Ethics board clears DA Bebb
by BRIAN GRAVES Banner Staff Writer
Mar 19, 2014 | 989 views | 0 0 comments | 10 10 recommendations | email to a friend | print
The yearlong probe of 10th Judicial District Attorney Steve Bebb has come to what could be a conclusion clearing him of ethics charges.

However, there still could be an obstacle on the other side of the state Capitol in Nashville to a complete ending of the matter.

Tennessee House of Representatives Speaker Beth Harwell’s office has confirmed the investigation she directed the Tennessee Board of Professional Responsibility to conduct concerning allegations Bebb had abused his power in office has been concluded and dismissed by the board.

The board met in its regular quarterly session last Friday, but Bebb’s case was not listed on the agenda.

The board was established in 1976 by the Tennessee Supreme Court to aid in supervising the ethical conduct of attorneys and is comprised of nine lawyer members and three members who are not lawyers.

There was an item on that meeting’s agenda concerning a draft memo to the Senate Judiciary Committee, but a request to the board for a copy of that document revealed the item to be a request to the Senate for more funding for the board’s operational budget.

Bebb has already been cleared once of wrongdoing, following a TBI investigation ordered by Attorney General Robert Cooper.

That report stated nothing had been found that could bring Bebb under any sort of judicial jeopardy.

Harwell requested the board take the helm in the case last August after a House panel recommended “... certain allegations warrant continued review.”

In a statement released today to the Cleveland Daily Banner, Harwell said, “The Board of Professional Responsibility informed me that the complaint has been dismissed. Although I disagree, I respect that this is the decision of the governing body.”

James Vick, deputy chief disciplinary counsel for the board, told the Banner today he is prohibited from confirming whether the matter was discussed at the board’s Friday meeting, and even if there was actually an investigation.

“Those are confidential matters,” Vick said.

Under the rules of the board, it would take an order from the state Supreme Court to open those records.

Attention now focuses on the Senate Judiciary Committee whose chairman, state Sen. Brian Kelsey (R-Germantown), had also filed a complaint against Bebb,

Inquiries to Kelsey concerning Bebb’s potential return to that body’s agenda before the close of the legislative session were referred to the legal counsel for the committee. Neither had forwarded a response as of this morning.

The committee is not scheduled to meet again until March 25.

The Banner was informed by Bebb’s office this morning he was not scheduled to be in his office on Wednesday and was not available for comment.

Bebb chose not to seek re-election to the post and will leave the office at the end of August.