• Could take city council weeks to vote for resolution on city ordinance for hands-free law

    By: Tom Dees

    Updated:

    MEMPHIS, Tenn. - Memphis police still can’t write tickets if they see you driving while on a cell phone. City council was expected to read a resolution that would begin the process that would make the stat law enforceable in city limits.

    However, the city attorney didn’t show up with a draft.

    So what was accomplished in the reading? Absolutely nothing.

    City Councilman Jamita Swearengen told FOX13, “I think we do not have a precise understanding of what is going on.”

    That might be an understatement. City Council Attorney Alan Wade said he felt Memphis Police officers could already write the tickets. “Public safety might dictate that we make a decision from a legal point of view that these things can be enforced in the interim,” Wade explained.


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    Wade told FOX13 there has been some question whether city courts could legally set the fine.

    “The question has been raised by city court judges whether they have jurisdiction to issue the fines and as I read the municipal jurisdiction act there is an exception for them continuing to enforce traffic laws,” Wade said. 

    In the meantime, it could take up to 6 weeks for the council to vote on an ordinance. Police officials are now saying all they can write are warnings. Not real tickets on city or state streets.

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