Tag Archives: criminal

Judicial Nominating Commission Picks Candidates for ET Seat

The Tennessee Judicial Nominating Commission on Thursday selected nominees to submit to Gov. Bill Haslam for a position on the Eastern Section of the Court of Criminal Appeals, reports the Chattanooga TFP.
Solemnly arrayed in the Sheraton Read House Terrace Room, 15 applicants made statements before a panel of 15 nominating commission members, who then interviewed each candidate in turn.
Traditionally, the commission submits only one panel of three names for the governor to review. If he rejects those three applicants, members vote on a second panel of names. However, the commission will cease to exist at midnight Sunday when the legislative provisions creating it expire.
“It’s different from what we’ve done historically because the commission sunsets at the end of the month,” said J. Bartlett Quinn, a Chattanooga attorney and commission secretary.
To ensure the commission fulfills its function one last time, the commissioners submitted a second panel of names in the event that Haslam rejects the first three.
The two lists:
Panel A
• Boyd Patterson, assistant district attorney in Chattanooga
• Robert Montgomery, a criminal court judge in the 2nd Judicial District, from Blountville, Tenn.
• Thomas Wright, a circuit court judge in the 3rd Judicial District in Greeneville, Tenn.
Panel B
• William Jackson Brown, a Cleveland attorney
• Charles Edward Atchely Jr., a Knoxville attorney
• Samuel Lee, an attorney in Clinton, Tenn.

On Making the Punishment Fit the Profession, Not the Crime

Enhancing criminal penalties has long been a favored pursuit of lawmakers, the major restraint on this inclination being the cost to taxpayers of locking up the wrongdoers and provisions of state law and legislative rules that say the enhanced spending must be covered in the state budget.
An interesting debate back in the 2013 legislative session, worthy of more attention than it received as us media types focused on stuff deemed more interesting in the fast-action session, concerned what may be seen an evolution of compromise in this inherent conflict.
That is, enhance the punishment, but only when the victim is a member of a chosen profession.
The chosen professional victims in this year’s session were doctors, nurses and other health care providers in one bill (HB306) and firefighters and emergency workers in another (SB66). Starting July 1, the effective date of both new laws, if you, for example, punch an on-the-job paramedic (covered by both laws), the maximum penalty upon conviction of assault will be more severe than if you punched a preacher, a retired grandmother or a newspaper reporter.

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Two 2014 Appeals Court Vacancies Draw 25 Applications

News release from Administrative Office of the Courts:
Nashville, Tenn. – Three judges, one magistrate and 21 attorneys have applied to fill anticipated 2014 vacancies on the Tennessee Court of Appeals and Court of Criminal Appeals.
The openings are the result of announcements by Court of Appeals Judge Patricia Cottrell and Court of Criminal Appeals Judge Joseph Tipton that they will not seek re-election in August 2014, creating vacancies effective Sept. 1, 2014. Because statutory provisions for the Judicial Nominating Commission expire June 30, 2013, the commission will meet this month to select a slate of candidates for Gov. Bill Haslam to choose from.
…The Judicial Nominating Commission will meet Thursday, June 27 in Chattanooga to interview and hear public comments regarding the 15 applicants who have applied to fill the vacancy on the Court of Criminal Appeals Eastern Division.
The Judicial Nominating Commission will meet Friday, June 28 in Nashville to interview and hear public comments regarding the 10 applicants who have applied to fill the vacancy on the Court of Appeals Middle Division.
(The panel is still accepting applications for a third 2014 vacancy — the seat now held by West Tennessee Court of Appeals Judge Alan Highers.)
Note: List of the applicants is below.

