Judge Took Action
To Stiffen Terms
For Allowing Hawk
To Clear Record
BY KEN LITTLE
State Rep. David Hawk won't serve any jail time on a misdemeanor reckless endangerment conviction stemming from a March 2012 altercation with then-wife Crystal Goan.
Instead, Senior Judge Paul G. Summers agreed Thursday to a two-year judicial diversion probation plan for Hawk that includes 150 hours of community service, a $1,500 fine, and completion of an anger management course.
If Hawk successfully finishes the two-year judicial diversion term under the supervision of a probation officer, the misdemeanor conviction will be expunged from his record.
CONVICTED BY JURY
Hawk, R-5th, of Greeneville, was convicted Sept. 19 by a Greene County jury of the misdemeanor reckless endangerment charge in connection with injuries suffered by Goan during an altercation between the two on March 18, 2012.
The couple has been separated since the incident and finalized their divorce in September.
Hawk said after Thursday's Greene County Criminal Court hearing that he is relieved the legal issue has been resolved. His judicial diversion term begins today.
"Although we disagree with the jury verdict, we're certainly glad judicial diversion will allow this nightmare to end for my daughters and I," he said, referring to a teenage daughter from an earlier marriage and a 2-year-old from his marriage with Goan.
Hawk said he has received support from General Assembly colleagues in Nashville, adding that he plans to run for a seventh term in the state House of Representatives in 2014.
Goan, who was present in court on Thursday, had no comment after completion of the hearing.
"She's not happy with it, but she understands. She wants to move forward with her life and her family, and she believes the order the court put forth is a satisfactory solution," prosecutor Joseph Baugh said.
"Nobody is happy with a compromise, but it is a compromise she is willing to make," he added.
Defense lawyers and Baugh initially recommended a judicial diversion period of 11 months, 29 days on the reckless endangerment conviction, along with a $1,500 fine to cover medical expenses incurred by Goan that were not covered by insurance, and damage to the couple's Tusculum house, where the altercation occurred.
The recommendation to the judge also included mandating that Hawk attend an anger management program approved by the misdemeanor probation office, and the stipulation that Hawk not have contact with Goan other than in circumstances relating to the upbringing of their daughter. old.
All pending defense motions, including those asking for acquittal and a new trial, will be suspended, and will not be raised again if Hawk successfully completes the judicial diversion period.
At trial, the jury deadlocked on a misdemeanor assault charge against Hawk. Baugh said the prosecution won't seek to try Hawk again on that charge if he completes judicial diversion.
"Basically, what we're doing is deferring all of these unadjudicated matters pending completion of the diversion," Baugh said.
Summers said the circumstances are "kind of complicated for a misdemeanor case."
Baugh said the case was challenging to prosecute "and apparently it was complicated for the jury."
The recommendation was "simply intended for the purpose of putting an end to this case as we can," Baugh said.
MORE STRINGENT TERMS ASKED
After hearing the recommendation, Summers said he did not feel the terms were "stringent enough."
Summers said he received 85 letters from family members and others in the community in support of Hawk, but was not satisfied.
"I don't feel that the proposal is conducive to what I think rehabilitation judicial diversion should be. I think it should be longer, and I think there should be community service involved," he said.
Defense lawyer Wade Davies said that Hawk has received a great deal of negative publicity from the case.
Summers said that he "understands there are other ways to punish a person other than to lock them up behind bars."
"I had in mind two years and 300 hours of community service," Summers said. "I want something substantial to not only send a message to Mr. Hawk but also send a message to the community."
The judge asked for "something that will be out there that the community can appreciate."
Summers then directed Davies, fellow defense lawyer Thomas Dillard and Baugh to come up with another probation plan for Hawk.
They did so in about 30 minutes, recommending the two years of judicial diversion and 150 hours of community service.
"I consider this to be a reasonable disposition, and I would not try to mislead you and go something greater or less than this diversion," Summers said.
Summers, a former state attorney general, was appointed to preside over the Hawk case after Criminal Court Judge John Dugger Jr. recused himself from the case.
Summers told Hawk that judicial diversion "is just like being on probation" and requires regular meetings with a probation officer.
Violating terms could result in revocation of judicial diversion and sentencing on the misdemeanor conviction, the judge added.
"I'm certainly anticipating and certainly hoping that this is the last hearing we're having in this matter," Summers said.
"After two years your lawyers will file a motion for dismissal and expungement of this charge. You understand?"
"That would be wonderful," Hawk responded.
WHERE HE'LL SERVE
Hawk was offered four different community service options: the Boys & Girls Club of Greeneville & Greene County, the Opportunity House, the Greeneville-Greene County Humane Society, and the Greeneville Parks & Recreation Department.
An approved literacy program option was added, and the Greeneville Parks & Recreation Department taken off the list, after Baugh noted that Hawk's father, Buddy Hawk, is a Greeneville alderman who may have some influence over the department.
David Hawk "has a real interest in literacy," Davies told Summers.
Summers will file a written order covering the judicial diversion terms within 10 days, including details about requirements such as the anger management course Hawk must attend.
'TURNED OUT GOOD'
James Goan, Crystal Goan's father, said after the hearing that "everything turned out good."
"I'm very satisfied. The judge (saw) the true Hawk," he said.
Baugh wrote in his sentencing memorandum to the court that a jail term was appropriate for Hawk.
"With these kinds of negotiations, it's not always what you want in the situation, but it's what you can resolve and get the judge to agree with and accept," Baugh said.
"The jury was so courageous. They're the real heroes in this case."
In September, a jury deliberated about 10 hours over two days before returning with the guilty verdict on the misdemeanor charge.
State law defines misdemeanor reckless endangerment as involving a defendant who engages in "conduct which placed or might have placed another person in imminent danger of death or serious bodily injury."
Baugh, a former district attorney general of the 21st Judicial District, was appointed as a district attorney general pro tem to prosecute the case after 3rd Judicial District Attorney General Berkeley Bell recused himself.
At this point, the judicial diversion agreement is in Goan's best interest, Baugh said.
"Crystal has really been through the mill on this, and she has been very courageous," he said.
Dillard reiterated what Hawk said after the hearing.
"We're disappointed Mr. Hawk was convicted of reckless endangerment, but we agree this was a satisfactory resolution, and we look forward to (Hawk) putting this behind him," he said.
Hawk said that part of his job as a state representative involves public service, and that he would willingly participate in whatever the court orders.
"I've done community service my whole life, so it's easy to do," he said.
Hawk indicated he is eager to move forward.
"I'm blessed to have so many good friends and supporters in Greene County," he said.