Friday, July 30, 2010

DUI Traffic Stop Affirmed

The Court of Criminal Appeals affirmed the decision of Nashville Judge Fishburn in upholding the traffic stop based on weaving across lane lines on I75 and Vietnam Veterans Boulevard. The officer involved was Corporal Daniel Okert of Goodlettsville. The prosecuting attorney was David Vorhaus. The Court examined TCA 55-8-123 which requires that a vehicle " be driven as nearly as practicable entirely within a single lane and shall not be moved from that lane until the driver has first ascertained that the movement can be made with safety". The Court also affirmed that the driving gave reasonable suspicion to the officer for a DUI investigatory stop.

Read the case at:

New DUI Decision

The Court of Criminal Appeals has affirmed a DUI trial conviction from Putnam County. The defendant challenged the stop and was upset that the recording equipment had malfunctioned. The DUI 3rd offender refused testing like most multiple offenders.
Marty Savage represented the State. Read the decision at:


Thursday, July 29, 2010

Marshall County bond jumper gets $500,000 bond

John Lynch is facing trial for his 11th Tennessee DUI and for violation of the habitual traffic offender law. He skipped out on bond two years ago and was arrested in Key West, Florida for yet another DUI. After extradition his bond was set at half a million dollars. Note to bond jumpers: if you are on the run, lay off the margaritas!

Drug Recognition Expert officers and toxicology

Between January 1, 2010 and June 30, 2010, 22 Drug Recognition Evaluations were conducted in cases in which the driver was suspected of drug impaired driving by 11 specially trained officers in Tennessee. Twenty one of the evaluations were confirmed with toxicology results. That was a 95.45% confirmation rate. That's some outstanding work!

Monday, July 26, 2010

SFST Training

Tom is headed to Sneedville to teach law, report writing and pre-trial preparation to about 25 law enforcement officers in an SFST class. At about the same time Jim Camp will be teaching a similar SFST class in Burns. Every prosecutor, who handles DUI cases should attend an SFST class at some point. A schedule of law enforcement training classes is available at:

Thursday, July 22, 2010

TDOS Releases Annual Safety Belt Enforcement Report

NASHVILLE --- The Tennessee Department of Safety today released a 90-page report on Safety Belt Enforcement in Tennessee. The annual report, provided to the Tennessee General Assembly, indicates that statewide safety belt convictions increased 138.5 percent from FY 04-05 to FY 08-09. The study also provides data and analysis on safety belt citations issued by the Tennessee Highway Patrol, statewide convictions involving child restraint device (CRD) violations and child restraint device citations issued by THP.

Read full story at:

Great Seat Belt news

Seat belt surveys conducted by the University of Tennessee indicate that seat belt use in Tennessee is now at 87.1%. Thats up 7% from last year. The GHSO attributes the increase to the Rural Demonstration project, participation in traffic enforcement programs by 82% of Law Enforcement Departments and the "Get Nailed" advertising campaign.
Whatever the cause of the increase in use, it is welcome. More seat belt use almost always results in reduced fatalities.

Monday, July 19, 2010

Two DUI Decisions

I am back from vacation and have caught up on my reading. There have been two new DUI decisions of note in the last week. In State v West, a Putnam County case, the defendant had lortab and hydrocodone in her system. TBI Special Agent Dawn Swiney testified that the drugs /could cause a synergestic effect causing impairment. The defense objected to her testimony, but the CCA affirmed. Kudos to Prosecutor Marty Savage. Read the case at:

In State v Eatherly, the driver pled to vehicular assault and reckless agg assault and wanted judicial diversion or at least a suspended sentence. The Court believed the defendant was eligible for consideration of judicial diversion, but did not grant it. The driver was going over 100 mph on I-40 with a .22 BAC. The Court agreed with Prosecutor, Rebecca Schwartz, that the driver would recieve a sentence if convicted for DUI. It made no sense to give diversion for the more serious crime of vehicular assault. Read the decision at:

Friday, July 9, 2010

NAPC meeting

I heard an excellent speaker, Mark Warren, from Texas yesterday. He spoke about communication skills and used among other things some of George Thompson's Verbal Judo writings. He reminded us of the acronym L(listen) E(Empathize (A) Ask (P) Paraphrase and (s) Summarize. He also spoke of "Servant Leadership" and referred to Robert Greenleaf. Check

My favorite quote of the day: Good conversation should be like a tennis match, with each player gracefully sending the ball back across the net. Instead, most conversations are like a golf game, with each player stroking their own ball and waiting impatiently for the other to finish.

Tuesday, July 6, 2010


The 31st issue of the DUI News, including a focus on new legislation is available on our website. The direct link is: News - Issue 31.pdf

Friday, July 2, 2010

Be Safe this weekend

The Highway Patrol and local law enforcement agencies throughout the State have increased enforcement this weekend for good reason. This is a huge travel and huge drinking weekend. Be careful this weekend and drive defensively. There are a lot of people out there that don't care about whether you get home safely. Be alert, Be aware and Be SAFE!