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Two Appealate Court Judges Won’t Seek Retention Re-election

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) — Two Tennessee appellate court judges have notified Gov. Bill Haslam that they will not run for another term on the bench in the August 2014 retention election.
Patricia J. Cottrell, a judge on the Court of Appeals, and Joseph M. Tipton, who sits on the Court of Criminal Appeals bench, will both leave after September of next year.
The announcements come after the state legislature left Tennessee without a way to replace judges who step down or die when a commission expires at the end of next month.
Members of the soon-to-be-defunct Judicial Nominating Commission will make recommendations for replacements to give to Haslam before the panel expires. Haslam will appoint the replacements from those recommendations.
Note: News release below

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Charlie Galbreath, Former Judge, Dies at Age 88

From The Tennessean:
Charles Galbreath, an appeals judge, state legislator and defender of the downtrodden who was widely regarded as one of the most flamboyant power brokers of his generation, died Tuesday at his home in Nashville.
He was 88.
Mr. Galbreath, who went by Charlie, had been ill with Alzheimer’s disease and recently developed pneumonia, Joyce Galbreath, his wife of 63 years, said Thursday.
A Nashville native and the son of a man who owned a chain of grocery stores, Mr. Galbreath had aspirations in theater that preceded his storied legal and political career. In the 1940s, he studied drama at Carnegie Hall in New York before attending Cumberland University of Law. Throughout his career, he blended the stage and the gavel — often to the chagrin of colleagues and opponents alike.
A 1968 Tennessean profile, written before he was elected to the state Court of Criminal Appeals, described Mr. Galbreath as a “loud, elusive enigma” and said he “has always made the legal profession a little nervous.”
He performed weddings in oddball places, including on a Ferris wheel and in a bar.
Although his theatrics often garnered more attention than his accomplishments, many said Mr. Galbreath’s contributions to the state’s judicial system were substantial. They began when he served as a state legislator from 1960 until his election to the bench. He switched from the Democratic to the Republican Party before he sought the appeals court seat.
…Perhaps most notably, Mr. Galbreath in 1963 pushed a bill in the legislature that created the state’s public defender post. He then became Tennessee’s first public defender.
…His notoriety reached its peak in the mid-1970s, when Mr. Galbreath, a sitting Court of Criminal Appeals judge, wrote a letter to the editor of Hustler (he was a close friend of Larry Flynt, the pornographic magazine’s publisher) that said a certain sex act was still considered “unnatural and illegal” in some states. The letter, which used gutter slang that shocked and appalled the state’s legal establishment, reverberated for years among Tennessee lawyers.
…Mr. Galbreath also made headlines after being arrested for jaywalking in Columbus, Ohio, and for selling Cuban cigars out of his law office.

Union Takes Down ‘Shame’ Signs for Criminal Background Checks

A union has suspended its protests against subcontractors paying substandard wages and benefits — using signs that say “Shame On” the person or entity targeted in the protest — after two sign-carrying pickets were found to have criminal backgrounds, reports the News Sentinel.
Picketers have held up the signs in front of Cherokee Health, Denark Construction and the Andrew Johnson Building in Knoxville, as well as at Blount Memorial Hospital and Maryville College.
But the banners are down in the Knoxville’ area as the Mid-South Carpenters Regional Council awaits criminal background checks on all individuals it hires to hold the signs.
The union took down the banners after two Knoxville men holding a “Shame on…” banner in front of First Baptist Church of Dandridge were arrested on May 18 for violating the state sex offender registry law.
Ricky Dean Moore, 49, was released in lieu of $25,000 bond, while Michael David Sadler, 51, was held on $25,000 bond, according to a Jefferson County General Sessions Court staffer. They each face a 9 a.m. June 13 hearing in General Sessions Court.
James L. Kerley, executive secretary/treasurer with the Nashville-based union that has 5,000-plus members, said the union was unaware of the men’s criminal backgrounds.
“As far as we know, we are doing everything we can do to make sure that doesn’t happen again,” he said.


Note: Frank Cagle has an opinion on such doings.

