EXCLUSIVE AUDIO: Judge, Seeking Re-election, OD's in 'half-hearted' Suicide Attempt

CHASE MATHESON - June 9, 2022
OVERTON COUNTY, TN -- Suicide is not a joking matter. It is not something you mock someone over, nor is it something to be taken lightly. People very close to me have left this world due to suicide, and the emotional damage endured by the families lasts forever. Suicide is the leading cause of gun death in America, and is one of the leading causes of overall death. The Covid Pandemic exacerbated this issue, and it is becoming a problem that needs to be addressed. 

 Due to tragic nature of suicides and attempted suicides, you will rarely see them reported on in the media. However, as a society we have elevated certain positions of public service to a higher standard. Society would not usually find the mental impairment of a senior citizen newsworthy, but when that senior citizen is the President of the United States things change. 
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Recently I was alerted to a situation in the 13th Judicial District and after a lot of consideration I feel the public needs to be made aware. Judge Amy Hollars is seeking re-election in the 13th Judicial District for Circuit Court Judge.
In early February 2022 in the wee hours of the morning a Mr. Bob Burns made a 9-1-1 call. During this call Mr. Burns alerted the dispatcher to a situation involving his wife, Amy Hollars.

 "My name is Bob Burns and my wife has taken too much Xanax and too much alcohol in uh, I think about a half-hearted suicide attempt. I need somebody to come and get her" 

Mr. Burns goes on to say that he believes Hollars consumed approximately "30mg of Xanax, and about a half a bottle, I figure, of vodka".
Thankfully dispatch reacted quickly and Judge Hollars appears to have made a full recovery. We have reached out to Hollars to check on her well-being and ask if she is getting the professional help she needs, but at the time of this publication we had not received a response. You can listen to the call at the bottom of this page.
photo from judge amy hollars facebook page
Why report on this unfortunate scenario? To be blunt, this incident raises some serious questions about Judge Hollars' fitness for duty. Circuit Court Judge is a very respected position that holds a tremendous level of responsibility. As a sitting Judge over the 13th Judicial Districts Circuit Court Hollars oversees both civil and criminal cases of all types. Could a mental health crisis effect the decisions made by a sitting Judge? If a sitting Judge is misusing prescription medication, should they oversee cases involving prescription drugs? If a someone is on high doses of a drug like Xanax, which is often used to cope with Anxiety among other mental illnesses and known to causes memory blackouts, could that affect their judgements from the bench? 

Suicide attempts are not something that usually come out of nowhere, and the caller seems fairly calm on the phone considering the situation. Is this the first time this has happened? Is there a history of self-medication? Who was the other voice in the background of the call? And lastly, how many rulings could be in jeopardy due to these issues? Hollars has sat on the Bench since 2008 when she was appointed by Governor Phil Bredesen to fill a vacancy left by her father.

Let me reiterate, suicide is not a laughing matter. Sometimes a person struggles with the suicidal thoughts for months, or years before actually making an attempt, and it's the first time those around them have noticed a cry for help. If you or someone you know is struggling with thoughts of Suicide, get help right away. You can call that Suicide Prevention Hotline at 800-273-8255.

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