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District Attorney Writes Poem to Give Judge Friendly Nudge

October 17, 1985

GALLATIN, Tenn. (AP) _ A prosecutor who waited five months for a ruling in a gambling case finally resorted to poetic license, comparing the case’s progress to the passage of the seasons, to speed a decision.

District Attorney General Ray Whitley wanted to prompt General Sessions Judge Shelton Hatcher to rule on a case involving possession of two video poker machines allegedly used for gambling, according to court records.

″I thought writing a poem would be a light-hearted way to get him to rule. If he had ruled against it, we could have appealed. And if he ruled in favor, that would have been fine, too,″ Whitley said Wednesday. ″The worst possible situation was for him not to rule at all.″

The case was finally dismissed last week.

The poem written last year was placed in the court file of defendant B.D. Sorrell, whose case had been taken under advisement by the judge on Jan. 4, 1984.

The poem, titled ″An Ode″ said:

″The beautiful green leaves

have withered and died.

The cold winds

have blown the warmth away.

Old man winter,

with his white blankets of snow,

has now shuffled on off

to let the warm winds blow.

From warmth to cold

to warmth again,

There have been many events

in the affairs of men. Seasons have


and opinions as well. But there’s been

no decision regarding Buck Sorrell.

Treaties are signed, budgets are passed.

Decisions are rough,

But don’t you think

you’ve pondered enough?

People are talking,

and the bets are laid.

‘Why is it the toughest decision the judge ever made?’

We’d welcome a verdict,

whether guilty or not.

But with no ruling at all,

the litigation is shot.

Be cool. Please rule.″

The case was dismissed Oct. 9 by acting judge Bill Vest, at the request of the attorney general’s office. Hatcher had resigned Sept. 24 after a controversy following his dismissal of a drunken driving case.

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