Tag Archives: trial

Charges against Rep. Hawk reduced to misdemeanor; jury deliberations underway

A Greene County jury today has begun a second round of deliberating assault charges against state Rep. David Hawk, reports WGRV Radio news.

The deliberations began after the charges against Hawk were reduced from a felony aggravated assault to a misdemeanor reckless endangerment, after Hawk’s attorneys successfully argued that the state had not proved the elements of a felony charge.

The jury first send word to the judge around 8:00 PM that they were having trouble reaching a verdict. Judge Summers asked the jurors to return to deliberations and keep an open mind of others’ opinions, but not to abandon their own beliefs.

Around 8:30 PM, the jury sent a question to the judge asking if the reckless endangerment applied to the child or to the woman. During testimony, Crystal Goan had alleged that the assault on her happened at some point when she was holding their eleven-month-old baby. The judge told the jurors that the charge applied only to any incident involving Ms. Goan.

The jury resumed deliberations and just before 9:00 PM they send word to the judge that at least one of the jurors needed to make some arrangements for transportation. Judge Summers called the jury back in and asked them if they were making any progress, and that’s when the jury foreman replied that no progress was being made.

Deliberations began at 4:05 p.m. Just after the midday break, the defense rested their case. Judge Summers then dismissed the jury briefly while he ruled on a motion by the defense.

Summers ruled that there are four elements of the Aggravated Assault charge that must be met. There must have been substantial risk of death, protracted loss of consciousness, disfiguration, and protracted pain. Judge Summers ruled that the prosecution had not proved those elements and that in some of those elements no testimony or proof had been offered. The result is that instead of a felony charge and the penalties that can go along with that, Hawk now only faces a misdemeanor count.

Attorney General Joe Baugh spent about thirty minutes on his closing argument for the state. Defense attorney Tom Dillard followed with about thirty minutes of closing on behalf of Hawk.

Rep. Hawk’s trial: Wife testifies she was ‘terrified’

Crystal Goan testified Tuesday that she was physically assaulted and “terrified” by the actions of husband David Hawk early on March 18, 2012, after the two argued over a text message Hawk claimed she received, according to the Greeneville Sun.

On cross-examination defense lawyer Thomas Dillard asked Goan about a previous civil case in U.S. District Court involving her first husband.

The cross-examination brought out potentially damaging details about that case and called Goan’s credibility into question.

And, from WGRV radio’s recap of Tuesday’s testimony:
Goan testified that theirs had been a rocky marriage dating all the way back to their wedding night when she said Hawk expressed regret in marrying her. It was over a year, Goan testified, before they lived together. Goan said that all through their relationship Hawk had always been jealous of any male friends or coworkers she had and that Hawk had accused her numerous times of having an affair. Goan testified that she had never been unfaithful.

On the night of March 17, 2012, Goan said she and Hawk had gone to an event in downtown Greeneville. Upon returning home, Goan said she went up to bed, but was awakened by Hawk screaming and pulling her out of bed. Goan said Hawk grabbed her arm and pulled her to the floor. She testified he then went into their child’s room and locked the door. Goan said it must have been barricaded as she wasn’t able to push the door open.

After staying outside the door most of the night, Goan said that the next morning she was able to convince Hawk to let her feed the baby. But as she finished and tried to get up from the couch, Hawk repeatedly pushed her back down. Finally, Goan testified that Hawk struck the right side of her face. Goan said when she regained her senses, she realized that Hawk and their daughter weren’t in the house. It was then that she left for a friend’s house where to police were called.

When asked why she left the house instead of calling for help, Goan said that she was afraid that Hawk’s political standing would result in authorities not taking her complaint seriously. She testified that she did not point a gun at Hawk, something Hawk had contended happened and that he was acting in defense of himself and his child. Goan said the only gun she owned was an antique that was kept in a safe at a Bulls Gap office.

On cross-examination by Hawk’s lawyers, Goan was asked about a ruling against her in a previous divorce case. Goan said that she had not ready a judge’s opinion that found that she had illegally put spyware on her previous husband’s computer and that she had altered a prenuptual agreement without his knowledge. When asked repeatedly about that suit and judgement, Goan asserted that she has never read the information.

Tuesday morning, the jury heard testimony from Farrah Nelson, the office manager for the law practice of Crystal Goan Hawk. Nelson said that David Hawk was very concerned about his wife’s schedule and checked up frequently on her activities. She also testified that she was often responsible for mediating arguments and conflicts between the Hawks, which usually occurred when David Hawk returned from his legislative duties in Nashville.

…Testimony was also heard from local attorney Sandra Stanbery-Foster, who was at a social event with the Hawks the night of the alleged assault and said that neither were intoxicated and seemed pleasant. Foster received a call from Crystal Hawk the following morning and discovered her at the Crockett Lane home, and corroborated earlier testimony about the nature of her injuries.

