Tennessee General Sessions Judge Durwood Moore has a curious view of the fourth amendment and the doctrine of judicial notice. Moore is the subject of a judicial ethics complaint and lawsuit after he had an observer in his courtroom arrested and forced to do a urinalysis. Moore insisted that this is simply his routine practice when he has “a hunch.”
One such hunch in the Dickson County courthouse concerned Benjamin Marchant who was present to support a friend before Moore. He was taken into custody with no probable cause or even reasonable suspicion on the part of the judge. Moore believes that he can simply arrest on every hunch he has as what he calls the “routine policy of the court.”
Moore later admitted that he violated Marchant’s rights and was censured by the Tennessee Supreme Court’s Judiciary Court on May 1, 2009. What is astonishing is that such a policy leads only to censor in Tennessee. The court merely ordered Moore to “never violate a person’s constitutional rights as he did to the Plaintiff.” That’s it, go forth and sin no more.
Despite his belated admission, Moore clearly had no concept of the most basic element of probable cause or the fourth amendment. He will be allowed to continue to rule in cases despite his total lack of either understanding or acceptance of basic constitutional principles.
Marchant is suing the officers and the judge for good reason. Perhaps liability will offer a need of deterrence in light of the failure of the judges to police themselves.