Press Releases

Judges Easter, Holloway Take Oath of Office from Haslam

Press release from the Tennessee Administrative Office of the Courts; January 12, 2015:

Gov. Bill Haslam administered the formal oath of office to Court of Criminal Appeals judges Timothy Easter, of Brentwood, and Robert Holloway, Jr., of Columbia on January 12, 2015. Both joined the court on September 1, 2014 after receiving appointments from the Governor earlier last year.

See the Governor’s Flickr stream for more photos.

Press Releases

Haslam Names Holloway to Bivins’ Court of Criminal Appeals Seat

Press release from the Office of Tennessee Gov. Bill Haslam; August 21, 2014:

NASHVILLE – Tennessee Gov. Bill Haslam today appointed Robert Lee Holloway Jr. of Columbia to the Tennessee Court of Criminal Appeals, Middle Section.

Holloway, 62, replaces Judge Jeff Bivins, who was recently appointed to the Tennessee Supreme Court. Holloway has been a Circuit Court judge for the 22nd Judicial District, which includes Giles, Lawrence, Maury and Wayne counties. He was appointed to that position in 1998 by Gov. Don Sundquist. He was elected in August 1998 and again in 2006.

“Tennesseans are fortunate to have Judge Holloway to step into this important role,” Haslam said. “He has distinguished himself both on the bench and in various ways in the community. This appointment will serve the Middle Section well.”

Holloway served as general counsel for Columbia Power and Water Systems from 1983-1998 and was general counsel and corporate secretary for Kwik Sak, Inc. from 1982-1995. He was a partner with Fleming, Holloway, Flynn and Sands from 1982-1998 and was with Lovell, Holloway and Sands from 1979-1982. He was law clerk for the Hon. James W. Parrott at the Eastern Section Court of Appeals 1978-1979.

“I am deeply honored by Governor Haslam’s appointment to the Court of Criminal Appeals,” Holloway said. “I look forward to working with the appellate judges on the court. I believe my 16 years as a Circuit Judge have prepared me for this new challenge. I will miss working with the judges, clerks, and attorneys in the 22nd Judicial District.”

Holloway received his law degree from the University of Tennessee in 1978 and a bachelor’s degree from the University of Tennessee in 1974. He attended Columbia Central High School. Holloway was president of the Tennessee Judicial Conference in 2012-2013.

He has been active in the Boy Scouts of America and is past president of the Columbia Kiwanis Club. His civic activities have included the United Way of Maury County, the Maury County YMCA, Maury County Public Education Foundation and Crime-Stoppers of Maury County.

Holloway and his wife, Molly, have five children and four grandchildren.

Press Releases

Judge Montgomery to Take Oath for Court of Criminal Appeals Aug. 20

Press release from the Tennessee Administrative Office of the Courts; August 15, 2014:

An investiture ceremony honoring Judge Robert H. Montgomery, Jr as he joins the Tennessee Court of Criminal Appeals will take place at 9:30 a.m. Wednesday, August 20, 2014 in Kingsport.

Gov. Bill Haslam will give the oath of office to Judge Montgomery at the Kingsport Renaissance Center Theater. Haslam appointed Judge Montgomery to the Court of Criminal Appeals to fill the vacancy created by the retirement of Judge Joseph Tipton.

Judge Montgomery has been a Criminal Court Judge in the 2nd Judicial District since 2006. He also previously served as an assistant district attorney and in private practice. The 2nd Judicial District serves Sullivan County.

The Kingsport Renaissance Center Theater is at 1200 East Center Street, Kingsport. A reception will immediately follow the investiture. For information call 423-279-2732

Press Releases

Haslam Names Montgomery to Criminal Appeals Court

Press release from the Office of Tennessee Gov. Bill Haslam; August 26, 2013:

NASHVILLE – Tennessee Gov. Bill Haslam has chosen Robert (Rob) H. Montgomery Jr. as a judge for the Tennessee Court of Criminal Appeals, Eastern Section. Montgomery will replace Joseph M. Tipton, who will retire at the conclusion of his current term.

“Rob Montgomery will be an excellent judge,” Haslam said. “His experience on the bench, as well as his experience as an assistant district attorney and an attorney in private practice will serve East Tennesseans well.”

Montgomery, 59, has been a criminal court judge in the Second Judicial District since 2006. He was assistant district attorney general in Sullivan County from 1987-2006 and an unemployment appeals referee in the Department of Employment Security in Kingsport, Morristown, Johnson City and Knoxville from 1986-1987. Montgomery was in private practice as an attorney in Kingsport from 1979-1986.

