An indicted Tennessee judge is sent to jail after her bond is revoked for positive cocaine tests

Mar 27, 2024, 4:33 PM

MEMPHIS, Tenn. (AP) — A Tennessee criminal court judge was sent to jail Wednesday after her bond was revoked for testing positive for cocaine while she was out of custody pending a trial on charges of coercion of a witness and harassment.

Online records showed Shelby County Criminal Court Judge Melissa Boyd was booked into a Memphis jail. Earlier Wednesday, a judge revoked her bond during a hearing in Memphis, court records showed.

Elected in 2022, Boyd is accused of coercing, influencing or attempting to influence Lashanta Rudd, her former campaign manager, to testify falsely or “withhold truthful testimony” in an official proceeding, the indictment says. The indictment does not describe the official proceeding.

The indictment also says Boyd’s communications with Rudd were attempts to annoy, alarm or frighten her. Boyd has pleaded not guilty.

Boyd was suspended in May after she was accused of threatening an acquaintance, soliciting money by using her role as a judge and substance abuse. The accusations include asking for donations for a school in a social media post showing Boyd wearing a judicial robe.

Under conditions of her release, Boyd was ordered to undergo drug screening and told not to use drugs. Prosecutors asked for her bond to be revoked after she twice tested positive for cocaine in March and failed to report to another drug test, court documents showed.

Judge Roy Morgan then revoked her bond and sent her to jail.

“A lot of effort has been offered, and it’s just not working,” Morgan said during the hearing, according to the Commercial Appeal newspaper. “And that’s sad, just so sad.”

Arthur Horne III, one of Boyd’s attorneys, said that Boyd “needs help” and has not been cooperating with them, saying the judge was “in a full relapse” and is “not thinking with a clear head,” the newspaper reported.

Boyd’s trial is scheduled for April 24. Meanwhile, the Tennessee General Assembly is expected to vote April 4 on whether to remove Boyd from her position as judge, the Daily Memphian reported.

Under state law, judges can be referred to the legislature after receiving two public reprimands.

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