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With criminal trial pending, embattled Judge Boyd resigns from bench

Facing disbarment, and with a court date on the near horizon, Shelby County Criminal Court Judge Melissa Boyd has offered her resignation from the bench in a letter delivered to state officials, by her legal team.

Boyd’s atorney, Brian Faughan, sent a plea for a May 31 departure to Melissa Long, administrative director for the Tennessee Administrative Office of the Courts, on Friday, March 29. The attorney represents the imperiled justice in her case before the Tennessee General Assembly. 

Copies were also sent to Marshall Davidson, disciplinary council for the Tennessee Board of Judicial Conduct and Carlissa Shaw, Boyd’s co-council in her criminal trial.

Lawmakers are scheduled to cast their votes on her removal from the District 9 courtroom on April 4. Moreover, a change in the legislative calendar doesn’t appear in the offing.

As reported by The Daily Memphian, the chair of the joint committee that recommended her disbarment vote proceed, Rep. William Lamberth, R-Portland, rejected the appeal. Along with noting her current stay in jail – and its implications – the later start of the criminal case was cited as a reason to continue.

The current legislative calendar runs out between April and May.

Boyd, 59, is currently in the Shelby County Jail awaiting an April 24 start to her criminal trial, following a bond revocation hearing on Wednesday, March 27.

The suspended jurist failed two court-ordered drug and alcohol tests on March 12 and March 15. She had been out on a $5,000 bond since Dec. 13.

Elected in 2022, Boyd’s alleged drug use first came to light during her brief time on the bench. Lashanta Rudd, who claims to be her former campaign manager, first reported her use of cocaine and marijuana to the state’s judicial oversight board. 

Following the allegations, Boyd was accused of showing up at the Rudd’s home and verbally abused her and making veiled threats. After being indicted for harassment and coercing a witness, she also was ordered to seek substance abuse treatment. Eventually, it was completed at a Georgia facility. 

For her part, Boyd has claimed the two were once in a relationship. One of her attorneys has also disputed their working relationship, saying Rudd never managed her campaign.

The former prosecutor was suspended from the bench in May 2023. She still draws nearly $17,000 a month in salary. The Tennessee Board of Judicial Conduct has also recommended her removal.

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