Friday, November 29, 2019

Prosecutors can be prosecuted for defamation
A Tennessee appellate court says state prosecutors can be sued for defaming an individual. The Court of Appeals has ruled that although state lawmakers enjoy “absolute” immunity from defamation lawsuits, Tennessee’s prosecutors do not. “We determine that while vital to the public, the statutory duties of district attorneys general do not include formulating official policy at the state level,” Appellate Judge Timothy R. Frierson II wrote in the opinion. The ruling came in the case of veteran Gatlinburg Police Department Detective Rodney Burns. Burns was called to a cabin in Gatlinburg four years ago to investigate a hazing involving four young players of a high school basketball team who were raped. Burns filed charges in the case against the boys who conducted the hazing, and three adults, two coaches and the school’s athletics director. The detective later testified against the accused players in a Sevier County Juvenile Court hearing. The three older boys were found guilty — one of aggravated rape, the other two of aggravated assault. But Hamilton County District Attorney General Neal Pinkston publicly criticized the Burn's testimony, and he issued a news release in which he said he had ordered up a Tennessee Bureau of Investigation of Burns “for perjurious testimony related to statements he made during sworn testimony.” A number of media outlets reported Pinkston’s perjury claims against Detective Burns. Pinkston then sought an indictment against Burns for perjury, but later a judge dismissed the perjury charges against the detective, and Attorney Bryan Delius representing Burns, filed a defamation lawsuit against Pinkston. Pinkston argued he is immune from defamation lawsuits, enjoying the “absolute official privilege” that state officials enjoy. In its ruling, the appellate court said prosecutors are not policymakers or Cabinet-level executives and cannot rely on the courts to protect them from defamation lawsuits if they use their office to criticize citizens.

Return to Today's News Stories - Front Page

Thursday, June 04, 2020

  • Catons Grove shooting
  • Cades Cove Loop is restricted
  • Jobless claims
  • Vote by mail
  • Black Tennessee lawmakers call for addresing racial issues
  • Medic needs blood
  • Black lawmakers call for respect for everyone
  • Planning Commission to hold public hearing
  • Cades Cove to be closed to vehicles on Wednesdays
  • State parks for community service hours
  • Majors dead at 85

    Wednesday, June 03, 2020

  • Mantooth Butcher shop fire
  • Cocke County early voting moves
  • Financial Stimulus Accountability Group
  • RNC national convention may come to Tennessee
  • Beth Freeman has died
  • Livestock scam

    Tuesday, June 02, 2020

  • Evans is terminated
  • Cocke Countians rally for Floyd
  • Free fishing on Saturday
  • Gasoline prices move up
  • Stonefly is coming for Rhythm on the River

    Monday, June 01, 2020

  • Cocke County crash
  • Tennessee protests against racism
  • UT Athletics statement
  • Alexander on WHO
  • Teen cyclist dies in Smokies

    Sunday, May 31, 2020

  • Cruise Against Cancer