Judge Who Ordered ‘Baby Messiah’ to Change Name is Facing Charges


A three-member investigative panel associated with the board filed a formal report against Child Support Magistrate Lu Ann Ballew in Cocke County on Wednesday.

In August, Ballew ordered the name of 8-month-old baby Messiah Deshawn Martin be changed. She stated in a ruling and a later interview with Knoxville TV station WBIR that the name “Messiah” was a title reserved only for Jesus Christ.

Another judge later overruled Ballew’s decision and said she had acted unconstitutionally. By then, the baby’s parents had filed a complaint against Ballew with the Board of Judicial Conduct.

The state board’s charges allege Ballew did not promote confidence in the judiciary or uphold the law without bias or partiality through her actions.

Ballew now has 30 days to answer the board’s charges, according to the documents filed in the case. Once she responds, the board will hold a hearing on the case within 60 days.


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