Yager Wins Senate Approval For Judicial Diversion Bill

Bill To Make Criminal Acts Conducted By Appointed Or Elected Public Officials Ineligible For Judicial Diversion

Monday, February 6, 2012

The Tennessee State Senate gave final approval on Monday night to legislation sponsored by Senator Ken Yager (R-Harriman) which makes state or local officials who have committed a crime during their term of office ineligible for consideration of either pre-trial or judicial diversion. 

Judicial diversion is the process in criminal law when a person pleads guilty to a crime and can later have the charge removed (or expunged) from their record following a period of probation. It is granted by the judge, hence its name “judicial.” 

“Tennessee is blessed with good state and local officials,” said Senator Yager.  “I dare say that 99 percent of the men and women who hold office are conscientious and hardworking.  It is really the one percent of officials who have abused the trust given to them who should not be allowed to have their slate wiped clean by either pre trial or judicial diversion.” 

A person is eligible for judicial diversion in Tennessee if they do not have a previous class A misdemeanor, felony conviction, or never received diversion or had their record expunged before.  Those charged with a class A felony, a class B felony, a sexual offense, or a DUI are not eligible for judicial diversion under state law.  Senate Bill 2566 would simply add a criminal offense committed by an official in the executive, legislative or judicial branch to the list of those which are ineligible for judicial diversion, if the crime was committed in their official capacity or involve the duties of their office.

“As officials, we ask for these jobs,” Senator Yager said. “The citizens who allow us to serve do not expect us to solve every problem, but they do expect us to exercise good judgment and to stay honest.  We have all heard that adage that a public office is a public trust. Public officials must be held to a higher standard.  The privilege of diversion should not be allowed to wipe the slate clean of an official who has disgraced himself during his or her tenure in office.”

The bill now goes to the House of Representatives where it is sponsored by Representative Ryan Haynes (R-Knoxville). It is scheduled for a hearing in the House Judicial Subcommittee on Wednesday.


Montrell Besley Kicks Off Campaign For School Board

Montrell Besley will be running for a seat on the Hamilton County School Board, District 4.  He is a Chattanooga native and father to three kids. He grew up in the Alton Park community, where he currently resides.   He is a graduate from Austin Peay State University with a Bachelor’s of Science degree in Health and Human Performance and attained his Masters of Science ... (click for more)

Catoosa County Arrest Report For April 22-28

Click  here  for the Catoosa County arrest report for April 22-28. (click for more)

Jill Levine Is An Educational Rock Star

No one has covered the Hamilton County Department of Education drama better than Roy Exum.  Thank you, Roy, but I take issue with your unnamed sources.  Professional jealousy and sour grape darts should not be anonymous.   HCDE is so dysfunctional, and there is good cause to place this public organization under a microscope, dissect it into pieces and discard all ... (click for more)

Roy Exum: Cancer Is Not A Battle

I read a marvelous essay not long ago where the author urged, “Stop telling the lie that cancer is a battle … a battle implies a fair fight, and there was nothing fair about my cancer or the cancer that took the life of my friend. Those experiences were about as fair as getting hit by a car – and nobody says people lose their battles with automobiles.” Mary Elizabeth Williams, ... (click for more)

McMasters Makes Tough Call To Play Volleyball At Lee

Grace Baptist Academy two-sport standout Claire McMasters envisioned playing basketball and volleyball at a small college after her career ended with the Lady Golden Eagles. So, she “looked at” Covenant College and Maryville College as two schools where she thought that would be possible to extend her two-sport status. McMasters’ recruiting shifted quickly once Lee University ... (click for more)

East Hamilton's Briar Potter To Wrestle At MTSU

It seemed like Briar Potter made history for East Hamilton every time he stepped onto the wrestling mat these last four years. He was a four-year starter and qualified for the state meet in all of those years.   He was the Hurricanes first state medalist when he finished fourth at 106 pounds as a sophomore. He is surely the winningest Hurricane with 98 wins and he’s ... (click for more)