Judge, Noting That Federal Drug Sentences Are Likely To Be Cut, Gives 3 Whitwell Defendants A Break

Thursday, February 06, 2014

Federal Judge Curtis Collier, saying that he expects Congress to lower sentences for drug defendants, on Thursday gave reduced time to three Whitwell residents involved in a major marijuana operation.

Judge Collier, focusing on "sentencing disparity," said Congress seems headed for passage of the Smarter Sentencing Act. He said it has the endorsement of the Department of Justice and support from senators from different political backgrounds. He also said the federal Sentencing Commission has issued guidelines for reduced drug sentences.

The act would shift the focus to putting away hardcore and violent defendants in federal prisons.

Judge Collier said sponsors of the bill say that under current sentencing all of the Department of Justice budget is going to be eaten up by the cost to operate federal prisons. The act would basically cut drug sentences in half and also increase the use of the "safety valve" to cut time on mandatory sentences.

There was also discussion at the sentencing for Jackie Morrison, Sammy Nance and Ollie Frizzell about some states, including Colorado, legalizing marijuana.

The sentencing range for the ringleader, Morrison, was 121-151 months. He got 72 months.

Nance faced 37-46 months and was given 24 months.

Ms. Frizzell had a sentencing range of 27-33 months and got 30 months. However, she had already gotten a break for cooperating with the government.

Morrison was also ordered to pay a $100,000 fine and Ms. Frizzell a $2,000 fine.

Morrison went to trial and the jury ordered a $779,000 forfeiture of his property.

Prosecutors said Morrison, 65, made 21 trips to Texas to pick up large quantities of Mexican-grown marijuana. He made up to $1.6 million during about a six-year period, it was stated.

When he was raided, agents found 22 pounds of marijuana along with a set of scales that would weigh up to 15 pounds.

Prosecutor Jay Woods said Morrison made numerous cash deposits to a bank account, but they never exceeded $10,000 so as not to trigger a reporting requirement.

Attorney Jerry Summers said Morrison had an excavating business that accounted for some of his earnings. He said he made many contributions to the community, including digging many grave plots free of charge.

He said, "He would be welcomed back by the vast majority of Whitwell residents."

Attorney Michael Davis said Ms. Frizzell had been threatened on the Topix Internet website, with one poster saying, "She deserves the worst hell" and another writing, "She needs her butt whipped." He said her house was vandalized.

Agents investigating the case included those from the IRS.

 


Additions And Improvements At Camp Jordan Arena Coming Soon

Additions and improvements are coming to Camp Jordan Arena in the near future. At the Thursday night meeting of the East Ridge city council, approval was given for buying new playground equipment. It will come from Gametime, a locally-based company. The VP of Marketing lives in East Ridge and made a proposal to set up the playground at Camp Jordan so his company could use it for ... (click for more)

First Protected Bicycle Lanes In Chattanooga To Be On Broad Street

Construction of the first protected bicycles lanes in Chattanooga will begin in Spring 2015 according to the Chattanooga Department of Transportation. The lanes will be downtown, going from Martin Luther King Boulevard to Aquarium Way on approximately .6 miles of Broad Street.   The street's current six through lanes will be reduced to four to make room for the bike ... (click for more)

Chairs Cost How Much?

Many times while growing up, I would go to the store with my parents. More often than not, I would see something I wanted, and ask my parents to buy it for me. More often than not, they said no. “Why?” I asked. “Son, money doesn’t grow on trees.” That’s a phrase I’m sure many of us have heard more than once over the course of our lives. However, I have since learned that they were ... (click for more)

Roy Exum: Pete Carroll’s Philosophy

Pete Carroll, the head football coach of the Seattle Seahawks, has a deep belief that he can change people by simply listening to them and then making suggestions on how they can get what they really want. If the people Carroll who can influence win, Carroll wins, and remember his team won last year’s Super Bowl with his methods.   When asked for example, here is what ... (click for more)

Notre Dame Claims Region 4A/AA Soccer Title

Junior Sofia Olenchek scored twice, including the winning goal in the second overtime (95th minute) period as host Notre Dame defeated crosstown rival Chattanooga Christian 2-1, for the Region 4 A-AA championship Thursday night. In a well-played, physical match, CCS led at halftime, 1-0,  after senior Hannah Henry scored in the 14th minute, but Olenchek's first goal ... (click for more)

Baylor Beats Briarcrest For Shot At Father Ryan, DII-AA State Volleyball Title

MURFREESBORO, Tenn. – OK, Father Ryan.  Baylor’s still hanging around. The Lady Red Raiders stormed past Briarcrest, 3-1, Thursday in the loser’s bracket final at Siegel Middle School and advanced to Friday’s Division II-AA volleyball tournament championship match. The set scores were 26-24, 25-15, 24-26, 25-15. The Lady Red Raiders lost to Father Ryan, ... (click for more)