A judge has ruled in a vehicular homicide case that certain evidence and testimony by several Tennessee Highway Patrol troopers will not be allowed because he said THP has been reluctant to turn over the evidence, reports the Shelbyville Times-Gazette..
Meanwhile, prosecutors are trying to decide how to proceed in the case, which is set to be heard by a jury in two weeks.
John David Haynes, 51, of Murfreesboro, is scheduled to stand trial Oct. 3-4 on charges stemming from a June 2010 motorcycle accident in which his wife, Pamela Haynes, 49, was killed on State Highway 82 at a sharp curve just east of the Bell Buckle town limits.
Circuit Court Judge Lee Russell ruled Friday that any testimony from state troopers about the speed in which Haynes was allegedly traveling at the time of the accident can not come from data from a GPS unit on his motorcycle since it had not been provided to the defense.
Any evidence about the speed that is derived from GPS data, or any opinion based on the data would also not be allowed to be entered into evidence.
A hearing over evidence was also held Friday in which several state troopers did not appear as ordered, therefore those officers will be excluded from testifying next month, Russell ruled.
NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) — Susan Bosserman of Harrisonburg, Va., is getting ready to throw two suitcases and a packed cooler into her 2006 silver Honda Accord for a July 4 weekend trip to East Tennessee.
She and husband Fred will be driving six hours to Crossville for a family reunion, and then on to Pigeon Forge in the Smoky Mountains. On the agenda: Hiking, fishing, canoeing “and a lot of food cleanup.”
The two will join an estimated 619,500 Tennesseans who’ll be on the road over the long holiday weekend.
“We’ll be aware of the state troopers,” she said. “And we hope others are too.”
The troopers, in fact, will be out in force. A statement from the Tennessee Highway Patrol said there will be “saturation patrols as well as sobriety and driver license checkpoints across the state.”
Three hundred and seventeen troopers will be working Friday, 270 on Saturday, 266 on Sunday and 283 on Monday.
By Lucas Johnson
NASHVILLE, Tenn. — The House sponsor of an anti-terrorist bill that has outraged Muslims is being criticized for asking state troopers to remove representatives of an interfaith group from his office who wanted to discuss the legislation.
The amended proposal by Republican Speaker Pro Tempore Judd Matheny of Tullahoma mirrors a federal law that seeks to prevent support for terrorist acts.
The original proposal sought to make it a felony to follow some versions of the Islamic code known as Shariah, but the measure was later amended to strip out any reference to a specific religion.
Muslims still believe the proposal demonizes them and want it withdrawn altogether. When opponents of the bill went to Matheny’s office this week, state troopers were summoned to his office by one of his staffers, Department of Safety spokeswoman Jennifer Donnals said.
“One trooper walked to the office, asked the people in the office to leave, and they complied with no problems,” said Donnals, adding that no one was arrested and no formal incident report was filed.
When asked by The Associated Press about the incident, Matheny said “no comment.” He has also declined to discuss previous questions about the bill.
By Erik Schelzig
NASHVILLE, Tenn. — The Tennessee Highway Patrol’s leadership says it wants to rename the agency the Tennessee State Patrol because its role has evolved beyond traffic enforcement in the years since it was established in 1929.
But Safety Department public records requested by The Associated Press show that in the 2009-2010 budget year, just $8.4 million, or 9 percent of the THP’s total budget, was dedicated to areas unrelated to patrolling state highways, such as the governor’s protective detail, Capitol security and criminal investigations.
Safety Department spokeswoman Jennifer Donnals said those figures don’t give a full picture of the agency’s non-traffic enforcement activities, because the balance of the THP’s spending includes areas like administers and dispatchers who have multiple responsibilities. The department wouldn’t be able to give a more specific breakdown without conducting a detailed study, she said.
By Eric Schelzig
NASHVILLE, Tenn.– State troopers want to drop the word ‘highway’ from their agency’s name and become known as the Tennessee State Patrol.
The Senate Transportation Committee on Wednesday unanimously advanced a measure sponsored by Republican Sen. Steve Southerland of Morristown to a full floor vote after receiving assurances that the change would not be a step toward creating a state police force.
The Tennessee Blue Book notes that the “Tennessee Highway Patrol’s primary responsibility is traffic enforcement,” but Col. Tracy Trott told the panel that the name change would better reflect activities that also include riot squads, bomb detection units and SWAT teams.
“It’s something that I think better depicts a modern state law enforcement agency,” the THP commander said.
Trott said the proposal did not originate with Republican Gov. Bill Haslam’s administration, but added that Safety Commissioner Bill Gibbons “does not object” to the proposal.