Joe Brown, the former TV court and criminal court judge who ran for Shelby County District Attorney General, is unable to practice law in Tennessee after the state Supreme Court placed him on disability inactive status.
Disability inactive status designates that a lawyer is temporarily disabled and incapacitated from practicing law. Lawyers can resume practice when they prove to the state Supreme Court that the disability has been removed.
“Judge Brown is suffering from what hopefully will prove to be a temporary disability as a result of complications following from Type II Diabetes and the effects of prescribed medication for the condition combined with hypertension and stress,” according to a statement by production company Celebritunity. “Judge Brown urges others to preserve their health by having regular check-ups, following their doctor’s instructions, dieting properly and exercising regularly. He also wishes to thank his friends and fans for their expressions of concern and support.”
Brown had a petition for discipline pending against him from October 2015. The petition has been suspended indefinitely until he can be removed from inactive status. The petition stemmed from an outburst in Shelby County Juvenile Court during his run for district attorney general in 2014.
The former star of CBS’s Judge Joe Brown, from 1998 to 2013, Brown, 68, was representing a woman in a child-support case when he got into an increasingly loud argument with a Juvenile Court magistrate, questioning his authority and his management of the courtroom.
If a lawyer cannot successfully defend himself because of a disability, the proceeding cannot continue, said Sandy Garrett, chief disciplinary counsel of the Board of Professional Responsibility.
“He brought it to our attention,” Garrett said.
In an order transferring him to disability status, the court wrote that documentation from Brown’s medical care provider was duly considered.
Supreme Court rules keep documents other than the order transferring Brown to disability inactive status confidential.
A confidential assistance program is available for lawyers, judges and law students for help with a range of issues.
“Many times the issues are self-reported by the attorney, who asks for the assistance of the Tennessee Lawyers Assistance Program,” said Shelby County Criminal Court Judge Chris Craft who works with the TLAP in helping lawyers in need. “We want to encourage attorneys who are having a difficulty to self-report and get help.”
According to Celebritunity’s website, Brown’s latest TV courtroom reality show, True Verdict, is to debut in the fall, described as a 30-minute show on courtroom antics in civil lawsuits.
SOURCE: The (Memphis, Tenn.) Commercial Appeal – Katie Fredland; Contributing: Associated Press. Follow Katie Fretland