courts

Two TBI agents indicted on charges stemming from alleged illegal search

Two Tennessee Bureau of Investigation agents have been indicted by a Lake County grand jury on assault and kidnapping charges stemming from an allegedly illegal search of a Ridgely residence in 2015, according to the Dyersburg State Gazette.

The homeowners, Fred Austin Wortman Jr. and his wife, Marilyn, have also filed civil lawsuits over the search by TBI agents Mark Reynolds and Jeff Jackson.

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Judge dismisses legislature-mandated lawsuit over refugees

U.S. District Court Judge S. Thomas Anders on Monday dismissed the state of Tennessee’s lawsuit against the federal government over the refugee resettlement program  — mandated by the state’s Republican-controlled legislature after the state attorney general refused to file it, reports the Associated Press.

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New indictment filed against ex Nashville judge

A federal grand jury has returned superseding indictment against Casey Moreland, a former Nashville judge, on charges including obstruction.

According to federal prosecutors, Moreland “took steps to obstruct and interfere with the investigation by directing the Drug Court Foundation’s director to destroy documents that would show the amount of cash that had been paid to the Foundation and ultimately stolen by Moreland.”

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Judge rules special Nashville mayor election should be held Aug. 2

A judge Wednesday dismissed two lawsuits that sought to force an expedited special election for mayor in May, instead sticking with Aug. 2 as the date for choosing a successor to Megan Barry, who resigned in disgrace after pleading guilty to a felony.

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Nobody goes there? House panel OKs Polk move

Gov. Bill Haslam attends a ceremony at the James K. Polk tomb in Nashville on Nov. 2, 2012. (Image credit: Gov. Bill Haslam’s office)

Supporters of moving the body of President James K. Polk body say he never wanted to be buried on the grounds of the state Capitol, a site about 500 feet from where his will called for him to be interred. So they want to move him about 50 miles south to Columbia, a city where he lived as a young man.

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6th Circuit declines to review voting case

The 6th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals rejected a petition by plaintiffs to have a case about voting on Tennessee constitutional amendments be re-heard by the entire panel of judges.

The case is based on voting for a 2014 amendment that gave state lawmakers more power to limit access to abortions in the state. Continue reading

New TN courtroom security standards include ‘panic button,’ bullet proofing

News release from Administrative Office of the Courts

Nashville, Tenn. ­– The Tennessee Judicial Conference and the Tennessee General Sessions Judges Conference have adopted new minimum courtroom security standards to promote the security and safety of the members of the judiciary, court personnel, and the public. The standards were last updated in the 1990s.

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(Jeff) Miller time at the Cordell Hull?

miller-mug2After a 12-year absence, former state Sen. Jeff Miller has returned to the General Assembly as a lobbyist for a golf cart company that he has represented as a lawyer. And he is soliciting more business.

“Many of the legislators I worked with still serve and we have remained in touch,” Miller writes in a solicitation letter “to whom it may concern” that has raised some eyebrows as it was circulated around  the Cordell Hull building.

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Jury finds former Pilot Flying J president guilty of fraud, conspiracy and witness tampering

A federal jury Thursday convicted the former president Pilot Flying J, the nation’s largest diesel fuel retailer, in a plot to rip off truckers to boost both his own bottom line and that of the company, reports the News Sentinel.

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Former TVA manager gets probation in plot to provide nuclear info to China

A former senior manager for the Tennessee Valley Authority, recruited by an operative for the Chinese government seeking to buy information on American nuclear information, will avoid any time in prison for his activity, reports the News Sentinel.

Chief U.S. District Judge Tom Varlan on Thursday turned aside a bid by federal prosecutors to have nuclear scientist Ching Ning Guey, 63, imprisoned and instead sentenced the former TVA executive to a three-year probationary term.

Guey was among a half dozen nuclear engineering experts working in the American nuclear power production industry who were recruited by operative Szuhsiung “Allen” Ho, 67, as part of what Assistant U.S. Attorney Charles Atchley Jr., has called a plot by China to garner nuclear technological know-how the country was not allowed to access.

But Guey appears to be the only one of those experts who was charged, and court records indicate it was Guey who agreed to help prosecutors snare Ho, who has since confessed guilt and provided the U.S. government with intelligence on China’s nuclear production capabilities.Ho was sentenced last year to a two-year prison term.

Court records show Ho recruited Guey in 2013 to travel to the People’s Republic of China and, on China’s dime, speak at a “technological exchange” at which he disclosed three reports on nuclear safety analysis. He was paid $15,500, which he has since forfeited to the federal government, according to statements in court.

The reports he provided were not classified but fell under the regulatory auspices of a law that bars certain countries considered nuclear bad actors, including China, from gleaning without permission of the federal government.