“I am honored and humbled by the trust that the governor has placed in me,” Montgomery said. “I look forward to serving the citizens of East Tennessee as a member of the Court of Criminal Appeals.”

Montgomery currently serves as vice president and legislative committee chair of the Tennessee Judicial Conference. He was a faculty member for the Borkenstein Course on Alcohol and Highway Safety at Indiana University from 2001-2013 and was an instructor and trainer for the National District Attorneys Association and National Highway Traffic Safety Administration from 1993-2006. He has been a member of the Judicial Performance Evaluation Commission since 2012. Montgomery won the President’s Award from the Tennessee District Attorney’s Conference in 2005.

Montgomery received his juris doctorate from the University of Tennessee in 1979. He received a bachelor’s degree from Vanderbilt University in 1975. He and his wife, Jamie, live in Kingsport and have a son in high school.

Press Releases

TN High Court Affirms Application of ‘Community Caretaking Doctrine’

Press release from the Tennessee Courts System; March 22,2013:

The Tennessee Supreme Court has affirmed a ruling by the Court of Criminal Appeals, which set aside the conviction of James David Moats for driving under the influence after a police officer discovered him parked in a grocery store parking lot.

After observing that the arresting officer admitted activating the blue lights on her patrol car without either cause to believe a crime had been committed or reasonable suspicion of any criminal activity, the Supreme Court concluded that the officer was not acting in a “community caretaking role” and, in consequence, practically all of the incriminating evidence should not have been admitted at the trial.

At approximately 2:00 a.m. on December 7, 2008, an Etowah police officer on routine patrol observed Moats sitting in the driver’s seat of his pick-up truck, which was parked in a grocery store parking lot in an area of suspected drug activity. The officer continued on her route, but when she returned five minutes later to find the truck parked in the same position, she stopped her patrol car directly behind the truck, activated her blue lights, and called in the license plate number.

When the officer approached the driver’s side window, she saw an open beer can in a cup holder on the dash of the truck and keys in the ignition. After removing Moats from his truck and administering field sobriety tests, the officer took him into custody.

At trial, the officer candidly acknowledged that, although she had not seen Moats engage in any illegal activity, he was not “free to leave” once she activated the blue lights. The trial court determined that the officer was permitted to approach the parked truck and ask for the driver’s identification and proof of vehicle registration because she was acting under the community caretaking doctrine, which, under prior case law in this state, has been defined as a consensual police-citizen encounter that is unrelated to the investigation or detection of criminal activity.

The Court of Criminal Appeals disagreed with the trial court, holding that the encounter was not voluntary and, therefore, the officer was acting in an impermissible investigative capacity rather than as a community caretaker.

The Supreme Court applied the community caretaking doctrine as defined in this state and affirmed the judgment of the Court of Criminal Appeals, holding that although the activation of an officer’s blue lights does not always mean there has been a “seizure” and thereby implicate constitutional protections, the totality of the circumstances indicated that the officer used her blue lights as a show of authority without reasonable suspicion or probable cause as traditionally defined by the United States Supreme Court.

Because the officer’s actions were not “totally divorced” from the investigation or the detection of criminal activity, the Court further ruled that the activation of her blue lights did not qualify as an exercise of the community caretaking role. The Court recognized that, while it is important for police officers to act in their community caretaking role of protecting and assisting the public, they must do so in a consensual manner without directing a show of authority, such as the activation of blue lights, at a particular person.

Justice Cornelia A. Clark and Justice William C. Koch, Jr. disagreed with the majority decision and would have reinstated the trial court’s judgment upholding the conviction. The dissenting justices would have adopted a community caretaking exception to the Fourth Amendment’s warrant and probable cause requirements and upheld the seizure as valid under that exception.

Specifically, the dissenting justices would have held that the Etowah police officer acted reasonably in her community caretaking role by approaching Moats’ vehicle to check on his welfare after his vehicle remained parked for several minutes in a deserted commercial parking lot at 2:00 a.m. The dissenting justices emphasized that “the public has a strong interest in encouraging the police to act as community caretakers.” “Because searches or seizures premised on legitimate caretaking concerns are not unreasonable,” the dissenting justices explained, “validating them does not erode any of the constitutional protections or diminish any of the constitutional rights we all hold so dear.”

Visit the Opinions section of to read the State of Tennessee v. James David Moats opinion authored by Chief Justice Gary R. Wade, and the dissent of Justice Cornelia A. Clark and Justice William C. Koch, Jr.