NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) — A delay in state Rep. Curry Todd’s court case on drunken driving and gun charges will move proceedings until next month.
The Collierville Republican was arrested in October 2011 after failing a roadside sobriety test. A loaded .38-caliber gun was found stuffed between the driver’s seat and center console.
Todd is best known for sponsoring a law that allows people with handgun carry permits to be armed in bars and restaurants that serve alcohol. He has pleaded not guilty to charges of drunken driving, possession of a firearm while under the influence and refusing a breath alcohol test.
Todd had been scheduled to appear in court on Friday, but the hearing was moved to Jan. 11. His attorney said he was still in talks with prosecutors.
Rep. Mike Turner of Old Hickory is the current House Democratic Caucus chairman, but Rep. Johnny Shaw of Bolivar in West Tennessee is challenging him in a caucus election later today. WPLN says Shaw believes Turner can be too quick to insult Republicans, who now hold a two-thirds super majority in the House. “You understand that if a guy got a gun on you, why you going to cuss him out? That’s kind of an elementary phrase, but we’ve got to find a way to work with people even if they disagree with us and even if we don’t get what we want.”
Shaw says the party also needs to come up with a strategy to start winning more seats than are being lost. He says the candidate recruiting process for the 2014 elections should already be underway.
Shaw says he believes he has support from most of the House Black Caucus. While that includes half the Democrats in the chamber, Rep. Turner still says he has the votes to retain his chairmanship.
By Eric Schelzig, Associated Press
NASHVILLE, Tenn. — Republican U.S. Rep. Scott DesJarlais, who opposes abortion rights, testified during divorce proceedings that he and his former wife made a mutual decision for her to have two abortions, according to divorce transcripts released Thursday.
DesJarlais, who practiced medicine before going to Congress, easily won a second term in Tennessee’s conservative 4th District despite previous revelations that he once urged a patient with whom he was having an affair to get an abortion.
On his campaign website, DesJarlais espoused an anti-abortion position, saying: “All life should be cherished and protected. We are pro-life.”
DesJarlais’ spokesman and campaign manager did not return messages seeking comment.
Court documents from the 2001 divorce trial were released by the state Democratic Party, which had hoped to make them public before the Nov. 6 election. They couldn’t because the 679-page transcript of testimony wasn’t complete. (Note: The transcript is available HERE.)
A candidate who’s seeking to represent Nashville in Congress posted a photo of his gun and a pointed message for President Barack Obama on his campaign Facebook page, reports The Tennessean. Brad Staats, the Republican nominee challenging U.S. Rep. Jim Cooper in the 5th Congressional District election, posted the picture of the silver and black Colt 911 semi-automatic pistol on Friday. (Note: Believe that should be Model 1911, not 911.) Under it he wrote:
“Many people in Tennessee keep asking me about my opinion on Second Amendment rights. Apparently Tennesseans are part of that crazy crowd that Obama says ‘cling to (their) religion and guns.’ Well, then I must be part of that crazy crowd. Here is something that I usually have with me. Welcome to Tennessee Mr. Obama.”
…Staats said he was not threatening Obama, who is seeking re-election this year.
“Good Lord, no,” he said in a phone interview Monday afternoon. “Absolutely not. I’m not one of those that would ever threaten the president. He’s probably got enough of his own stuff to worry about without me.”
Max Milien, a spokesman for the United States Secret Service, which is responsible for the president’s security, had little to say about the post.
“We’re aware of it, and we will conduct any appropriate follow-up if necessary,” Milien said.
GREENEVILLE, Tenn. (AP) — The domestic assault case of state Rep. David Hawk has been bound over to a grand jury.
The Greeneville Republican was charged in March. At a preliminary hearing on Tuesday, a judge heard testimony from two sheriff’s deputies and Hawk’s wife, Crystal.
According to The Greeneville Sun (http://bit.ly/Poha6v ), she testified that her husband threw her out of bed the morning of March 18, then struck her in the face, giving her a black eye.
Hawk has denied striking his wife. He said she pulled a gun on him and threatened to shoot.
Crystal Hawk testified Tuesday that there were no guns in the house.
Hawk, who is seeking re-election in November, didn’t testify at the hearing. But he told reporters after the proceeding that he’s “completely innocent.”
NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) — State Rep. Curry Todd’s arraignment on drunken driving and weapons charges has been delayed until next week.
The Collierville Republican was arrested in October after failing a roadside sobriety test. A loaded .38-caliber gun was found stuffed in a holster between the driver’s seat and center console.
Todd was scheduled to be arraigned Friday on charges of drunken driving, possession of a firearm while under the influence and violating the state’s implied consent law for refusing a breath alcohol test. But the hearing was delayed until Sept. 14.
Todd was a main sponsor of a state law allowing handgun carry permit holders to bring weapons into bars and restaurants that serve alcohol. It’s unclear where Todd was traveling from at the time of his arrest.
CHARLESTON, S.C. (AP) — A Blountville, Tenn., abortion doctor who authorities say pulled a gun on protesters who approached his vehicle at a Charleston clinic has pleaded guilty to a reduced charge and will pay a $100 fine.
The Post and Courier of Charleston reports (http://bit.ly/N30Fuk ) that 64-year-old Gary Boyle did not attend Friday’s hearing.
Boyle was originally charged with pointing a firearm at a person, which is a felony that carries up to five years in prison. He pleaded guilty Friday to disorderly conduct.
Boyle told police he raised the pistol from his moving SUV because several protesters approached his vehicle and he feared he might be attacked like other abortion doctors.
But the protesters say they were not aggressive and were peacefully demonstrating.
Boyle had a permit to carry the gun.
SAVANNAH, Tenn. (AP) — A West Tennessee jury has found a school superintendent guilty of lesser charges after he carried a pistol into a middle school.
The Jackson Sun (http://bit.ly/LOweow ) reported Hardin County Director of Schools John Thomas was convicted Tuesday on a misdemeanor count of carrying a weapon in a school without intent to use it. Thomas will pay a $50 fine and have up to six months of probation.
Thomas’ attorney said that if the jury had convicted his client of the felony count he was indicted on, he would have been in violation of his employment contract.
School Board Chairman David Long said after the verdict came back that it was not an issue with the board.
County resident Jerry Fowler, who took the case to the grand jury after the local prosecutor declined to, said he was disappointed in the outcome, but satisfied that the issue came to public attention.
A Davidson County grand jury has formally returned an indictment against state Rep. Curry Todd, R-Collierville, who was arrested last October on DUI and gun charges, reports The Tennessean. Todd’s attorney said Friday’s indictments were not a surprise. In addition to the criminal indictments, Todd was indicted on a charge of implied consent, a civil offense that can lead to loss of a driver’s license.
“This is part of a normal process,” Nashville attorney Worrick Robinson said. “We have been expecting this to happen at some point. We’ll address the issues and the charges when required in court.”
Despite the arrest, Todd, who is a retired police officer, does not face opposition for his House seat.
Speaker of the House Beth Harwell said Monday that the indictments will make it “difficult if not impossible” for Todd to be restored to his powerful post as chairman of the House State and Local Government Committee, which he resigned after his arrest.
“Certainly I respect the legal system,” Harwell said. “I think all along Rep. Todd and I have both said we will abide with the decision of the judicial system. So clearly we will. I’ll think through what action will take place at the legislative level, but certainly it will impact.”
…No arraignment date has been set on the case, according to district attorney spokeswoman Susan Niland.
NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) — Rep. David Hawk returned to the state Legislature on Monday afternoon, just hours after his first court appearance on a misdemeanor charge of domestic violence resulted in an order for the Greeneville Republican to have no contact with his wife.
Hawk accepted handshakes and well wishes from fellow lawmakers at his desk before stepping out of the chamber to meet with reporters.
“Yesterday morning my wife had a gun and told me that she was going to put a bullet in my head while I was holding my baby,” Hawk said.
Hawk’s account of the incident stands in contrast to the criminal complaint obtained by The Greeneville Sun (http://bit.ly/ws76T2), which describes Cristal Hawk saying her husband grabbed her by the arm, struck her in the face and knocked her to ground in an altercation at their home.
Crystal Hawk said she was holding their 11-month-old daughter at the time. She said her husband then took the child and went to a neighbor’s house.