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October 2013 Archives

Indictment Sufficient in Drug-Free School Zone Case

An indictment, to be valid, must provide a Defendant sufficient notice of the charged offense. More specific information about the charges may be obtained later with a bill of particulars. But the indictment, as the official charging instrument, must contain enough information to give notice of the charged offense. In the recent Tennessee case of State v. Grimes, M2012-00530-CCA-R3-CD (Tenn.Crim.App. 10-22-2013), the Court of Criminal Appeals once again reminds us that the drug-free school zone statute does not have to be specifically cited in a charge for a drug offense before the case can be prosecuted as a drug-free school zone case. It is sufficient to allege that the offense occurred within one thousand feet of the property of a school (or other applicable location).

Indictment Sufficient in Drug-Free School Zone Case

An indictment, to be valid, must provide a Defendant sufficient notice of the charged offense. More specific information about the charges may be obtained later with a bill of particulars. But the indictment, as the official charging instrument, must contain enough information to give notice of the charged offense. In the recent Tennessee case of State v. Grimes, M2012-00530-CCA-R3-CD (Tenn.Crim.App. 10-22-2013), the Court of Criminal Appeals once again reminds us that the drug-free school zone statute does not have to be specifically cited in a charge for a drug offense before the case can be prosecuted as a drug-free school zone case. It is sufficient to allege that the offense occurred within one thousand feet of the property of a school (or other applicable location).

Indictment Sufficient in Drug-Free School Zone Case

An indictment, to be valid, must provide a Defendant sufficient notice of the charged offense. More specific information about the charges may be obtained later with a bill of particulars. But the indictment, as the official charging instrument, must contain enough information to give notice of the charged offense. In the recent Tennessee case of State v. Grimes, M2012-00530-CCA-R3-CD (Tenn.Crim.App. 10-22-2013), the Court of Criminal Appeals once again reminds us that the drug-free school zone statute does not have to be specifically cited in a charge for a drug offense before the case can be prosecuted as a drug-free school zone case. It is sufficient to allege that the offense occurred within one thousand feet of the property of a school (or other applicable location).

Drunk driving charge dropped by Tennessee judge; man freed

Earlier this year, a 22-year-old man was arrested for DUI. For months, he claimed that he had not been under the influence when he was stopped by an officer previously. His drunk driving charge has recently been dropped in a Tennessee courtroom, after it was discovered that his charge was wrongful.

Conviction Reversed in Exigent Circumstances Case

Exigent circumstances is an exception to the general requirement that a search warrant be obtained before a search will be considered reasonable. In exigent circumstances, a police officer may reasonably conduct a search or seizure without first obtaining a warrant. But in such cases, whether the actions of law enforcement were reasonably justified by the circumstances may be reviewed by a court considering a motion to exclude evidence obtained as a result of the actions. In the recent case of State v. Gibson, M2012-02363-CCA-R3-CD (Tenn.Crim.App 10-18-2013), the Tennessee Court of Criminal Appeals reversed a DUI conviction, rejecting the trial court's earlier ruling that exigent circumstances justified a police officer's entry into a home, where the Defendant was discovered intoxicated.

Conviction Reversed in Exigent Circumstances Case

Exigent circumstances is an exception to the general requirement that a search warrant be obtained before a search will be considered reasonable. In exigent circumstances, a police officer may reasonably conduct a search or seizure without first obtaining a warrant. But in such cases, whether the actions of law enforcement were reasonably justified by the circumstances may be reviewed by a court considering a motion to exclude evidence obtained as a result of the actions. In the recent case of State v. Gibson, M2012-02363-CCA-R3-CD (Tenn.Crim.App 10-18-2013), the Tennessee Court of Criminal Appeals reversed a DUI conviction, rejecting the trial court's earlier ruling that exigent circumstances justified a police officer's entry into a home, where the Defendant was discovered intoxicated.

Conviction Reversed in Exigent Circumstances Case

Exigent circumstances is an exception to the general requirement that a search warrant be obtained before a search will be considered reasonable. In exigent circumstances, a police officer may reasonably conduct a search or seizure without first obtaining a warrant. But in such cases, whether the actions of law enforcement were reasonably justified by the circumstances may be reviewed by a court considering a motion to exclude evidence obtained as a result of the actions. In the recent case of State v. Gibson, M2012-02363-CCA-R3-CD (Tenn.Crim.App 10-18-2013), the Tennessee Court of Criminal Appeals reversed a DUI conviction, rejecting the trial court's earlier ruling that exigent circumstances justified a police officer's entry into a home, where the Defendant was discovered intoxicated.

Tennessee man accused of drunk driving to appear in court again

An allegedly inebriated driver, who police say crashed his sport utility vehicle directly into an apartment residence community, will return to the courtroom on Monday, Oct. 22. The Tennessee man will face multiple charges relating to the incident, which caused personal injury to several victims who were in and around the apartment complex at the time of the accident. Fortunately, no fatal injuries occurred and while the man will face charges of drunk driving, he will not face charges of intoxicated manslaughter.

