Members Of The Hamilton County Concurrent Grand Jury Add Their Thoughts To Report

Thursday, May 16, 2019

Members of the Concurrent Grand Jury added a new twist to the recent final report with comments of individual jurors included in the report.

Attorney Hugh Moore is the foreman of the Concurrent Grand Jury.

Here is the full report:

In compliance with Rule 6(e)(7), Tennessee Rules of Criminal Procedure, the Hamilton County Concurrent Grand Jury for the January - April term, 2019, submits its Report, as follows:

Cases presented:

During the term, 541 cases were presented to the Concurrent Grand Jury. The Grand Jury returned 422 true bills, 66 presentments, and 53 no bills.

Silverdale Detention Center (CoreCivic):

The Jury toured the Silverdale Detention Center on March 11, 2019. The tour was conducted by new CoreCivic Warden David Sexton and his staff. The Jury visited the intake area, men's and women's detention units, medical unit, and viewed dining facilities. The Center is well­ maintained and did not give the Jury the appearance of being overcrowded. Warden Sexton and his staff discussed with the Jury the ongoing problem with the introduction of contraband into the facility. The amount of contraband has been reduced by the use of video rather than in­ person visitation. The Jury was shown large fences that have been constructed in an effort to prevent people from throwing contraband into the facility yard.

Hamilton County Juvenile Court:

The Jury toured the Hamilton County Juvenile Court facilities on March 11, 2019. Judge Rob Philyaw explained the operations of his Court and answered questions. The Jury visited a courtroom, male and female detention units, a classroom, and dining facilities. Judge Philyaw and his staffs interest in and passion for the difficult work of this Court was evident. The facilities are well-maintained and appear to be securely staffed. There is no overcrowding.

Classes are available for the juveniles confined here. The Jury was particularly impressed by the dining facilities and the two employees who prepare the daily menus. It was difficult to hear of juvenile offenders who have perhaps their most nutritious meals while confined in the juvenile detention unit. Judge Philyaw and the entire staff at the Court and Juvenile Detention Center are to be commended for their high standards and excellent work.

Hamilton County Jail:

The Jury toured the Hamilton County Jail on March 12, 2019. The tour was conducted by Sheriffs Chief of Security. The tour covered all of the Jail's six floors, including maximum and minimum security detention units, intake facilities, chapel, and medical unit. The officers staffing the Jail are due substantial praise for their diligent and professional work in securing and maintaining this outdated, overcrowded, and dangerous facility. The Jury supports any effort by the County to replace both the Silverdale Detention Center and the Hamilton County Jail.

Comments and Suggestions of Grand Jurors:

Each Grand Juror was given the opportunity to submit comments to be included in this Report. Those comments are included here, without edits.

 **

I am very grateful for the opportunity to serve as a grand juror. I have learned a lot over the past four months.

The administrative staff is very knowledgeable and quick to give us answers to our questions.

I learned that bad people do bad things, but that good people make bad decisions. They have to pay for those bad decisions.

The tours of Silverdale and the other facilities was an enlightening experience. Seeing that they take care of the people there and keep a clean environment with a limited staff was interesting. I would like to say that I am grateful for the experience and I would be honored to serve again.

**

Grand jury duty as free civics course. When I first learned what Grand Jury duty would entail, I thought, "Wow, what a great civics lesson!" But I had no idea. This wasn't a lesson; it was a whole course that Hamilton County paid us $13.00 a day to take. I learned about types of county laws, something about sentences attached for breaking them, a little about motivations of my fellow community members for various crimes, and a good bit about police methods. I got to meet an array of impressive police officers, detectives, investigators, assistant district attorneys, and judges; and I gained a greater awareness of and appreciation for how they carry out their jobs. I learned about how our county courts system works. Especially revelatory were our tours of the county's three detention centers: Silverdale, the juvenile detention center, and the appalling shame that is our county jail. Altogether, it provided an unforgettable, once-in-a­ lifetime opportunity and an education that I wish more citizens could have, at least in some part.

