The Tennessee Board of Judicial Conduct announced the suspension of Jonathan Lee Young, a judge on the 13th Judicial District Circuit, on Tuesday, July 26, 2022. The case is styled as ‘In the matter of Judge Jonathan Lee Young’.
The judge was charged with violating:
Tenn. Code Ann. § 17-5-301(j)(1)(C) (a judicial offense includes a violation of the Code of Judicial Conduct); Tenn. Code Ann. § 17-5-301(E) (a judicial offense includes a persistent pattern of intemperate, irresponsible, or injudicious conduct);
Tenn. Code Ann. § 17-5-301(j)(1)(H) (a judicial offense includes any conduct calculated to bring the judiciary into public disrepute or to adversely affect the administration of justice);
Tenn. Sup. Ct. R. 10, RJC 1.1 (“A judge shall comply with the law, including the Code of Judicial Conduct.”);
Tenn. Sup. Ct. R. 10, RJC 1.2 (“A judge shall act at all times in a manner that promotes public confidence in the independence, integrity, and impartiality of the judiciary, and shall avoid impropriety and the appearance of impropriety.”);
Tenn. Sup. Ct. R. 10, RJC 1.3 (“A judge shall not abuse the prestige of judicial office to advance the personal interests of the judge.”);
Tenn. Sup. Ct. R. 10, RJC 2.4(B) (“A judge shall not permit family, social, political, financial, or other interests or relationships to influence the judge’s conduct or judgment.”);
Tenn. Sup, Ct. R. 10, RJC 2.11(A) (“A judge shall disqualify himself or herself in any proceeding in which the — judge’s impartiality might reasonably be questioned.”);
Tenn. Sup. Ct. R. 10, RJC 3.1(A) (prohibiting personal activities that will interfere with the proper performance of the judge’s duties);
Tenn. Sup. Ct. R. 10, RIC 3.1(C) (prohibiting personal activities that would appear to a reasonable person to undermine the judge’s independence, integrity, or impartiality);
Tenn. Sup. Ct. R. 10, RJC 3.1(D) (prohibiting personal activities that would appear to a reasonable person to be coercive);
Tenn. Sup. Ct. R. 10, RIC 3.10 (“A judge shall not practice law.”)
The order reads:
“on June 7, 2022, Chelsey Hoover and Michael Hoover filed separate complaints, supported by affidavits, asserting that Judge Young initiated communications with Mrs. Hoover ranging from flirtatious to sexual before, during, and after she and Mr. Hoover were parties in an adoption case in Judge Young’s court filed on March 29, 2022.
10. According to Mrs. Hoover, Judge Young requested explicit pictures from her and also met with her on multiple occasions outside of court, including a hotel in Cookeville on or about April 28, 2022, where they had sex. Judge Young suggested to Mrs. Hoover that she use an app on her phone that would automatically delete their electronic communications.
11. When Judge Young met Mrs. Hoover at the hotel on or about April 28, 2022, Mrs. Hoover presented him with legal documents in an unrelated custody matter she had pending in another court in his judicial district. Judge Young provided Mrs. Hoover advice about her custody case, including how to get the judge handling the case disqualified from hearing the matter. He also advised her about how to replace her attorney.
12. Mr. Hoover, a party to the adoption matter before Judge Young, alleges that Judge Young failed to disclose any of the above information to him before or during the adoption matter in his court. When he learned that Judge Young had been soliciting intimate pictures from his wife and seeing her outside of court, including engaging in a physical relationship, Mr. Hoover, who felt betrayed by the court, confronted Judge Young.
13. Despite the circumstances described above, Judge Young failed to recuse himself from the Hoovers’ adoption case. Instead, he entered an order dated April 8, 2022, granting the adoption in which Mr. Hoover adopted one of Mrs. Hoover’s children.”
The Judge earned a law degree from the University of Memphis School of Law in 1999.
The Judge is in Courtroom 302, address 321 East Spring Street in Cookeville, and can be reached at 931-526-6692.
A copy of the original filing can be found here.