Haslam Signs Gang-Enhanced Sentencing Bill In Memphis

Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Goveror Bill Haslam on Wednesday held a ceremonial bill signing in Memphis for legislation that rewrites and simplifies the criminal gang offense enhanced punishment law.

Gang-related crimes are of increasing concern across Tennessee, in the state’s rural and urban communities, and the bill, HB 196/SB 202, changes the definition of “criminal gang offense” from a vague and broad definition to a specific list of offenses that will make it easier for prosecutors to seek a greater sentence.

“The good news is the number of repeated violent crimes in Tennessee is decreasing. Yet, we continue to have one of the highest violent crime rates in the nation,” Governor Haslam said. “This legislation gives prosecutors another tool to fight criminal gang activity and help make Tennessee safer.”

According to the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation, through May of this year murders are down almost 22 percent, robberies have decreased almost 17 percent, and aggravated assaults have declined more than 20 percent compared to 2010.

The offenses included in the legislation are crimes that Tennessee communities combat every day, such as robbery, carjacking, and drug possession with intent to sell, among others. Under this new law, if one of the defined offenses is committed, prosecutors must also prove the defendant committed the crime as a part of a criminal gang and must prove the defendant is a member of the criminal gang to enhance the sentence.

The gang enhanced-sentencing bill is one of several pieces of legislation introduced by the administration to address the challenge of gang violence in Tennessee. Other laws enacted since 2011 create tougher sentences for certain types of crimes committed by three or more acting in concert, tougher sentences for convicted felons who persist in illegally possessing guns, and mandatory sentences for repeat domestic violence offenders where physical injury is involved.

The new legislation is effective July 1.


1 Person Killed In Wreck On I-75 In Whitfield County

One person died in a crash on I-75 in Whitfield County on Saturday. The wreck happened near exit 348 in the southbound lane. Traffic was backed up for miles after the accident. (click for more)

Over $30,000 Of High-End Men's Clothing Stolen From Hardwick & Co. In Cleveland

Cleveland Police said over $30,000 worth of high-end men's clothing was stolen from Hardwick & Co on Oak Street. The burglary happened sometime Friday night. Items stolen included name brands such as British Belt Company, Dubarry Azores Shoes, Jack of Spades Pants, John Peter London Pants and button down Shirts, Lucky Brand Jeans, and Tailor Byrd Button Down Shirts. ... (click for more)

Save Coolidge Park - And Response (2)

Last Monday morning while at work a good friend messaged me concerning a matter that I had not heard anything about dealing with Coolidge Park and its future. Apparently that night the City Council was to read an ordinance that would allow the mayor to start negotiations with the relocation of the Medal of Honor Museum. This ordinance would enable the city to lease approximately ... (click for more)

Roy Exum: Tipping The Preacher

I got an unusual telephone call the other day from someone I love who asked my help in solving one of life’s delicate mysteries. It is a tough question: “How do you tip a preacher?” In the first place, you never tip a preacher. It’s the preacher who gives out the tips, helping to keep you on the straight-and-narrow in your quest to waltz through the Pearly Gates. But there are ... (click for more)

UTC Craine Named Top-10 FCS Ball Carriers By Athlon Sports

  University of Tennessee at Chattanooga running back Derrick Craine is among the top-10 ball carriers in the Football Championship Subdivision (FCS) according to an article from Athlon Sports earlier this week.  Craine, a senior from McDonough, Ga., is No. 9 on Athlon's preseason list of running backs.  He is coming off a school-record 1,251 yards in 2015. ... (click for more)

Prep Football Jamboree is Aug 12-13 at Finley Stadium

Highlighted by a match-up of state semifinalists in Baylor and Notre Dame, the 57th annual Prep Football Jamboree is set for Aug. 12-13 at Finley Stadium with five games each night. Baylor (10-3) reached the D-II AA semis before losing to eventual state champ Brentwood Academy, while Notre Dame (10-4) reached the D-I 3A semis before losing to eventual state champion Alcoa. ... (click for more)