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July 2011 Archives

Evidence of Gang Affiliation Relevant to Motive and Intent

In Tennessee criminal proceedings, character evidence is not generally admissible to prove that a defendant acted in conformity with a character trait. So the State would not be allowed to introduce evidence of gang affiliation to show that a defendant, as a gang member, is likely to be guilty of the types of crimes that gang members generally commit. However, evidence of gang affiliation may be admissible if it is relevant to some specific issue (other than just being introduced to impeach the defendant's character).

Evidence of Gang Affiliation Relevant to Motive and Intent

In Tennessee criminal proceedings, character evidence is not generally admissible to prove that a defendant acted in conformity with a character trait. So the State would not be allowed to introduce evidence of gang affiliation to show that a defendant, as a gang member, is likely to be guilty of the types of crimes that gang members generally commit. However, evidence of gang affiliation may be admissible if it is relevant to some specific issue (other than just being introduced to impeach the defendant's character).

Evidence of Gang Affiliation Relevant to Motive and Intent

In Tennessee criminal proceedings, character evidence is not generally admissible to prove that a defendant acted in conformity with a character trait. So the State would not be allowed to introduce evidence of gang affiliation to show that a defendant, as a gang member, is likely to be guilty of the types of crimes that gang members generally commit. However, evidence of gang affiliation may be admissible if it is relevant to some specific issue (other than just being introduced to impeach the defendant's character).

Underage Consumption Conviction Overturned

Post-conviction relief from a plea agreement is uncommon in Tennessee criminal law practice. Post-conviction relief from a misdemeanor plea to underage consumption is all the more rare. It was granted by the Court of Criminal Appeals in the recent case of State v. Word, M2011-00082-CCA-R3-PC (Tenn.Crim,.App. 7-18-2011).

Underage Consumption Conviction Overturned

Post-conviction relief from a plea agreement is uncommon in Tennessee criminal law practice. Post-conviction relief from a misdemeanor plea to underage consumption is all the more rare. It was granted by the Court of Criminal Appeals in the recent case of State v. Word, M2011-00082-CCA-R3-PC (Tenn.Crim,.App. 7-18-2011).

From Cell Phone Photography to Search Warrant

Wal-Mart usually isn't a place that most people would consider ideal for some photography practice. But for one man and his cell phone, it turned out to be a particularly bad idea. One leading indirectly to a felony conviction for sexual exploitation of a minor.

From Cell Phone Photography to Search Warrant

Wal-Mart usually isn't a place that most people would consider ideal for some photography practice. But for one man and his cell phone, it turned out to be a particularly bad idea. One leading indirectly to a felony conviction for sexual exploitation of a minor.

Sometimes It's Just Bad Luck (Search and Seizure)

The recent Sixth Circuit case of U.S. v. Godfrey, 10-4240 (6th Cir. 6-28-2011) is an interesting example of the "good faith" exception to the exclusionary rule. Generally, evidence obtained from a warrantless search and seizure, not covered by a recognized exception to the warrant requirement, is inadmissible against an accused in a criminal case. The exclusionary rule exists to deter authorities from obtaining evidence by illegal means. But when authorities are acting in good faith in obtaining the evidence, excluding it has less value and the evidence may be admitted, under federal law.(Tennessee courts have not previously adopted the federal "good faith" exception. But the Tennessee State Legislature has just passed such an exception in the 2011 session.)

Sometimes It's Just Bad Luck (Search and Seizure)

The recent Sixth Circuit case of U.S. v. Godfrey, 10-4240 (6th Cir. 6-28-2011) is an interesting example of the "good faith" exception to the exclusionary rule. Generally, evidence obtained from a warrantless search and seizure, not covered by a recognized exception to the warrant requirement, is inadmissible against an accused in a criminal case. The exclusionary rule exists to deter authorities from obtaining evidence by illegal means. But when authorities are acting in good faith in obtaining the evidence, excluding it has less value and the evidence may be admitted, under federal law.(Tennessee courts have not previously adopted the federal "good faith" exception. But the Tennessee State Legislature has just passed such an exception in the 2011 session.)

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