Ex-Magistrate Censured In Messiah Name Change Case

Posted at 10:31 PM, Mar 03, 2014
and last updated 2015-09-07 14:59:59-04

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) - A former Tennessee magistrate who changed a baby's first name from Messiah to Martin has been censured.

Lu Ann Ballew said at the time that Messiah was a title held only by Jesus Christ. Ballew's attorneys have argued that she was acting in the child's best interest because having the name Messiah could make his life difficult.

Board of Judicial Conduct Disciplinary Counsel Tim Discenza said in a phone interview that a panel of the board meeting in Dandridge heard the case on Monday and voted unanimously for a public censure.

Discenza said that is the probably most serious sanction the board could take against Ballew, given that she already lost her position as a magistrate. Ballew's August decision to change Messiah's name was overturned the following month.

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