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February 2014 Archives

"Leprechauns and Fairy God Mothers" Not Prosecutorial Misconduct

Prosecutorial misconduct may occur where a prosecutor in a criminal case makes in an inappropriate argument or improper comments during the opening or closing statements of a trial. Generally, a prosecutor must stick to the facts presented at trial and the question of guilt, and avoid arguments or statements meant to inflame passions or prejudices. In the recent case of State v. Smith, M2013-00733-CCA-R3-CD (Tenn.Crim.App. 2-25-2014), the Tennessee Court of Criminal Appeals rejected a defendant's contention that it was prosecutorial misconduct for the prosecutor, during closing argument, to compare the defense theory to "Leprechauns and Fairy God Mothers."

"Leprechauns and Fairy God Mothers" Not Prosecutorial Misconduct

Prosecutorial misconduct may occur where a prosecutor in a criminal case makes in an inappropriate argument or improper comments during the opening or closing statements of a trial. Generally, a prosecutor must stick to the facts presented at trial and the question of guilt, and avoid arguments or statements meant to inflame passions or prejudices. In the recent case of State v. Smith, M2013-00733-CCA-R3-CD (Tenn.Crim.App. 2-25-2014), the Tennessee Court of Criminal Appeals rejected a defendant's contention that it was prosecutorial misconduct for the prosecutor, during closing argument, to compare the defense theory to "Leprechauns and Fairy God Mothers."

"Leprechauns and Fairy God Mothers" Not Prosecutorial Misconduct

Prosecutorial misconduct may occur where a prosecutor in a criminal case makes in an inappropriate argument or improper comments during the opening or closing statements of a trial. Generally, a prosecutor must stick to the facts presented at trial and the question of guilt, and avoid arguments or statements meant to inflame passions or prejudices. In the recent case of State v. Smith, M2013-00733-CCA-R3-CD (Tenn.Crim.App. 2-25-2014), the Tennessee Court of Criminal Appeals rejected a defendant's contention that it was prosecutorial misconduct for the prosecutor, during closing argument, to compare the defense theory to "Leprechauns and Fairy God Mothers."

Vols O'Brien sentenced to community service for underage drinking

The Vols defensive lineman Danny O'Brien was recently arrested at a Knoxville apartment on multiple charges. The Knoxville police were called to the scene after the report of a disturbance at the domicile, and they discovered O'Brien along with seven other football players supposedly drinking and partying. O'Brien was charged with underage drinking as well as other offenses.

Crash leads to underage drinking allegation for Tennessee teen

DUI charges are often handled differently in juvenile and criminal courts here in Tennessee. However, what if the person accused of underage drinking is a legal adult? A 19-year-old woman who was recently involved in a serious single-vehicle crash could face severe criminal penalties if she is convicted. Following the Feb. 9 accident, she has been charged with underage consumption, DUI and vehicular assault.

Tennessee drunk driving charges may be dismissed

Understandably, prosecutors usually seek to convict suspects who are accused of drunk driving. Drunk driving is the cause for many dangerous and deadly car accidents in Tennessee. However, some suspects charged with driving under the influence may see their cases drop. An attorney has stepped in to possibly have DUI cases dismissed on grounds of conflict of interest.

Repeat DUI offender may get less jail time in Tennessee

Alcohol can play a role in helping someone to enjoy life from time to time. However, when a person makes the unfortunate mistake of drinking and driving, the potential consequences can result in a criminal record. Being caught driving under the influence multiple times can have even more severe legal consequences in Tennessee. Repeat DUI offenders, however, may get a break, according to new legislation that the Tennessee General Assembly is considering.

Denial of Judicial Diversion Reversed in Reckless Homicide Case

Judicial diversion is a process by which a defendant in a criminal case, who acknowledges guilt of an offense, may still avoid a criminal conviction under certain circumstances. The defendant generally must have no prior criminal convictions and complete a probationary period which may include other requirements imposed by the sentencing court. At the successful conclusion of the diversion terms and probationary period, and completion of payment of court costs and restitution if applicable, the charges can be dismissed by the sentencing court. Not all criminal offenses are eligible for this process. In determining whether to grant judicial diversion if it is requested, a sentencing court must determine eligibility and then must decide whether to grant it based on specific factors which must be weighed by the court in considering the request. In the recent Tennessee case of State v. Turner, M2013-00827-CCA-R3-CD (Tenn.Crim.App. 1-29-2014), the Court of Criminal Appeals reversed a trial court decision denying judicial diversion in a reckless homicide case, and remanded the case for further consideration by the trial court.

Denial of Judicial Diversion Reversed in Reckless Homicide Case

Judicial diversion is a process by which a defendant in a criminal case, who acknowledges guilt of an offense, may still avoid a criminal conviction under certain circumstances. The defendant generally must have no prior criminal convictions and complete a probationary period which may include other requirements imposed by the sentencing court. At the successful conclusion of the diversion terms and probationary period, and completion of payment of court costs and restitution if applicable, the charges can be dismissed by the sentencing court. Not all criminal offenses are eligible for this process. In determining whether to grant judicial diversion if it is requested, a sentencing court must determine eligibility and then must decide whether to grant it based on specific factors which must be weighed by the court in considering the request. In the recent Tennessee case of State v. Turner, M2013-00827-CCA-R3-CD (Tenn.Crim.App. 1-29-2014), the Court of Criminal Appeals reversed a trial court decision denying judicial diversion in a reckless homicide case, and remanded the case for further consideration by the trial court.

Denial of Judicial Diversion Reversed in Reckless Homicide Case

Judicial diversion is a process by which a defendant in a criminal case, who acknowledges guilt of an offense, may still avoid a criminal conviction under certain circumstances. The defendant generally must have no prior criminal convictions and complete a probationary period which may include other requirements imposed by the sentencing court. At the successful conclusion of the diversion terms and probationary period, and completion of payment of court costs and restitution if applicable, the charges can be dismissed by the sentencing court. Not all criminal offenses are eligible for this process. In determining whether to grant judicial diversion if it is requested, a sentencing court must determine eligibility and then must decide whether to grant it based on specific factors which must be weighed by the court in considering the request. In the recent Tennessee case of State v. Turner, M2013-00827-CCA-R3-CD (Tenn.Crim.App. 1-29-2014), the Court of Criminal Appeals reversed a trial court decision denying judicial diversion in a reckless homicide case, and remanded the case for further consideration by the trial court.

Drunk driving, driving under influence may mean Tennessee charge

When people hear the phrase "driving under the influence," they often think of driving while under the influence of alcohol. However, in addition to engaging in drunk driving, a person can easily be under the influence of other legal drugs as well -- namely prescription medication. Research shows that Tennessee actually has one of the highest rates of the use of prescription drugs in the United States.

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