State Representative Joe Armstrong says he's looking forward to addressing the allegations that he schemed to turn a profit from the state hiking the cigarette tax in 2007. His accountant, who "ran" the money through his company, had agreed to a plea deal. More from the Nashville Post on what the accountant says happened.
CNBC will tonight premiere White Collar Convicts, a look at what happens to corporate swindlers once they go behind the barbed wire. Among those featured on the show is Aaron Vallett, a former Brentwood resident who in 2012 was sentenced to 10 years and fined $5.5 million for stealing from clients' retirement plans. These days, Vallett is among other things the bookkeeper of the commissary at his prison, something he freely admits is quite ironic. Check out a clip here and get more info on White Collar Convicts here.
SEE ALSO: Our past coverage of Vallett's case
The governor last month assembled a 27-member task force to examine the state’s sentencing laws with an eye toward reducing crime and poverty, but the group includes only one public defender.
The Task Force on Sentencing and Recidivism includes six state legislators, four state agency heads, four current and former district attorneys general, three judges, two sheriffs, one chief of police, one leader of the state parole board and one mayor.
The panel also includes a victim’s right advocate, the leader of a group focused on substance abuse among women, the president of an organization of Memphis-areas CEOs and the chief executive officer of a Middle Tennessee home repair company.
“We were trying to get a good representation of everybody involved and I’m confident we have people from a lot of different perspectives that can bring that,” Gov. Bill Haslam said Thursday.
“So, there’s somebody who can bring the public defender perspective, as well as the DA, as well as well as the legislative, as well as judicial as well as juvenile services. There’s a lot of bases we want to make certain were covered,” he said Thursday after swearing in Davidson County District Attorney Glenn Funk.
The governor said the focus of the group is to examine whether there are actions the state can take to cut down on recidivism and be more productive, he said. His administration will examine the conclusions of the task force, due in June of 2015, then determine whether the state will put those changes into practice or draft them into law.
“I think a lot of folks are saying, really not just in Tennessee but across the country, we have a judicial and correction system that is leading just to more and more people going into prison, going out and going back in,” Haslam said. “Is there a better approach that we can take that makes more sense long-term for the welfare of the state, as well as for the financial cost involved.”
Haslam's spokesman later added, via email: "As the task force delves deeper into the issues surrounding sentencing and recidivism, we anticipate hundreds of Tennesseans being consulted to bring even more great minds to the table."
Patrick Cote was the first — and maybe the best — Nashville Predators enforcer.
Now 39 years old, Cote has been on the wrong side of law enforcement for much of his post-playing career. Earlier this week, he was sentenced to 30 months in prison for two counts of armed robbery.
According to reports, officers arrested Cote when they found him stranded in a car that was reported stolen. During interrogation, he admitted involvement in two bank robberies, the first of which occurred May 23.
He pleaded guilty in court on June 4.
His legal issues have come on both sides of the U.S.-Canada border. In 2002, he was pulled over for speeding in New York and charged with possession of more than 14 kilograms of marijuana. His criminal record reportedly includes “drugs, assault, robbery, aggravated assault and break and enter.”
The Predators claimed Cote from Dallas in the 1998 expansion draft. He set a franchise record and led the NHL with 30 fights in 1998-99, Nashville’s inaugural season. He dropped the gloves another 12 times (in just 21 games played) in 1999-00 then was traded to Edmonton following that season. He last played in the NHL in 2000-01.
The Stars drafted him in the second round (37th overall) by Dallas in 1995.
Two Second Avenue nightclubs have been padlocked by Metro Police after being declared public nuisances. The move came after authorities received many calls about illegal activity at Throwdown/Liquid and Ultra Violet, which share a 128 Second Ave. N. address. Carley Gordon at Channel 4 has the developing story.
Ex-convicts asking the courts to restore their voting rights should be able to ask a judge to restore their employability, according to Sen. Brian Kelsey.
The Germantown Republican is repitching a bill, SB276, mirrored after Ohio’s 2012 effort to allow people convicted of non-violent crimes to petition a judge for an employment certificate. The Tennessee bill never budged from committee this year.
While the Republican-led legislature has positioned itself as generally tough on crime, Kelsey argued in the Senate Judiciary Committee meeting Monday the move would lessen unemployment and reduce recidivism.
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