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Governor's Office Never Checked Background of Judge Pick

(Story created: 9/13/06)

This week, I revealed The Inside Story of a former prosecutor who was appointed to a temporary judgeship despite by Gov. Phil Bredesen -- despite questions of misconduct in his past.

At the time, the governor's press office told me that they didn't have the answer to my questions about whether Bredesen knew about John Roberts and the questions stemming from his days as U.S. Attorney.

Well, it turns out, Bredesen's office apparently didn't know.


Get this: they never asked the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation for even a cursory background check.

Not that it would have uncovered any criminal wrongdoing by the former district attorney.

But some insiders acknowledge that, if they were going to put someone in charge of ruling on criminal cases (even for a short period), they probably should have checked.

Today, I received an official, carefully worded statement from press secretary Lydia Lenker:

"John Roberts has a strong record of public service as a highly regarded District Attorney General and U.S. Attorney.  He has the confidence of the bench and bar in the 13th judicial district.

"On a whole, John Roberts was a good choice to fill this very temporary vacancy in the 13th judicial district."

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