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East Tennessee judge who ordered baby's name changed from Messiah charged with code of conduct violation

Staff Report • Oct 26, 2013 at 9:36 AM

NASHVILLE — An East Tennessee magistrate who ordered a baby's name changed from Messiah to Martin has been charged with violating the state's Code of Judicial Conduct.

Child Support Magistrate Lu Ann Ballew ordered the name change during a paternity hearing Aug. 8.

At the time, the parents were disputing the 8-month-old baby's surname. Mother, Jaleesa Martin, hoped to keep the name she had given the boy— Messiah Deshawn Martin — and father, Jawaan McCullough, wanted the baby to bear his last name.

Ballew surprised both parents by ordering the baby's name be changed to Martin Deshawn McCullough, saying the name Messiah is a title held only by Jesus Christ and places an undue burden on him.

That decision was overturned.

Ballew has 30 days to answer the charges.

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