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04/02/73 STATE of Tennessee, v. Harry THORNTON

STATE of Tennessee, Petitioner,
v.
Harry THORNTON, Respondent



[3]    492 S.W.2d 912

[4]    April 2, 1973

        1973.TN.80 <http://www.versuslaw.com> [5]    APPELLATE judges:

[6]    JOHN W. WILSON, Special Judge wrote the opinion.

[7]    DYER, C.J., and CHATTIN, HUMPHREYS and McCANLESS, JJ., concur.

[8]    DECISION OF THE COURT DELIVERED BY THE HONORABLE JUDGE WILSON

[9]    This matter is before the Court upon a writ of certiorari and supersedeas issued on December 15, 1972, by Mr. Justice Chattin, after a hearing before him upon proper notice to counsel for respondent. The order granting the writ vacated an order of Judge Charles Galbreath of the Court of Criminal Appeals and set the same for hearing before this Court on January 11, 1973, at Knoxville. The petition for certiorari and supersedeas filed in this Court challenged the validity of the order of Judge Galbreath of the Court of Criminal Appeals upon several grounds.

The challenged order of Judge Galbreath is quoted as follows:

"Application having been made to me in Chambers by Writ of Certiorari and Supersedeas and there appearing there is a justiciable issue, the Clerk is hereby ORDERED to docket this cause for hearing on the 2nd Monday of January, 1973, in Nashville, Tennessee. Pending the Disposition of this cause, petitioner shall be admitted to bail on his own recognizance.

ENTER, this the 5th day of December, 1972."

The factual background is that the respondent, Harry Thornton, was subpoenaed to testify before the Hamilton County Grand Jury, and appeared before that body on November 28, 1972; at which time a taped interview of the program which had been earlier carried out by the respondent on a Chattanooga, Tennessee television station was played to that Grand Jury and, when asked the name of the person making the call involved, he (respondent) refused to name the caller. The subject of this call was an alleged whitewash or poor investigation of a matter involving a local Judge.

On November 28, 1972, the respondent was brought before Judge Tillman Grant of the Criminal Court of Hamilton County, Tennessee, and ordered to reveal the name of the caller to the Grand Jury, and he again refused, basing his refusal upon his constitutional rights under the First Amendment to the United States Constitution, and the Tennessee Constitution. Upon this refusal, the trial court ordered the ...


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