'Messiah' Magistrate Wants Judgeship

The child support magistrate fired for changing a child’s name from Messiah to Martin has picked up a petition to run for session judge.

Lu Ann Ballew created a national controversy when she told the parents in a case before her in Cocke County that they couldn’t name their son Messiah and she changed it to “Martin.” Ballew was quoted as saying that “Messiah is a title that has only been earned by one person and that one person is Jesus Christ.”

Her decision was overruled and Circuit Judge Duane Sloan fired Ballew from her appointed job. She has been cited by the Board of Judicial Conduct and faces a hearing next month.

Ballew has picked up a petition to run for the post being vacated by the retirement of Sessions Judge Ben Strand, based in Dandridge. There are four other candidates in the race.

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