News briefs from around Tennessee

News briefs from around Tennessee

Posted: Friday, May 28, 2010 8:01 pm

Senate bill
to crack down
on illegal immigrants
NASHVILLE (AP) — Tennessee jailers would be required to share information about suspected illegal immigrants with immigration and customs enforcement officials under a proposal that has passed the Senate.
The measure, sponsored by Republican Sen. Delores Gresham of Somerville, was approved 28-3 on Thursday.
It would require jailers to provide information if a person’s citizenship status cannot be determined from documents in the individual’s possession when arrested or if the “person is in this country illegally.”
Supporters of the legislation say it’s necessary because many jailers — particularly those in rural areas — don’t always report such information.
The companion bill passed the House 67-24 earlier this month. Lawmakers must now work out differences in the legislation before it goes to the governor for his consideration.
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Court reverses Memphis man’s
murder conviction
NASHVILLE (AP) — The state Supreme Court has reversed the felony murder conviction of a Memphis man charged with killing his toddler daughter in 1996.
In its Thursday ruling, the court found that the judge at Benjamin Brown’s original trial erred when he failed to instruct the jury that it could convict Brown of a lesser charge of second degree murder, reckless homicide or criminally negligent homicide.
Brown was found guilty of aggravated child abuse and first degree murder in the perpetration of aggravated child abuse. He received a sentence of life in prison.
The high court’s ruling sends the case back for a new trial.
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Church secretary accused of taking
$1.5 million
MORRISTOWN (AP) — Police in Morristown say a church employee embezzled more than $1.5 million by writing checks to herself.
Investigators told The Citizen Tribune 68-year-old Barbara D. Whitt is accused of cashing checks written on First Baptist Church of Morristown, where she worked for 47 years.
Police and church officials say Whitt wrote 1,647 checks to herself, then personally cashed them at a bank, averaging nearly $1,800 per day over a 28-month period.
The shortage surfaced in April and the newspaper reported Whitt was fired.
Whitt’s attorney, Tommy Hindman of Knoxville, said his client “is looking forward to putting these charges behind her and will be pleased when all the evidence is presented to the public.”
District Attorney C. Berkeley Bell Jr. called the amount of theft “off the scale.”
Published in The Messenger 5.28.10

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