Preparation/or the Grand Jury experience.  Though we learned so much.from  testimony, judges' talks, and tours, some of what we saw and heard was horrific and harrowing. Before we were selected and empaneled, one of the jury foremen gave us a "pep talk" on what an enjoyable experience we will have. But "enjoyable" is not the word I would use, and I counsel him and others not to use it again to potential jurors. Say it will be educational, enlightening, eye­ opening, and "you'll be glad you did it," but also warn them that some of the experience will disturb and haunt them. It certainly did and does for me.

Greater awareness of the amount of crime around us. After hearing week after week of sad and scary cases about lost and broken lives, it began to feel as if we are islands of generally productive, law-abiding people amid oceans of aimlessly wandering, troubled souls, many of whom are drowning all around us. Some have variously described it a soft underbelly of society or an underworld. I would call it a parallel dimension alongside our own, with its own distinct subcultures, all usually invisible to us. We are fortunate, indeed, if we have never been caught up in any of these subcultures or if that dimension has not crossed over into ours. But as social support washes away, social pressures and temptations mount, and more people choose to cope with it all by breaking the law, that dimension is growing, and it is becoming more likely that people like me will encounter it, usually in the form of a dangerously impaired driver or a stray bullet from a gang conflict. Of the hundreds of cases we heard, drugs were mentioned in more than half. Life seems to be getting so hard for many folks, especially for poor people, that they must be sedated just to get through their days. Again, the word I would use is "eye-opening."

 

Appreciation for law enforcement officers as bulwark and buoy. The admiration I already had for our community's law enforcement men and women grew with each day of testimony and each officer who gave it. We heard from Tennessee state troopers and officers and detectives working in Chattanooga, East Ridge, Collegedale, Red Bank, and Soddy Daisy, as well as correctional facility staffs and occasional others like park rangers. They were of all job types and ranks, ages and genders - a disparate group, but single-minded in purpose. As I listened to them, I realized that they serve at least two functions that make us able to call ourselves a civilized community.

They stand between us and those who seek to threaten our lives and property. But they are also an essential social support system for many of our community members who desperately need them. Like teachers, they often step in when other social systems fail, and they do it because they care about those they serve. I hope someone will express to them one citizen's deep gratitude and admiration for their hard work, high competence, and personal sacrifice. We count on them to do what we cannot, which makes it all the more consequential when one of them fails to live up to the high bar set by the rest. One officer who gave us testimony was suspended only a few days later for using excessive force on a motorist he had stopped, and the DUI cases for which he gave testimony had to be put on hold. I hope all law enforcement personnel are in touch with how much we count on them to see it as part of their job to hold their tempers, put aside prejudice and avarice, and keep baser impulses in check.

Standardization needed for police reporting. Officers' testimonies would frequently consist of reading from their arrest reports, and the disparity among these reports was notable. For example, some officers reported testing a driver's impairment using only the horizontal gaze nystagmus (HGN), the walk-and-turn, and the one-leg stand tests; others reported one or more of those in addition to the Romberg "sway" test and/or an alphabet or counting test. Some said they used a breathalyzer and some did not. Also, some officers would give a great deal of detail (some unnecessary, e.g., license plate numbers), and others would give very little (e.g., by how much a driver was going over the speed limit when stopped). Though there are often good reasons for selecting certain field tests, one of the required sections of each report should be a clear statement of the testing rationale. It also seems possible to have a more standard way to report some crimes officers will see repeatedly (e.g., speeding, DUL drug possession). Training officers in these "shortcuts" might save them time, make their reporting tasks go more quickly, and make it easier to learn the facts of a case from their reports.

Testimony scheduling. Our jury foreman explained that which cases are heard depends on which officers are able to appear in person or submit a report for someone else to read. Because officers' uncertain schedules determine jury work, it is difficult to know how many cases we will hear in a given morning or afternoon. The result for us is often hearing so many cases that it's like drinking water from a fire hose. Then the next time period may have only a  few cases. Hearing, analyzing, and deciding on 25+ cases in three hours or less is not a realistic expectation. There has to be a better way to schedule testimonies that will allow more time for each of these important cases to be heard and considered.

