public sanction was merited, no information about its investigation would be released to the public.

3. If the BJC determines that Boyd's behavior merits a public sanction, that information would be released to the public. But that's not something that would occur any time soon because the BJC hasn't yet received information about Boyd's law license suspension. The investigation process is lengthy, Discenza said.

Discenza added, “At least for quite a while I can't tell you if this is something that we've taken cognizance of, or something we haven't.”                                                                                     

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