Public Outreach and Education - Court Visits/Tours

Criminal Justice Class Visits U.S. District Court
October 30, 2014 - Russ Fallis (former postal inspector), an instructor of the Criminal Justice Class at Lenoir City High School visited USDC with his class of 30-35 students. The students were welcomed by Judge Reeves who held a question and answer session. Magistrate Judge Shirley and members of the US Marshal's staff also participated. After lunch, the students observed a change of plea hearing before Chief Judge Varlan. Judge Varlan met with the students following the hearing and spoke to them about the differences in state and federal court.
Pellissippi State Paralegal Students Visit USDC
September 18, 2014 - Paralegal students studying Technology in the Courtroom visited USDC. They were given a demonstration of the DEPS equipment by courtroom deputy, Angela Archer, and Judge Reeves, her law clerk Pat Ferrell who was once a long time paralegal before going to law school, and representatives from the USMS, CSO, and US Probation all spoke about their role in the judicial system. The students also observed a hearing before Chief Judge Varlan.
Boy Scout Troop Visits USDC
August 28, 2014 - A group of 10 scouts and five adults visit the courthouse for a tour and a presentation by Chief Judge Varlan. Judge Varlan and both Magistrate Judge Guyton are active supporters of the Boy Scouts.
Goodwill Youth Advantage Program Students Visit USDC
July 16, 2014 -Magistrate Judge Lee hosted 30 students in grades 6 - 12. The students were given a tour of the courthouse and a presentation by Judge Lee.
Shopper-News Interns Visit Court
July 15, 2014 - Chief Judge Varlan hosted a group of high school students interning for The Shopper News - a community newspaper for a luncheon and courthouse tour.
Pellissippi State Paralegal Program Visit
November 13, 2013 - 20 students and instructor Tracie Livesay from the Paralegal Program at Pellissippi State who were studying Technology in Law and the Electronic Courtroom came for a demonstration of the DEPS equipment. The instruction was provided by Angela Archer. Judge Jordan, along with Tony Anderson, U.S. Probation; Richie Bradley, U.S. Marshal's Service; and Don Ferguson, provided an overview about U.S. District Court and answers questions from the students. Don Ferguson also provided an informative tour of the courthouse and the students also observed a portion of a civil jury trial.
Lenoir City High School Criminal Justice Class
November 14, 2013 - Russ Fallis (former postal inspector) who is now an instructor of the Criminal Justice II class at Lenoir City High School visited USDC with his class and observed a sentencing hearing before Judge Jordan. The defendant, when given the opportunity to speak during the proceeding, referenced the students in the courtroom and told them not to do the things he did and end up in jail. (DUSM Richie Bradley had previously introduced himself and gave the class a tour of his office prior to the hearing.) Judge Jordan briefly gave his history and the class was invited to ask questions and look around the courtroom.
Students in the Gifted Program at Clinton Middle School visited the Court
May 14, 2013 - Five students, their teacher Mike Holden, and Mike's wife and local attorney Jamie Ballinger-Holden spent the day at Federal Court. They observed jury selection before Judge Varlan, a competency hearing before Judge Guyton, was provided a tour of the Marshal's facilities by Richie Bradley, had a question/answer session before Judge Phillips, and a tour and presentation by Don Ferguson. They also participated in a fun trivia quiz at the end of the day to see what they remembered about their experience.
Students Visit with Congressman Duncan and Courthouse Tour
May 10, 2013 - Congressman Duncan and his staff hosted a visit from the senior class of Washburn School from Grainger County. The Washburn School has grades 1st grade through 12th all in one schoolhouse. The students met with the Congressman and toured the Court History Museum from 10:15 to 11:00. Don Ferguson led a courthouse tour, and Judge Phillips held a question/answer session in his courtroom following a sentencing hearing. The Marshals Office provided a brief tour of the lockup facilities.
Lenoir City High School Criminal Justice Class visits U.S. District Court
Retired postal inspector, Russ Phallis, who was instrumental in the prosecution of Hinton "Hoss" Waters in 1994, was the teacher of this class. Judge Jordan spoke to the students and answered questions. Jim Fowler and Ritchie Bradley of the U.S. Marshal's Office, Don K. Ferguson, Court Historian, and Jason Huffaker also participated.
Doak Elementary School Visit, Greeneville
Two third grade classes from Doak Elementary School visited the Greeneville courthouse for a tour and presentation by the Clerk's Office, ATF, U. S. Attorney's Office and Judge Greer. In the attached picture, AUSA Bowman and ATFE Agent Wiley are speaking to the morning session of the third grade class visit. Judge Greer is seated at the table waiting to speak.
Eagle Scout Requirement
Austin Fields, who is working on the Boy Scout Eagle rank, visited the court on October 26, 2011. Austin needed to tour a federal facility as part of the Eagle requirement.
St. Peter's Episcopal School Visit
Magistrate Judge Lee Speaks to Red Bank High School Government Class
Chief Judge Collier Speaks to Dalewood Middle School Students
On May 20, 2008, Chief Judge Curtis L. Collier served as the guest speaker at the Promotional Ceremony at Dalewood Middle School. At the ceremony, 103 students graduated from the eighth grade, completing their middle school education. These students will be attending high school in the fall. In light of this, Judge Collier spoke about the changes students would experience in their transition from middle school to high school. He spoke of the additional freedom students would have to make choices for themselves, and how their choices - both good and bad - would resinate throughout their lives. Judge Collier discussed the importance of being leaders, rather than followers, and motivating themselves to pursue their potential, rather than allowing peer pressure to define who they are. Based upon the numerous accomplishments of the Dalewood Middle School eighth grade class of 2008, as recognized at the ceremony, it is clear these students have already made great strides in advancing their futures. The Court wishes these students continued success in their academic endeavors.
District Judge Phillips Speaks to Journalism Students

This class of UT journalism students, along with their instructor, got a rare opportunity on April 22 to view Judge Phillips's courtroom from his perspective--the bench.

