Tag Archives: stop

Supremes Say Anonymous Tips Don’t Justify ‘Stop and Frisk’

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) — The Tennessee Supreme Court ruled Thursday that police must corroborate anonymous tips before officers stop and frisk someone.
The unanimous court ruling came in a case involving a man who was convicted of being a felon in possession of a handgun and having a firearm while intoxicated.
The opinion overturned the ruling of the Tennessee Court of Criminal Appeals.
The opinion said police had no grounds to stop and frisk Guy Alvin Williamson at a hotel because there was no indication, beyond the anonymous report, that a crime had been committed. As a result, the court said evidence against Williamson should have been suppressed.
Williamson was arrested after an anonymous report was made to Covington police in May 2009 of an “armed party” at a local motel.
The opinion protects everyone from illegal searches and seizures, said Parker Dixon, an assistant public defender in Tipton County, who represents Williamson.
Police only had a report of an armed person before drawing a gun on his client and two others — essentially seizing them — when they were at the motel, Dixon said.
The attorney said police would have to have more grounds to believe that a crime had been committed, other than just the report that someone was armed, because many people legally have the right to carry a gun.
“This case really protects someone’s rights to bear arms, otherwise that type of report could requires anyone to be subjected to a frisk,” Dixon said.
It also protects others from unreasonable searches and seizures, he said.
The opinion didn’t say police couldn’t act on anonymous tips, only that they have to have some reason to believe that a crime has been committed before stopping and frisking someone.

In Court, State Retreats from Curfew Policy at Legislative Plaza

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) — The state of Tennessee agreed Monday to stop enforcing a new curfew used to dislodge Occupy Nashville protesters from the grounds around the Tennessee Capitol.
The protesters went to federal court seeking a temporary restraining order against Gov. Bill Haslam saying the curfew and arrests of dozens of supporters violated their rights to free speech and freedom of assembly.
State Attorney General’s Office Senior Counsel Bill Marett announced at the beginning of a hearing before Judge Aleta Trauger that the state would not fight efforts to halt the policy.
Trauger said she had already decided to grant the restraining order because she the curfew was a “clear prior restraint on free speech rights.”
“I can’t think of a more quintessential public forum than Legislative Plaza,” Trauger said.
State troopers used the curfew put into place on Thursday to arrest 29 protesters early Friday and 26 people early Saturday.
Both times a Nashville magistrate refused to jail the protesters saying the state didn’t have probable cause to arrest them. They were released with citations.
The Nashville protesters are part of the six-week-old Occupy movement, which began in lower Manhattan to decry corporate influence in government and wealth inequality. It has spread to cities large and small across the country and around the world.
Marett said his office will meet with the plaintiffs to come to an agreement on health and safety issues.
The suit says Haslam approved the new curfew after complaints over three misdemeanor violations — “an assault, public urination and an apparent tryst beneath a magnolia tree” — around Legislative Plaza, where the protesters have been rallying since Oct. 6.
Note: Other coverage of the court hearing in Nashville Scene; the Tennessean.

ET Truck Stop Gets $424,000 Stimulus, Goes Bankrupt

From The Tennessean:
In July, Tennessee’s transportation commissioner applauded the opening of the state’s first truck- stop electrification terminal at TR Auto Truck Plaza in Dandridge, a project taxpayers paid for with a $424,000 federal stimulus fund grant.
Thursday, the shiny new equipment languished uselessly as U.S. Bank took possession of the bankrupt business after an auction at the Jefferson County Courthouse failed to solicit a single bid.
While not as spectacular a flop as Solyndra — the California solar panel manufacturer that filed for bankruptcy last month after receiving a $535 million guarantee from the federal government — the truck stop’s collapse further illustrates flaws in the way stimulus projects were evaluated that extended to the state level.
The Environmental Protection Agency and the Tennessee Department of Transportation approved the stimulus grant to Mountain Plaza Inc., the truck stop’s owner, despite many red flags. The company, whose creditors included the state and federal governments, filed for bankruptcy protection in the middle of the process. A review of public records shows evidence of the company and its owner’s past and present financial troubles was readily available.
TDOT officials stress that the department was simply passing along the federal grant funds it had applied for and that no state money was involved.
…Mountain Plaza’s grant was part of $2 million that TDOT received from the EPA as part of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009. The money was doled out to truck-stop electrification projects along Tennessee interstate corridors. The systems reduce diesel emissions and improve air quality by allowing truckers to hook up to air conditioning and electricity so they can shut down their engines.

Governor on Rest Stop Commercialization, TDOT Restructuring

By Erik Schelzig,,Associated Press
NASHVILLE, Tenn. — Gov. Bill Haslam is endorsing his brother’s right to speak out against privatizing interstate rest stops, a move opposed by his family’s truck stop chain.
The Republican governor has recused himself from handling issues that could affect Knoxville-based Pilot Flying J, but says brother Jimmy Haslam as president and CEO has a responsibility to try to influence politicians on matters that affect the business.
“He’s the CEO of a major Tennessee business that has their interests to defend,” Haslam said after a recent tour of a road project in Nashville. “And that’s nothing new: Pilot’s been talking about that, as has everybody else that has an interstate business — from McDonald’s to everybody — else for years.”

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