Friday, May 28, 2010

In the General Assembly

The Senate worked until midnight last night. Unfortunately, they got did not get to our bill that was number 34 on the docket. They will be back in session Wednesday. I'm tipping my hat to them though. They were on the clock for 16 hours yesterday and did get a lot done.

Thursday, May 27, 2010

Trial Convictions Affirmed May 17th

Case Name-----------Prosecutor---------Top Charge

State v Beasley-----Deborah Housel-----Att 1st Degree murder

State v Stewart----Weakley Barnard-----Agg Burglary

State v Pigg-------Weakley Barnard----Theft of Property

State v Chadwick---Hugh Ammermon----Agg Assault

State v Cope-----Barry Staubus---- Especially Agg. Kidnapping

State v Frith----Walt Freedland and Neil Oldham----Burglary of vehicle

State v Robinson----Ben Mayo----Contraband in penal institution

Trial Convictions Affirmed May 24th

Case Name-------Prosecutor-------Top Charge

State v Daugherty--Kent Chitwood and Kaylin Hortenstine--Attempted 1st degree murder

State v Saint Jr.----Brian Holmgren-----Agg. Sexual Battery

State v Riggs-------Kevin Allen------Theft over $10,000

NEW 55-10-401 has passed both Houses

The effective date of this law is January 1, 2011. It still has to be signed by the Governor, so it isn't a new law yet. It has been passed in both Houses as follows:
§ 55-10-401.

It is unlawful for any person to drive or to be in physical control of any
automobile or other motor driven vehicle on any of the public roads and highways of the state, or on any streets or alleys, or while on the premises of any shopping center, trailer park or any apartment house complex, or any other premises that is generally frequented by the public at large, while:

(1) Under the influence of any intoxicant, marijuana, controlled substance, drug, substance affecting the central nervous system or combination thereof that impairs the driver's ability to safely operate a motor vehicle by depriving the driver of the clearness of mind and control of himself which he would otherwise possess; or

(2) The alcohol concentration in the person's blood or breath is
eighthundredths of one percent (.08 %) or more.

NDAA Training Opportunity: Child Sex Exploitation

Please share this information with the prosecutors who handle these cases in your districts...

The National District Attorneys Association is presenting Safety Net: Multidisciplinary Investigation and Prosecution of Technology-Facilitated Child Sexual Exploitation, September 27-October 1, 2010, at Stonehill College in Easton, MA.

Safety Net addresses multiple areas within the investigation and prosecution of technology-facilitated child sexual exploitation, including online luring and soliciting, child pornography, forensic examination of the computer, pro-active and reactive investigation strategies, search and seizure issues, compliant victim scenarios and meeting untrue defenses.

Due to the intensive hands-on nature of the course, the number of teams accepted is limited. NDAA's National Center for Prosecution of Child Abuse (NCPCA) supports a multidisciplinary approach to technology-facilitated child sexual exploitation cases. Preference will be given to those who apply to attend as a multidisciplinary team (MDT). The ideal team consists of a law enforcement investigator or officer, a forensic examiner and a prosecutor.

All applicants must be affiliated with an Internet Crimes Against Children Task Force (ICAC) to be considered.

Applications must be received by Monday July 26, 2010. All notifications will be made via email. Please do not hesitate to contact Gabriela Manero, Staff Attorney with NDAA's NCPCA at or 703.519.1643 with any questions regarding this course.

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

THP to have more than 70 checkpoints this weekend

NASHVILLE — The Tennessee Highway Patrol will have more than 70 checkpoints over the long Memorial Day weekend.

And, according to a news release from the Department of Safety, "drivers can expect to see plenty of troopers on the road enforcing seat belt laws and looking for aggressive and impaired drivers."

Driver charged with Attempted Murder

Ronnie Dale Johnson, pictured, was arrested in Kingsport for trying to run over two law enforcement officers. That's never a good idea! Read the full story at:

When does excessive speed become reckless driving?

Did some research today and found:

These speeders were Reckless:

State v Wilkins 654 SW2d 678 Tenn 1983-----<-------120 in 45 mph
Burgess v. State, 369 S.W.2d 731 Tenn 1963-----15 over school zone
State v Crehan 2000 Tenn. Crim. App. LEXIS 889---76 in 55 mph

These speeders were not Reckless:

State v Gose, 1996 Tenn. Crim. App. LEXIS 42--------53 in 40 mph
State v. Brown, 1998 Tenn. Crim. App. LEXIS 776-----55 in 30 mph
State v. Mitchell, 1997 Tenn. Crim. App. LEXIS 871--77 in 50 mph
State v. Miller, 2002 Tenn. Crim. App. LEXIS 137----47 in 35 mph

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Thoughts and prayers

The eight year old daughter of State Representative Joey Hensley, a physician, was struck bey a car this morning. She was airlifted to Vanderbilt's Childrens Hospital. Please keep the young girl, her family and the medical team at Vanderbilt in your thoughts and prayers.

