York Settling into his Role as District Attorney General

November 10, 2008
Dwayne Page
District Attorney General Randy York

District Attorney General Randy York is settling into his new job.

Governor Phil Bredesen, in September, appointed the Crossville attorney, as the District Attorney General in the 13th Judicial District. The vacancy was created by the resignation of William E. Gibson, which became effective in July. The 13th Judicial District is composed of Clay, Cumberland, DeKalb, Overton, Pickett, Putnam and White Counties.

York says he has completed the reorganization of the staff including the addition of Mark Tribble, who is working as an Assistant D.A. in DeKalb County replacing Bill Locke who has joined the D.A.'s staff in Warren County. "We're pretty much settled on everyone that we have so any changes that I was going to make, I've already made those. We've got a really good, competent staff and I look forward to working with them. Bill Locke is an excellent prosecutor. He is from McMinnville and he was driving from McMinnville to Cookeville everyday. And there was a prosecutor that was in McMinnville that's from Cookeville who was driving from Cookeville to McMinnville everyday. So we basically just swapped those around. That way Bill can stay home and work in his home county in Warren County and Mark Tribble who is from Cookeville has assumed the duties in DeKalb County and also in White County."

According to York, longtime assistant D.A. Ben Fann will be retiring next month and he will be replaced by Bob Ramsey. "Ben will be leaving effective December 31st. He's been a great prosecutor for many years. He's retiring and we wish him the best. We'll all miss him. There's also a young prosecutor that was here in our office that did work in DeKalb County occasionally, Mr. Mark Gore. He has decided that he wanted to go into private practice and he has done that here in Cookeville. I brought two people with me that I practiced law with in Crossville, Bob Ramsey, who has a DeKalb County connection. Both of his children live in DeKalb County and so he will be working with Mark Tribble when he comes on the staff. Ramsey will fill Ben Fann's slot, starting on January 1st. In the meantime, Allison Watson, who I've worked with for 16 years will be working as well."

York says while he will be an active D.A., he will not micro-manage each case. He also hopes that the public will view him as a fair and reasonable district attorney general. "I hope I can describe myself as being fair. Someone who is reasonable. I think you have to look at each case individually and people who violate the law need to go to jail. Lots of the times, the biggest justice is to make sure that you don't indict somebody. Sometimes there's just false accusations. The power of the prosecutor and the power to indict is an awesome power and It's humbling. It's something that should be guarded and protected. But the people that need to go to jail, that's where I want to put them. I'd like to be hands on as a prosecutor, but I don't want to micro-manage each and every case. I certainly want to be involved and know what's going on in all of the counties but I don't pretend to try to manage each and every case that occurs."

One of the problems York found when he took office was a huge backlog of paper records that had never been properly filed away. York says a lot of progress has been made addressing that problem. "We're making an active attempt now to make sure that all the records are properly filed and properly kept and those records that we don't need anymore will be properly shredded. I think that under Tennessee law, we have to make an attempt and we have to be very guarded to make sure that people's social security numbers, dates of birth, criminal histories, and that type of thing are protected. All of that information, as it becomes stale, will be shredded and discarded appropriately."

York says while the position is somewhat different than what he imagined, he is looking forward to serving the district and encourages people to contact his office if they have a concern. "It's been different. It's amazing to see what's happening across the district. You know, being a defense lawyer you only see one side of it. But as a prosecutor, it's interesting to see how the entire process comes together. I'm really looking forward to continuing in this position and if there's a problem or anything like that, if somebody knows something, I would encourage them to contact my office. We really want to try to do the very best job that we can possibly do. So if there's a problem, I want to try to deal with it."

York is married to the former Judy Dodd of Liberty.

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