The judge who presided over city court in Spring Hill is speaking out after being fired by the Board of Mayor and Aldermen on May 21.
It was a public and humiliating end to an unblemished career of nearly eight years.
"I was just absolutely shocked, and quite frankly, I was devastated," said former Municipal Judge Blair Scoville Morgan.
Why Morgan was fired wasn’t clear.
While judge, Morgan had raised questions about how to handle traffic tickets. Recent court rulings raised some questions about whether city court tickets must be reported to the state. If they are reported, they can count as points against your driver’s license.
Morgan had asked for a legal opinion.
Meanwhile, Spring Hill police officers stopped sending their cases to her court.
"Our officers started sending cases to general sessions," said Don Brite, Spring Hill’s chief of police.
That cost Spring Hill revenue; it is not collecting fines and court costs.
It came up at a budget committee meeting in April; officials were concerned they would not meet their projections because of declining city court revenues.
News4’s Nancy Amons asked Morgan if they were worried about the money.
"Of course they were. Of course, they were," she said.
Vice Mayor Bruce Hull gave a different reason at the public meeting where Moran was fired. Hull talked about a deteriorating relationship with the police department.
"The relationship between the judicial department and the police department is very important," Hull said during the hearing.
"Right now there is no comment from the police department on that. We try to maintain our professionalism in all courts,” said Brite.
So what does this mean to people who get traffic tickets?
Now, instead of appearing in court in Spring Hill, you have to drive to a general sessions court in the county where your ticket was written - either going to court in Franklin for Williamson County or Mount Pleasant for Maury County.
Court costs are higher and it’s a longer drive, meaning more time away from work or family.
"That's not great. It's a hassle to have to drive all that way when you could just go to Spring Hill," said Tricia Choisser, a Spring Hill resident.
"Nobody wants to travel that far to pay a speeding ticket," said Kim Gill, who lives in Spring Hill.
The city is advertising for a new judge; Morgan is reluctantly leaving a job she loved.
"It's been the greatest honor of my life to serve my hometown as city judge,” said Morgan.
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