Monday, May 24, 2010

8th offender pleads guilty

William Duffer pled guilty in Sumner County Criminal Court today for his 8th DUI and Habitual Traffic Offender violation. He committed the crimes while on community corrections for his 7th DUI and another habitual offender violation. He recieved a sentence of 4 years with a minimum parole eligibility of 35%. His sentence will be consecutive to his prior sentence.

High Risk Offenders

In Tennessee approxiamately 23% of DUI convictions posted to driving histories are for multiple convictions. These offenders drink and drive frequently, often at high blood alcohol levels. Research indicates that a driver with a B.A.C. of .15 is 385 times more likely than a sober person to be involved in a crash.
To see more information, check our website at and look in the resources folder.

Oxycontin express

A Prosecutor sent me this link to a Current television documentary depicting the availability of pain pills from pain clinics. They are given out like candy in Broward County, Florida.
They are killing people from overdosing and from impairment of driving skills.

Fewer Seek Treatment for Alcohol Only

Tuesday May 18, 2010
Fewer people are seeking treatment for alcohol-only problems and for alcohol and drugs together, but treatment for drugs alone has increased significantly in the past 10 years. Treatment admissions for drug abuse alone has increased from 26% to 37%, while admissions for alcohol alone fell from 27% to 23%.
These figures are the result of a new study by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA).

The SAMHSA report showed that treatment admissions for the co-abuse of substances dropped from 44% to 38% between 1998 and 2008, although the concurrent abuse of both alcohol and drugs has remained a widespread problem.

A Rise in Opiate Treatment

Some of the other findings of the study included:

•A rise in opiate admissions from 16% of admissions to 20% in 2008.

•A decline in cocaine admissions from 15% in 1998 to 11% in 2008.

•An increase in marijuana admissions from 13% in 1998 to 17% in 2008.

•A rise in stimulant admissions from 4% in 1998 to 6% in 2008.

In regarding treatment for teens, admissions for treatment increased from 1998 until 2002, but then declined between 2002 and 2008. Of those teens seeking treatment, 79% of those admissions was for marijuana and about half of those were ordered by the criminal justice system.

Friday, May 21, 2010

Good looks and jurors studied

Good looks could help guilty defendants dodge justice, researchers have said.
They reported that in an experiment jurors were more likely to convict suspects deemed ugly than those seen as attractive.
It is thought that the principle applies elsewhere in life, with beauty being associated with kindness, intelligence and sporting ability.
The researchers at Bath Spa University in the United Kingdom (yes, that is an appropriate school for such a study) came to their conclusions after asking 96 volunteers to read a transcript of a fictitious mugging case.
Half of the participants were given a picture of an attractive suspect, the others one of a supposedly ugly defendant. The script was the same in either case.
The volunteer 'jurors' were then asked to decide whether the suspect was innocent or guilty. In the latter case they also had to decide on a sentence. Analysis of the results revealed that attractive suspects were more likely to be acquitted, despite there being no extra evidence in their favor.

The study confirms what we all know. Remember how Nick Nolte looked like 10 miles of bad road in his mug shot. He looked like a movie star in court. If we want the case decided fairly to both parties, the jury should see both looks.

DUI 7th and owner arrested

In Johnson city, we have had two reminders for the weekend. Douglass Barnett was found driving and arrested for his 7th DUI.
Joyce Bennett was a passenger, who owned the car. She was charged with allowing Barnett to drive.
Yes, it is a crime to permit an intoxicated person to drive your car and such a person is charged per the criminal responsibility statute.
So don't let an impaired person drive your car and don't drive impaired!

* I am not pre judging the case. Simply using the situation for educational purposes.

22 year sentence in Aggravated Vehicular Homicide

Linda Walls, an Assistant District Attorney in the 15th Judicial District was able to get a plea of 20 years for an aggravated vehicular homicide and 2 consecutive years for a reckless endangerment count due to a tragic and horrendous death case in Wilson County.
In the case an Australian songwriter, Bruce Holloway, was on his 2005 Yamaha Y-Star motorcycle and was turning into the driveway of his girlfriends home on Stewart's Ferry Pike in Wilson County. A drunk, (.22 B.A.C.) Brian Duffey was driving his 1999 Dodge Dakota pickup and plowed into him going at least 81 mph in a 35 mph zone. The drunk had his 9 year old son in the truck with him at the time.
The motorcycle was hit so hard it was embedded into the truck grill.
Troopers Alan Brennis and Ray Gaskill investigated the case and did an outstanding job.

Bruce Holloway had posted the following message before his tragic death:

" I am an Australian born singer song writer who only recently re located to Nashville. It's been a long but exciting road to the place I am at right now, and have I to say that life IS pretty good. I am a member of Holloway Street, an alternate country rock band and along with my duo buddy, Colin Street, write/record and play music that we absolutely love! At present Colin and I are writing and recording here in Nashville."
The last song he ever wrote was recorded hours before his death. It was titled: "The Last One".

Thank you Linda, Ray and Alan for your outstanding work. Remember that victims of vehicular homicide should always have outstanding prosecutors and law enforcement officers in the courtroom. Watch a tribute to Bruce at:ccc

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Tragedy in West Memphis

Two West Memphis Police officers were killed and two other law enforcement officers, including Crittenden County Sheriff Dick Busby, were shot today after two suspects were pulled over on a drug interdiction stop around noon on Interstate 40 at Airport Road.
Read the full story at:

Saturday, May 15, 2010

7 year old child dies. Wore seat belt. No child seat.

