Top 10 Newsmakers: No. 7 — House moves forward with Bebb review
by GREG KAYLOR Banner Staff Writer
Dec 31, 2013 | 657 views | 0 0 comments | 12 12 recommendations | email to a friend | print

The Tennessee House of Representatives House Judicial Oversight Committee completed its review of files from the TBI regarding 10th Judicial District Attorney General R. Steven Bebb, and “determined that we do have cause to move forward,” noted Tony Shipley in a letter to House Speaker Beth Harwell.

The story was voted No. 7 by Cleveland Daily Banner news writers and editors recalling the 10 biggest stories of 2013.

The findings from the TBI are now in the hands of the Senate and the investigation continues. It is expected the matter will be taken up during the legislative session when the General Assembly begins its work Jan 14.

Earlier this year, the Tennessee Attorney General’s Office concluded no allegations reviewed would support criminal proceedings against District Attorney R. Steven Bebb.

Though none of the allegations rose to the level of criminal charges, Bebb and his office engaged in practices and recordkeeping that evidenced poor judgment, deficient recordkeeping and insufficient attention to the appropriate use of public resources, according to a detailed state AG report by Tennessee District Attorney General Paul Summers.

The investigation was prompted by an audit report released by the comptroller on July 10, 2012, media reports of alleged wrongdoing by Bebb and other employees of the 10th Judicial District, and other complaints received by the TBI, according to previously published reports.

According to the 11-page report, claims included abuse of prosecutorial authority; unauthorized disclosure of material from TBI investigative file; improper influence of grand jury by assistant district attorney; impersonation of an attorney by detective; perjury in deposition testimony; use of Economic Crime Funds, improper use of an automobile provided by DTF and filing of expense claims; and supervision of alleged wrongful conduct by DTF agents.

The House resolution was introduced in April after the state AG report was released.

Senate Resolution SR-0040 was also introduced in April after the House referred it to the Senate Judiciary Committee, to “direct the TBI investigation to turn over for inspection all files relating to the investigation of District Attorney R. Steven Bebb to the Judiciary Committee.”

The Senate then requested the speaker of the House of Representatives appoint six members from the combined membership of the Civil Justice Committee and the Criminal Justice Committee.

Members of the Senate Judiciary Committee include Chairman Brian Kelsey of Collierville, Doug Overbey of Maryville, Stacey Campfield of Knoxville, Lowe Finney of Jackson, Ophelia Ford of Memphis, Todd Gardenhire of Chattanooga, Mark Green of Clarksville and John Stevens of Huntingdon. Sen. Mike Bell recused himself.

Bebb has announced he is not seeking re-election in 2014.