Monday, December 28, 2009

Rest in Peace Susan Wood.

A 24 year old male in Chattanooga made a $180,000 bond after killing Unum employee, Susan Wood as she tried to cross Fourth Street in Chattanooga on her way to work at 2:30 a.m. He left the scene and claimed he had been carjacked.
His parents came up with $18,000 in cash to get him out of jail even before Susan's funeral. First, he had to clear up another bond from a previous problem. The killing driver had a criminal record including DUI and speeding in 2004 and later cases of assault, speeding and driving on a revoked license.

Read more at:

This Week in the Court of Criminal Appeals
December 28, 2009

Trial Conviction Prosecutor Top Charge

State v Nelson Theresa McCusker Reckless Endangerment

Today show

The Today show did a piece on impaired driving this morning.

The Fairfax, Virginia officer stated, "Every drunk pulled off the streets makes us safer".

See the story at:

Appellate Court Affirmations

This Week in the Court of Criminal Appeals
December 28, 2009

Trial Conviction Prosecutor Top Charge

State v Owens Scarlette Ellis Agg Child Abuse

DUI Suppression Denial

State v Mercer Mathew Rogers DUI

Judicial Diversion Denial

State v Siler Mike Ripley Sale of oxycodone

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Red light cameras

Knoxville intersections equipped with red light cameras have gotten quieter since the automated enforcement program began more than three years ago.
Both the click of the cameras and the nauseating thud of metal against metal crashes at those intersections have been decreasing, according to a police official who oversees the program.
And after more than three years in operation, Knoxville Police Department Capt. Gordon Catlett said he thinks the devices have reached a plateau of safety when it comes to crash reductions.

Full article:

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Effort, team work and passion pay off

If you are feeling worn out, tired, burned out, take a minute to watch:

Hanning video

I have uploaded our Hanning advisory memo as I became aware that the link in the previous message was broken. Departments are welcome to download this short memo and use it as a roll call video. This memo concerns the 9-1-1 call decision recently issued by the Tennessee Supreme Court.

Friday, December 18, 2009

Newtons 3rd law

At a 2006 seminar Trooper Ray Brannis explains Newtons 3rd law


Case name Trial Prosecutor Type

State v Blair Steve Hawkins 1st Degree Murder

State v Ragland Reggie Henderson and Ray Lepoene 1st Degree murder

State v Braswell Rachel Winfree and Mary Sullivan Moore 2nd Degree Murder

State v Timmons Boyd Patterson and Leslie Longshore Rape

State v Nunn Boyd Patterson and Leslie Longshore AGG Child Abuse

State v Sherron Brian Gilliam Attempted Voluntary Manslaughter

impaired handwriting Woodford

Woodford claims expertise in impaired signature recognition based on his own study. He claims to have invented the field of expertise.

Sorry about the quality of this video. It bounces a bit, but does clear in a couple seconds.

Woodford on false positive drug screens

Woodford claims that if a cook goes out back and smokes a joint, then prepares your hamburger and touches the bread, you can test positive for marijuana. I swear I'm not making this up!

Woodford on cross Re: Fees

Woodford indicates he had made more than $200,000 testifying for drunk driving defendants as of 1998.

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Woodford heating blood sample

In this clip Woodford on direct exam claims that heating the blood sample to 60 degrees centigrade causes the sample to be 4 times higher than it should be.

He omits the fact that the calibration is using the same procedure, setting the parameters of the instrument. In essence, the reading is an accurate reflection of the alcohol concentration.

Woodford total vapor testing on gas chromatograph

On direct exam Woodford states that the lab should have done a "total vapor profile" on blood sample.

Woodford direct exam

Woodford on direct exam explains his vast experience as an expert witness.

Woodford drug analyzer

Woodford on direct exam talks about qualifications concerning drug impairment.

Woodford impaired handwriting

Woodford on direct examination claims expertise in impaired handwriting.

Warren Woodford Direct Exam Qaulifications

At a Trial in Tennessee in 1998 chemist Warren Woodford on direct examination tells the lawyer who hired him and the jury his qualifications. Interesting language about "NHTSA" certification in SFST's.

Zettl on cross exam SFST testing

Watch defense expert Zettl testify about the usefullness of Field Sobriety Tests. He testifies that 2 clues in a 1 leg stand alone equates to a 65% liklihood of a .10 BAC and with 2 clues in the 1 leg and walk and turn a 68% liklihood. He misses the 3 test percentage number.

Admits if the tests are done properly the tests not quite infallible.

Zettl gets qualified as SFST expert

In this video the Defense attorney qualifies Zettl as an expert on the SFST's after the Prosecutor objected. This permitted the Prosecutor on cross to use Zettl to delve deep a mine field of materials. Good technique by Prosecutor in this instance.

Zettl acknowledges and endorses extrapolation

Zettl backs off during cross examination

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

There is a driving test, but no parenting test!

