NEWPORT, Tenn. – An East Tennessee magistrate has been replaced months after ordering a baby's name changed from Messiah to Martin because she believes Messiah is a title held only by Jesus Christ.
Lu Ann Ballew was a child support magistrate, serving at the pleasure of the chief judge of Tennessee's fourth judicial district. Judge Duane Slone terminated Ballew on Friday and appointed a new magistrate. He did not return calls seeking comment, and his order does not explain why he ended Ballew's appointment.
Ballew, an attorney, still faces a March 3 hearing on accusations that she violated Tennessee's Code of Judicial Conduct. Among other things, the code requires judges to perform all duties without bias or prejudice based on religion.
Ballew's August name change decision was overturned at a September hearing.