High Court petitioner under “active” criminal investigation


NASHVILLE, Tennessee (WTVF) – A Tennessee Supreme Court candidate remains under an “active” criminal investigation despite his attempt to downplay the issue in his candidacy for the vacant high court post.

Davidson County Circuit Court Judge Kelvin Jones is scheduled to appear before the Governor’s Council for Judicial Appointments this week, where he could be questioned about the investigation by the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation.

“It’s still active and ongoing at the moment,” said TBI spokesperson Susan Niland in an email response to a question from NewsChannel 5 survey regarding the status of the case.

Through a spokesperson, Jones declined to comment.

Jones, a Democrat elected to the bench in 2014, has sought the appointment of Governor Bill Lee to replace Judge Connie Clark, who died in September. Council will forward three names to Lee for consideration.

In his candidacy, Jones was asked to answer the question: “To your knowledge, are you currently under federal, state or local investigation for possible violation of any criminal law or rule? disciplinary? “

But the Nashville judge did not directly acknowledge the criminal investigation, which was first reported by NewsChannel 5 in March.

Instead, Jones responded by saying he was the target of a Board of Judicial Conduct complaint by “an oft-suspended lawyer” who had become “subject to sanctions” in Jones’ court. This complaint was made to the Board of Judicial Conduct and Nashville District Attorney Glenn Funk.

“To date, no action has been taken by the Judicial Ethics Board or the district attorney regarding the lawyer’s oft-suspended complaint,” Jones wrote.

tncourts.gov

Kelvin Jones asks Tennessee Supreme Court

In fact, as NewsChannel 5 Investigates first reported in January, the complaint by Nashville attorney Brian Manookian was based entirely on the judge’s sworn confession in his own divorce case.

Among his many confessions, Jones said he buried $ 100,000 in cash in his backyard to hide it from the state and its creditors.

Jones had taken out a federally guaranteed loan for a hotel in Manchester, Tennessee, which ultimately failed.

“You don’t want to have a lot of money in the accounts,” the judge said, “because the state at some point, if you owe a bill for your hotel, may come and seize your account.

“So I didn’t want to have that much money in an account.”

Jones also admitted that he accessed his then-wife’s work emails for evidence, forwarding them to her, then deleting them so she didn’t know.

In addition, the judge bragged about impersonating a man he suspected of having an affair with his wife for a San Diego hotel to send him a copy of the itemized bill for the ‘man.

After NewsChannel 5’s report, Funk requested the appointment of a special prosecutor.

This special prosecutor, Robert Carter of Fayetteville, requested the assistance of the TBI to investigate the case.

In April, the special judge overseeing the divorce case ordered clerks to provide Jones’ entire divorce file to the BIT, including the judge’s sworn statement, which was filed under seal at the time.

While acknowledging the complaint of “the often suspended attorney” when asked if he was under investigation, Jones also avoided this problem in his request when asked to identify ” the number of formal complaints “filed against him.

He cited “four complaints” from “non-leading” parties in civil cases he had heard.

“These four complaints… were all dismissed by the Tennessee Board of Judicial Conduct,” Jones wrote.

In addition to the Tennessee Supreme Court nomination, Jones is also running for re-election to Circuit Court in 2022.

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