Judges Maddux and Burns Honored by Tennessee General Assembly

April 5, 2014
by: 
Dwayne Page
Judge John Maddux
Judge Leon Burns, Jr.

The Tennessee General Assembly has paid tribute to two long time judges in the 13th Judicial District who will be retiring from the bench this year.

The terms of Criminal Court Judge Leon Burns, Jr and Circuit Court Judge John Maddux, both of Cookeville will expire August 31.

Resolutions honoring both Democratic judges, sponsored by State Senator Charlotte Burks, have been adopted by the State House and Senate and have been sent to the Governor for his signature.

Judge Maddux has served the district for thirty years. Judge Burns has been on the bench for thirty eight years.

Both resolutions were adopted by the Senate 31-0 and by the House 93-0 with one member present but not voting.

The resolution honoring Judge Maddux is as follows:

"A RESOLUTION to recognize the Honorable John Maddux on the occasion of his retirement as Circuit Court Judge for the Thirteenth Judicial District of Tennessee.

WHEREAS, it is appropriate that the members of this legislative body should honor those jurists who have evidenced devotion to the law and our judicial system throughout their years on the bench; and

WHEREAS, Judge John Maddux is one such noteworthy jurist who served the Thirteenth Judicial District and the good people of Clay, Cumberland, DeKalb, Overton, Pickett, Putnam, and White Counties with distinction since his election as circuit court judge in 1984; and

WHEREAS, throughout his exemplary thirty-year tenure on the bench, Judge Maddux distinguished himself as a public-spirited citizen of the highest order and as an exceptional asset to his community; and

WHEREAS, Judge John Maddux obtained his Juris Doctorate from the University of Tennessee College of Law and attended undergraduate school at Tennessee Technological University and the University of Tennessee in Knoxville; and

WHEREAS, prior to his illustrious career on the bench, Judge Maddux practiced both civil and criminal law in state and federal courts in Tennessee; and

WHEREAS, seeking to serve his community, John Maddux was elected Circuit Court Judge for the Thirteenth Judicial District in 1984 and won re-election without opposition in 1990, 1998, and 2006; and

WHEREAS, respected by his peers and colleagues for his keen insight and commitment to public service, Judge Maddux is a past president of the Tennessee Judicial Conference and the Tennessee Trial Judges Association; and

WHEREAS, a member of the Tennessee Pattern Jury Instruction-Civil Committee for twenty-eight years, Judge John Maddux served on a two-person subcommittee of the body to draft the initial comparative fault jury instructions, which were later modified and adopted by the full committee; and

WHEREAS, Judge Maddux also served as chairman of the Tennessee Pattern Jury Instruction Clarity Sub-Committee, which rewrote the entire pattern jury instruction book so that civil jury instructions would be more easily understood by jurors, attorneys, and judges; and

WHEREAS, respectfully declining a nomination for a Federal District Court Judgeship, Judge John Maddux sat, by special designation, on the Tennessee Court of Appeals, the Tennessee Court of Criminal Appeals, and the Supreme Court Special Workers Compensation Panel; and

WHEREAS, Tennessee’s delegate to the National Conference of the Judiciary on Bioethical Issues, Judge John Maddux currently serves as chairman of the Judicial Conference’s Long Range Planning Committee and served as a member of the Legislative Committee and the Judicial Education Committee; and

WHEREAS, in 2010, Judge Maddux was elected as the chairman of the Board of Directors of the Tennessee Judicial Conference Foundation, Inc., whose mission is the offering of need-based scholarships to students at each of the colleges of law in Tennessee; and

WHEREAS, a fellow of the American Bar Association, Judge John Maddux presided in approximately 600 judicial settlement conferences, taught a course on business law at Tennessee Technological University, made presentations on comparative fault to the Judiciary Committee of the Tennessee House of Representatives, and served as an instructor on jury trials at the Tennessee Judicial Conference’s Judicial Academy for new judges; and

WHEREAS, deeply involved in his community, Judge John Maddux contributes his time and energies to the Adopt-A-School Program in Putnam County with the Cookeville-Putnam County Chamber of Commerce, which provides speakers, programs, and monetary contributions to the schools; and

