GOP bill would give Tennessee AG power to prosecute criminal cases

A man scrubs graffiti off of a building following protests in downtown Nashville on June 1, 2020. (Erik Schelzig, Tennessee Journal)\

Among the bills proposed for next week’s special legislative session is a measure to for the first time give the state attorney general the power to prosecute criminal cases. The bill sponsored by House Majority Leader William Lamberth (R-Portland) is aimed at giving the AG jurisdiction over cases related to protests.

Under longtime practice in Tennessee, popularly elected district attorneys general have authority over all criminal prosecutions, while the state attorney general, who is appointed by the state Supreme Court, can file civil lawsuits and is responsible for defending the state in criminal appeals.

Under new legislation, if the AG decides to bring criminal charges related to protests, the office would have “the authority to exercise all of the powers and perform all of the duties before any court or grand jury with respect to such prosecution that the appropriate district attorney general would otherwise be authorized or required by law to exercise or perform.”

The bill also seeks to require local prosecutors to “fully cooperate” with the AG in any from requested.

The bill would take effect on Oct. 1.

UPDATE 1: To say not everyone is impressed would be an understatement.

UPDATE 2: Word emanating from the corridors of power is that this is a caption bill — in other words one containing placeholder language until the final version can be put together. Whether that was the original intent or in response to criticism is not immediately clear.

 

42 Responses to GOP bill would give Tennessee AG power to prosecute criminal cases

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    Not that Stuart guy says:

    Gotta love small government “constitutional” conservatives and their love for the Bill of Rights. Well, for some of them at least. Love the 2nd, kinda leery of part the first. Dig the 10th, not so high on the 9th. And so on.

    Protesting is absolutely a guaranteed right under the US and TN constitutions. Protests that turn violent or vandalous (I think I invented a word there) have multiple existing legal remedies in place. Would Mr. Lamberth introduce such a bill after Tea Party or income tax protests? (Some of which had vandalism.) I think not?

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      Stuart I. Anderson says:

      Come on, come on get with it NtSg!!! Your buddy Mr. George Soros has moved to take care of that stuff about “Protests that turn violent. . .have multiple existing legal remedies in place” by pouring $millions into campaigns of candidates for district attorneys in local elections in liberal ghettos who simply will decline to enforce the law by prosecuting vandals. Characteristically only about 20% of eligible voters show up for these local elections, and in the liberal ghettos only the looniest voters at that, so in fact what you get is Portland, Seattle, Chicago, etc. Pretty cool NtSg, don’t you think? Only in Tennessee we’re about to say “Don’t even think about it George”!

      • Avatar
        Jonathan Swift says:

        Come on, Stuart! Usually your comments have a bit of truth in them, but not this one. Not that Stuart guy is exactly right, and you couldn’t come up with a logical response. You went full reTrump by just making up stuff or spreading baseless alternative facts. Never go full reTrump.

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          Stuart I. Anderson says:

          Don’t just be negative Jonathan then go away, please explain. Like there’s no George Soros? He hasn’t poured $millions into DA races in local elections? Only about 20% show up in local elections so far leftist DA’s get elected with a minute number of voters? There’s no Portland, Seattle, Chicago, etc. it’s all photo shopped stuff by Trumpidians? If your answer is “yes” to any of the foregoing please just say “yes” and we’ll understand.

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            Jonathan Swift says:

            State your fact-checked source for the assertion that “Your buddy Mr. George Soros has moved to take care of that stuff about ‘Protests that turn violent. . .have multiple existing legal remedies in place’ by pouring $millions into campaigns of candidates for district attorneys in local elections in liberal ghettos who simply will decline to enforce the law by prosecuting vandals.” Speaking of declining to enforce laws, what about all the city and county governments/law enforcement that decline to enforce mask mandates? And plenty of candidates for all government positions get elected by a fraction of eligible voters.

            No one is disputing that jackasses in the guise of “protestors” can be violent or cause damage. The point is that there are already ways to deal with them. It is a local district issue, and having a state level AG cherry-pick what offenses to prosecute in a particular city is massive over-reach by state government.

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            Stuart I. Anderson says:

            I just discovered something interesting in attempting to give you specific references to answer your request. Erik doesn’t want us to do that or at least not without his checking our references so unless my reply appears later I will simply suggest that you go to duckduckgo.com and type “George Soros district attorney races” and you will find enough references to curl up with to satisfy your curiosity.

          • Avatar
            Stuart I. Anderson says:

            The fact that other laws aren’t enforced or that turnout is low in local elections in general is, of course, besides the point being that George Soros is leading a well financed attempt to see to it that criminal laws against serious crimes in liberal ghettos are simply not enforced and the Tennessee General Assembly is stepping in to see to it that there is an alternative to local law enforcement in our liberal ghettos in case Soros should succeed in this state. I have no concern that Tennessee will make life too hard on criminals who assault, vandalize and loot because of all the law enforcement that istaking place between local government and the state in Tennessee. Why they can always move to a state governed by NtSg’s liberal friends where I am sure the environment will be so much more to their liking.

