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Chattanooga Criminal Law Blog

Arrests, lies and audio tapes

It is about a one-hour drive northwest of Chattanooga to get to Tracy City. The small town raised some eyebrows a decade ago when its voters chose a man who had died more than a month before election day as their new mayor.

More recently, the Tracy City Police Department has raised eyebrows with its extensive use of an informant who has admitted that she framed people. Police chief Charlie Wilder and his assistant used Tina Prater over and over in 2017, a recent news article stated. Law enforcement agencies then used Prater's tape-recorded "evidence" to make arrests of 29 people on drug-related charges.

A look at recent Hamilton County arrests

Part of the stated mission of Chattanoogan.com is to deliver local news across a wide spectrum, including Chattanooga-related sports, weather, business and music news. The publication includes regular Hamilton County arrest reports.

A recent report included a wide variety of allegations against men and women, with a couple of types of serious allegations surfacing repeatedly: drunk driving and domestic violence charges.

Former Tennessee principal accused of sex crimes

A former Tennessee elementary school principal has been accused of a serious crime by the Federal Bureau of Investigation. The FBI says the suspect was arrested after he allegedly tried to arrange sex with an infant girl.

The 51-year-old is charged with sex crimes that include transportation of child pornography in interstate commerce, coercion and enticement of a minor and interstate travel with intent to engage in a sexual act with a minor.

Domestic violence charges: Two high-profile Tennessee cases

A couple of well-known figures recently made headlines after their arrests in our state. In separate cases, University of Tennessee defensive lineman Darel Middleton and Mikaela Spielberg (director Steven Spielberg’s daughter) have both been charged with domestic assault.

Middleton was charged with domestic assault and public intoxication after an altercation in which his girlfriend was reportedly twice pushed to the ground. Spielberg, 23, was arrested on a charge of domestic assault causing bodily injury after an argument with her boyfriend.

Tennessee police chief fired day after domestic violence charge filed

If you drive northeast of Chattanooga for about an hour, you will find yourself in Etowah. The McMinn County town of about 3.500 residents has a small police force that is now without its chief. According to news reports, the Etowah chief of police was fired after he was charged with assault by domestic violence.

Deputies responded to a call from a woman before 6 a.m. this past Sunday. Officers said she had a facial injury reportedly caused by now-former police chief Eric Armstrong, with whom she’s in a relationship.

Tennessee mayor accused of embezzling from grandmother

If you drive about 200 miles northeast of Chattanooga, you will arrive in the small town of Mount Carmel. The mayor of the city of a little more than 5,000 residents has been charged with a white collar crime. Mayor Chris Jones has been indicted by a Hawkins County grand jury on a charge of theft of over $250,000.

The mayor allegedly embezzled nearly$394,000 from his grandmother’s estate. She died in 2016.

Could repeat DUI offenders be placed on a registry?

Most people know that there is a TBI registry for sex offenders to help families and other vulnerable people in their neighborhoods. But what would happen if repeat DUI offenders in Tennessee were also on a registry?

According to WJHL, a local politician introduced a bill that would create a TBI registry for repeat DUI offenders with photos and other identifying data of the offenders. The bill is currently with a House subcommittee where representatives will consider sending the proposal to the House floor.

Was Chattanooga cop drunk when Collegedale cop drove him home?

Last July, a Chattanooga police officer and his girlfriend had gone out for the night. They were riding home on his motorcycle when they came to a stop at a Collegedale intersection. The cop, his girlfriend and the motorcycle all toppled over at the intersection, however, the Times Free Press recently reported.

The article states that the officer’s girlfriend was upset by the incident and refused to get back on the cycle. So he drove home and returned with his pick-up, which is when he was pulled over by a Collegedale police officer – who then told dispatchers that the driver he had pulled over was drunk. The Collegedale cop did the Chattanooga cop a “professional courtesy,” however, and did not arrest him for drunk driving.

Tennessee man arrested after lighting up in court

It takes almost exactly two hours to make the 135-mile drive north of Chattanooga to Lebanon, the seat of Wilson County. An unusual scene unfolded there recently when a Tennessee man who had been charged with marijuana possession took a decidedly theatrical approach to making his opposition clear to our state’s weed laws.

While the judge was making some notes, the 20-year-old defendant reached into a coat pocket, pulled out a marijuana cigarette and lit up. He took a puff and turned to the packed courtroom and said, “the people deserve better.” According to a reporter, laughter erupted among those in attendance. However, the judge was not amused.

NFL cornerback facing Tennessee drug charges

It is almost exactly a two-hour drive northwest of Chattanooga to get to the campus of Vanderbilt University. The well-regarded school is where Tennessee native Joejuan Williams played his college football.

The cornerback was recently stopped for speeding on an interstate highway in Cumberland County by a Tennessee Highway Patrol trooper. The 22-year-old was arrested for possession of a controlled substance, possession of legend drugs without a prescription, possession of drug paraphernalia and speeding.

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