Judge Phillips spoke with the students briefly in the courtroom, then gave the group a tour of the fourth floor chambers area and was joined by Judge Varlan in the conference room, where the two of them talked with the students and answered their questions.

The class instructor is Georgiana Vines, shown front left, political columnist for the News Sentinel and the retired associate editor.

District Judge Greer Speaks to Northeast State Technical Community College
In a Constitution Week program, Judge Greer spoke on September 13 to about 200 students, faculty and staff members at Northeast State Technical Community College. He discussed the developments in Sixth Amendment constitutional jurisprudence and reviewed a number of U. S. Supreme Court decisions of the last decade. He said that trial by jury had become the dominate method of trial in England as early as the 13th century and noted that all 13 American colonies adopted some form of trial by jury, which was "very much a part of our heritage by the time of the American Revolution and was guaranteed in Article III of the Constitution for all criminal cases and in the Sixth Amendment as part of the 1791 Bill of Rights." Judge Greer told his audience of the discretion given to sentencing judges to impose a criminal sentence within a range of punishment both before and after implementation of the U. S . Sentencing Commission Guidelines that were required by Congress in the Sentencing Reform Act of 1984. He was asked about his approach to criminal sentencing, which he described as his "most difficult and unpleasant task" as a federal judge. Judge Greer also answered the group's questions on such issues as prison overcrowding, Bureau of Prisons rehabilitation programs, mandatory minimum sentencing and a number of other topics.
Chattanooga Summer Associate Tour
On June 6 the Chattanooga Division, with the assistance of the Federal Bar Association, hosted the second annual courthouse visit for summer clerks. The clerks, who have finished their first or second year of law school, represented thirteen law schools in ten states. They are serving summer clerkships in local law firms, federal court or state court. The visit included a talk by Magistrate Judge Lee highlighting the importance of ethics, civility and a sense of humor in the practice of law, a visit to Judge Collier's courtroom where a criminal trial was underway, and a tour of the federal building including the Clerk's office, the Marshal's office and the U. S. Courts Library. The event concluded with a luncheon, funded by the Bench and Bar Fund, during which the visitors participated in a panel discussion with Chief Judge Collier, Judge Mattice, Chief Bankruptcy Judge John Cook, Bankruptcy Judge Tom Stinnett, and Magistrate Judges Carter and Lee.
Tour Week in Chattanooga
On April 23-25, Chattanooga hosted three student tour groups. Notre Dame High School's senior Honors American Government classes, led by their instructor Ann Ward, visited on Monday and Tuesday. They met with Judge Lee, with Judge Collier on Monday, and with Judge Mattice on Tuesday. Paralegal students and court reporting students from Chattanooga State came to court on Wednesday along with their instructors Paul Ray and Paulette Amsler. Former paralegal student now courtroom deputy, Kelli Brown, and former court reporting student now official court reporter, Shannan Andrews, talked with the class about their jobs. Afterward, Judge Collier spoke on federal court jurisdiction and advances in courtroom technology then concluded by highlighting some of the interesting cases he has presided over during his judicial career. The tours were conducted by attorney Tonya Cammon of the Federal Bar Association and by clerk's office staff.
Brainerd High School Students Visit Chattanooga Courthouse
On Tuesday, February 13, 2007, two groups of students from Brainerd High School, along with their teacher, Mr. Pedro Bacon, toured the courthouse. The students were led by Attorney Tonya Cammon of the Federal Bar Association. During their tour, they visited Chief Judge Collier's courtroom. When the students arrived, court was opened and Judge Collier talked to them about the differences between federal and state court systems, the purpose and duties of judicial law clerks, and the importance of taking academics seriously. Afterwards, Judge Collier gave the students a tour of his chambers and shared the story of how he became a judge.
AO Director Visits Chattanooga Courthouse
James Duff, Director of the Administrative Office of the U. S. Courts, accepted the court's invitation to visit the district in Chattanooga on October 23, 2006. A reception was held at the Bessie Smith Hall which was well attended by the district, magistrate and bankruptcy judges, along with court personnel and many attorneys. Following the reception, the Federal Bar Association sponsored a program called "A Conversation with the Judiciary," which featured Director Duff. He spoke on the structure and importance of the AO and the Judicial Conference to the judiciary. He also participated in a panel discussion with fellow panelists Chief District Judge Curtis Collier, District Judge Ronnie Greer, and Chief Bankruptcy Judge John Cook. Attorney Richard Bethea served as moderator. The panel discussed a series of topics, such as judicial independence, separation of powers, courtroom sharing, budget, and entertained questions from the audience.
District Judge Thomas W. Phillips Speaks to Students at Roane State Community College
As part of Constitution Day activities, Judge Phillips gave a speech to students at Roane State Community College regarding Article III of the Constitution. Following his speech, Judge Phillips fielded questions from the students about the federal judiciary.
Chattanooga Summer Associate Tour
Chief Judge Collier Speaks to Students at Phillips Temple
Judge Collier participated in a summer camp for third-to-eighth-grade students at Phillips Temple on June 14, telling them about making responsible choices to succeed in life. He opened with an excerpt from Booker T. Washington's Up From Slavery, then he told them about his own life and how he got to where he is today.