WHEREAS, since the first adoption of a school on October 19, 1989, Judge Maddux presided over all ninety-two of the adoption ceremonies by more than 200 participating groups, as every Putnam County school has been adopted by more than one business, church, or civic organization; and

WHEREAS, for thirty-five years, Judge John Maddux helped shape the youth of Tennessee as the State Chairman of Tennessee American Legion Boys State and shared his knowledge of government as the author of Tennessee Government, a copy of which is given to each Boys State delegate to study and be tested on during the week of Boys State; and

WHEREAS, during his tenure as State Chairman, Tennessee’s American Legion Boys State won national acclaim as the top ranked Boys State program in the nation, while approximately 20,000 young men have attended the annual week-long event in Cookeville; and

WHEREAS, no stranger to honors and accolades, Judge John Maddux was the 2011 recipient of the Justice Frank F. Drowota III Award for Outstanding Judicial Service from the Tennessee Bar Association, which recognized his extraordinary devotion and dedication to the improvement of the law, the legal system, and the administration of justice; and

WHEREAS, Judge Maddux exemplifies the allegiance to equality and justice under the law that is characteristic of a true Tennessean; and

WHEREAS, throughout his estimable career, he has demonstrated the utmost professionalism, ability, and integrity, winning the unbridled respect and admiration of his fellow members of the bench and bar, the parties appearing before his court, and the citizens of the State of Tennessee; now, therefore,

BE IT RESOLVED BY THE SENATE OF THE ONE HUNDRED EIGHTH GENERAL ASSEMBLY OF THE STATE OF TENNESSEE, THE HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES CONCURRING, that we extend to Judge John Maddux our heartfelt wishes for a happy and fulfilling retirement from his voluminous duties as Circuit Court Judge for the Thirteenth Judicial District of Tennessee, applaud his years of dedicated public service and wise counsel, and wish him every continued success in all his future endeavors."

The resolution honoring Judge Burns is as follows:

"A RESOLUTION to honor and commend Judge Leon Burns on the occasion of his retirement.

WHEREAS, it is appropriate that the members of this legislative body should honor those jurists who have served justice with objectivity and acumen throughout their outstanding careers; and

WHEREAS, one such exemplary jurist is the Honorable Leon Burns, Criminal Court Judge for the Thirteenth Judicial District; Judge Burns announced his retirement effective September 1, 2014, as he will not seek re-election to the bench; and

WHEREAS, Judge Burns began serving as a judge in April 1975 when he was appointed on an interim basis to fill the position of a judge who was experiencing health problems; and

WHEREAS, in 1978, Judge Burns was elected to serve the remainder of that unexpired term and has since been re-elected several times, always unopposed; this speaks volumes about the high regard in which he is held in the Thirteenth Judicial District; and

WHEREAS, a leader among his peers, Judge Burns is past president of the Tennessee Judicial Conference, served as the trial judge representative on the Tennessee Sentencing Commission, and served on the Tennessee Commission for Criminal Justice and the Tennessee Supreme Court Advisory Commission of Rules and Criminal Procedure; and

WHEREAS, he shared his wisdom and legal expertise as an adjunct professor of criminal justice at Tennessee Technological University; and

WHEREAS, Judge Burns gives back to his community as a member of the Jaycees, Lions, and Rotary clubs of Cookeville; and

WHEREAS, throughout his estimable career, Judge Leon Burns demonstrated the utmost professionalism, ability, and integrity, winning the unbridled respect and admiration of members of the bench and the bar alike; now, therefore,

BE IT RESOLVED BY THE SENATE OF THE ONE HUNDRED EIGHTH GENERAL ASSEMBLY OF THE STATE OF TENNESSEE, THE HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES CONCURRING, that we honor, commend and congratulate Judge Leon Burns on his exemplary 38-year tenure as Criminal Court Judge for the Thirteenth Judicial District, applaud his commitment to justice, and extend our best wishes for his every future success and happiness."

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