Former Judge Candidate Disbarred

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A Memphis attorney who ran for a circuit court judge seat in 2014 has been disbarred for, among other things, not showing up to court and not telling her clients she’d shuttered her law practice.

Venita Marie Martin’s law license was pulled Wednesday by an order of the Tennessee Supreme Court. The action comes after the Tennessee Board of Professional Responsibility (TBPR), a branch of the Tennessee Supreme Court that oversees the state’s attorneys, reviewed seven complaints of misconduct against Martin.

The complaints were issued to the board in July 2015. Martin failed to reply to the board about the complaints and she was temporarily suspended from practicing law. She couldn’t represent existing clients, couldn’t take on new clients, and couldn’t have a law office.

A TBPR hearing panel recently recommended disbarring Martin because she failed to talk with her clients about their cases, failed to show up in court, failed to tell her clients she was closing her office and terminating her law practice, and more.

Martin has a history of misconduct, according to the TBPR. She was censured in 2011 for misconduct and for conflict-of-interest violations. She was suspended in 2014 for not responding to the board on charges of misconduct but was reinstated January 2015. She was suspended seven months later on the charges that got her disbarred from practice.

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In 2014, Martin was a candidate for Shelby County Circuit Court Judge, Division 8. She lost but her campaign’s Facebook page is still active. Here’s why she said people should vote for her back in 2014:

“Let's change the face of justice. Let's make it kind, professional, honest, hardworking, truthful, sensitive to the realities of life, knowledgeable of the interplay between the rules of procedure, evidence, and law.

“Men who are insensitive to the realities of life, men who are rude to women, and litigants have no place on the bench. I offer you nearly 20 years of trial work. No one in the Division 8 race can match my legal record.”

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