Changes needed to Silverdale, juvenile detention center, and county jail. Every citizen of Hamilton County should be told that our county jail is the shame of our community. Is there any other county detention facility for a city of our size that is so outdated, grossly overcrowded, dangerously understaffed, and unsafe for both staff and inmates? Ours must rival the very worst. How can we allow such a dangerous facility to house 500-700 men in a space designed/or 150- 200? Our very competent and caring jail staff do an incredible job in this deplorable situation and I applaud them, but no one should be asked to work in such demeaning and demoralizing conditions, let alone these fine law eriforcement men and women.

The prison chapel in this antiquated building is so structurally unstable that the Chaplain cannot safely do immersion baptisms. Men were lying on floor pallets everywhere because there were no beds for them. Close conditions breed anger and frustration that must have an outlet. Fights break out frequently; guards had to break up two brawls shortly before our 9:00 am tour. The state of affairs I saw and stories I heard will haunt me forever. Prison should not be a picnic, but it seems unlikely that being housed in inhumane conditions will make men grow any compassion for their fellow beings. What are we waiting for: a prison riot? Someone to die, probably a guard? From what we saw, we shouldn't have to wait long. No more excusesI Get the funds, make the plans, build the new jail. And while they are revamping things, revise or replace the VendEngine system, a racket that charges usury rates to inmates who have no choice but to pay them to handle their own money. Crime apparently does pay, just not the inmates.

Silverdale is a somewhat newer facility but is still understaffed for the number of inmates there. I was impressed with the number of programs and opportunities I saw to keep inmates productively occupied and help redirect their energies. Likewise, the juvenile detention center was clean and well-organized, and personnel there from Judge Philyaw to the cafeteria personnel were clearly advocates for the kids. Yet all their methods and support could not keep a 14-year-old murderer from being tried as an adult, possibly to be sentenced to death or life in prison? How does this happen? Studying this phenomenon, even using case study methods, could help us understand it and prevent it in the future. We owe it to the children and the adults they will become.

Impressive work by Hamilton County Judges. We were grateful that five judges chose to take time out of their demonstrably packed schedules to talk with us and answer our questions. We are fortunate to have such brilliant, caring, and compassionate individuals serving key roles in our community. Their talks, coupled with our tours of overcrowded detention facilities, made it quite clear that we can cut down on crime and make our community safer by expanding the resources allocated to Drug and Mental Health Courts. We need more judges and/or more time for existing ones to work with our fellow citizens whose addictions or mental illnesses result in criminal behavior. Judges need more personnel to have them handle these cases.

Thoughts in summary. Grand Jury duty has changed me. I feel paradoxically both more and less safe in my community. When I think of the capable law eriforcement personnel I have met and how they spend every day working dangerous jobs to keep danger away from us, I feel safer than I did But now that I know the extent of crime all around me and the factors that are working every day to make it grow, I feel more worried and less secure. But I have a weapon now I didn't have before; I have knowledge about it all and ideas of what we need to do to improve the situation. I plan to continue the education my Grand Jury service started

**

I was not quite sure how to start my response as a Grand Juror, but this has been an experience that has been very fulfilling. Starting this process was a bit scary, and the not knowing & what to expect made me just a bit nervous. Once getting into the room with the other potential jurors, and the process was explained, I was ready for the challenge. Judge Greenholtz thanked us immediately for our service, and dedication and that he had great faith that the job we were undertaking would be something that we would be a part of After the selection of the two juries, our group immediately started hearing cases.

One of the first things that needs to be addressed is the compensation that the jury receives. By no means will anyone do this entirely for the pay .... as the pay is just a small factor in the big picture at the end of the day. I am aware that the courts take their direction of our legislation, and with that the monetary compensation needs to be increased, as the cost of parking, brealfast/lunch easily exceeds the $13.00 a day amount they receive. Legislation should ensure that compensation for each juror to be at least $20 a day. The number of cases heard during our duration as Grand Jurors ranges between 35-45 + cases a week.from January-April, a total of approximately 280-350 cases. Each case different in their own way ......each requiring us to listen, question and learn as much as possible on the information presented I must say that the 12 jurors were all unique, well-rounded and diverse individuals that were able to provide needed information regarding some of the cases that were presented I will also say that those law enforcements presenting their cases, were able to provide visual and well documented information on the cases in assisting in deciding of these cases.

