RUTHERFORD COUNTY, Tenn. (WKRN) — The judge at the center of controversy in Rutherford County will be calling it quits before the end of 2022.
Judge Donna Scott Davenport announced Tuesday she will retire at the end of her elected term in September and not seek reelection. Judge Davenport had previously announced intentions to run for her seat again in 2022.
She was appointed to the Rutherford County Juvenile Court in 1999 as referee and then elected as judge in 2000. She was reelected in 2006 and 2014 for eight-year terms.
Judge Davenport’s retirement comes as Tennessee lawmakers are calling for her impeachment. Just this week, a group of lawmakers, led by Democrats, came forward saying impeaching her is necessary to protect the children in Rutherford County.
“I believe we don’t need to see her running in another election — children are at stake,” said Knoxville Rep. Gloria Johnson.
The judge is accused of jailing Black elementary school students for crimes that don’t exist. In 2014, 48% of children were jailed under Judge Davenport’s watch, the statewide average at the time was 5%.
In December, a federal judge ruled Rutherford County would have to pay out $6 million to families of children who were illegally arrested and jailed.
There’s currently a judicial review going on due to a complaint filed against Davenport. News 2 reached out to Judge Davenport about the complaint, but we have not heard back.
In a release sent out Tuesday, Judge Davenport had this to say about her retirement:
“After prayerful thought and talking with my family, I have decided not to run for re-election after serving more than twenty-two years on the bench. I will always look back at my time as Judge as one of the greatest honors of my life and I am so proud of what this Court has accomplished in the last two decades and how it has positively affected the lives of young people and families in Rutherford County. I wish my successor the best and hope that this job provides them the same fulfillment it has provided me over the years.”
Judge Davenport was the first female judge elected to serve in Rutherford County.