State Rep. David Hawk’s trial on assault charges underway

The trial of state Rep. David Hawk, R-Greeneville, is underway in Greene County Criminal Court. He is charged with aggravated assault on his oan, who was his wife at the time the alleged attack occurred in March, 2012.

From WGRV radio’s recap of Monday’s trial events:
A jury of eight women and six men were seated early Monday afternoon following 3 1/2 hours of jury selection. Former Tennessee Attorney General Paul Summers is serving as the trial judge, with Joseph Baugh serving as special prosecutor and Tom Dillard and Wade Davies representing the defense team.

…Both sides agree on a portion of the events of that night, including that the argument between the Hawks was sparked by a suggestive text message to Crystal Hawk. In his opening statement, prosecutor Baugh stated that David Hawk threw his sleeping wife to the ground after reading the message, then locked himself in their daughter’s bedroom until morning. In the morning, David Hawk continued the argument and slapped Crystal Hawk across the head while she was feeding the baby.

Defense attorney Davies responded by stating that David Hawk was attempting to defend his daughter from an angry Crystal Hawk, and locked himself in her bedroom for safety. In the morning, David Hawk attempted to leave the residence with the child but was confronted by Crystal Hawk, who was holding a gun. David Hawk left the residence and went to a neighbor’s house for protection until his wife left the home and went to her assistant’s house.

Opening testimony came from auxiliary deputy Craig Bowlby, who was the first member of the Greene County Sheriff’s Department to speak with Crystal Hawk. Bowlby testified that he went to the home of Hawk’s assistant on Crockett Lane just before 9 a.m. and that Crystal Hawk was very upset and concerned about her daughter. He noticed a “goose egg” bruise on her cheek and bruising on her arm before leaving the scene as additional deputies arrived.

Deputy Michael MacDonald testified that he went to the Crockett Lane home just after 9 a.m. and observed swelling under Crystal Hawk’s eye along with bruising on her arm and abrasions on her lip. He also testified that Crystal Hawk was very distraught and looking for her daughter. MacDonald also testified that he went to the Hawk residence and was able to get David Hawk out of the home after several minutes before taking him into custody.

(Note: This expands, updates and replaces most of the original post.)

Herron back as full-time Democratic chairman after trial victory

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.

Herron Foregoes Party Pay While Serving as Trial Lawyer

State Democratic Chairman Roy Herron is foregoing his party pay while acting as an attorney for the plaintiffs in an ongoing medical malpractice trial that he says could last “five or six weeks.”
Herron sent an email to fellow Democrats saying that he had committed more than five years ago to “a wonderful couple, both devout Democrats, that I would represent them in a case seeking medical care and redress for grievous injuries to their severely disabled grandson.”
In an interview Wednesday, Herron said Cody Wade, 17 at the time, underwent surgery on his trachea that allegedly left him unable to breath for a period of time, resulting in severe disabilities. The lawsuit, brought by Cody’s grandparents and conservators, Reba and Ronnie Wade of Martin, is against HealthSouth King Creek Rehabilitation Hospital and two physicians.
A jury trial began Monday in Weakley County Circuit Court.
Herron said he decided to forego his salary as party chairman starting May 15, when he attended a son’s college graduation, and will continue in that status until the trial has ended and he can resume fulltime duties as party chair.
The former state senator said that, in effect, he is returning temporarily to the “volunteer chairman model” followed by seven of the last ten state Democratic chairmen. His two immediate predecessors, Gray Sasser and Chip Forrester, were full-time chairs with a full salary – as was he until now.
Herron said he still expects to average 80 hours per week for the full year, since he often spends 100 hours per week on party labors otherwise. Even during the trial, Herron said he is remaining active in fundraising, overseeing staff including the hiring of a new deputy finance director and other duties.

Note: Text of Herron’s email is below.

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DesJarlais Trial Transcript: Ex-Wife Had 2 Abortions; He Admitted 8 Affairs

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.)

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Dayton’s 1925 ‘Monkey Trial’ Now a Tourism Attraction

By Joseph B. Frazier, for The Associated Press
DAYTON, Tenn. — It was yet another Trial of the Century — one of those noisy spectacles that roll around every decade or so — but this one wasn’t about murder or celebrity kidnapping.
Rather it involved a new Tennessee law prohibiting the teaching of evolution in public schools and an unassuming high school science teacher, John Scopes, who went on trial in July 1925 in the hill town of east Tennessee for violating it.
It was quickly dubbed “The Monkey Trial,” a description the town still dislikes, and for a couple of weeks the world was focused on conservative backwater Dayton, population about 3,000, which was flooded with some 200 journalists from around the world, scores of telegraph operators, thousands of onlookers and some of the finest legal talent in America. It was the first American trial to be broadcast live nationally on the radio.
The trial was the inspiration for the play and 1960 Spencer Tracy movie “Inherit the Wind,” widely seen as jab at the McCarthy era of the 1950s much as was Arthur Miller’s “The Crucible.” It had four Oscar nominations.

