Sheriff Says Probe Underway On Whether There Is Abuse Of Juror Meals; Judge Says Officers Have Been Trusted

Thursday, June 12, 2014

Sheriff Jim Hammond said an Internal Affairs investigation began this week on whether there have been abuses related to meals for jurors and accompanying court officers.

"There have been allegations that too much is being spent and that food is going to the wrong people," he said.

Sheriff Hammond said the allegations came "from court personnel."

He said, "We've got a lot of people to talk to, including the judges."

The sheriff said the Criminal Court judges - Barry Steelman, Don Poole and Rebecca Stern - oversee the meal program. He said they issue vouchers when there are sequestered juries and they later review and sign off on the vouchers. Then, he said, the state pays the bill under an arrangement with the restaurant.

He stated, "It's all under the control of the judges."

But he noted that he is over Lt. Rick Hamrick, who is over the court officers and who, he said, gets and distributes the food vouchers. This week he placed Lt. Hamrick on suspension.

Judge Stern said while she has been there for 17 years that the judges have not reviewed the meal spending, but have trusted the court officers on the meal expenses.

Sheriff Hammond said, "No money changes hands. This is not about any missing money."

He said he did not have an opinion on whether places like the Boat House and Hennen's Restaurant are too ritzy for meals on the taxpayers' dime.

Judge Stern in the past has told jurors in court that their options included the Boat House and Hennen's.

Jurors have long been paid $13 per day for their service.

They also have to pay for parking - except they can get $2 off on a Republic Parking lot and can park free if they take the shuttle from the Chattanooga Choo Choo.

 


Walker County Arrest Report For Jan. 9-15

Here is the Walker County arrest report for Jan. 9-15: KEETON        MICHAEL      PHILIP           WM     30        Officer VANDYKE   POSS OF METH, POSS OF MARAJUANA LESS THAN 1 OZ, GIVING FALSE INFORMATION ... (click for more)

Latest Hamilton County Jail Booking Report

Here is the latest jail booking report from Hamilton County: ARRIS, DANIEL LYNN  42 CARRIAGE HILL SIGNAL MTN, 37377  Age at Arrest: 44 years old Arresting Agency: TVA POSSESSION OF CONTROLLED SUBSTANCE --- BARTRUM, COLTON PRINCETON  1521 THRASHER PIKE HIXSON, 37343  Age at Arrest: 25 years old Arresting Agency: Hamilton County AGGRAVATED ... (click for more)

The Tax Assessor's Sneak Attack On Dual Taxpayers

State law requires a reappraisal of properties every four years. The Tax Assessor's Office has always been responsible for that task. A state law was passed several years ago that allows the cost to shift to individual towns and cities that lie within Hamilton County. Just because the tax assessor can legally abuse dual city/county taxpaying property owners doesn't mean he should. ... (click for more)

Roy Exum: Sleep, Kelly’s On Watch

As the most intense week begins in President-elect Donald’s Trump’s ascent to become the most powerful man in the world, it is now strikingly obvious he has surrounded himself with the greatest collection of leaders to ever fill a Presidential cabinet. Each is a proven winner, be it in business, the military, or national affairs. Last week a confirmation hearing were heard for ... (click for more)

Warren Replaces Martinez As Vols Secondary Coach

KNOXVILLE, Tenn. --  The Tennessee football program announced Monday that Charlton Warren  has agreed to terms to become the defensive backs coach for the Vols. Warren served as defensive backs coach at North Carolina the last two seasons and also has spent time on the Nebraska and Air Force coaching staffs. Willie Martinez  will not be returning after ... (click for more)

McCallie's Robert Riddle Commits to Mercer Univ.

McCallie School all-state quarterback Robert Riddle has committed today to attend Mercer University next season to play football for the Bears. Riddle led the Big Blue to a 7-5 record this past season, including a 42-7 victory against arch rival Baylor. On the season, he threw for   3,008 yards and 25 touchdowns and also ran for six scores. The Lookout Mountain resident ... (click for more)