On Wednesday, July 5, 2023, WJHL11 reported on Johnson County Judge Perry Stout’s resignation revealing a distressing lack of ethical standards and raising serious doubts about his suitability for judicial office. The head of Tennessee’s Board of Judicial Conduct, Dee Gay, has expressed his disappointment and highlighted the harm caused by Stout’s actions to court employees, the judiciary, and the public’s trust in the administration of justice.

Gay wrote a letter to Johnson County’s mayor and the chair of the county commission, citing Stout’s incomplete and misleading statements made during his resignation on June 15.

During the resignation meeting with the Johnson County Commission, Stout reportedly stated that he was stepping down to satisfy the Board of Judicial Conduct’s demands for their “pound of flesh,” according to Gay’s letter.

Stout’s resignation came after allegations of two separate instances of misconduct. The first allegation involved an alleged sexual encounter with a county employee inside the courthouse. It was reported that on January 13, a different county employee walked in on Stout and a deputy clerk engaged in sexual activity. This incident not only led to the termination of the clerk but also created a tense and uncomfortable working environment for other female employees in the clerk’s office.

The second allegation focused on Stout’s alleged inappropriate socializing with two individuals who had active cases before him. It was reported that Stout had lunch with one of the litigants just three days after the courthouse incident. This individual had a history of visiting Stout at the courthouse without going through proper security procedures, prompting other judges to implement stricter measures. Additionally, Stout failed to disclose his personal relationship with this individual and another person involved in a separate case, causing a breach of ethical standards and a lack of transparency in his judicial proceedings.

Gay explained that the Board extended the offer to Judge Stout, giving him the option to resign, aiming to expedite his removal from the bench and avoid the embarrassment of a public hearing.

However, Stout’s subsequent actions, including his resignation speech and a letter requesting reappointment, revealed a lack of understanding of the understanding he caused during his tenure as a judge. Stout’s assertion that his job performance should entitle him to a quick return to the judiciary further demonstrated his failure to comprehend the gravity of his ethical lapses.

The resignation of Judge Perry Stout has left a vacancy in the Johnson County judiciary. The Johnson County Commission is set to appoint a replacement for Stout, and several individuals, including local attorney Julie Canter and Randy Fallin, have expressed their interest in the position. The appointed judge will serve until an election in 2024 to fulfill the remainder of Stout’s term. Among the candidates, Julie Canter, a former prosecutor, and Johnson County native, has indicated her long-term commitment to the position..

 

Source: WJHL11