On January 20, 2021, the Tennessee Court of Criminal Appeals filed its opinion in the matter of State of Tennessee vs. Tammy Lynn Walker, wherein Tammy Walker appealed her conviction for passing a worthless check over $2,500.00, a Class D felony.
Ms. Walker, the former owner of Natural Sorb and The Diner, wrote a worthless check to the Campbell County Clerk and Master’s Office as payment for delinquent taxes owed on two LaFollette properties and one Caryville property. Ms. Walker was not found indigent in Criminal Court, and she failed to hire a private attorney to represent her at trial. Ms. Walker waived her right to a jury trial, and the case was heard without a jury before the Honorable E. Shayne Sexton.
On appeal, Ms. Walker alleged that Judge Sexton erred in determining that she made an explicit waiver of her right to counsel. However, the Court of Criminal Appeals found that Ms. Walker clearly understood her right to counsel and that her decision to proceed without an attorney was clear and unequivocal based upon her statements in Court and past conduct in similar cases. The appellate Court tellingly noted that “one with the means and ability to employ counsel is not indigent, and she cannot be permitted to frustrate the process of the law and completely thwart and avoid trial indefinitely by just not employing counsel”.
As a result of Ms. Walker’s failed appeal, she will remain a convicted felon serving a three (3) year sentence with incarceration suspended to ten (10) years on supervised probation. The State of Tennessee was represented at trial by David Pollard, Assistant District Attorney General.