Bradley County General Sessions Judge Sheridan Randolph has been publicly reprimanded for involving himself in the case of a man suspected of burglarizing the judge's office.
The Tennessee Court of the Judiciary released the reprimand Tuesday. It said Randolph had violated the Code of Judicial Conduct, which states that judges must recuse themselves in cases in which their impartiality may be questioned.
The reprimand said the code requires judges to "comply with the law and act at all times in a manner that promotes public confidence in the integrity and impartiality of the Judiciary."
Randolph could not be reached for comment Wednesday, and the Bradley County Court Clerk's Office said at 2 p.m. that he had gone home for the day. He did not return a message left on his home phone.
According to Times Free Press archives, Randolph's North Ocoee Street office was burglarized sometime between Aug. 11 and Sept. 6, 2011. Several items were taken, including antique firearms.
Cleveland police arrested David Copeland and Gary Looper on burglary charges. But on Sept. 23, according to newspaper archives, a woman told Randolph that a man named Gregory Workman also had been involved.
Randolph issued an arrest warrant for Workman, who spent three nights in jail without access to an attorney before he was brought before Randolph in a Sept. 26 hearing, court documents show. Randolph ordered Workman released on his own recognizance, and the charge later was dropped.
Addressing Randolph personally, the reprimand from the Court of the Judiciary noted that, when a complaint was filed, "you promptly responded and admitted that you had in fact held the hearing and realized it was error for you to do so."
Workman said by phone Wednesday that the information that he was involved in the burglary had come from his ex-girlfriend, who later got an order of protection against him.
"I got arrested for it and I had nothing to do with it," he said.
Asked his reaction to the reprimand to Randolph, Workman said, "It's not enough, but it's all he'll get."
Judy Walton has worked 25 years at the Chattanooga Times and the Times Free Press as an editor and reporter focusing on government coverage and investigations. At various times she has been an assistant metro editor, region reporter and editor, county government reporter, government-beat team leader, features editor and page designer. Originally from California, Walton was brought up in a military family and attended a dozen schools across the country. She earned a journalism degree ...