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Jailhouse attorney sentenced in one case, agrees to new representation in subsequent cases

Monday, December 10, 2007

A man who acted as his own attorney during a recent trial plans to let a real lawyer represent him the next time.

Kenneth Lee "Taz" Anderson, 34, of Friendship, lost his case on Oct. 24 and returned to the Dyer County Circuit Courtroom on Tuesday for his sentencing.

Judge Lee Moore commended Anderson for acting like a gentleman throughout the trial. "You conducted yourself well at the trial," Moore said.

However, Moore again cautioned Anderson. He said he believed Anderson was making a mistake by representing himself. He encouraged Anderson to consider allowing a trained lawyer to handle the two cases still pending in Circuit Court.

Anderson agreed, and Moore appointed Noel "Skip" Riley to represent him. Riley served as Anderson's "elbow counsel" and answered Anderson's legal questions during his recent trial. Anderson still faces charges of burglary, theft of property in excess of $1,000 and theft of property in excess of $500.

A jury found Anderson guilty Oct. 24 on two counts of selling less than half a gram of cocaine. Each count is punishable with a fine of no less than $2,000 and no more than $100,000 and a jail sentence of three to six years.

Moore reviewed a pre-sentence report that listed an abundance of misdemeanors and two felonies on Anderson's record. He fined Anderson $2,000 and sentenced him to four years on each count. The sentences are to be served concurrently.

Anderson asked Moore if he could spend a portion of that sentence in a drug rehabilitation program. Moore denied the request. He said Anderson has already received so many alternative sentencing options that it would not be appropriate in this case.

Anderson has filed a motion for a new trial in the drug-selling case. That motion is scheduled for consideration at 1 p.m. Dec. 18 in circuit court.

In his motion, Anderson said the two videos prominently used as evidence in his trial were shown to him only minutes before the jury selection process began. He claimed that was a violation of Rule 16 of the Tennessee Rules of Evidence.

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