On Tuesday, October 31, 2023, the Tennessee Board of Judicial Conduct issued a public reprimand to Shelby County Criminal Court Judge A. Melissa Boyd for violating the terms of her suspension. The Board found that Judge Boyd failed to comply with the conditions of her suspension, which included undergoing a physical, mental health, and/or substance addiction evaluation by an appropriately licensed healthcare provider and completing all recommendations of the evaluation.
The case is entitled “In the Matter of Melissa Boyd,” with case no. B22-9116.
Judge Boyd was suspended on May 22, 2023, after admitting to having a substance abuse problem. She agreed to certain conditions to keep the suspension private, including submitting to an evaluation by the Tennessee Lawyers Assistance Program (TLAP), a professional assessment with a TLAP-approved provider within thirty days, and completing all recommendations of the evaluation. However, Judge Boyd failed to do so and has been non-compliant with both the Order of Suspension and her treatment plan.
It all started when the Board received a complaint against Judge Boyd on November 30, 2022, alleging that she was threatening and intimidating an acquaintance and abusing alcohol. An investigative panel was authorized to investigate the matter, and Judge Boyd was notified of the investigation on December 21, 2022. She failed to respond to the notice until February 23, 2023, more than a month after the deadline.
The investigation was expanded based on additional allegations that Judge Boyd was discovered sitting outside the acquaintance’s residence at approximately 2:30 a.m., texting pictures of the property and sending text messages that accused the person of having someone in the home. Judge Boyd admitted that she sent the text messages and acknowledged that her behavior was inappropriate.
The Board notified Judge Boyd that her conduct implicated several provisions of the Code of Judicial Conduct, including violating the law, conduct calculated to bring the judiciary into public disrepute and conduct that adversely affects the administration of justice. The Board also notified Judge Boyd that her behavior was inappropriate and that she had failed to timely respond to the notice.
In a letter dated May 5, 2023, Judge Boyd acknowledged that she has a substance abuse problem and is seeking treatment to address her issues. However, she has violated a material term of the Order of Suspension by failing to submit to an evaluation as directed by TLAP and has been found non-compliant with her treatment plan.
Accordingly, the investigative panel has determined that the Order of Suspension and the May 22, 2023, letter shall be released to the public and shall serve as a public reprimand. Judge Boyd has received two public reprimands in the short time she has been a judge, and the Board cannot permanently remove her from the bench, as that authority is vested solely in the General Assembly. However, to protect the public and preserve trust and confidence in the integrity of the judiciary and the proper administration of justice, the Board is reporting Judge Boyd to the General Assembly pursuant to Tennessee Code Annotated section 17-5-203(a)(1) for further action as that body deems appropriate.
Judge Boyd’s office is located at 201 Poplar Avenue Suite 3034 Memphis, TN 38103, She attended the University of Louisville School of Law. Her bio can be found in tncourts.gov.
A copy of the original filing can be found here.