UPDATE: Court of appeals to hear case against Gatlinburg Detective Rodney Burns
A Gatlinburg detective charged in connection to the Ooltewah rape case will appeal a judge's decision.
UPDATE: The only adult still facing charges in the Ooltewah rape case appeared in court Wednesday. Gatlinburg Detective Rodney Burns was the first officer on the scene after an Ooltewah High School student was assaulted while out of town for a tournament. Burns is facing two counts of aggravated perjury. The District Attorney's Office said Burns told a different story in court from reports he filed about the investigation.
Attorneys who represent Rodney Burns said the case against him never should have been heard in juvenile court. Wednesday, a judge decided it will be up to a jury to decide Burns' fate.
A jury of his peers will decided if Rodney Burns is guilty of perjury. The Gatlinburg Detective was charged in Hamilton County Juvenile Court following his testimony in the Ooltewah rape case. His attorneys said the charges never should have been filed in juvenile court.
“Particular on this issue, because this is an issue of interest to the court. They all are but this is in particular,” said Judge Tom Greenholtz.
Hamilton County District Attorney Neal Pinkston, who alleges Burns told conflicting stories, said it was necessary for a preliminary hearing to be held in juvenile court. “Juvenile court is a little different here than other areas. The judge, rightly so, found it a preliminary hearing was necessary based on inaccuracy on the statue, and to protect the rights of those who were accused,” said Neal Pinkston.
Pinkston said juvenile court has jurisdiction in cases of failing to report child abuse, but the defense says juvenile court should have handed the case over.
“The juvenile court here in Hamilton County did not have the authority to conduct a preliminary hearing. I have questions juvenile judges, session judges, asked those who have jurisdiction if they would hear this in juvenile court? Absolutely not. It belongs in session court,” said Attorney Steve Greer.
Judge Tom Greenholtz wants more information, saying the law is not clear about the channels the case should have followed. “I'm specifically interested in the juvenile court jurisdiction here in Hamilton County.” But he ruled that the case will move forward in a summer trial.
Burns heads back to court on June 19th and the trial is set for June 27th. Count on Channel 3 to keep you updated.
PREVIOUS STORY: A Gatlinburg detective charged in connection to the Ooltewah rape case will appeal a judge's decision.
Rodney Burns faces two charges of aggravated perjury from his testimony in the case. He appeared inside a Hamilton County courtroom Wednesday.
Burns is the only person who still faces charges in connection to the case more than a year after it happened.
"It's sort of unusual to take a matter to the appellate court prior to there being a final judgment in the case," Attorney Bryan Delius, who represents Burns said.
And now, it will be even longer before we know the final outcome.
A Hamilton County judge granted Burns' request for an interlocutory appeal. It allows Burns to ask the Tennessee Court of Appeals to look into Judge Tom Greenholtz's decision to keep District Attorney Neal Pinkston on the case.
Burns filed a motion in July asking that Pinkston be removed from prosecuting his case claiming his involvement was a conflict of interest because of a civil lawsuit.
The judge denied that motion in October.
Now, the state's court of appeals will decide adding another twist in an already complicated case.
"As the court noted, this is an unsettled area of the law. There are not cases out there in Tennessee that makes a determination of what the court should do in this case," Delius added.
If the appeal is denied, Burns is set to go on trail in late June.
Gatlinburg Detective Rodney Burns appeared court Wednesday morning.
Burns is the only person still facing charges in connection to the Ooltewah rape case.
It's been several months since the last hearing on Burn's charge of perjury.
Judge Tom Greenholtz ultimately decided to schedule Burns' trial for June 27, 2017.
PREVIOUS STORY: Gatlinburg Police Detective Rodney Burns has filed a motion asking Criminal Court judge Tom Greenholtz to reconsider allowing District Attorney Neal Pinkston to prosecute his case.
PREVIOUS STORY: Gatlinburg Police Detective Rodney Burns filed a motion to disqualify District Attorney Neal Pinkston from prosecuting perjury case.
In a press release, legal representation for Detective Burns says DA Pinkston and his office have a conflict of interest in the case. In March, Detective Burns filed a civil claim against General Pinkston with the Division of Claims Administration based on General Pinkston's libelous statements to the media in February of 2016.
Detective Burns' defense counsel approached General Pinkston asking whether he would voluntary step aside and let a prosecutor pro tempore pursue the case. The press releases says, District Attorney Pinkston declined to take the responsible, ethical course of action and Burns' legal representation says they were forced to file a motion to disqualify General Pinkston and his office.