- Associated Press - Saturday, June 7, 2014

CHATTANOOGA, Tenn. (AP) - Tenth Judicial District Attorney Steve Bebb, who was the subject of a series of critical articles in 2012 by the Chattanooga Times Free Press, is retiring just two months before his term ends.

Gov. Bill Haslam’s spokesman, Dave Smith, told the newspaper (https://bit.ly/1j9VHco) that Bebb notified the governor’s office on Friday that he planned to leave office June 30. Secretary of State’s office spokesman Blake Fontenay said Bebb filed an application for retirement.

Bebb served as Criminal Court judge in the 10th Judicial District from 1982 to 2006 before he was elected as district attorney for Bradley, McMinn, Monroe and Polk counties.

A series of stories in the Times Free Press claimed that Bebb used his authority to protect friends and punish enemies. The newspaper also reported evidence of misconduct by the 10th Judicial Drug Task Force, where Bebb was chairman of the board, and published records of Bebb improperly claiming taxpayer reimbursement for driving a state-owned vehicle.

The newspaper series led to investigations by the state attorney general’s office, the comptroller, the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation, the Board of Professional Responsibility and the state Legislature.

The attorney general found no prosecutable violations, and the Board of Professional Responsibility, which disciplines attorneys, dismissed formal complaints. A special House oversight committee recommended that Bebb be removed from office, but the corresponding panel in the Senate took no action, and the issue died when the Legislature adjourned.

Bebb declined to comment to the newspaper.

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Information from: Chattanooga Times Free Press, https://www.timesfreepress.com

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