published Tuesday, September 13th, 2011

'Knoxville library bans sex offenders' and more region stories

KNOXVILLE

Library bans sex offenders

People who are listed on the Tennessee Sex Offender Registry are barred from any Knox County Public Library.

Knox County Mayor Tim Burchett said the county is telling predators to "stay away or go to jail."

The policy is allowable under a new state law.

Knox County Sheriff Jimmy "J.J." Jones is quoted in a news release from Burchett's office, saying he applauds the state for tougher regulations on people he described as "dirt bags who prey on our children."

Library Director Myretta Black said people on the registry can have other people check out and return books, but they can't come to the library themselves.

ATLANTA

Open meetings fines upheld

Georgia's top court is requiring Statesboro to pay the legal costs of residents who sued it for violating the state's Open Meetings Act.

The unanimous opinion released Monday upholds a Bulloch County judge's ruling that requires the city to pay $4,250 in legal fees after it found the Statesboro mayor and City Council met outside the Statesboro City Hall chambers to discuss the city's 2011 budget.

A group of residents sued the city, mayor and five council members and sought an injunction barring any more "secret" meetings, and the city appealed after a judge ruled against it in September 2010.

The opinion written by Justice Harold Melton says "the Open Records Act explicitly authorizes the assessment of attorney fees."

NASHVILLE

Ex-professor denied new trial

A federal appeals court has ruled that a former Middle Tennessee State University professor convicted of bank and wire fraud will not get a new trial.

Pamela Holder was a nursing professor at MTSU and the former coordinator of the statewide Tennessee Board of Regents online-degree program. She and her now-deceased husband were convicted in 2009.

The U.S. 6th Circuit Court of Appeals' decision Monday in Cincinnati upheld a lower court's ruling refusing to give Holder a new trial.

She was sentenced to 12 months in prison. Prosecutors said she deceived a "straw buyer" into borrowing $2.4 million to buy a $1.5 million home. She helped prepare and send false documents to secure the loan, then moved into the residence and spent part of the remaining money on jewelry.

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