The General Assembly has been vigilant when it comes to protecting the rights and security of victims. Recent news reports have shown an alarming trend with violent criminals taking advantage of a loophole in Tennessee’s legal code.
HB 401 creates a “good faith exception” to the Exclusionary Rule so courts will have an legitimate alternative to allow evidence to be heard in a case and sets out a clear definition so there will be clarity on the issue.
Criminals and defense attorneys have taken advantage of this loophole for years causing violent offenders, including murderers, to be released because of small clerical errors. In an effort to protect society and honor victims, I am proud to say we have closed this loophole.
Last Tuesday, the majority advanced a measure in response to a recent upswing in the reports of looting taking place following last week’s tragic storms that crossed the South and tore through Tennessee.
HB 1946, known as the “retail theft” bill, provides a new offense whereby courts may require a criminal to perform public service as designated by the court. The offender would be required to perform at least the number of hours of public service necessary to satisfy the fine assessed by the court at minimum wage.
Simply put, we crafted this bill to crack down on looters. These are some of the most despicable criminals who hurt families in their time of most need. Instead of just throwing them behind bars, this legislation ensures they are put to work rebuilding our communities and doing hard work to make up for their unacceptable crimes.
The bill passed out of the House Judiciary Committee with a unanimous vote and was sent on to the Finance, Ways and Means Committee.