A Matter of Conscience

Bobby Hoppe was a football star at Chattanooga Central High and Auburn University. He played halfback on offense and defense with Auburn's 1957 national championship team.

On a July 1957 night he shot Don Hudson at Bell Avenue in Chattanooga. Three decades later, in June 1988, he was tried for first degree murder. I'll let you read this book by his widow to learn the outcome.

Many chapters contain abundant excerpts from the transcript of evidence. Especially delicious is the cross-examination of prosecution witness "Reverend" Joseph Godwin, in whom Bobby Hoppe unwisely confided in the summer of 1957. The trial judge made an absolutely stupid ruling that the clergy-penitent privilege in Tenn. Code Ann.  §24-1-206 was inapplicable.

I was unaware of this part of Tennessee legal history. Now I know, and you can, too.  


Don Paine Donald F. Paine is a past president of the Tennessee Bar Association and is of counsel to the Knoxville firm of Paine, Tarwater, and Bickers LLP. He lectures for the Tennessee Law Institute, BAR/BRI Bar Review, and the Tennessee Judicial Conference.