On Tuesday, February 6, 2024, the Tennessee Board of Judicial Conduct publicly reprimanded Judge Bill Anderson of Shelby County General Sessions Court. The Board took action after concluding that Judge Anderson had behaved inappropriately during a bond hearing and made disparaging comments about Tennessee’s bail system.

According to the Board’s letter, Judge Anderson raised his voice and mocked a Memphis Police sergeant while presiding over a hearing. The Board reminded judges that they must maintain composure and dignity in the courtroom at all times. Loud or disrespectful remarks set a poor example and could undermine public perception of impartiality.

The Board also investigated statements Judge Anderson made at a September county commission meeting. He strongly criticized bail bond companies, arguing they profit unfairly from poor defendants. Judge Anderson declared he disliked Tennessee’s bail system. However, the Board cautioned judges against such sweeping criticisms, saying they risk biasing the public into believing a judge cannot approach cases or issues with neutrality.

The Board’s disciplinary action came after State Senator Brent Taylor alerted them to Judge Anderson’s conduct. Senator Taylor had been troubled by the judge’s hostile attitude toward law enforcement and bail policies. In a radio interview, Senator Taylor welcomed the public reprimand, hoping it would help strengthen law and order in Shelby County.

The Board emphasized all judges must remain respectful, courteous, and detached in their comments about ongoing legal matters and processes.

Judge Anderson‘s courtroom is located at Shelby County Justice Center, 201 Poplar Avenue, Suite LL-56, MemphisTN 38103, and can be reached at 901-222-3700.

A copy of the original filing can be found here.