  • Avatar
    Stuart I. Anderson says:

    A brilliant piece of legislation going some way toward making it more difficult for Tennessee’s liberal ghettos becoming petri dishes where all kinds of bizarre human specimen are nurtured. Now all we have to do is elect our state attorney general because I am sure our current appointed attorney general will be asleep in a hammock while our cities burn and there is nothing the voters in this can do get another one.

    • Avatar
      MARLE says:

      I hope the independent shop owners in Hong Kong, who watched their property and livelihoods destroyed by violent protesters cheered on by the American Trump administration, are amused at the what is going on in the US. This administration loved burning and looting of innocent shop owners’ businesses. Why don’t we love and encourage it here too?

      • You’re an idiot

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        MARLE says:

        Did the Trump administration say that we supported the protesters who were rioting . Can you cite one quote of Trump where he said he didn’t support the violence in Hong Kong. He has had plenty to say about it.

        I’d be interested in a response instead of name calling.

    • Avatar
      Eddie White says:

      Most states elect their AG as well as other cabinet officers. I wish Tennesseans could elect their AG, Sec of State, Comptroller and maybe a few others. It is disgusting to watch what has happened in Portland, Seattle, and a few other cities. If this bill gives the AG more authority to throw some rioters in jail, more power to him. You certainly cannot depend on these big city liberal mayors.

  • Avatar
    Tim Skow says:

    ABOUT DAMN TIME !!!

    Thanks Majority Leader Lambreth. May the AG start with that little Anarchist that set the Nashville’s Metro Court House on fire …. while looking at those inside at the windows watching him.
    Thank goodness he’s more of an ANARCHIST, than an ARSONIST !!
    Go Get’em Good Man !!

  • Avatar
    Taxpayer #314 says:

    Sounds like the Trump corruption and abuse of power is coming to Tennessee by way of importing the sludge from Washington. The repugs are always looking for shortcuts to get their way, by hook or crook.

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    Teddy says:

    The 2nd doesn’t give one the right to set fire to the courthouse.

  • The image on this article should have shown a child drawing on the sidewalk with chalk, because that is the action they intend to criminalize.

  • This AG and probably all the ones in the future won’t have the ‘you know what’ to prosecute anyone. Remember, they are appointed by Governors and all of our Governors are moderate to left. They aren’t going to step into the firing line and show any kind of leadership unless they can jump on a train that is already leaving with an issue already settled, Once again-just the truth. Thank

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    Donna Locke says:

    Many years ago, while holding signs and gathering signatures on petitions calling for enforcement of U.S. immigration laws, one of the places our groups decided to stand was outside post offices. We were told by local authorities that we could not stand on post office property or on any private property or in the street. We could stand on public sidewalks. We were not allowed to interfere with pedestrian or vehicle traffic in any way. This worked out okay. People saw our signs and turned around and came back to sign the petitions.

    We wanted to stand on the sidewalks right outside the doors of the post offices, but this was postal property. When turned away from this, we did not try to burn down the post offices. We did not harangue the tiny fraction of people who did not sign the petitions.

    Way before that, others of us were not allowed to block traffic during protests against the Vietnam War. Doing so was a sure way to arrest. Some people wanted to be arrested as a statement. So be it. The arrest in such a case was legitimate, however. Public property should not be hogged by the self-entitled, and traffic laws and rights of way are for all of us and must be free flow.

    Few things make me angrier than someone trying to block my way, in any literal and symbolic sense. One’s rights end where another’s rights begin. There is usually a fine line between them, but we know the true breach when we see it or experience it. Those who breach this line are usually immature and not properly civilized. They often have an agenda they are trying to force on others. Coddling the offenders begets more of the same and worse behavior.

    As a society, we have agreed on certain codes of conduct and authority that benefit all. Dispense with the codes and authority that truly benefit all and the center begins to fall apart. Some people want this.

    • Avatar
      MARLE says:

      So why would ALL senate republicans, our own TN US legislators applaud what has been going on in Hong Kong as rioters destroy the property and livelihood of shop owners there. They are only against this when its in their backyard.

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        Stuart I. Anderson says:

        Perhaps the fact that the Red Chinese were violating their agreement with the U.K. as to the treatment of the people in Hong Kong for what was supposed to be 50 years leaving the residents of that city no alternative but to violently protest vs. the fact that there is no institutional racism in this country (except against Caucasian males below the age of 40 and East Asians trying to get into certain universities) that should give rise to protests at all accounts for the disparate treatment the two matters have received by almost everyone in this country.

        • Avatar
          MARLE says:

          What has that got to do with destroying the property of INNOCENT business owners? The rioters were not limiting their destruction to Chinese owned property. Rioters know when they break the windows of a jewelry store or a clothing store or an Apple Computer store than the destruction is not Communist Chinese owned.

          No, it is Trump being Trump. Illogical, inconsistent, and hypocritical. You’d think that 4 years of this would make me hate it less having been desensitized to it, but it hasn’t.

