Isham learns court is no stage for antics

·3 min read

Aug. 5—Whether it was a failed attempt at trying to be funny, a bonehead move or outright disrespect, a Crossville man quickly learned the courtroom was not a stage for his antics.

Criminal Court Judge Gary McKenzie didn't find the man's antics funny.

Tanner Lynn Isham was in court July 16 for violating terms and conditions of probation he had been placed on for two years after pleading guilty in July 2020 to possession of marijuana for resale.

Isham at the time was granted judicial diversion with the opportunity to have the felony charge removed from his record if he successfully completed requirements of probation.

He did not and Isham still got what some would consider a good deal when the probation violation warrant was dismissed. He did, however, lose his judicial diversion status and the opportunity to have the charge removed from his record.

Instead, Isham saw his two-year sentence go into effect with him starting over with two years of supervised probation.

This is where things turned strange.

With court moving on to the next case, Isham exited the room by smiling and waving to those in the gallery and at one point, held his hands above his head in the style of Richard Nixon, flashing the peace sign.

Just as he got to the courtroom door to exit, McKenzie observed Isham's antics and interrupted the case before him, telling court officers, "Stop that man."

He then had Isham brought back up to the rail where he found Isham in contempt of court and ordered Isham to serve ten days in jail. After a public dressing down, McKenzie told corrections officers, "Take him to the back," meaning the jail.

Isham remained in custody as the rest of the docket was called, hearings were held and motions were addressed. He also exchanged his street clothes for the black and grey stripped uniform of county prisoners.

At the end of court, Isham was brought back into the courtroom, smiling as if oblivious to the seriousness of the situation.

Isham's attorney, Kevin Bryant, told McKenzie his client would like to address the court.

"I apologize for what happened earlier," Isham said, still smiling as if on a Sunday afternoon picnic.

"You come in here before me with that smile on your face as you are apologizing ... you walk in here like it's a joke ... there are very serious things going on in this room and you leave saluting, people," McKenzie told Isham.

He then said he wasn't buying Isham's words as a serious apology.

"You are not in a good situation," McKenzie continued. "You are going to be on supervised probation and you will be watched."

The judge then told corrections officers he was going to keep Isham in jail over the weekend "and I'll figure out what I am going to do with him."

Isham is also a potential witness in a pending homicide case.

Michael Moser may be reached at

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