Our visit to the Hamilton County Jail was a real eye opener. I found it to be nothing as I expected .... nothing like the reality show 60 Days In. One main/act: The jail has served its purpose and needs the most obvious ......more space/cells. A jail that was built to house 505 inmates, and at times, have been over capacity by 50, 65, 75 inmates and individuals are steady coming and going. It truly can be a revolving door for some individuals.

The number of jailers/correction officers employed by the Hamilton County Sheriff Department is grossly under the number of officers needed to work, protect our jails, the inmates as well as each other. Working mandatory overtime sounds good at first, but after a while, working six and seven 12 hr. shifts becomes old, and a person can become comfortable and complacent.

Complacency can be very hazardous all around and even those inmates become numb to the mundane routine ....and eventually something bad can happen. Sheriff Hammond needs additional officers to relieve those that are working, as well as bring in new stajjlhire new officers that are mentally prepared/or the job they are required to handle.

Each floor that we toured was clean and clear of any debris, and hazards. Those inmates were clearly aware of who we were, and I would assume had been told those on their better report. It was as if we were both in a.fish bowl .... watching the other as if we'd never seen the other before.  It could show a 'false-truth', in that we were seeing the jail and Silverdale in its true light, but the normalcy of the inmates and correction officers interacting was staged The space is the most concerning, as we realize this is not a vacation for people to relax and live, but it should be accommodating the number of individuals that find themselves in those circumstances that require you to be responsible for your actions and consequences without working I moving around within society/the community.

I also found it troubling that those individuals that end up incarcerated with mental health issues and addiction problems are placed in the same cells as others, and repeatedly are using the jail system as a revolving door when their issues are just being skimmed or barely being addressed, as jail is not where & how they can get the treatment they need. More money needs to be allocated for treatment & treatment facilities that address those individuals.

Hamilton County Juvenile Court addresses those issues that affect children and youth under the age of 18. My first employment was with juvenile Court under the direction of Judge Suzanne Bailey, and she was an advocate of keeping those children.from Hamilton County in facilities that were close so that their families could still have a connection. With legislation, state and county budgets being made ... some things get cut and lost in the shuffle ....and our children are part of those cuts. Juvenile facilities are being closed, more adult facilities are being built, treatment facilities are being cut, gangs ... ... GANGS do exist, and they are not going away.

Some of the programs that existed in the 90's need to possibly resurface in working with youth & their families can be very challenging but we need to do something to wake these kids up.... they've got to find HOPE and LOVE to know that there is a better tomorrow.

I appreciate all the judges that came and explained how and what they do daily, and the choices are being made, and the work that is still needed.  This grand jury opportunity has not been  taken lightly, and I want to take a moment to let the judges know that their job as judge is so very important and harder than most will ever know .....that the Court system has to work like a well­ oiled machine, and that everyone that is employed by the Courts, whether it is the Criminal, Civil, Sessions or Juvenile Court, that all of the staff and the decisions being made have to work together. Monies is needed to ensure that the staff, Judges, law enforcements are being compensated, as well as finding programs (especially those that work) that will give those individuals a new look on life. I also know that we all have choices and have consequences for our actions, and our local law enforcement agencies & officers must know that their communities support them and are grateful for the sacrifices that they take every day. Thank you for the opportunity to be a grandjuror. The job was not taken lightly. I learned some things that I didn't know .... And I see some things that need to improve. I also saw some things that are working well, and those programs should be supported with more financial backing to have those programs thrive.

