A Tennessee judge who routinely imprisons children has announced that she will retire, but a former detainee with trauma says she will leave the bench to “avoid guilt.”

Judge Donna Scott Davenport.

Judge Donna Scott Davenport has announced that she will retire after being faced with criticisms of developing policies to illegally arrest and detain children.rutherfordcountytn.gov

  • Donna Scott Davenport, a juvenile court judge in Rutherford County, Tennessee, has announced she will retire.

  • Davenport faced criticism last year after being reported to have led a policy of illegally arresting and detaining children.

  • The announcement of her retirement will be made the day after the state legislature proposes a resolution to remove her from the bench.

Judge of the Tennessee Juvenile Court Responded Arrest and imprison children on a regular basis She has announced plans to retire this year.

Judge Donna Scott Davenport, a juvenile court judge in Rutherford County, said she had no plans to seek re-election of positions since 2000.

“After praying, discussing with my family, and serving on the bench for over 22 years, I decided not to run for reelection,” Davenport said in a statement. Her office did not respond to requests for comment.

“I always look back as one of the greatest honors of my life as a judge, and what this court has done in the last 20 years, and how it has a positive impact on the lives of young people and families. I’m very proud of what I gave you. In Rutherford County. ” “I pray for the success of my successors and hope that this work will provide them with the same fulfillment that I have provided to me over the years.”

Davenport’s term ends in September. The announcement of her retirement will be made just one day after a Tennessee state legislator. Issued a resolution to remove her From the bench. So far 2 candidate Announced running to fill her position.

A system for illegally imprisoning children

Last October, ProPublica and Nashville Public Radio He discovered that Davenport had organized a system to arrest and imprison children. Most of them were black.

Davenport used a “process” that included an “always arrest” policy in which children were arrested by police and taken to juvenile detention centers. There, a prison officer appointed by Davenport uses a “filter system” and owns it. The children later appear in front of Davenport in the Juvenile Court.

Jacob Somers told insider Davenport that he threatened to lock him up until he was 18 if he “did not straighten (his) shit,” the judge said, “to avoid feeling guilty. I’m retired. “

Summers was almost one 1,500 plaintiffs in class action Against Rutherford County, settled at $ 11 million.

Kyle Mothershead, one of the lawyers in the class proceedings, told insiders that hundreds of settlement claims had been filed with the claim manager after the proceedings. A plaintiff who was illegally arrested could earn $ 1,000, and a plaintiff who was illegally detained could earn about $ 4,800, he said.

Mothershead also noted that the Rutherford County Juvenile Training School did not have a “filter system” that prison officers used to determine which children to detain. The 2017 provisional injunction on this system has become permanent as part of the proceedings settlement agreement.

“The” always arrest “policy is no longer valid. This is not the result of a court order, but rather law enforcement has changed its policy of arresting juveniles in response to our proceedings, “Mothers Head said.

Former detainees demand accountability

22-year-old Akira Lawrence told insiders that she had been arrested dozens of times between the ages of 11 and 17 and appeared many times before Davenport. She said none of the charges against her were due to drugs or violence.

“We were treated like animals and we were just children,” Lawrence said. “I was treated as if I had killed someone, and it was never. They behaved just like I was terrible.”

Lawrence said her experience at the Rutherford County Juvenile Training School was traumatic and that was one of the reasons she left the county. “I have been suffering from PTSD (post-traumatic stress disorder) since I was a child,” she said.

According to Lawrence, Davenport’s retirement means that he is not accountable for how children like her were treated.

“They just have no way to retire her,” Lawrence said. “How can you say that you helped us?”

Following the first report of Davenport’s practices while on the Tennessee bench Governor Bill Lee asked for a review Of the judge. Such reviews Judiciary Commission, Not only can you file a public rebuke to the judge, but you can also file a formal complaint.Davenport Received public rebuke In 2016 after she called her parents “sneaky snakes” in court and his lawyers “smart”.

Barbara Peck, director of communications on the board, previously told insiders that he could not comment on whether there was a Davenport investigation for confidentiality.

“If an investigation leads to public disciplinary action, such as public disciplinary action, the rebuke will be posted on the Board’s web page. If a formal accusation is filed against the judge, it will be announced as well. increase.”

In a comment to the insider, Mr. Peck said the board would lose jurisdiction to rebuke or prosecute judges if they retired.

“When a judge retires or resigns, the Judiciary Commission loses jurisdiction and cannot take any further action on the pending issue. Therefore, the judge may be formally accused of ethical violations. No disciplinary action can be imposed on a judge, but resignation or retirement may be the final result of an investigation or disciplinary action imposed. “

For Lawrence, the news that Davenport retired at first glance made her feel “powerless.” She said the judge’s comment that she “had a positive impact on the lives of young people” was simply false.

“It’s not positive. I’m about to cry. It doesn’t have any positive impact on my family,” Lawrence said. “I can’t believe this is happening. There’s nothing I can do.”

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