Roy Herron has returned to full-time work — and pay — as chairman of the state Democratic Party after serving as an attorney in monthlong trial that resulted in a $15.2 million verdict for his client, a young man left permanently disabled by alleged malpractice of a doctor and hospital.
Herron, a former state senator, stopped drawing his chairman’s salary May 15 to prepare for the trial, which began June 3 and ended July 3 with a Weakley County Circuit Court jury verdict in favor of Cody Wade of Martin, Tenn., who was 17 when left with brain injuries while under the care of the defendants following a traffic accident.
Herron, who was part a team of attorneys representing Wade and his grandparents, returned to the party headquarters to resume full-time work on Monday, according to Democratic spokesman Brandon Puttbrese.
Defendants in the case were Dr. Susan Lowry of Martin and Cane Creek Rehabilitation Hospital, owned by Rebound LLC, an affiliate of HealthSouth Corp. They may appeal the verdict.
“This verdict can mean that he lives in Weakley County with his family and those who love him, instead of the state taking Cody from his family and shipping him to Memphis, Nashville or even East Tennessee to languish and survive in a distant nursing home that takes ventilator-dependent patients,” Herron told the Union City Messenger.
News release from governor’s office:
NASHVILLE – Tennessee Gov. Bill Haslam and Department of Veterans Affairs Commissioner Many-Bears Grinder solemnly announce the body of Private First Class Glenn Schoenmann will finally be laid to rest after 62 years.
Schoenmann was assigned to Company M, 3rd Battalion, 31st Infantry Regiment, 7th Infantry Division in the United States Army when he was involved in the infamous Battle of Chosin Reservoir in North Korea on November 28, 1950. The Grundy County native reportedly died as a Prisoner of War on December 29, 1950. Family members say Schoenmann’s remains were recovered in 2004, but the identification process was finalized in December, 2012.
Schoenmann was born in Palmer, Tennessee, but grew up in Tracy City where he attended James Shook School and worked on the Werner Farm with his family. Schoenmann was 20-years old when he was killed.
“The Schoenmann family has waited 62 years to give Glenn a proper burial, and we join them in remembering his service and sacrifice,” Haslam said. “As a state we mourn the loss of PFC Schoenmann, but we are grateful for his return to his home and family.”
“PFC Schoenmann’s courage and bravery to serve his country will be recognized and remembered by his fellow Tennesseans,” Grinder said. “The closure for the Schoenmann family is continued proof we should never give up until all of our missing in action and prisoner of war service members have been brought home.”
The body of PFC Schoenmann will arrive at the Nashville International Airport at 12:45 p.m. (CST) on Thursday, January 10, 2013. Visitation will be Friday, January 11 from 5:00 p.m.-8:00 p.m. (CST) at Layne Funeral Home in Palmer. Visitation will resume at 10:00 a.m. on Saturday January 12 at Grundy County High School in Coalmont. Funeral services will be at 1:00 p.m. at Grundy County High School with the burial to follow at the Brown’s Chapel Cemetery in Palmer. In case of inclement weather, all services will be held at Layne Funeral Home in Palmer.
Schoenmann is survived by his sister Edna Kilgore of Monteagle, Tennessee, brothers Ernest Schoenmann of Creave Coure, Illinois, Raymond Schoenmann of Tracy City, Tennessee and Carl Schoenmann of Winchester, Tennessee.
“It just means a lot that he will be buried in the same cemetery with our mother, father and grandparents,” Raymond Schoenmann said. “It’s finally uniting the family back together.”
When former state senator John Ford returned to Memphis last week after four years in federal prison, his TV news cameo raised the unlikely prospect of a political comeback, according to The Commercial Appeal. “You watch what I do,” Ford told reporters before disappearing into a halfway house where he’s banned from media contact. “I am not down. I am not out. I am way out in front.”
There’s a state law that says people convicted of a felony involving a political office can never run for public office again. The law change marks the end of an era in Tennessee, where politicians once could return to offices they’d disgraced.
Yet, Ford might have some wiggle room.
One of the law’s primary sponsors, former state Rep. Frank Buck, said last week he’s unsure if the law applies to Ford, who was convicted in April 2007, just weeks before it took effect July 1.
“It may or may not apply to him,” said Buck, a Smithville, Tenn., attorney. “You’d have to ask the attorney general on that one. I had some questions, too. You get always into the ex post facto situation.”
Previously, disgraced officials found plenty of opportunity to reinvent themselves.
Former Memphis city councilman Rickey Peete did just that, going to prison in 1989 for bribery only to win re-election and return to prison in 2007 — again for bribery. In so doing, he earned a nickname — ‘Rickey Re-Peete.’
Politicians such as Peete became eligible to retake office after getting their voting and civil rights restored in a court of law. They can still get their rights restored under the new law — they just can’t hold elected office.
The law says the ban applies to state government as well as “any political subdivision.” Cities and counties are considered political subdivisions of the state.
“They ought to be eternally banned from office,” offered Buck, who said his bill was motivated by repeated scandals he witnessed over his 36 years in the legislature. “Something needed to be done.”
Whether Ford, now 70, even wants back into politics is an uncertain question.
His brother, Joe Ford, thinks not.
“I doubt it. They passed that law where you can’t go back,” said Ford, a former Shelby County commissioner and one-time interim county mayor. “When we’re together we don’t talk about politics. I don’t want to speak for him. But that would be something he would have to decide.”
NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) — State Sen. Douglas Henry has returned to the Legislature.
The Nashville Democrat was in the Senate Finance Committee on Wednesday. The 85-year-old lawmaker was taken to Vanderbilt University Medical Center on Tuesday for tests after he experienced high blood pressure and felt dizzy in a caucus meeting.
Henry has been a state senator since 1970. His District 21 seat represents southwestern Nashville, including some of the city’s wealthiest neighborhoods