**

I would like to say that I have thoroughly enjoyed having the honor of serving on the Grand Jury. I truly did not understand why so many did not stand up and take a seat and jump on the opportunity of making a small difference in our community. I work full time and had to have a sub take my place and while you feel a pang of guilt it works your brain in another direction and certainly opens up and broadens your mind and taught me a lot!

Not only have I learned that gangs are not only in big cities but here in our sweet city of Chattanooga. I learned that without getting involved and trying to make a change this will continue. Most gang members refuse medical treatment and that in and of itself is scary because they are scared. We need more mentors in our cities. Perhaps a push for large corporations to ask their staff to make a difference ... mentor a fatherless child, a child with a parent in prison or simply a child that needs a little encouragement of being told how important they can be to society.

I learned that drugs are rampant! A simple tag expiration leads to a police car pulling over the person and many times they and passengers have made a poor choice of guns or drugs which leads to other poor choice and another and before you know it multiple counts against that person(s). If you can't afford a tag you certainly do not need to do drugs. I think about 75% of our cases involved illegal drugs of some sort. I have become more aware on the roads as I watch erratic driving and try to drop back and stay away. I have spoken with my children about the risks of drugs and how much they may see in their future. I guess I was naive to think it is only in certain places. This also has opened up an opportunity with my students to hopefully teach them some life lessons that drugs lead to poor choices and eventually jail and or death. Also to do a lesson for social studies here in our elementary school that plants the seed of how bad a poor choice can be and what those lead to.

I have always had a deep respect for our CPD officers and State Troopers as well as the Sheriff and surrounding county officers but listening to them tell their stories of arrest and to think of the dangers they are put in every day for me, my family and our communities. We heard over 350 cases up to the point of my report and all but 2 that I can recall had the evidence to send it on for indictment.

I certainly enjoyed the Judge 's visits and appreciated how they explained everything to us and were genuine with their thanks for us serving. It was clear that they are extremely busy and it was so nice for them to take that time. Also a big thank you to Bill West for his knowledge and thanking us. XXX was a wonderful foreman. His experience in criminal law was helpful and he is just a great guy!

Field Trip: I was most impressed with Juvenile. While the sleeping quarters are depressing I think it is necessary because you don't want it to be a place in which they want to return. I loved the cafeteria ladies and their caring hearts for the children. I was sad to see them because they looked like any child on the street but one that had made a very poor choice. I also was impressed with the teacher. He could teach anywhere and has chosen these children. What a difference he can make with knowledge for their future.

Silverdale was fine. I think the new warden and staff are making some excellent changes.  I loved that fact that they do not let them sleep in that they must be up with their bed made as well as clean their area. I hope the new staff can find ways to make the prisoners do something to better themselves and society with work somehow outside the fences of the facility. With the recycling center there maybe something that may help save the Earth J Trash pick-up, pot holes in the road or simply a way to find out what their gifts are to use them as a betterment while serving their time.

The jail was awful. I really think it should be though. For the prisoners only! The staff (being under staffed) should have a nicer area to work. Bright and cheery with updated computer systems and surveillance. The broken glass around them needs repair and new lights in the employee areas only. That can brighten their spirits and help with such a horrible thing to do for a living. Just the smells in the halls were enough to make me want to leave. They also need diffusers w/ essential oils for their moods and to clear the smell from the halls.       Perhaps some of the drug money could be spent for them. Also, I think that it would be nice for money to be found in the city budget to feed the staff a catered meal at least once a week.

If there is anything that you would like me to elaborate on please let me know.

Thank you for this wonderful opportunity.

**

Some jurors were impressed with the positive attitude of the judges. They felt that most of the defendants coming through their courts were, in fact, very good citizens, but that they had made some bad decisions. Just because the defendants appear in court doesn't mean they are bad people.

In addition, the assigned Grand Jury Foreman provided a wealth of information in guiding the jurors through the process.

**

Silverdale:  The staff was short-handed, the facility spotlessly clean, and the staff surprisingly cheerful, polite, and relaxed Many of the staff had been there for extended periods of time and enjoy their jobs. I was not expecting so many inmates per "bunk-room". I would expect that this would lead to discipline issues.

