Pro-Family Candidate For Juvenile Court Judge Will Appeal “Fake Felony” – Calls Out Attempt At Election Interference

Image Credit: Connie Reguli / YouTube

The Tennessee Conservative [By Paula Gomes] –

Pro-family attorney Connie Reguli who is running against incumbent Juvenile Court Judge Sharon Guffee in the Republican Primary on May 3rd says a recent “fake felony” levied against her is an attempt to interfere with an election in Williamson County.

Reguli says her case was supposed to be heard last September but was postponed for months until her announcement that she planned to run for Juvenile Court Judge. 

An attorney convicted of a felony that is a “serious crime” receives a temporary suspension pending their appeal. Reguli says she has filed for a hearing in the Tennessee Supreme Court as to how this conviction can be classified as a “serious crime” when the language of the law was changed for the jury. A temporary suspension does not disqualify Reguli since the qualifications are a law license.

Reguli, an activist for reform within the Department of Children’s Services (DCS) for over a decade, will appeal both the suspension of her license and the court ruling due to several errors made by the trial court, some of which amount to constitutional violations.

In July 2019, the State of Tennessee District Attorney (DA) Kim Helper issued an indictment of Custodial Interference on Reguli’s client Wendy Hancock for an incident that occurred in August 2018. At the time that the DA submitted the indictment to the Grand Jury, DCS had already dismissed a dependency case that was pending against Hancock and her children had been returned to her custody. The State simultaneously indicted Reguli for three charges including Accessory After the Fact and Facilitation of a Felony.

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Upon a review of the indictment, it was clear that the State had omitted essential language from a statute when the case was presented to the Grand Jury. The statute in question does not include enforcement of ex parte temporary orders. 

An ex parte order is a court document that DCS writes up which includes a signed oath from a DCS worker that a child is at immediate risk of harm. These orders are taken to a judge (in this case, a judge from a neighboring county) where they are signed without parents getting a hearing or due process before their children are taken from their custody.

In this case there was no order of transfer, designation, or reassignment when the order was entered or when it was provided to Reguli making it void. To prosecute for custodial interference, the State must produce a valid court order.

The language of Tenn. Code Ann. § 39 – 13 – 306 (a)(2) states that it is a crime of custodial interference for a parent to:

Detain the child within this state or remove the child from this state after the expiration of the noncustodial natural or adoptive parent or guardian’s lawful period of visitation, with the intent to violate the rightful custody of a mother as defined in § 36-2-303, or a temporary or permanent judgment or a court order regarding the custody or care of the child.

The indictment omitted the words that are underlined above. Hancock and Reguli filed motions in both of their cases to dismiss the indictment. Judge Joseph Woodruff asked the DA’s office to provide jury instructions on the issue of custodial interference. These instructions included the missing language. Woodruff then modified the instructions by removing any reference to “noncustodial”, “after the expiration” and “lawful period of visitation” ruling that they were not essential elements of the crime of custodial interference.

As a result of Judge Woodruff changing the language of the statute, the jury found Hancock guilty in July 2021. That case is now on appeal. Woodruff also denied the motion to dismiss the indictment filed on behalf of Reguli based on his ruling in Hancock’s case.


In Reguli’s case the State was required to show that Reguli’s actions were “unlawful” and “knowing”. Reguli sought jury instructions to explain to the jury the ex post facto judicial modification of the law by the Court. Her proposed instructions pointed out to the jury that to find her actions “unlawful” and “knowing” beyond a reasonable doubt, she would have had to have anticipated the Court’s change in the language of the statute three years after the alleged events. This request was denied.

In addition, according to T.C.A. § 39-11-411 the charge of Accessory After the Fact “shall have no application to an attorney providing legal services as required or authorized by law.” 

On her campaign website, Reguli reports that child welfare federal funding has perverted justice for families. Federal Title IV-E of the Social Security Act gives money to states to pay for children in foster care, youth facilities or detention centers. “They are monetizing children,” Reguli told The Tennessee Conservative. 

Research shows that even one short term stay in a juvenile detention center contributes to youth being pulled deeper into the juvenile and criminal justice system in the future. While the national trend is toward rehabilitating youth, Williamson County is building a bigger juvenile detention center.

Under Judge Sharon Guffee, more youth has been arrested in Williamson County than in any other county in the state. At 11%, that’s almost twice as many as other Tennessee counties. Reguli vows to change that as Juvenile Court Judge. 

About the Author: Paula Gomes is a Tennessee resident and reporter for The Tennessee Conservative. You can reach Paula at

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