Monroe County Constable arrested

Status
Not open for further replies.

n4yek

Member
Joined
Apr 20, 2004
Messages
2,479
Location
Newport, Tennessee
That is Tennessee law, having a scanner while commiting a crime is a big no, no.
Tennessee Code Annotated § 39-13-601(b)(6) It is unlawful to intercept any wire, oral, or electronic communication for the purpose of committing a criminal act.
 
Last edited:

davewhall29

Member
Premium Subscriber
Joined
Oct 1, 2008
Messages
476
Location
Knoxville, TN area
This is an unfortunate situation. I personally know the constable who was arrested, and even though he was in direct possession of a two-way radio, I really don't think (my personal opinion only) that he actually used it to elude the police. But just having possession of the radio during the alleged illegal drug sales makes it a crime. This is the first time I remember hearing someone being prosecuted using this law.
 

high_order1

Member
Joined
Dec 24, 2001
Messages
11
Location
near Oak Ridge, Tennessee
Dave nails it.


That law has sat on the books for years, relatively untouched. I am concerned an assistant district attorney came up with that, especially now with the new system.

The problem is, take a leisurely spin through at least titles 55, 38, and your municipalities' codes. There are a LOT of offenses. All of you have radios in your car.

As I pointed out in another thread, your turn signals are a class A misdemeanor, and probable cause to stop you. Now add this charge.

Basically,, what I'm saying is that this law is very, very dangerous in the wrong set of hands.


I certainly am sorry about that Constable. His mug shot tells everything, and I'm certain there's more to the story.
 

davewhall29

Member
Premium Subscriber
Joined
Oct 1, 2008
Messages
476
Location
Knoxville, TN area
Yes, the mugshot does tell a lot. Not going to go into details, but like I said I know him. He's had a lot of medical problems over the past few months which hasn't helped him.

So far I have been lucky about not being questioned about my radios, but I carry my ham radio license with me in my wallet & have a copy of my wall certificate in my glove box of all my vehicles, just in case.
 

davewhall29

Member
Premium Subscriber
Joined
Oct 1, 2008
Messages
476
Location
Knoxville, TN area
Not all counties in Tennessee have constables. If used as the state law prescribes, constables can actually help the sheriff's dept. by delivering summons & other paperwork, freeing up a deputy to do actual patrols. But I'm not sure any counties use constables as they are supposed to as the law allows. Yes dome counties "let" constable serve some papers but it is very limited.
 

milf

Careful, I CAN hear you!
Database Admin
Joined
Dec 18, 2002
Messages
13,093
Location
Indianapolis, IN
Curious, in TN is Constable still an elected position? I know in MS, and in a lot of other States, it is still an elected spot.
 

richard4537312

Member
Premium Subscriber
Joined
Dec 19, 2002
Messages
144
Location
Cleveland, TN
Just one lawyer's opinion here, for whatever it's worth. State is going to have to prove that at least one specific communication was intercepted for "the purpose of committing a criminal act." Mere possession of the radio while committing an offense does not satisfy the requirements of the statute. It really comes down to a question of intent, and, of course, the State has the burden of proving the constable's intent beyond a reasonable doubt. I've known District Attorney Steve Bebb for nearly 33 years. Without even giving him a call to ask, I can assure everyone that he has absolutely no interest during his remaining six months in office in prosecuting any of us law-abiding scanner listeners.
 

jfhtm350

Member
Joined
Dec 25, 2010
Messages
1,102
Location
New Market TN
Jefferson Co has a constable. I havent seen the car in awhile so I guess we still do.

By the looks of those charges, they just wanted to charge him with everything they could find to do so.
 

milf

Careful, I CAN hear you!
Database Admin
Joined
Dec 18, 2002
Messages
13,093
Location
Indianapolis, IN
As for charges... Most agencies hit a suspect with as many charges as they can legally apply to the situation to make a point: "What ya did was naughty, so now ya gonna get ya spankin'!" Usually, out of 5 or 6 charges, usually only 1 or 2 actually make it to a court date. I have, as an jailor, booked folks in on over 15 counts, mixed felonies and misdemeanors... Then by the first real court date, they had only 5 counts still on em, and only 1 or 2 would still be felony charges. Go figure.

Most States have the (use/posession of an "radio device/scanner" during an "criminal activity") law/statute/clause in effect. Matters not if you have an "Ham Ticket", FCC Educational License, Official Letter of Permissability, or even a Badge of Office, you have it (scanner, ham/commercial radio, or actual agency radio) on you during the commission of criminal action, you can very easily have that extra little charge on your docket.
 

CAPTLPOL1

Member
Joined
Mar 19, 2003
Messages
248
Just one lawyer's opinion here, for whatever it's worth. State is going to have to prove that at least one specific communication was intercepted for "the purpose of committing a criminal act." Mere possession of the radio while committing an offense does not satisfy the requirements of the statute. It really comes down to a question of intent, and, of course, the State has the burden of proving the constable's intent beyond a reasonable doubt. I've known District Attorney Steve Bebb for nearly 33 years. Without even giving him a call to ask, I can assure everyone that he has absolutely no interest during his remaining six months in office in prosecuting any of us law-abiding scanner listeners.
Notwithstanding not being a learned attorney as our colleague heretofore stated, I concur that the State is going to need to prove that the radio was used for the purpose of committing a criminal act. I listened to committee meetings of the House and Senate when this bill was going through I think back in 2009.

I did send out a couple of emails as the original bill would have made the use of FRS radios in the commission of crime and language that was closer to mere possession of a radio but not quite. I am sure DA Bebb is going to say that the constable was listening to his radio whilst obtaining said dope. DA Bebb was implicated in some type of maleficence of some type, however, the House dropped the case after obtaining information. I am not sure what that was all about.
 

