State Rep. Andrew Farmer appointed to examine criminal sentencing and supervision

Andrew Farmer, Tennessee State Representative District 17

Tennessee House Speaker Cameron Sexton, R-Crossville, today announced he has appointed State Rep. Andrew Farmer, R-Sevierville, to chair a special committee to examine the adequacy of criminal sentencing and supervision following an uptick in serious violent crimes in Memphis.

Created by the Speakers of the House and Senate, the joint ad hoc committee will review guidelines relevant to the supervision, investigation and release of individuals who commit crimes in Tennessee.

The announcement comes days after a Memphis kindergarten teacher was kidnapped while jogging and later found murdered. In an unrelated incident on Sept. 7, a mass shooter live-streamed the killing of four people on social media. Memphis residents were urged to shelter in place until the shooter was apprehended. The suspects in both cases are ex-felons recently released from prison.

“Whether we are in our homes, sitting in a classroom, jogging in a park or going to the grocery store – feeling safe is among our most basic need as human beings,” Farmer said. “No community should ever have to confront the kind of vicious violence the city of Memphis has endured in recent weeks. Evil is real. We must do whatever it takes to reverse these disturbing trends.”

The Tennessee General Assembly this year passed truth in sentencing reform that now requires offenders convicted in eight categories of violent crimes to serve 100 percent of their court-imposed sentences. These include attempted first and second-degree murder, vehicular homicide resulting from driver intoxication, aggravated vehicular homicide, especially aggravated kidnapping, especially aggravated robbery, carjacking, especially aggravated burglary. The law went into effect July 1.

“Andrew Farmer’s considerable knowledge and professional experience related to public safety will be extremely beneficial to the committee,” said Sexton. “Throughout his time serving in the General Assembly, Andrew has been successful in identifying and creating solutions that make our communities safer by holding violent criminals completely accountable. I appreciate his willingness to serve as we all continue standing strong with victims and their families.”

The committee will recommend what further legislative action is needed to provide additional safeguards that protect the public from repeat violent offenders.

The Joint Ad Hoc Committee to Review the Adequacy of the Supervision, Investigation and Release of Criminal Defendants is expected to announce its first meeting in the coming weeks. Committee meeting schedules are posted on the Tennessee General Assembly’s website at