State Supreme Court Reinstates Jury Finding of Premeditation

In Tennessee,  proof of premeditation to kill is required for a criminal conviction of premeditated first degree murder (though not under a 'felony murder' theory of first degree murder) or attempted first degree murder.  There is a substantial distinction in punishment between homicides or attempted homicides which are premeditated and those which are not. In the recent case of State v. Dickson, E2010-01781-SC-R11-CD (Tenn. 10-8-2013), the Tennessee Supreme Court reinstated a jury conviction for attempted first degree murder after the Court of Criminal Appeals had reduced the conviction.

State Supreme Court Reinstates Jury Finding of Premeditation

In Tennessee,  proof of premeditation to kill is required for a criminal conviction of premeditated first degree murder (though not under a 'felony murder' theory of first degree murder) or attempted first degree murder.  There is a substantial distinction in punishment between homicides or attempted homicides which are premeditated and those which are not. In the recent case of State v. Dickson, E2010-01781-SC-R11-CD (Tenn. 10-8-2013), the Tennessee Supreme Court reinstated a jury conviction for attempted first degree murder after the Court of Criminal Appeals had reduced the conviction.

State Supreme Court Reinstates Jury Finding of Premeditation

In Tennessee,  proof of premeditation to kill is required for a criminal conviction of premeditated first degree murder (though not under a 'felony murder' theory of first degree murder) or attempted first degree murder.  There is a substantial distinction in punishment between homicides or attempted homicides which are premeditated and those which are not. In the recent case of State v. Dickson, E2010-01781-SC-R11-CD (Tenn. 10-8-2013), the Tennessee Supreme Court reinstated a jury conviction for attempted first degree murder after the Court of Criminal Appeals had reduced the conviction.

Tennessee man in jail on drunk driving conviction seeks parole

A man who had a few drinks on his way home from work in 2009 is requesting parole to be released from prison. On a Friday after work, the man crashed his pickup truck, resulting in a tragic accident that killed a motorcyclist. He was sentenced to jail for a drunk driving conviction. Now, several years later, he is trying to get released on parole.

Tennessee woman facing drunk driving charges after crash

Most Tennessee residents are probably aware of the dangers of drunk driving. However, not all residents may think of the repercussions before getting behind the wheel. Others may not realize they are legally intoxicated after just a drink or two. A woman who recently crashed her car is now facing drunk driving charges.

Criminal Attempt Charge Upheld

In Tennessee, a 'criminal attempt' to commit a crime can itself be a criminal act, and is sometimes charged as a lesser included offense. It is generally a lesser offense than completion of the crime, and carries reduced punishment. Criminal attempt to commit a specific crime occurs when a person, acting with the culpability required to commit the offense, takes action toward the completion of the offense, believing the action will cause that result. Questions sometimes arise about whether to charge criminal attempt as a lesser included offense in a trial where the defendant is accused of completing a particular offense. In the recent Tennessee case of State v. Thorpe, M2012-02676-CCA-R3-CD (Tenn.Crim.App. 9-27-2013), the Court of Criminal Appeals upheld the trial court's decision to charge attempted sexual battery by an authority figure as a lesser included offense.

Criminal Attempt Charge Upheld

In Tennessee, a 'criminal attempt' to commit a crime can itself be a criminal act, and is sometimes charged as a lesser included offense. It is generally a lesser offense than completion of the crime, and carries reduced punishment. Criminal attempt to commit a specific crime occurs when a person, acting with the culpability required to commit the offense, takes action toward the completion of the offense, believing the action will cause that result. Questions sometimes arise about whether to charge criminal attempt as a lesser included offense in a trial where the defendant is accused of completing a particular offense. In the recent Tennessee case of State v. Thorpe, M2012-02676-CCA-R3-CD (Tenn.Crim.App. 9-27-2013), the Court of Criminal Appeals upheld the trial court's decision to charge attempted sexual battery by an authority figure as a lesser included offense.

Criminal Attempt Charge Upheld

In Tennessee, a 'criminal attempt' to commit a crime can itself be a criminal act, and is sometimes charged as a lesser included offense. It is generally a lesser offense than completion of the crime, and carries reduced punishment. Criminal attempt to commit a specific crime occurs when a person, acting with the culpability required to commit the offense, takes action toward the completion of the offense, believing the action will cause that result. Questions sometimes arise about whether to charge criminal attempt as a lesser included offense in a trial where the defendant is accused of completing a particular offense. In the recent Tennessee case of State v. Thorpe, M2012-02676-CCA-R3-CD (Tenn.Crim.App. 9-27-2013), the Court of Criminal Appeals upheld the trial court's decision to charge attempted sexual battery by an authority figure as a lesser included offense.

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