- Associated Press - Thursday, October 2, 2014
Herbert Slatery sworn in as Tennessee’s 27th AG

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) - Herbert Slatery was sworn in Wednesday as Tennessee’s 27th attorney general, the first Republican to hold the office since Reconstruction.

Slatery, who previously served as Republican Gov. Bill Haslam’s chief legal counsel, thanked the members of the Supreme Court for selecting him for an eight-year term as the state’s top attorney.

“I appreciate the gravity of the office and the responsibility that I have to those working in it and to the citizens of the state of Tennessee,” he said.

Chief Justice Sharon Lee and the governor administered the oath to Slatery in the Old Supreme Court chamber in the state Capitol.

“I can assure you that Herbert will do a great job,” Haslam said after the ceremony. “He truly is a man of integrity. I’m not just saying that because he’s my friend.”

Greg Adams, the state’s chief operating offer, spoke of how he, Haslam and Slatery were among a group of five men who began holding weekly meetings 28 years ago.


Appeals court rules no new school board election

MEMPHIS, Tenn. (AP) - The Tennessee Court of Appeals has overturned a lower court’s order that had invalidated a 2012 school board election.

The lawsuit was filed after the Shelby County Commission failed to complete redistricting before the August 2012 election, causing people to vote in incorrect districts.

Kenneth Whalum, who lost the election by 108 votes to Kevin Woods, sued to have the election declared invalid. The Shelby County Chancery Court ruled in favor of Whalum last year and ordered a new election.

In a Tuesday ruling, the appeals court reversed that order, finding that Woods won the election, even taking into account the problem votes.


Ex-officer pleads guilty in drugstore killings

RUTLEDGE, Tenn. (AP) - A former police officer has pleaded guilty to murdering two people during a Tennessee pharmacy robbery last year.

District Attorney General Jimmy Dunn said in a phone interview that 38-year-old Jason Holt on Wednesday was sentenced to life in prison without the possibility of parole.

Dunn said Holt killed Down Home Pharmacy owner Stephen Lovell, even after Lovell complied with Holt’s request for oxycodone pills. Customer Richard Sommerville was also killed in the May 23, 2013, robbery in Bean Station, where Holt had once worked as an officer. Two employees were wounded.

Dunn said he could have pursued a death penalty case but decided to allow the plea after consulting with the victims and their relatives.

Holt had worked for Bean Station and then as a Grainger County deputy until he was placed on medical leave in 2004.



Commissioner rethinking handling of older teens

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) - The head of the state Department of Children’s Services is considering whether older teens should be moved from the department’s custody into the adult correctional system after a third major escape attempt from one of its juvenile detention centers in less than a month.

Eighteen-year-olds were involved in at least two of the three attempts. DCS Commissioner Jim Henry told WKRN-TV earlier this week that 38 percent of the 306 delinquents in the department’s custody are 17 or 18, and they cause about 70 percent of the problems.

DCS spokesman Rob Johnson told The Associated Press on Wednesday that Henry is considering whether those teens should be placed in an adult system. Currently in Tennessee, teens can remain in juvenile custody until they’re 19.

“It’s something that he wants to explore; this notion that we have in our juvenile justice system 17 year olds and 18 year olds and they tend to be … sometimes more challenging to work with than say a 15 year old,” Johnson said.

It’s not clear how many states send juveniles to an adult system at the age of 17 or 18. However, a 2012 study by the Department of Youth Rehabilitation Services in the District of Columbia shows 73 percent of states allow youth to remain in juvenile correctional custody until at least age 21.

Everette Parrish, an attorney appointed to defend the civil rights of youths at the Middle Tennessee facility where the escapes occurred, is against sending the teens to an adult facility.

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