Many TBI Cases Remain Sealed Even For Closed Cases
(Memphis) Former Shelby County Assistant D.A. Katie Edmands won’t be back to the District Attorney’s office.
She resigned June 17th, months after someone broke into her home and almost beat her to death.
The Police Department and Edmands’ boss, District Attorney Amy Weirich, turned the case over to the TBI, which now says there isn’t enough evidence to prosecute anyone.
We may never know why, since TBI files aren’t open for review.
It’s not the first time details of a high-profile case became stone-walled when turned over to the state agency.
Remember Justin Thompson, the teen shot and killed by off-duty Memphis Police Officer Terrance Shaw?
TBI took over that case too.
Shaw was never prosecuted. The case was closed and the TBI findings sealed.
State lawmakers tell us TBI doesn’t have the final say in a case.
In fact, lawmakers in Nashville are meeting this week and for the first time using a constitutional law allowing them to get access to TBI findings in a case of possible wrongdoing by an East Tennessee District Attorney.
“The constitution gives us the authority and power to do it and it’s important that we do so there is no mis-use of power,” says Tennessee State Representative Karen Camper of Memphis.
Some lawmakers say it may be time to take a closer look at how much TBI information is sealed.
“Unless there are some unusual circumstances, I think we should be told what those are, what the findings have been, the opinion is, what they plan to do about it. The public has the right to know.Trust is built on transparency,” says Tennessee State Representative Johnnie Turner.
Representative Turner tells us she plans to bring up the issue of transparency to lawmakers and question why outcomes and information on cases can’t be released, as long as public safety and policing methods aren’t in jeopardy.