Campbell County Judge pleads not guilty to official misconduct charges

General Sessions Judge Amanda Sammons faces four counts of official misconduct

General Sessions Judge Amanda Sammons pleaded not guilty in court on August 18, 2016.

CARYVILLE (WATE) – Judge Amanda Sammons was on the other side of the judge’s bench Thursday afternoon.

Judge Sammons, 41, pleaded not guilty to all charges in a Campbell County courtroom. Her attorney said they wanted a speedy trial and was not issuing a statement.

The general sessions judge will receive a trial by jury. Her next court date was set for November 1.

“The indictment speaks for itself and I don’t want to comment beyond that. Judge Sammons is entitled to a fair trial so I don’t want to do anything that would prejudice her,” said District Attorney General Dan Armstrong.

At this point, General Armstrong could not go into if more people have come forward with misconduct issues.

“What we have is what we’ve investigated. I’ll just leave it at that,” he said.

Amanda Sammons (Campbell County)
Amanda Sammons (Campbell County)

Sammons was charged with four counts of official misconduct after an investigation by the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation. During the course of the investigation, agents developed information that from September 2014 to January 2015, she made rulings that exceeded her official power as a General Sessions Court Judge.

Krista Leigh Smith was criminally charged by Sammons. Investigators say the charge nor the bond were not based on information in Smith’s warrant, record or hearing.

Also, an order to show cause was made by Sammons against Kristie Anderson and Julie Lester on why they should not be held in contempt for not appearing in court. Investigators say these actions were also based on information not in their records.

Previous story: Campbell County judge indicted for official misconduct, suspended

Months ago Judge Sammons was ruling on Scarlet the puppy’s case. The dog was found at death’s door with a severe case of mange.

“Scarlet did not receive justice from Judge Sammons,” said Patricia Simpson with Friends of Campbell County Animals.

At the time, the dog’s owners were facing animal cruelty charges, but those were dismissed when Judge Sammons decided there wasn’t probable cause.

“I was shocked actually because to me as a layperson it seemed like a very cut and dry case,” said Simpson.

Hearing the news on Thursday, Simpson says she’s not surprised. “But I do hope that although Scarlet didn’t get justice and I don’t think scarlet will get justice, I hope that this will set a precedent in our community for incoming judges to look at the laws and apply them appropriately.”

In the meantime, Sammons cannot preside over a court, issue warrants, or any other judicial duty until the Tennessee Board of Judicial Conduct says otherwise.

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