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 24, 2016
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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.

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 Court of the Judiciary. T.C.A. § 17-5-102. T.C.A. § 16-18-303 empowers municipal court judges to administer oaths.

The judge is required "to keep or cause to be kept" records on traffic charges that reflect "every official action by the court or the Traffic Violations Bureau ... 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 ....". T.C.A. § 55-10-306.

Administrative Inspection Warrants
Municipal judges who are lawyers may issue administrative inspection warrants under T.C.A. § 68-120-117.