I would like to see more opportunities for productive activity and education (not just videos): art, music, gardening, etc., and I am concerned about the lack of sunlight- necessary for physical and mental health, though I realize the difficulties being short-staffed

Juvenile: I was impressed by the caring kitchen cooks, tutors, and attitudes and concerns that those in charge have for the juveniles in their custody. They were informed, professional and calm.

The kitchen was immaculate.

County: They are terribly short-handed, the facility is OLD and needs fresh paint, maintenance and updated equipment - daily breakdowns. It is overcrowded (by 24-25 people per room), not equipped for mental patients, stressful environment, Spartan.

Cases: I wonder if cases voted on should be "blind", as in, juries should not be made aware of racial profile of suspects, but just facts of the case, unless relevant to the description by a witness and subsequent identification.

Found the process to be fascinating and educational in the workings of the judicial system.

Jury: The days were often long, with occasional heavy caseloads, but the schedule (4 days monthly) worked well, and the experience was, while often saddening or upsetting, also fascinating to watch the justice system in action.

I thoroughly enjoyed meeting my fellow jurors, hearing their comments and questions.

**

When I first received the grand jury summons I was very intimidated, thinking I was not qualified to assume the responsibility of deciding the fate of others. I had reached out to a friend of mine, Judge Kyle Hedrick. He encouraged me to take the opportunity to do this. He explained to me that I would be helping to determine if there was enough evidence to make an indictment on a person, not determining if they were guilty. This helped me to feel a lot better about accepting the responsibility.

I am a nurse practitioner and work in two very busy practices. I had numerous physicians offer to write letters to get me excused I felt compelled to come to see what it was all about. The first day I met Judge Greenholtz. He explained more about how the grand jury worked and that it was imperative to the judicial process. I volunteered to stay. I felt it was my duty and obligation as a citizen to do my part.

When I met our jury foreman, I spoke with him about this job. He reminded me that we really want people sitting on this jury who are "contributing to society and not just people that have nothing better to do. " This helped cement my decision to be a part of something larger than myself. Bill West (assistant DA) was also amazing to work with, and guided us through the laws as they applied to each case.

Being on this jury has definitely reminded me of how the actions of one person can affect so many lives. I have heard many cases during these sessions. I have been amazed, appalled, educated, and simply overwhelmed by the crimes and the way the human mind devises schemes. I have learned so much that I didn't know about the law and our judicial system. I have learned about the street terms for drugs and names of gangs on our streets in Chattanooga. I have a greater appreciation for our law enforcement men and women who put their lives on the line daily, serving warrants and making traffic stops, and never knowing what situation they are walking into.

It seemed that a large majority of cases we heard had to do with prescription drugs or illegally obtained drugs. It might be helpful if there was a way for officers to connect with the DEA and be able to view the CSMD-Controlled Safety Monitoring Data. When trying to indict individuals this information would allow access to which prescriptions patients have legally obtained.

During our tour of the Silverdale workhouse, I was amazed at how clean and well maintained the facility was. There seemed to be a very organized system in pods to detain the inmates according to the crimes they have been convicted of.

The company that manages the facilities also seems to do a good job. I was still surprised at the amount of contraband that seems to find its way into facilities, even after the extended fencing was erected.

The Juvenile detention system was eye opening. Judge Rob Philyaw described juvenile cases as being one and done or a revolving door. It was a sad to hear that repeat offenders would prefer to be in the center as opposed to be at home with their families, therefore they continue to commit crimes. Now there are fewer Youth Detention Centers in the state, due to budget cuts, which only complicates matters. This Judge is passionate about his job and really wants to help with these troubled teens.

We had several judges come and speak with us during our sessions. I was impressed by the judges' pre arrest diversion programs. These programs keep repeat offenders out of the system by helping them with their addiction problems and or mental illness. There were certain themes that reappeared with criminals. Substance abuse for instance was a common thread One Harvard Health Study from January 2011, found that 31% people who had both a substance abuse disorder and a psychiatric condition (dual diagnosis) committed at least one act of violence within a year compared to 18% of people who had a psychiatric condition alone.

