A Tennessee judge has received a public reprimand for complaining that the state supreme court’s “grand wizard” required that masks be worn in court.
Judge Jere Ledsinger of Coffee County, Tennessee, had made the remark in front of criminal defendants in the courtroom, including some who were Black, according to the Sept. 28 letter of reprimand by the Tennessee Board of Judicial Conduct.
Ledsinger had acknowledged the perception problem created by his remark, made in mid-July and had expressed regret, according to the letter.
In his written response to the board, Ledsinger said he meant no disrespect to anyone, and the remark was intended to “soften any resistance by those present in the courtroom to the requirements of wearing a mask, as we have had negative feedback to this supreme court mandate.”
The board said judges are expected to maintain the highest standards of conduct and dignity, and they must be dignified and courteous.