Mom Charged With Driving Drunk With Kid In Car
Susan Lynette Davis Works At Day Care
POSTED: 7:24 pm CST December 16, 2009
UPDATED: 7:35 pm CST December 16, 2009

MURFREESBORO, Tenn. -- A Murfreesboro mother who also works at a day care has been charged with driving drunk with her child in the car.
Police said Susan Lynette Davis couldn't get through field sobriety tests and seemed disoriented while talking with an officer Tuesday.
According to a police report, Davis works at Glorious Wonders day care.
A friend picked up Davis' 16-month-old son while police booked her into the Rutherford County Jail.

Zettl talks about gas chromatograph

Defense expert in 1998 trial explains why all are impaired at .10.

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

I want to congratulate DUIProsecutor Darrell Julian and his outstanding boss, General Lisa Zavogiannis in the 31st Judicial District for their outstanding effort in a week long aggravated vehicular homicide trial which ended with guilty verdicts on multiple counts on December 6th. The multiple DUI Defendant ran a red light and killed two while driving under the influence on a revoked license. Darrell and his boss worked very hard on this case and now have a sentencing set in January.

Monday, December 14, 2009

Trooper Reagan Critically injured

Tennessee Highway Patrol Trooper Wendell Reagan, 42, is in critical condition after an accident in his SUV, while on duty. Please keep him in your prayers.

More information is available at:

Capt. Dennis Cagle, a 21-year-old veteran of the Henderson Police Department, died Sunday morning at Jackson-Madison County General Hospital in Jackson. He is believed to be the first Chester County police officer who has died after being shot while on duty.
Please remember him, his family, co-workers and friends in your hearts.

Read more about this tragic crime at:

Friday, December 11, 2009

Trial Convictions affirmed in Tennessee this week:

State v Olson: Meth in a Semi; Evading
Trial Attorney D.A. Kim Helper

State v Holden: Selling beer to a minor
Trial Prosecutor: Shaun Brown

State v Lovins: Harrassment and criminal trespass
Trial Prosecutor: Emily O.Roberts

State v Griffen: Murder in the first degree
Trial Prosecutors: Reginald Henderson and Dean DeCandia

State v Hall: 2 Counts Aggravated Robbery
Trial Prosecutor: Stacy McEndree

State v Banks: 2 counts Aggravated Rape
Trial Prosecutor: Stacy McEndree

State v Talley: Aggravated Robbery and carjacking
Trial Prosecutors: Colin A. Campbell and Dean DeCandia

State v Walker: Aggravated Robbery
Trial Prosecutor: Pam Fleming

State v Guy: Aggravated Robbery
Trial Prosecutors: Abby V. Wallace and Summer Morgan

State v Wellman: cocaine possession
Trial Prosecutor: Hugh Ammerman
New Roadside Survey Shows Steady Decline in Alcohol Levels, while Driver Drug Use is Detected
A new roadside survey by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration confirms a continuing decline in the percentage of legally intoxicated drivers
In 1973, 7.5 percent of drivers had a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) of .08 or higher. In the latest survey, that figure had fallen to 2.2 percent. A BAC of .08 or higher is now above the legal limit in all 50 states and the District of Columbia.
Previous roadside surveys conducted by NHTSA have measured only alcohol. But the 2007 survey used new screening techniques that detected other substances as well and in the future may help show the extent of drug impairment among drivers.
The survey found 16.3 percent of nighttime weekend drivers were drug positive. The survey focused on weekend nighttime drivers and found that the drugs used most commonly by drivers were: marijuana (8.6 percent); cocaine (3.9 percent); and over-the-counter and prescription drugs (3.9 percent).
Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood said he is concerned about the prevalence of drivers who use drugs, and we should continue to fight against all impaired drivers.
“I’m pleased to see that our battle against drunk driving is succeeding,” said Secretary LaHood. “However, alcohol still kills 13,000 people a year on our roads and we must continue to be vigilant in our efforts to prevent drunk driving.”
“This troubling data shows us, for the first time, the scope of drugged driving in America, and reinforces the need to reduce drug abuse,” said Gil Kerlikowske, Director of the Office of National Drug Control Policy. “Drugged driving, like drunk driving, is a matter of public safety and health. It puts us all at risk and must be prevented.”
NHTSA is conducting further research to assess how drug traces correspond to driver impairment since some drugs can remain in the body for days or even weeks. Should further research indicate that drugs pose the same type of traffic safety risk as alcohol, NHTSA is committed to applying lessons learned in fighting the drunk driving problem.
Among the findings of the latest roadside survey are these:
• The percentage of male drivers with illegal BAC levels was 42 percent higher than the percentage of alcohol-impaired female drivers.
• Drivers were more likely to be illegally drunk during late nighttime hours (1 a.m. to 3 a.m.) than during daytime or early evening hours.
• Motorcycle riders were more than twice as likely as passenger vehicle drivers to be drunk (5.6 percent compared with 2.3 percent). Pickup truck drivers were the next most likely to have illegal BACs (3.3 percent).
The 2007 survey involved more than 300 roadside locations throughout the U.S. Click here to view the Research Note.

