Indicted, suspended judge resigns after bond revoked for having cocaine in system: Reports


Judge A. Melissa Boyd indicted

Memphis Judge A. Melissa Boyd was indicted for witness intimidation after she allegedly tried to get her campaign manager to recant statements about her substance abuse. (Left: Shelby County Jail; Right: Tennessee Courts)

The embattled Memphis judge under indictment who’s run into nothing but trouble in her short time on the bench resigned after her bond was revoked for having cocaine in her system.

Judge Andrewnetta Melissa Boyd, 59, went to jail last week after the failed drug tests. This appeared to be the last straw for Boyd, who was facing removal by the Tennessee General Assembly. In January, the Tennessee Board of Judicial Conduct sent Lt. Gov. Randy McNally and Assembly Speaker Cameron Sexton a letter recommending that the Assembly kick Boyd out of office. The letter also detailed how her former campaign manager in December 2022 found a plate with a line of suspected cocaine on it in her closet.

Her lawyers sent the Administrative Office of the Courts a letter submitting her resignation late last month. She initially was going to resign at the end of May, but in a letter sent Tuesday, she moved up her date.

“Accordingly, please treat this letter as Judge Boyd’s indication that she is resigning from her position as a Criminal Court Judge for the 30th Judicial District at Memphis effective immediately,” Tuesday’s letter said.

At the court hearing last week revoking her bond, Boyd’s attorney said his client was in “full relapse.”

“I think that’s very obvious to the court,” attorney Art Horne said, according to CBS affiliate WREG. “Putting Ms. Boyd in jail and letting her detox and whatever doesn’t fix the long-term problem.”

But Boyd’s actions showed she was just “thumbing her nose” at the court’s orders, prosecutors said.

“She is basically thumbing her nose at the court saying I am not going to do one thing that you ordered me to do. I am not going to call into pretrial supervision. I am not going to go by the office, I am not going to submit to drug screens — I am not going to stop using cocaine,” said Nina Seiler, Assistant District Attorney of the 28th Judicial District, according to WREG.

The judge agreed with prosecutors, saying Boyd has refused help to address her drug problem. He sent her to jail until her criminal trial, which is slated to start later this month.

As Law&Crime previously reported, a grand jury indicted Boyd in December on charges of coercion of a witness and harassment, records show. According to the complaint obtained by the Memphis Commercial Appeal, Boyd is accused of pressuring her campaign manager to recant the statements she made to a judicial oversight body about Boyd’s use of marijuana and cocaine since taking office last year. Boyd also would show up at the campaign manager’s home and berate her, the Commercial Appeal reported.

Boyd reportedly told the campaign manager to “shut up” and to “not mess with her” because she’s a judge.

The judge, elected in August 2022 as Division IX judge of the 30th Judicial District Criminal Court in Memphis, took a leave of absence in May to address an illness. But in reality, documents reviewed by Law&Crime say, she was suspended by the Tennessee Board of Judicial Conduct that oversees judges. The board suspended her on May 22 for no more than six months due to allegations of drug use and inappropriate behavior, the documents said. The suspension was extended in December.

More on Law&Crime:‘I have also faltered’: Judge resigns after sending wild text messages about genitals, boring testimony and ‘pretty’ cops during murder trial

On Nov. 30, 2022, the board received a complaint alleging she was “threatening and intimidating an acquaintance and that she was abusing alcohol.” Boyd was required to respond in writing but missed the deadline by more than a month, the document said. The investigation was expanded in March after Boyd “was discovered sitting outside the acquaintance’s residence” around 2:30 a.m.

“During the incident Judge Boyd texted pictures of this individual’s property and sent text messages which accused this person of having someone in the home,” investigators wrote.

Boyd wrote to the board on April 10, admitting to sending the text messages and acknowledging that it was inappropriate. She also admitted she had failed to respond to the board in a timely fashion, blaming it on the deaths of several family members.

Then, the board said it was expanding the investigation for a third time after Boyd allegedly admitted to having a substance abuse problem. Boyd acknowledged to the board on May 5 that she did indeed have an issue.

Boyd’s behavior was not appropriate, the board wrote.

“When any judge, but especially a judge who adjudicates substance abuse or chemical dependency related matters such as Judge Boyd, has alcohol and/or substance abuse issues, respect for the judiciary and the administration of justice suffers,” the board wrote. “Clearly, the public is more likely to respect and have confidence in the integrity and quality of justice administered by a judge if the judge has complied with the same standards of conduct he or she is responsible for applying to others. A judge who has drug or alcohol dependency issues does not inspire such confidence.”

The board ordered Boyd to submit to a substance abuse evaluation and go to rehab if necessary. The Tennessee Lawyers Assistance Program, which assists those in the law profession, had to determine whether she was fit to return to the bench.

But the Board of Judicial Conduct on Oct. 31 issued a public reprimand of Boyd, saying she failed to complete the substance abuse evaluation. It was her second reprimand of the year: In May, the board reprimanded her for asking for donations via social media for a school while wearing her judge robe, which is a violation of judicial policy.

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