Pleasant View Municipal and Juvenile Traffic Court Judge Gregory Smith has released the second edition of his book “The Tennessee Municipal Judges Benchbook” on March 25, nine years after the release of the first edition.
Smith, who has served as a municipal court judge in Pleasant View since his appointment in 1997, said he was invited to write both editions by the Tennessee Municipal Judges Conference, where he also served as president from 2002 to 2004.
According to Smith, the conference was formed by the state legislature in 2004 to give municipal court judges uniformity in rulings and training. The Benchbook is a compilation of judicial opinions for use as a reference for the approximately 300 municipal court judges across the state. The first edition had 250 pages, while the second had about 310.
Smith said he received many calls asking for an updated version. The second edition contains about a decade of new cases and guidelines, most of the latter having to do with the pandemic and how a court should operate, whether online or in person.
Last year, the Harvard Law Review published an article on municipal courts across the United States and cited the first edition of its book by Smith.
The Knoxville native has also written “TACDL Guide to Advocating for Juveniles in Tennessee” and “Tennessee Judicial Ethics Opinions Handbook.” In addition to serving at Pleasant View, Smith teaches federal Indian law at Lincoln Memorial University School of Law in Knoxville and sits on one of six Native American Supreme Courts.
Smith says a standard city court hears traffic violations, city ordinance issues and code violations.
Price Harris, municipal court judge and state education chair for the Tennessee Municipal Court Judges Conference, said the courtbook did a great service for conference members and knew that Smith was the judge who drafted it.
“He’s one of the smartest people and judges I know. I never heard him lose his temper. I can’t sing his praises enough. He has vast knowledge from experience. He is very competent in the field of municipal law. He also practices tribal law. He has a unique way of working with others. He picks things up quickly. He asks questions. He doesn’t hesitate to step in and help. He’s so complete and he brings that to the bench and to the conference. He is one of the few people I know capable of writing a collection of books. He’s a really good person,” Harris said.