It is always sad to discover that a 7 year old child has died. In the story from Monroe County the child is noted to have been wearing a seat belt, but was not in a child seat. The case is still under investigation. Read about it at:

Safe Drivers look for riders

Have you seen the GHSO public service message concerning motorcycles. If you drive a car or a truck, you might want to see this. Warning: if you know of a biker injured or killed and may be emotionally effected by a collision impact scene, DON'T WATCH THIS!

Friday, May 14, 2010

GHSO Launches Teen Safety Belt Campaign

Kudos to the Governor's Highway Safety Office for launching a Click It AND Ticket Teen Safety Belt Campaign next week at three different high schools. I think everyone should be tired of reading about teen traffic deaths. It seems there is another tragic loss of a young life across the State every week. It is good to see the GHSO's latest response. Read about it at:

10 year prior law on Arizona DUI defense blog

An Arizona defense lawyer picked up on a story in the Kingsport Times News about out 10 year look back period. He linked to an article in the Kingsport Times News in which ADA Brandon Heron explained that a driver charged for a DUI 4th offense would end up with a DUI 1st conviction at best due to the 10 year look back period as it now exists in our State. The driver's last conviction was in September, 2000. He had 2 more previously. Since we count conviction to conviction, he would have to be convicted in 4 months, which would include a few months in the grand jury.

A proposal pending in the Tennessee Senate will fix this problem, if passed.

See the article at:

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Trooper Dwayne Stanford honored.

The Jackson Exchange Club named Trooper Dwayne Stanford its Officer of the Year at the club meeting Tuesday.

Stanford is a seven-year veteran with the Tennessee Highway Patrol. He is assigned to the Jackson District and is a member of the Eighth District STRIKE team. His father and grandfather also have served as troopers.

DUI Definition bill

The Senate Finance committee recommended for passage the bill, which would change how we define DUI yesterday. Read it at:

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

270 days for 16 times revoked driver

Sam Pratt of Goodlettsville was speeding through Cookeville, when he was stopped. This was not his first time in Court. He was driving on a revoked license for his 16th time. Sessions Judge Hudson sent him to jail with a 270 day sentence. Read about it at:

Monday, May 10, 2010

Rest in Peace Paul Lewis

Paul E. Lewis, 61, of Arlington, TN, passed away at his home on Friday, April 30, 2010. He is survived by a daughter, Rebekah Ross, and her husband John of Oklahoma City, OK, and a son, Paul E. Lewis, lll, of Norman, OK. Other survivors include a brother, Jim Lewis, and his wife Marilyn of Ruston, LA, two cousins, Donna Morgan and her husband Jerry of Leavenworth, KS, and Steve Richards and his wife Carole of Cameron, NC. He was a member of Faith Baptist Church and a practicing attorney in the Memphis area for over 30 years. A former DUI judge, he was board-certified in DUI defense by the National College for DUI Defense and certified as a DUI specialist by the Tennessee Supreme Court's Commission on Continuing Legal Education. He was invited to participate as a faculty member at the National College for DUI Defense at Harvard Law School in Boston, MA, and has been a contributing author to the Tennessee Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers magazine, the National DUI Journal. In lieu of flowers, memorials may be sent to Faith Baptist Church or The American Heart Association . The Memorial Service will be held Friday, May 28, at 1 p.m., at Faith Baptist Church of Bartlett, TN, 386-4785
Published in The Commercial Appeal on May 9, 2010

Trial Convictions Affirmed May 3, 2010

Case name---------------Prosecutor----------Top Charge

State v Asbury--------Latasha Wassom-----DUI 6th v CLois Dean Asbury.pdf

State v Davis-------Jason Lwson------Aggravated Robbery v Christopher Lee Davis.pdf

Convictions Affirmed May 10, 2010

Case name---------------Prosecutor----------Top Charge

State v Jones-----Roger Moore-----2nd Degree murder v Antonio Santial Jones.pdf

State v Spraggins-----Alexa Fulgham------Aggravated Assault v Abron Spraggins.pdf

State v Tate------David Pritchard------Aggravated Kidnapping v Johnny Tate.pdf

State v Kirby-----Mike Ripley & Scarlett Ellis-----1st Degree Murder v Crystal M Kirby.pdf

State v Dillman------Jared Effler------Especially Aggravated Burglary v Ronald Dillman Jr.pdf

Saturday, May 8, 2010

Courage and Honor in the Bar Association

The Effingham, Illinois Bar Association has honored one of it's members, Roy Rogers III and his family for the courage to forgive.
The son of the lawyer was killed by an impaired driver. The driver was convicted and sent to prison. He left with the gift of a bible from the Rogers' family and with their forgiveness. Read about the ceremony and the courage and honor displayed:

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Bond Law signed

The Governor has signed our bond bill into law on April 30th. Thanks to the great sponsors of the bill, Representative Kent Coleman and Senator Jim Kyle for their diligent work.

The effective date is January 1, 2111.