Grand Jury Urges Law Be Amended Allowing Cars Over 12 Years Old To Be Scrapped Without Showing A Title

Thursday, April 24, 2014

Members of the Grand Jury said in a final report they were "shocked to learn that in Tennessee, a vehicle which is 12 years or older can be sold to a scrap yard without a legal title."

The panel headed by Robert Smith said, "The State Legislature needs to take immediate action to require a legal title to scrap a vehicle."

The report also says the Grand Jury members should be provided parking spaces in the county parking garage and should be paid at least $25 per day for their service.

Here is the full report:

The Honorable Rebecca Stern

Judge, Criminal Court, Division I

Hamilton County, Tennessee

Judge Stern:

The Regular Grand Jury for the January – April, 2014 term presents the following Report:

Being on the Grand Jury has been an educational experience.  It was very informative regarding the Criminal Justice and Court systems.  We would encourage anyone who receives a Grand Jury subpoena to serve.  It will be an eye-opening experience! 

After listening to the officers who testified, we gained a greater appreciation for these public servants who put their lives on the line to safeguard the law abiding citizens of Hamilton County.  Law enforcement personnel and the Judges are to be commended for doing a very difficult job.

Grand Jury Foreman, Robert A. Smith, and Assistant District Attorney, Jerry Sloan, were very pleasant individuals with whom to work,  and also very helpful in explaining the Grand Jury procedures and Tennessee State Criminal Law. 

The Jurors were impressed with Judge Stern’s Drug Court.  This is a very noble and needed program.

Sergeant Kevin Akins is to be commended for his service reading numerous sworn statements of other Chattanooga Police Department Officers.  He also made the Grand Jurors feel comfortable, and provided real life explanations of criminal behavior based on his experiences.

The Tours of the County Jail, Silverdale Facility and Juvenile Detention Center were very informative. 

The Grand Jurors very much appreciated Jackie Churchill serving as our notetaker.

SILVERDALE FACILITY (CCA)

COMMENDATIONS:

(1)  The facility was very clean – the floors even gleamed, and the kitchen received a 100% on the most recent inspection report.  The daily menu is prepared by a Registered Dietician. 

(2)  Overall the facility appeared to be very well managed, and prisoners were dressed neatly and were well behaved.

(3)  The classes offered to the prisoners, Anger Management, Alcohol and Drug Abuse, Family Relationships, Literacy, GED Preparation, etc., should assist the inmates upon leaving Silverdale.  We were impressed with the two teachers of these classes who appear to be very committed and had been teaching at the facility for a number of years.

(4)  The Classes and the “two for one” work opportunities are all good outlets and use of prisoner time.  They provide some means of establishing self-esteem and promoting rehabilitation.  The inmates who take advantage of these opportunities may be able to pull themselves out of their downward spiral, if they make the effort.

(5)  We were impressed that the Correctional Officers do not have to wear firearms in order to maintain acceptable behavior by the prisoners.  We noticed that the Facility Administrators who led the Tour knew a number of the prisoners by name.

(6)  The employees appeared to enjoy their job, and many have worked at the Facility for a long period of time.

(7)  The Clinic provides medical personnel and medications to meet the needs of the prisoners.

(8)  The murals on the walls add a pleasant quality to the Facility and exhibited one inmate’s artistic talent. 

RECOMMENDATIONS:

(1)  Some of the Jurors noticed an unpleasant smell in part of the Women’s Area and one of the Male Dormitories.  The Facility Administrators present stated that they would correct these issues immediately. 

(2)  Have more books available in the Library. 

(3)  If possible, Silverdale should be able to offer the GED Test at the Facility. 

(4)  Even though it is a societal problem, the number of inmates who require medication is a concern and a cost to the taxpayers.

COMMUNITY CORRECTIONS

COMMENDATIONS:

(1)  The Community Corrections Programs are an excellent way to help with Jail overcrowding and forcing the participants to pay for (a) a fee to utilize the program, (b) restitution, (c) Court costs and fines and (d) child support payments.

(2)  The progressive manner in which the participants move through the different phases of the Program should assist them in obtaining employment upon their release from Community Corrections.

(3)  Community Corrections is very cost effective for the taxpayers of Hamilton County.

(4)  The trash pickup is a win-win – trash is picked up along Hamilton County roads and those sentenced to participate in this program are forced to do work.

RECOMMENDATIONS:

In addition to the Electronic Monitoring, add Alcohol Monitoring for program participants.

CRIMINAL JUSTICE SYSTEM

(1)  All of the Grand Jurors were shocked to learn that in Tennessee, a vehicle which is twelve years or older can be sold to a scrap yard without a legal title.  The State Legislature needs to take immediate action to require a legal title to scrap a vehicle.  (In Hamilton County, a lost title may be replaced in 7-10 days by visiting the County Clerks Office, for $11.00.)

(2)  The public is encouraged to learn about volunteer opportunities available at the County Jail, 

Silverdale Facility and Juvenile Detention Center.

GRAND JURY SERVICE

(1)  Thirteen (13) spaces in the Parking Garage should be reserved for the Grand Jury members. 

(2)  The Grand Jury payment should be at least $25.00 per day.

CASES HEARD THIS TERM

The Regular Grand Jury serving during the January – April, 2014 Term heard witnesses testify on 488 cases.

 

 




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