Tennessee Judge Sued for Ordering Drug Tests of Courtroom Spectator

Thursday, January 07, 2010
Dickson County Courthouse

Judge Durwood Moore of Dickson County, Tennessee, used to force spectators in his courtroom to submit to random drug tests—until the state’s judicial oversight body censured Moore for violating peoples’ constitutional rights. Moore finally went too far when he ordered Benjamin Marchant, who was in Moore’s courtroom to observe a friend’s trial, to take a drug test, because the judge thought Marchant was under the influence. Moore claimed he routinely ordered visitors to his court to be screened for drugs without any evidence of wrongdoing. In the case of Marchant, his test came back negative.

Marchant then filed a complaint with the Tennessee Supreme Court’s Judiciary Court, which in turn censured Moore for his behavior. The Judiciary Court wrote: “This public censure represents the highest degree of judicial discipline authorized by law short of the Court seeking a judgment recommending your removal as a judge from office. In the future you are to accord all citizens who appear in your court their constitutional rights and they shall not be seized on your suspicion for unauthorized drug tests. Each individual who appears before you shall be afforded their due process rights and shall be properly charged and noticed before any adverse action is taken against them.”
-Noel Brinkerhoff
Man Says Judge Arrested Him 'On a Hunch' (by Liz Potocsnak, Courthouse News Service)
Benjamin Marchant v. Judge Durwood Moore (U.S. District Court, Middle District of Tennessee, Nashville Division) (pdf)
Public Censure Notice of Judge Durwood Moore (Supreme Court of Tennessee) (pdf)


marchant 7 years ago
1: its "paraphernalia" 2: Marchant was not married at the time. 3: nobody was wearing Marchant's jacket. 4: You're obviously an idiot.
TJ 14 years ago
This judge has been an embarrassment to Dickson County for years. He has made many unethical and illegal decisions during his far to long time on the bench. He is a drunk that sits on the bench and judges everyone else while all the time doing the very things he is sentencing others for doing. I have heard he was forced to retire after all these indicents. All I can say is Thank God! The only bad thing is that in this little "good old boys" town, no one will ever get true justice. Maybe some day this town will reach a point where our judicial system is run by upstanding and ethical people. As of now, many of the lawyers and judges in this town feel they have a right to rule everyone's lives even if it means making back room deals with one another. Shame on all of you.
just a person 14 years ago
if someone had looked into this a little farther moore drug tested marchant only after his female spouse was found with drug parafinallia in his jacket she was wearing and she was also tested at the same time.

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