Belfast Telegraph

Wednesday 16 April 2014

Judge charged over baby name change

A US magistrate has been charged over a decision to change a baby's name

An East Tennessee magistrate who ordered a baby's name to be changed from Messiah to Martin has been charged with violating the state's Code of Judicial Conduct.

Child Support Magistrate Lu Ann Ballew ordered the name change during a paternity hearing on August 8.

At the time, the parents were disputing the eight-month-old baby's surname.

Mother Jaleesa Martin hoped to keep the name she had given the boy - Messiah Deshawn Martin - and father Jawaan McCullough wanted the baby to bear his last name.

Ballew surprised both parents by ordering the baby's name to be changed to Martin Deshawn McCullough, saying the name Messiah is a title held only by Jesus Christ and places an undue burden on him. That decision was overturned.

Ballew has 30 days to answer the charges.

AP