CAPTLPOL1

Member
Joined
Mar 19, 2003
Messages
248
Why does tennessee even still have
constables
Constables can be an asset if properly trained and utilized. The more a county uses a constable the better the candidate for office. If there is an incentive to be a constable then the elections are more heavily contested. This usually brings about a better candidate.

There are a few counties that constables do serve a number of paper and the Cocke County example is one in which the constables do more then serve paper. I am actually running the office of constable in a competitive county.
 

high_order1

Member
Joined
Dec 24, 2001
Messages
11
Location
near Oak Ridge, Tennessee
Constables are a tremendous asset!

(I preface this by saying... in Tennessee) Constables were a state Constitutional office, like the Sheriff. Constables had similar powers as a Sheriff here, which, unlike many areas, are full service law enforcement agencies (can arrest, can patrol, investigate, etc.)

Unlike traditional law enforcement lines of authority, the Constable was NOT under the Sheriff, and as a result, were free to direct their own actions.

This autonomy greatly frightened many in the community and in law enforcement, because, as y'all know, there are agreements, and deals, and arrangements. Constables didn't have to adhere to those.
So, the actions of a few lowest-common-denominator Constables gave these people the rope they needed to first remove Constables from the Constitution, and then, by power of the County Mayor, abolish their office.
Pretty sad, because, in many counties around here, especially at night, there are only a few patrolmen for several hundred square miles of jurisdiction. Constables were elected in a specific community (voting district), and tended to patrol just there. A Constable might be the only law you saw outside of an election year.

I am very pro Constable. I wish we could bring them back in Roane, Loudon and Anderson. They could use them.

Far as Bebb, I was a police officer back when he was district attorney in Monroe County in the late 90's. He never directly did anything to me, but... I know things. (shrugs)

On the multiple charge thing: There is another reason for that, besides trying to ensure a d-bag stays in jail for at least a weekend. Justice is a big wheel like on wheel of fortune. DA's are constantly making deals with the defense attorneys. You have to give them wiggle room to work. That way they have a charge or two to drop in return for a plea agreement. Neither prosecuting nor defense attorneys nor the judge wants a trial. They want a line of guilties, then a line of pleas, then lunch. Not bitter, that's just the way it is.

Lastly, on proof and the radio, from personal experience, it is all up to the jury foreman if it even makes it that far. There is no way for the poor man to establish that he always listens to the radio when he's in the car, and not monitoring for potential stings. It was on, it was tuned to a law enforcement fq, and he was listening. Without reading the elements of the offense, I am betting that is a done deal if they don't plea it away, or the man can prove somehow he was framed or entrapped.
CAPTLPOL1 - THANK you for taking the time to talk to your legislators. I try to be as vocal as I can. This year I've been pushing for some oversight on the out of control use of encryption limiting transparency in government. When the fire department is running encryption, you KNOW a line's been crossed. None of the people I've contacted care even a little bit, though...

Shawn
 

CAPTLPOL1

Member
Joined
Mar 19, 2003
Messages
248
Constables are a tremendous asset!

(I preface this by saying... in Tennessee) Constables were a state Constitutional office, like the Sheriff. Constables had similar powers as a Sheriff here, which, unlike many areas, are full service law enforcement agencies (can arrest, can patrol, investigate, etc.)

Unlike traditional law enforcement lines of authority, the Constable was NOT under the Sheriff, and as a result, were free to direct their own actions.

This autonomy greatly frightened many in the community and in law enforcement, because, as y'all know, there are agreements, and deals, and arrangements. Constables didn't have to adhere to those.
So, the actions of a few lowest-common-denominator Constables gave these people the rope they needed to first remove Constables from the Constitution, and then, by power of the County Mayor, abolish their office.
Pretty sad, because, in many counties around here, especially at night, there are only a few patrolmen for several hundred square miles of jurisdiction. Constables were elected in a specific community (voting district), and tended to patrol just there. A Constable might be the only law you saw outside of an election year.

I am very pro Constable. I wish we could bring them back in Roane, Loudon and Anderson. They could use them.

Far as Bebb, I was a police officer back when he was district attorney in Monroe County in the late 90's. He never directly did anything to me, but... I know things. (shrugs)

On the multiple charge thing: There is another reason for that, besides trying to ensure a d-bag stays in jail for at least a weekend. Justice is a big wheel like on wheel of fortune. DA's are constantly making deals with the defense attorneys. You have to give them wiggle room to work. That way they have a charge or two to drop in return for a plea agreement. Neither prosecuting nor defense attorneys nor the judge wants a trial. They want a line of guilties, then a line of pleas, then lunch. Not bitter, that's just the way it is.

Lastly, on proof and the radio, from personal experience, it is all up to the jury foreman if it even makes it that far. There is no way for the poor man to establish that he always listens to the radio when he's in the car, and not monitoring for potential stings. It was on, it was tuned to a law enforcement fq, and he was listening. Without reading the elements of the offense, I am betting that is a done deal if they don't plea it away, or the man can prove somehow he was framed or entrapped.
CAPTLPOL1 - THANK you for taking the time to talk to your legislators. I try to be as vocal as I can. This year I've been pushing for some oversight on the out of control use of encryption limiting transparency in government. When the fire department is running encryption, you KNOW a line's been crossed. None of the people I've contacted care even a little bit, though...

Shawn
I am actually a little more involved in paying attention to our legislators. This encryption thing is getting a bit ridiculous. I am waiting to see if I win this election and may see if I can get some legislation at least proposed in the next session.
 
Status
Not open for further replies.
Top