It might seem rather paradoxical that criminal matters, which can be so fraught with high emotion, often work their way through the Tennessee justice system in such a slow and steady way. But there is good reason for such an approach.
Matters of individual liberty and due process can be easily shunted aside when passions are not kept in check. The U.S. legal system is structured with the aim of maintaining the proper perspective. The system is so structured, in fact, that it can be described as following a script, and having an experienced criminal defense attorney in the cast is key.
Having such established procedures is perhaps most crucial when allegations of vehicular assault or homicide while impaired have been made. Such cases tend to be rife with emotion and that tends not to play to the advantage of the person charged. Media coverage usually plays up the grief of those who have lost a loved one. Prosecutors, backed by general public outrage over the issue of drunk driving, often play to that outrage. Such conditions call for measured and calculated response from the defense.
To see an example of the process in action, one can turn to the case of 3 Doors Down bassist, Todd Harrell. Readers of this blog may recall that we first mentioned this matter back in April when Harrell was first arrested in connection with a fatal crash on Interstate 40.
According to authorities, Harrell was speeding at the time of the crash and clipped a pickup truck. The driver of that truck lost control of his vehicle and ended up crashing and dying. Police arrested Harrell after he reportedly failed field sobriety tests. After posting his bond, Harrell voluntarily entered drug treatment.
Late last month, Harrell was in court for a preliminary hearing in the matter. In the course of the hearing it came out that a blood test showed that Harrell had no alcohol in his system, though traces of the drug Xanax were present.
The hearing ended with the judge reportedly sending the case to a grand jury. Harrell's attorney indicated to that the grand jury could end up working on the case for the next several months.
Source: NewChnannel5.com, "3 Doors Down Bassist Had No Alcohol In System At Time Of Fatal Crash," July 31, 2013