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.

 


Latest Hamilton County Jail Booking Report

Here is the latest jail booking report from Hamilton County: ADKINS, PAMELA FAYE  10120 CLAIRE CIRCLE SODDY DAISY, 37379  Age at Arrest: 49 years old Arresting Agency: Hamilton County EVADING ARREST VIOLATION OF PROBATION(THEFT OF PROPERTY) VIOLATION OF PROBATION(THEFT OF PROPERTY) --- ANDRES, FELIPE  2001 28TH ST CHATTANOOGA, 37404  Age ... (click for more)

Pat Benson Jr. Is 1st To Announce For March 2017 City Council Race

Pat Benson Jr. officially launched his campaign for Chattanooga City Council District 9 - becoming the first candidate to put forward his name in the city election next March. Mr. Benson said, “District 9 has some serious challenges which have gone unresolved such as, crime, housing, and infrastructure. I want to work with neighborhood leaders to improve the quality of live ... (click for more)

Pedestrians Have The Right Of Way - And Response (3)

Often I visit Gold's Gym at Chestnut and 4th Street. I  park in the theater parking lot at Broad and 4th Street.  I depend on the walk signs to get me there safely.  Most days I almost get hit by someone turning left or right coming from the exit ramp off 27 or turning right on 4th street from Chestnut. This happened yesterday as I was almost mowed down by a garbage ... (click for more)

Roy Exum: Girls - ‘I Can And I Will’

Every night after the Rodriguez girls went to sleep not that long ago in a grim, rat-infested basement apartment on Chicago’s South Side, their father – a boxing referee who came to America from Puerto Rico -- would kneel beside the girls’ bed and whisper in each child’s ear. Their parents made them sleep hot-dog style, tightly wrapped in the same sheet and pressed together to protect ... (click for more)

Unbeaten Baylor Volleyball Sweeps Three Region Foes

The Baylor Lady Red Raider volleyball team made a successful trip to Nashville this weekend where they remained unbeaten after 14 matches with wins over three region foes. Friday's match had Baylor sweeping Pope John Paul II by scores of 25-5, 25-10 and 25-11 before sweeping Ensworth and Father Ryan on Saturday.  Scores in the first match were 25-15, 25-12 and 25-5 while ... (click for more)

GPS Splits Matches With Father Ryan, Pope John Paul

Girls Preparatory School split two Division II-AA volleyball matches on Saturday, losing to Father Ryan, 3-2, and beating Pope John Paul II, 3-0. Reagan Long posted 25 combined kills in the two matches. Emma Moore had 45 assists and Preslee Brooksbank added 21 digs. The Bruisers now have a 9-4 record. Match 1 Father Ryan 3, GPS 2 Set Scores: 25-13, ... (click for more)