Friday, December 4, 2009

State v Hanning video memo

I shot a short video for a network meeting I can not attend explaining a bit about the State v Hanning 9-1-1 anonymous tip case today. It can be viewed at:

Have a happy, healthy weekend. Tom

Monday, November 30, 2009

Thanksgiving weekend fatalities in Tennessee

According to preliminary reports, there were seven fatalities on Tennessee roads over the Thanksgiving Holiday weeked. There were 10 last year. The record was 34 set in 1966.

Three of the deceased were a mother and two children in Claiborne County killed on November 29th. None were wearing seat belts. Trooper Mabe worked the sad wreck. Let's keep this family and all victims in our prayers.
There was only one Appellate Court affirmation of a trial conviction Thanksgiving week. Kate Miller and Brian Holmgren of Nashville recieved the good news that the felony murder conviction in State v Espinosa Dorantes was affirmed. The Defendant will serve a life sentence.
The Court reversed the conviction for aggravated child abuse. The case can be read in it's entirety at:

Friday, November 20, 2009

Every Friday the Appellate Courts post new cases on the Tennessee Courts Web Site. Hard working, dedicated prosecutors find out if thier Trial Court conviction is affirmed. Every week I will post affirmed cases to honor the Assistant District Attorneys, who fought for justice and safety for thier communities in our courtrooms. These people are hero's and are due a little recognition!
Jury Trial Convictions Posted the Week of November 16, 2009
  1. Tyler Burchett, Lauderdale State v Samuel Aggravated Rape and Aggravated Kidnapping
  2. John Moore and Anthony Craighead, 13th District State v Grogger Two counts of first degree premeditated murder, two counts of first degree felony murder, one count of especially aggravated robbery, and two counts of abuse of a corpse
  3. Michael Randles Marshall County State v Garcia,
    First degree (premeditated) murder; first degree (felony) murder, burglary, attempted especially aggravated robbery, and theft of property,
  4. Deborah M. Housel and Jeff Burks, Davidson County, State v Atkins, First degree felony murder, criminally negligent homicide,and especially aggravated robbery, felony
  5. James Wax and Paul Hagerman, Shelby County, State v Garrett, Aggravated robbery, first degree felony murder; and especially aggravated robbery
  6. Lytle Anthony (Joe) James, Sumner County, State v Bell, selling more than .5 grams of cocaine
  7. Gene Perrin, Sullivan County, State v Bias, First Degree Murder

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

4th District Aggravated Vehicular Homicide Conviction

Kudos to the Prosecutors in Jimmy Dunn's office and to the Tennessee Highway Patrol for their efforts in the case of State v. Killen. The following article described what happened in Court Monday November 9th, 2009:

The following story is on WVLT, Knoxville today:

The Knoxville man who drunkenly crashed head-on into the car of a Strawberry Plains woman will spend the next two decades in prison.
According to District Attorney General Jimmy Dunn’s office, Roy Wayne Killion, 32 pleaded guilty to aggravated vehicular homicide and driving on a revoked license on Monday, November 9th. . It was part of a plea deal which comes with a 20 year prison sentence.
The incident happened on November 9th, 2007. Killion driving down Old Dandridge Pike when he crossed the center line and slammed into Joan Marie Arrington’s car head-on. Arrington, who was on her way to work at a post office in Knoxville, died on the scene.
Killion’s license had been suspended for three years at the time of the crash. He had at least four felony D.U.I. charges on his record dating back the previous 11 years. His blood alcohol level was recorded at .17, which is more than double the legal limit.
Arrington, 40 left behind two children, a girl who is now 15 and a boy who is now 10.

Starting a blog

There are so many ways to communicate in 2009. Every day I recieve technical assistance questions about general information related to traffic safety issues. For instance, today one of our District Attorneys asked about whether an officer could make a DUI arrest, if the officer did not see the offender driving. I sent him cases as recent as State v Hanning from our Supreme Court issued last week and as old as State v Luke, 995 S.W. 2d 630 Tenn.Crim.App. 1998.
Then it dawned on me that if that D.A. needed this information in a hurry, so might another. So why not blog it?
We are working on a new web site, that will be available January 1st, 2010. I am also on FACEBOOK, available by phone and e-mail and always ready to help out a Prosecutor, Law Enforcement Officer, Lab technician, toxicologist or victim of the tragic crime which occurs when a DUI offender crashes and kills.
For now I am not publicizing this blog. I want first to see how to create, edit and make this work. If you have stumbled onto this site, I am open to suggestions! Tom