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Brown looks to be back on bench

Becky Campbell • Feb 14, 2012 at 9:59 PM

Despite ongoing medical issues that have prevented Criminal Court Judge Lynn Brown from hearing cases, he is scheduled to be on the bench in Jonesborough today.

Brown will hear motions in a case of a local doctor charged with obtaining narcotics by fraud. It’s the only case on today’s schedule.

The judge has scheduled a lighter court docket load for several months because of ongoing medical problems. In late 2011, he announced he was scheduled for surgery, but that has been delayed due to other issues.

On previous court dates, even back to late last year, Brown has talked about his medical situation publicly, but not in depth.

In comments from the bench, Brown said he cannot sit for long periods of time due to blood clots in his legs, and that his doctor has recommended he not work at all.

Still, Brown has maintained a limited court schedule, albeit shorter days.

He is expected to make a statement from the bench today to clear up any misconceptions about his ability to continue hearing cases.

According to the Washington County Circuit Court clerk’s office, Brown has court dates scheduled for Feb. 28 as well as several days in March and April.

In addition to that, Judge Jon Kerry Blackwood, a retired senior judge who hears cases when sitting judges can’t, is scheduled for court in Jonesborough Feb. 21, Feb. 24 and March 20. The Administrative Office of the Courts assigned Blackwood to Brown’s cases.

Libby Sykes, spokeswoman at the AOC, said there is no formal process for jurisdictions to request a substitute judge.

Sykes said Brown’s office indicated to the AOC that his doctor wanted him to be off and Blackwood has stepped in so the docket doesn’t get backlogged.

Because the 1st Judicial District is a four-county district, which includes Washington, Carter, Unicoi and Johnson counties, Blackwood is hearing cases in all four locations.

Even before Brown’s recent need for help, Blackwood was no stranger to Washington County.

He was the sitting judge for the Howard Hawk Willis double murder case in 2010. Blackwood was appointed to that case after Brown recused himself following a federal lawsuit Willis filed against him.

Brown was unavailable for comment on Tuesday.

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