Attorney Sunny Eaton has sent a request to the Tennessee Board of Professional Responsibility asking that they immediately suspend Coffee County District Attorney General Craig Northcott for his recent comments on domestic violence and the LGBTQ community.
This is the second complaint Eaton has filed against Northcott. The first was filed in June regarding a video that showed Northcott saying domestic violence statutes don’t apply to cases involving the LGBTQ community.
In a written response to this ethics complaint, Northcott said he believes that domestic violence laws are meant to “promote and protect the sanction of the institutions of marriage and family.”
“I assume that two adults who live together that are of the opposite gender are involved in a marital-type relationship absent some other relationship that suggests otherwise,” Northcott continued. “I assume that two people who are of the same gender and live together are not engaged in an intimate relationship. I do not believe they that they desire me to delve into what they do together nor do I believe that is my role. Thus, I generally prosecute assaults between two people of the same gender as a simple assault.”
He concluded this portion of the letter by saying, “In fact, my intent was in part to honor what I know has been the desire of the LGBTQ community – keeping the government out of their bedrooms.”
According to WTVF, more than 300 attorneys have called for Northcott’s immediate suspension.
“Mr. Northcott’s written reply to the complaint removes all doubt as to his current defiance of the rule of law and intent to further engage in conduct beneath the decency required of our profession along with raising serious questions as to his competency and fitness to practice,” Eaton wrote on behalf of the lawyers in a Monday letter.
Kathy Walsh, executive director of the Tennessee Coalition to End Domestic and Sexual Violence agreed with Eaton’s statements, adding that she believes “the LGBTQ wants the same protections that are afforded to other victims of domestic violence.”
“What’s wrong with that is the law describes domestic abuse. It is a crime when someone places you in fear, when someone abuses you. It doesn’t say that they have to be someone of the opposite sex,” Walsh said in response to being shown Northcott’s letter.
In Tennessee, domestic violence laws apply to people living together, including roommates. In other words, domestic violence is domestic violence regardless of whether a sexual relationship exists or not.
Walsh also mentioned that people with repeat domestic violence offenses can have their guns taken away.
“If you are not being charged with a domestic assault, you don’t get the same kind of additional protections. And I think the reason why we have additional protections for domestic abuse victims is because the legislature has realized that these people are in great danger,” Walsh continued.
Eaton has said Northcott “poses a substantial threat to the public,” while Northcutt claimed his policy was based on the 1996 vote outlawing same-sex marriage in Tennessee–a policy that was overturned as unconstitutional in 2015 by the U.S. Supreme Court.
Outside of his comments regarding domestic violence, Northcutt is also in hot water for a Facebook post in which he called Islam “evil, violent and against God’s truth.”
“There are no Constitutional rights. There are God-given rights protected by the Constitution,” he wrote. “If you don’t believe in the one true God, there is nothing to protect. No one other than God has given us any rights.”
In her letter, Eaton suggested that “any attorney who believes he has the power to ignore the decisions of the United States Supreme Court is in violation of his oath and is disqualified from the practice of law.”
[Photo Via Tennessee District Attorneys General Conference]