On Wednesday, March 6, 2024, the Tennessee Board on Judicial Conduct suspended Sullivan County Circuit Court Judge William K. Rogers for 30 days following his January arrest for driving under the influence.

The case is entitled “In the Matter of Judge William K. Rogers,” with case number B24-9567.

According to the board’s order, Judge Rogers was stopped by the Sullivan County Sheriff’s Department on January 2 for erratic driving and failed a field sobriety test. He was arrested and charged with DUI and violating the implied consent law. Judge Rogers pled guilty to the DUI charge on January 5 and the implied consent charge was dismissed.

The board launched an investigation into the matter after Judge Rogers self-reported his arrest on January 3. An investigative panel authorized a full probe on February 23. Judge Rogers was notified on February 27 that his conduct violated various provisions of the Tennessee Code of Judicial Conduct regarding compliance with the law, promoting public confidence in the judiciary, and avoiding impropriety.

In its analysis, the board noted that judges are required to act in a way that maintains public trust in the integrity and impartiality of the courts. Driving under the influence, especially for a judge who handles substance abuse and traffic cases, damages respect for the justice system. The conduct contradicted Judge Rogers’ role in cultivating respect for the law through words and actions.

Considering these factors, the investigative panel approved a 30-day suspension for Judge Rogers on March 4. He agreed to accept the sanction in lieu of formal disciplinary charges. The suspension will be served from March 13-31 and again from April 20-30, during which time Judge Rogers is prohibited from any judicial duties.

Throughout the process, the order states Judge Rogers was transparent, cooperative, and took full responsibility for his actions. While the incident brought the judiciary into disrepute, Judge Rogers’ conduct after the fact appears to have been viewed by the board as a mitigating factor in settling on a 30-day suspension rather than a more severe punishment.

Judge Rogers’ courtroom is located at 200 Shelby Street, Kingsport, TN 37660, and can be reached at 423-224-1701.

A copy of the original filing can be found here.