Blount Today has been informed that the headline and the interpretation of an order from Blount County Circuit Court Judge Mike Meares on page 6 of the July 17 edition were inaccurate.
The ruling issued by Meares capped questions he had raised since April regarding the Local Rules the judiciary operates under.
The questions the judge raised dealt with how presiding Circuit Court Division I Judge Dale Young and Chancellor Telford Forgety had developed Local Rules and whether they had given adequate public notice to the proposed changes before they voted them in. Meares also questioned the facts of a memo Young issued to the Blount County Bar Association.
Meares said judges have disciplinary responsibilities to take appropriate action “when they receive” information indicating a substantial likelihood “that another judge or lawyer has committed a violation of the Judicial Code or the Rules of Professional Conduct.
“This court has not found and does not imply by its inquires the misconduct of any individual. Nevertheless, the presiding judge’s exercise of a unique administrative authority granted by a Local Rule adopted during the vacancy of office of the sitting judge coupled with multiple erroneous misstatement of fact require a response or the abandonment of the oath of office,” Meares said in the order.
In studying the document, Blount Today editor and publisher concluded that the above statement was referring to Judge Young and indicated so in the story and headline.
Blount Today later learned Meares was speaking of himself, writing that he felt he had to either respond to what he had discovered or abandon his oath of office.
Blount Today regrets the error.