          • Avatar
            Stuart I. Anderson says:

            Ah, it has me and that’s the difference between us. Trump is the best we’ve got, it’s him or four to eight years of a future that is unthinkable, I live in a state in which it’s not going to be even close so just accept that which you can’t change and strategically deploy elsewhere.

          • Avatar
            MARLE says:

            So you agree he’s Illogical, inconsistent, and hypocritical but he’s OUR Rep President so….4 more years; 4 more years; say it with me now….4 more years !!!!

          • Avatar
            Cannoneer2 says:

            Everyone should know that if you lie down with a pig (Communist China), you will end up muddy. No sympathy here.

          • Avatar
            Eddie White says:

            Marle, you have Trump Derangement Syndrome (TDS). You have a lot of friends in the Democratic Party who have the same problem. Meanwhile, conservatives are fortunate to have President Trump in the White House.

          • Avatar
            MARLE says:

            And YOU, Eddie, have Trump DElusional Syndrome, where you see nothing but perfection. Your ailment is much more destructive to the mind. Add to the fact that you can’t read and have no memory and you are indeed Pluperfect Trump sheeple.

      • Idiot. Probably a day drinker also

  • Avatar
    Taxpayer #314 says:

    I just can’t get passed “Trump is the best we’ve got.” I had a good laugh over that one!

  • Avatar
    Norma Shirk says:

    Sounds like we’ve given up on teaching civics in TN schools. You know, the class that teaches kids about the separation of powers between the 3 branches of government and about how the Constitution protects citizens from persecution by various levels of government. TN laws already exist to prosecute criminal behavior and local DA’s have taken action. So the real goal of this proposed law is to attack, intimidate and punish people whose political views differ from the guy who proposed the law. Dictatorships have these types of laws; not democracies.

    • Avatar
      Stuart I. Anderson says:

      Oh Norma! I love when liberals, who ordinarily play fast and loose with the constitution, you know, “the constitution says whatever the Supreme Court says it says” suddenly become the strictest of strict constructionists when it comes to protecting the rights of those accused of crimes.

      So it is, and so it will always be but Norma, why don’t you scroll up to the beginning of this thread and familiarize yourself with the damage that your friend George Soros is attempting to do, and in the case of our most leftist ghettos succeeding in doing, by pouring megabucks in races for local DA’s. When you do you will find that “. . .the real goal of this proposed law is to attack, [and] intimidate. . .” Soros and his minions from attempting to finance local DA’s running for office in Tennessee on a platform of simply refusing to enforce the law.

  • Avatar
    James White says:

    What the Legislature do is stop the Governor and Mayor and Health Departments (state and local) and counties from issuing any ‘order’ to private businesses and churches and schools to close.
    Stop the Tyrants. They have NO Authority to WRITE LAWS.

  • Pingback: Monday, August 10

  • Avatar
    Beatrice Shaw says:

    They need to protect us. we, as ordinary citizens need guidance on these issues and support from Government. Financial assistance to the individual is LONG overdue. Technical help on what we need to do to keep ourselves safe is totally appropriate.

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    David Collins says:

    The power to prosecute crimes needs to remain with the locally elected DAs. If they decline to prosecute in enough instances where their constituency believes they have lost touch with their electorate, they can vote them out and someone else in. That’s how a democracy is supposed to work. This bill has got to be one of the absolute worst ever thought up by a member of the legislature–and that’s saying a lot! The last thing Tennessee needs is an appointed State AG who is not answerable to any block of voters deciding who needs prosecuting and who doesn’t.

    • Avatar
      Stuart I. Anderson says:

      The problem arises David with what happens to the minority living in our liberal ghettos who are citizens of the state but are not receiving a fundamental service that the state is constitutionally mandated to provide, i. e. the protection of life and property. Local governments are simply instrumentalities of the state that are given powers which the state can expand or contract at will. When a local government fails to maintain law and order for whatever reason, even with the acquiescence of a majority of the residents of the locality, the state has the duty to supplement or replace the local government in providing that law and order for a least the minority.

      Forgive me David, I have to smile at liberals/leftists who are ordinarily all for the concentration of power in the hands of the federal government in general, and usually the President or agencies of the executive specifically, except when it comes to the rights of criminals who pray upon the innocent at which time the left is all for subsidiarity. In leftist land up is down and down is up for ever and ever, AMEN.

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    Roger Fleenor says:

    Bless your heart,Stuart. you conflate the sound of your words with what they say. Before Gates, there was Soros, before Soros there was Armand Hammer with folks like you yammering all the while.

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      Stuart I. Anderson says:

      Hammer supported the Bolshevik revolution in Russia and the Soviet Union partly out of conviction and partly out of a desire to further his business interests. George Soros is a leftist who uses his wealth to help those who want to “fundamentally change” the culture and politics of the U. S. in accordance with the leftist world view. Bill Gates is determined to use his wealth for dogooder activities that occasionally involve policies that conservatives oppose because they are too costly or increase the power of the state at the expense of individual freedom, etc. The “yammering” from “folks like” me that you refer to is simply individuals who disagree with these three very public figures voicing their disagreement. And the point you were trying to make Roger is. . . . ???

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