UPDATE: Ownby was arrested on May 24. The law did not go into effect until July 1. Ownby is charged with a misdemeanor and not a felony. In addition, the law states violating the law in their official capacity. Ownby was not on Commission business at the time of his arrest.
Today’s bird cage liner of the Big Metal Shed on the Hill reported that Attorney Greg Issacs in representing Knox County Commissioner Jeff Ownby is seeking diversion for Ownby’s June arrest on Knoxville’s Sharp’s Ridge.
This legislative session in Nashville State Senator Ken Yager of Roane County and State Representative Ryan Haynes of Knox County introduced legislation that prohibits any elected official from receiving diversion.
Senator Yager introduced the legislation after Retired Judge John Kerry Blackwood granted Knox County Criminal Court Judge Richard Baumgartner diversion on his prescription drug abuse crimes.
The State Attorney General has reviewed the legislation and has issued an opinion that it is Constitutional. Ownby’s case will be the first since the law has gone into effect.
Ownby may or may not qualify for diversion. We will see.