TN Resolution To Call For Removal Of Rutherford County Judge

Photo: Judge Donna Scott Davenport Photo Credit:

The Center Square [By Jon Styf] –

A group of Tennessee Democrats are continuing a push to remove a Rutherford County judge by proposing legislation that seeks a vote on her removal.

Senate Joint Resolution 788, sponsored by Sen. Heidi Campbell, D-Nashville, asks for the removal of Rutherford County Juvenile Court Judge Donna Scott Davenport.

Several Democratic lawmakers spoke Monday about the proposal. It would take a two-thirds vote of Tennessee’s House and Senate to remove Davenport, who Campbell said has a record of incarcerating 48% of juveniles who appear before her, far more than the 5% statewide average.

“From at least 2008 until 2017, Judge Davenport oversaw an illegal detention policy that was in use in Rutherford County, resulting in the unlawful detention of children, some of whom had not even been alleged to have committed a delinquent or unruly act,” the resolution reads.


Plaintiffs recently won a $6 million finding against Davenport for illegally arresting and jailing juveniles.

“While judges are given judicial discretion to interpret laws, they are not allowed to make up their own laws,” Campbell said. “The constitutional provision for removing judges in our state is an extreme remedy, but it exists for a reason. Arresting children, charging them with bogus crimes and illegally jailing them is an egregious abuse of power.”

Rep. Vincent Dixie, D-Nashville, said the resolution is part of a process asking for Davenport’s removal after “by her own admittance, she has broken the law,” Dixie said. He said a formal complaint has been filed with the judicial ethics commission against Davenport that is also running through the judicial system. Dixie said that he met with Tennessee Attorney General Herbert Slatery on the matter before Christmas and this resolution was an obvious next step.

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The resolution would create a 10-person panel of lawmakers assigned by the speakers of the Senate and House to consider the case.

“She has a staggering history of jailing children, and, in most instances, African American children,” Sen. Brenda Gilmore, D-Nashville, said. “We have seen the rate of locking up juveniles going down in every state and in Tennessee – with the exception of Rutherford County. Again, it’s time for us to take action and have this judge removed.”


About the Author: Jon Styf, The Center Square Staff Reporter – Jon Styf is an award-winning editor and reporter who has worked in Illinois, Texas, Wisconsin, Florida and Michigan in local newsrooms over the past 20 years, working for Shaw Media, Hearst and several other companies. Follow Jon on Twitter @JonStyf.

4 thoughts on “TN Resolution To Call For Removal Of Rutherford County Judge

  • January 18, 2022 at 4:46 pm

    Well if they do the crime than let them do the time in Jail. Communist democrats want all criminals to go free. This is totally nuts. Most of these are probably repeat offenders. If they learn to respect the law by going to jail they so be it. Let it happen. We need more judges like her. Not less. It matters none weather they are black or white. if more blacks are going to jail before her it is because THEY ARE DOING THE CRIME!

  • January 18, 2022 at 5:25 pm

    As the other comment said, they need to look at the severity of their crime and whether they are repeat offenders rather than to color of their skin. This has the appearance that the Democrats are race baiting as normal.

  • January 18, 2022 at 5:49 pm

    In the article it it states the judge admitted to breaking the law. There is 2 sides to this story and we are only seeing one side. That side is political and has seen fit, rightly or wrongly, to introduce race into the equation. It would be nice to hear from the judge.

  • January 19, 2022 at 4:09 pm

    Have you read the lawsuit? Or just the headlines here? Have you seen the arrest , in handcuffs, of 7 and 8 year olds at their school for a backyard fight that didn’t occur at school? And you that is conservative values? Take me back to the old days in the Tennessee country side 50 years ago when I was a kid where the principal, the parents ( yeah The parents where just as questionable then or single parent on wrong side of the tracks and it wasn’t black or white because there were very few blacks as in most rural communities) , and possibly your preacher and police man would get everyone together and tell us to knock it off or we weren’t going to like the next action at home or institution. Not straight to handcuffs. If you have kids, Show them the video and what you wrote- that’s effective parenting and a future therapy bill for the rest of our taxes to pay. PS – the judge resigned. When are our Republican representatives going to show up for our conservative values. It is embarrassing that the Democrats are the ones who brought this to the floor. “ But whoever causes one of these little ones who believe in me to sin, it would be better for him to have a great millstone fastened around his neck and to be drowned in the depth of the sea. | Matthew 18:6”


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