UPDATE: Hamilton County commissioners vote to keep magistrate - WRCBtv.com | Chattanooga News, Weather & Sports

UPDATE: Hamilton County commissioners vote to keep magistrate on the job

Posted: Jul 11, 2018 1:27 PM -04:00 Updated:
HAMILTON COUNTY, TN -

UPDATE: Hamilton County attorney Rhuebin Taylor has confirmed to Channel 3 that Stuart Brown, the magistrate that Hamilton County commissioners voted to keep on the job in August is now officially out of a job.

The Commission's vote this morning was unanimous, and Brown's termination was effective immediately.

Commissioners will now begin the process of hiring a replacement for Brown.


PREVIOUS STORY: We are learning more about why Hamilton County commissioners decided to keep a magistrate on duty despite him losing paperwork on multiple cases.

Magistrates have a number of responsibilities including setting bonds and signing off on warrants.

The vote was narrow: Four yes's and five no's, but ultimately Hamilton County commissioners decided to keep Stuart Brown as a magistrate.

Brown, who has been on the job for less than three months, received extra training over the last 30 days after a number of mistakes.

They range from dismissing warrants to losing documents in 11 cases.

District 7 Commissioner Sabrena Smedley voted to terminate Brown because she said there's still been problems.

"I do feel that we've gone above and beyond our duty in making sure that he does have proper training and I think at the end of the day, for me, I've just accepted that he can't do the job," Smedley said.

Brown was not at Wednesday's meet but his attorney Hank Hill was. Hill said the extra training has helped his client despite recent claims that he is taking too long setting bonds.

"I think that's required. You don't rush through these things. As a deliberate magistrate, he's supposed to be non-biased," Hill said.

Before the vote, Hill asked commissioners to keep Brown until December and accept his resignation when he can get his own health insurance.

New information District 3 Commissioner Greg Martin, who voted to keep Brown, said he wanted to discuss with the county attorney before voting to terminate.

"When you're dealing with personnel issues and you're dealing with people's livelihoods and potential litigation that's when you have those potential legal issues, I want to talk to our county attorney," Martin added.

It's unclear if Brown will resign in December.

Stay with Channel 3 for updates on this story.

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A 5-4 vote among the Hamilton County commissioners Wednesday morning resulted in the decision to keep current Magistrate Stuart Brown in his current role.

Brown was criticized by Hamilton County Chief Magistrate Lorrie Miller for deficiencies in his job; in one instance losing documents for 11 cases.


PREVIOUS STORY: County commissioners are giving a Hamilton County magistrate another chance after claims were made that he's been making some big mistakes on the job.

Magistrates are responsible for a number of things including setting bonds when someone is arrested and signing off on warrants.

Hamilton County Chief Magistrate Lorrie Miller outlined a number of mistakes she says Magistrate Stuart Brown has made in his month and a half on the job.

"Somebody gets arrested as a result of that. They get their picture in Just Busted, and now they're going to lose their job and now they're going to lose their kids possibly," Miller told commissioners Wednesday.

She said the mistakes range from dismissing warrants to losing documents in 11 cases.

"I've seen instances where Mr. Brown made a mistake, I turned around and explained to him and showed him visually, expressed to him this is a mistake. And then on the very next shift, he makes the exact same mistake," she added.

Two general sessions court judges explained to commissioners the toll the mistakes have had on cases.

"That can make that case go away. That's all well and good if it's a criminal trespassing case that they served a search warrant on, but what if it's the murder of your family?" Judge Lila Statom said.

"Mistakes can be made, I understand that. I don't know what else to say about that other than that should have never have been made. That's not a lack of training. I don't know what that is," Judge Gary Starnes said.

Brown admitted to commissioners he's not been perfect, but cited lack of training and being new to the position as the reason.

"Most of those mistakes were made, if not all of them, June 3, 4, 5, the first four days I was there," Brown said.

Commissioners agreed to give Brown more training and reevaluate his position in 30 days.

We'll let you know what happens.

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