Confirming that substance abuse is a key contributor to violent behavior. This study also suggested that common elements of social environment, such as poverty and early exposure to violence, were at least partially responsible for violent behavior. However rates of violence increased dramatically in those with a dual diagnosis.

Overall, this has been an eye opening experience. It has changed me and given me a better understanding of the way our judicial system operates. I also have a better appreciation for the Hamilton county court system and the people that are there every day working to ensure justice for everyone.

**

I have found it a privilege and very eye opening to sit on the grand jury. First of all I have found Hugh Moore and Bill West to be two of the nicest and well informed men I have ever met. They answered many questions from the jury in a simple easy to understand way. Very humble guys.

Good role models. Thank you for keeping the good coffee coming.

I was impressed with the judges who chatted with us. They were very passionate about their work. They truly believe in judging a case with the hope of helping the offenders to see the consequences of the road they're on or headed on, and also helping the victims to know that justice has to prevail for there to be any sense of law and order.

I have a sharpened sense of respect and admiration for the police force and the detectives that related each case to the grand jury. These men are truly our heroes. Risking life and limb for us 24/7. They don't know what they are facing each time they go out on a call. I thank their wives and children for their sacrifices in letting them serve the community.

Touring the jails and juvenile detention center indicated under staffed and overcrowded conditions. I felt a sense of sadness seeing these people locked up in cages like animals. But that's what fighting the law will get you. There has to be a deterrent to crime. I wish the DUI offenders would see a much heavier punishment for their careless endangerment of the lives of innocent people.

So, in closing, I found that my little part in serving on the grand jury was one of seeing the judicial system in action and the horrific job it is to keep up with the constant plague of criminal offenses that come up on a daily basis.

My thanks to all of you serving, to help us all feel safer and more secure in our own homes, and to be able to get a restful sleep at night.

**

My overall grand jury experience was a great one. Some cases stick with you but I suppose that just comes with the territory. I think that most of the jurors in my group would say about the same things when it comes to the prison and jail conditions. One thing I would really like to add however is the TBI crime labs. It concerns me that on average things can take up to a year or even longer. I would suggest perhaps asking for grants at the federal level or looking at the state budget to find a way to expand the lab and its instruments. This would bring in more chemists and analysts to speed up the lab result process and in turn speed up the legal process which would be a win for everyone. I am thankful for the experience of being a grand juror and will not forget it!

Conclusion:

The Jury wishes to extend its thanks to Assistant District Attorney Bill West who ably and effectively presented the State's cases, and explained applicable law. The Jury appreciated the always pleasant and polite assistance provided by Sgt. Brian Moseley, Sgt. Jeff Reardon, and Don Keasing who scheduled the appearance of witnesses. Criminal Court Judges Barry Steelman, Don Poole, and Tom Greenholtz, and General Sessions Court Judges Christy Sell and Alex McVeagh all met with the Jury and provided valuable insight into the workings of their individual courts, and the larger justice system. Larry Henry and his staff in the Circuit Court Clerk's Office (Margo McConnell) supported the Jury in every way.


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Sports

Vols Trail Murray State, 44-35, But Come Blistering Back To Preserve Nation's Longest Home Win Streak; Kentucky Loses At Home To Evansville

It looked like a bad night for the SEC, Tennessee trailed Murray State, 44-35, at the half, and #1 Kentucky suffered an improbable loss at Rupp Arena to Evansville, which won only 11 games last year. But the shots stopped falling for the Racers and the Vols came roaring back to win 82-63. Tennessee scored the final 16 points of the contest. Senior Jordan Bowden finished with ... (click for more)

Peter Fuller To Lead CFC As Head Coach

After eight years under Bill Elliott, the Chattanooga Football Club will have a “new” head coach lead them into their future as a professional club. Former assistant head coach Peter Fuller will become the full-time head coach for the 2020 season . This “promotion” comes after a “trial run” of sorts du ring the latter part of the NPSL Member’s Cup season earlier this Autumn. ... (click for more)