Judge that ordered Messiah name change is replaced

An East Tennessee judge that made international headlines for ordering a name change for a baby named Messiah is no longer on the bench.

Friday was the last day on the job for Judge LuAnne Ballew. A Fourth Judicial District judge terminated Ballew's appointment as the child support magistrate, effective at midnight.

Ballew came under fire after she ordered the parents of Messiah Deshawn Martin to change the baby's first name during a hearing about what his last name should be. She said Messiah was not a name, but a title that had only been earned by Jesus Christ. She said it would be tough on the boy, growing up in the mostly Christian Cocke County.

Another judge later reversed that decision.

The Tennessee Board of Judicial Conduct investigated the incident, and decided Ballew acted illegally. She stood by her decision in her response to those citations.

Ballew's next hearing before the Board of Judicial Conduct is set for March 3rd.

Her replacement, Melissa Moore, is already sworn in. Her first official day is Saturday.


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