NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WKRN) — Speaker of the House Cameron Sexton (R-Crossville) and Shelby County District Attorney Steve Mulroy (D) don’t see eye-to-eye.
“We have the Speaker and other members of the leadership making up things trying to create an impeachment for Mulroy,” Rep. G.A. Hardaway (D-Memphis) said.
The feud has now come to a head, as Sexton floated the idea of impeachment over Mulroy’s lack of support for Sexton’s juvenile crime reform when reporters asked him about the possibility late last week.
Though the Speaker admitted the requirements for impeachment are strict.
“Not upholding the laws and not following the laws is one of them,” Sexton said. “But the DA’s have discretion, so you have to factor that in. So, that creates a higher bar to get over.”
If you look at the numbers, they actually show a decrease in juvenile crime over the last decade or so throughout the state.
But Sexton said the numbers don’t paint the whole story.
“To have a DA who says juvenile crime is not running amok tells you…is he not listening to the people, does he not see it?” he said. “Why doesn’t he see it if everyone else sees it?”
The Speaker also said the accountability was lacking.
“What I’m told is if you’re in Memphis, and you park downtown overnight or during the night, there’s a good chance your car’s going to be broken into,” Sexton said. “That’s on Mulroy, that’s on law enforcement to track them down and put them in jail and charge them. So, there has to be some accountability.”
The feud is starting to trickle into the General Assembly.
Hardaway said there are a lot of ways lawmakers can wisely spend their time in the State Capitol.
“Trying to make up stuff to impeach General Mulroy is not one of them,” he said. “My people aren’t interested in being used as political pawns. They don’t want to see these legislative parlor tricks.”
Sexton did say he didn’t think Mulroy was at risk – at least right this second.
“Is it possible? Yes,” Sexton said. “But can you do it right now? I don’t think he’s gone to that level yet.”
But the fact that he’s floating the idea tells you he’s giving it serious consideration.
News 2 did reach out to Mulroy’s office for comment Monday morning.
They said they were too busy for an interview but provided a statement:
“I don’t think there is any serious consideration being given to this idea, including by the Speaker. Nor would it be appropriate based on a policy disagreement, as opposed to actual evidence of official misconduct.
Juvenile crime’s been a problem in Shelby for many years. In my one year as DA, we’ve taken steps to address it. Among other things, we’ve added significant staff to our Juvenile prosecution team, set up a special Unit within that team to prioritize Auto Thefts and Burglaries, and helped bring to Shelby a Nashville-based restorative justice program with a track record of reducing the repeat offense rate. It’ll take time and state and local agencies working together to turn this around. I look forward to meeting soon with Speaker Sexton or his staff to let him know what we’re doing on this issue, to get his input, and to share with him how state government can help.“