Sponsors Tout Bill Easing Path to Expungment of Criminal Records (for a $350 fee)

News release from Senate Democratic Caucus:
NASHVILLE – State Senator Reginald Tate and State Representative Karen Camper have passed legislation to give citizens who committed certain nonviolent, non-sexual crimes the opportunity to clear their records after years of abiding by the law.
“All crimes are serious, and we should take their punishments seriously, too,” Tate said. “What we are finding, however, is that mistakes people made in their lives 20 years ago are keeping them from obtaining a degree, applying for jobs and moving on with their lives.”
Senate Bill 3520 allows those convicted of certain nonviolent, non-sexual misdemeanors and Class E felonies to apply for expungement of their records. Offenders would be eligible only if the crime was more than five years old and they had completed all requirements of their sentence with no further convictions.
Eligible offenses include various nonviolent theft and fraud charges, vandalism and other nonviolent crimes like failure to appear in court.
The Tennessee District Attorneys General Conference worked with Camper and Tate to create the list of eligible offenses, as well as the steps necessary to have the crimes expunged. A $350 filing fee for expungement will fund costs associated with the process, as well as provide revenue for the state’s general fund.
The legislation is expected to add more than $7 million in annual revenues to the state’s general fund, but bill sponsors and other lawmakers spoke more to the value of giving one-time, nonviolent offenders a fresh start.
“We have a duty to uphold the law, but we also have the responsibility to forgive those who serve their punishments and learn from their mistakes,” Camper said. “This legislation will provide opportunities to those who have paid their dues and are looking for ways to better themselves and provide for their families.”
The bill now goes to Governor Bill Haslam for his signature.

Court of Criminal Appeals Judge Charged With DUI

KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (AP) — A Tennessee Court of Criminal Appeals judge has been charged with drunken driving in Knoxville.
Police spokesman Darrell DeBusk told The Knoxville News Sentinel (http://bit.ly/JmbTZi) that 58-year-old Jerry Smith of Nashville was arrested shortly before midnight on Monday.
DeBusk said an officer stopped Smith’s car because the rear hatch was open and luggage was about to fall out.
The officer then found that Smith had slurred speech and unsteady, bloodshot eyes.
Smith refused to submit to a blood alcohol test, bringing another charge for violation of the implied consent law.
Smith was ordered released on his own recognizance after he was sober.
A person answering the phone at Smith’s office said he has no comment.

On Operations of Tennessee’s Fusion Center

By Kristin Hall, Associated Press
NASHVILLE, Tenn. — Since opening five years ago, the Tennessee Fusion Center has become the state’s centralized database for criminal information and records that aids analysts in discerning patterns in criminal activity throughout the state.
Fusion centers like the one in Tennessee were created after 9/11 to address gaps in communication about potential criminal and terrorist activity between law enforcement agencies on the local, state and national level.
Agents who oversee the center say the information they gather is leading to the prosecution of criminal gangs, the recovery of abducted and missing children and increased awareness of human trafficking in Tennessee.

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Judge Roger Page Appointed to Court of Criminal Appeals

News release from governor’s office:
NASHVILLE – Tennessee Gov. Bill Haslam today announced his appointment of Judge Roger Page to the Court of Criminal Appeals, Western Section.
Page currently serves Chester, Henderson and Madison counties as a circuit court judge for Division III of the 26th Judicial District, a position he has held since his first election in 1998, and he replaces the late Judge J.C. McLin on the Court of Criminal Appeals, Western Section.
“Roger has been practicing law in West Tennessee for nearly his entire legal career, and he brings extensive experience and knowledge to the bench,” Haslam said. “I appreciate his willingness to continue serving the people of West Tennessee.”
Page, 56, was an assistant attorney general for Tennessee from 1991-1998, when he was elected as the 26th Judicial District circuit court judge.
He received his J.D. with high honors from the University of Memphis Cecil B. Humphreys School of Law in 1984. He is also a former licensed pharmacist, graduating from the University of Tennessee College of Pharmacy in 1978 and practicing full time until he entered law school in 1981.
“I’m excited by this new opportunity to serve West Tennesseans, and I appreciate Gov. Haslam for selecting me for this duty,” Page said. “I’m honored to follow Judge McLin, who was a friend and very good judge and who did an excellent job in this position. We all miss him very much.”
Page was a member of the Judicial Evaluation Commission from 2004-2008 and currently serves on the Tennessee Judicial Conference Bench-Bar Committee. He attended the National Judicial College with an emphasis on general jurisdiction and search and seizure issues.
The Henderson native is married to Judge Carol McCoy and has two children, Ethan and Justin, who is married to Hannah, and a grandson, Will.