Ruling Supports Tennessee Officials
Tennessee Attorney General Bob Cooper said a state law making public officials ineligible for pretrial or judicial diversion for crimes related to their official position is constitutional. The Chattanooga Times Free Press reports the opinion was requested by state Representative Eric Watson, the state House Judiciary Committee Chairman. Cooper said pretrial and judicial diversions are not fundamental rights and a state may treat elected or appointed public officials differently than the general public. The law was passed this year after pretrial diversion was given to former Knox County judge Richard Baumgartner, who was charged with official misconduct related to the purchase of drugs from a probationer in his court.