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AP Story on TN Evolution: From Scopes Trial to ‘Monkey Bill’

By Lucas Johnson, Associated Press
NASHVILLE, Tenn. — Tennessee, where the nation’s first big legal battle over evolution was fought nearly 90 years ago, is close to enacting a law that critics deride as the “monkey bill” for once again attacking the scientific theory.
The measure passed by the Tennessee General Assembly would protect teachers who allow students to criticize evolution and other scientific theories, such as global warming. Republican Gov. Bill Haslam said this week he would likely sign it into law.
Haslam said the State Board of Education has told him the measure won’t affect the state’s current scientific curriculum for primary, middle or high school students. Louisiana enacted a similar law in 2008.
“I think the one thing about that bill is this: Nothing about the curriculum of the state of Tennessee will change, and the scientific standards won’t change,” he said. “So I think some of the discussion about its impact has probably been overblown.”
The bill says it will encourage critical thinking by protecting teachers from discipline if they help students critique “scientific weaknesses.”
Scientists in Tennessee and the American Association for the Advancement of Science are asking Haslam to veto the bill, saying that evolution is established science that shouldn’t be taught as a controversy.

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Lawyers Group: Bill Would Give Emergency Room Doctors ‘Unfair’ Immunity

News release from Tennessee Association for Justice
Nashville ― A bill introduced in the Tennessee legislature specifically allows hospitals and doctors to provide negligent medical care in Tennessee emergency rooms. Unless a patient could prove gross negligence, a standard just short of criminal behavior, there would be no accountability or protection. The legislation is sponsored by Rep. Glen Casada and Sen. Jack Johnson, both from College Grove.
“For example, if you go to the ER with chest pains and the doctor carelessly misdiagnoses you with bronchitis and you go home and have a massive heart attack and die, under the proposed legislation there is no recourse for this kind of sloppiness,” stated Keith Williams, President, Tennessee Association for Justice. “In effect, a doctor would have no responsibility for careless errors that could ultimately cost you your life.”
The current standard for medical negligence already affords protections to ER doctors. ER doctors are protected as long as they deliver care consistent with standards set by their peers–other ER doctors. Only if they fail to meet those standards and harm a patient will they rightfully be held accountable under the present law.
The immunity goes one step further and covers doctors in surgery and the OB unit if the patient is admitted through the ER. This means a patient who goes to the ER will have very little, if any protection from negligence during their entire hospital stay.
This legislation has an unfair impact on pregnant women, children and low-income families since they are more likely to use the ER. Kids in sports go to the ER for injuries, pregnant women often go to the ER whey they are in labor, and the elderly frequently rely on the ER for respiratory illnesses. These vulnerable citizens would be without any protection when seeking needed medical care.
HB 174/SB 360 also places a financial burden on the taxpayers. If recipients of TennCare, Medicare and the uninsured are harmed due to carelessness in the ER, Tennesseans will end up paying the bill for a person’s medical care and treatment resulting from the doctor’s careless error. Medical errors cost the Nation approximately $37.6 billion per year, and this legislation would only add to that cost.
“Should a law be passed allowing ER doctors to commit negligent acts on patients in Tennessee? That’s exactly what this bill does.” said Williams. “With 98,000 people dying each year from medical errors, clearly the answer is NO. The focus should be on improving the quality of care – not on lobbyists seeking to pass a license to harm patients.”

New Trials Granted Because of Drug-Addicted Judge, Many More May Follow

The decision Thursday to award new trials in one of Knoxville’s most horrific crimes has opened the floodgates for hundreds, maybe even thousands, of criminals to challenge their cases, reports Jamie Satterfield.
Special Judge Jon Kerry Blackwood acknowledged as much when he ordered up new trials for the four defendants convicted in the January 2007 torture-slayings of University of Tennessee student Channon Christian, 21, and her boyfriend, Christopher Newsom, 23.
Referring to prosecutor Leland Price’s warning that overturning the cases based on “structural error” created by former Knox County Criminal Court Judge Richard Baumgartner’s own criminal behavior would put “thousands” of cases in jeopardy, Blackwood said in a hearing, “We’re going to have to fight that battle.”
Blackwood said a Tennessee Bureau of Investigation probe of Baumgartner revealed the former judge confessed to a doctor in 2008 that he was a pill addict and had been committing crimes almost daily until that investigation forced him off the bench earlier this year.