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March 2014 Archives

Tennessee Corpus Delicti Rule Modified

'Corpus delicti'," a Latin term meaning "body of the crime,' is a criminal law concept wherein there must be some proof that a crime occurred before a person can be convicted of it. In Tennessee, and other U.S. jurisdictions, it is the concept justifying the principle that a criminal defendant's extrajudicial confession alone is not sufficient to convict of a crime. There must be evidentiary corroboration that a crime occurred. The Tennessee Supreme Court recently re-examined the Tennessee version of the corpus delicti rule and issued an opinion (State v. Bishop, W2010-01207-SC-R11-CD (Tenn. 3-6-2014) adopting a 'modified trustworthiness' standard in examining the evidentiary sufficiency of extrajudicial confessions.

Tennessee Corpus Delicti Rule Modified

'Corpus delicti'," a Latin term meaning "body of the crime,' is a criminal law concept wherein there must be some proof that a crime occurred before a person can be convicted of it. In Tennessee, and other U.S. jurisdictions, it is the concept justifying the principle that a criminal defendant's extrajudicial confession alone is not sufficient to convict of a crime. There must be evidentiary corroboration that a crime occurred. The Tennessee Supreme Court recently re-examined the Tennessee version of the corpus delicti rule and issued an opinion (State v. Bishop, W2010-01207-SC-R11-CD (Tenn. 3-6-2014) adopting a 'modified trustworthiness' standard in examining the evidentiary sufficiency of extrajudicial confessions.

Tennessee Corpus Delicti Rule Modified

'Corpus delicti'," a Latin term meaning "body of the crime,' is a criminal law concept wherein there must be some proof that a crime occurred before a person can be convicted of it. In Tennessee, and other U.S. jurisdictions, it is the concept justifying the principle that a criminal defendant's extrajudicial confession alone is not sufficient to convict of a crime. There must be evidentiary corroboration that a crime occurred. The Tennessee Supreme Court recently re-examined the Tennessee version of the corpus delicti rule and issued an opinion (State v. Bishop, W2010-01207-SC-R11-CD (Tenn. 3-6-2014) adopting a 'modified trustworthiness' standard in examining the evidentiary sufficiency of extrajudicial confessions.

Tennessee man facing vehicular homicide charge in hit-and-run

It is strange to think that a car can be a deadly weapon. However, even when someone doesn't mean to cause harm, a car or sport-utility vehicle can cause serious, or even fatal, injuries. A Tennessee man who was recently charged with vehicular homicide is getting first-hand experience in how that can happen.

False Confession Defense Evidence Excluded

Tennessee courts recognize that false confessions do sometimes occur. In a case where the State's case includes an out-of-court confession from the Defendant, that evidence must usually be addressed in some way by the defense, if it cannot be excluded. In the recent Tennessee case of State v. Mays, W2012-00607-CCA-R3-CD (Tenn.Crim.App. 3-7-2014), the defense in a felony murder by aggravated child abuse prosecution sought to introduce expert testimony from a forensic psychologist on the question of false confessions and the Defendant's vulnerability to making a false confession. The Court of Criminal Appeals affirmed the trial court ruling permitting some of the testimony about false confession but excluding testimony about the Defendant's particular vulnerability to it.

False Confession Defense Evidence Excluded

Tennessee courts recognize that false confessions do sometimes occur. In a case where the State's case includes an out-of-court confession from the Defendant, that evidence must usually be addressed in some way by the defense, if it cannot be excluded. In the recent Tennessee case of State v. Mays, W2012-00607-CCA-R3-CD (Tenn.Crim.App. 3-7-2014), the defense in a felony murder by aggravated child abuse prosecution sought to introduce expert testimony from a forensic psychologist on the question of false confessions and the Defendant's vulnerability to making a false confession. The Court of Criminal Appeals affirmed the trial court ruling permitting some of the testimony about false confession but excluding testimony about the Defendant's particular vulnerability to it.

False Confession Defense Evidence Excluded

Tennessee courts recognize that false confessions do sometimes occur. In a case where the State's case includes an out-of-court confession from the Defendant, that evidence must usually be addressed in some way by the defense, if it cannot be excluded. In the recent Tennessee case of State v. Mays, W2012-00607-CCA-R3-CD (Tenn.Crim.App. 3-7-2014), the defense in a felony murder by aggravated child abuse prosecution sought to introduce expert testimony from a forensic psychologist on the question of false confessions and the Defendant's vulnerability to making a false confession. The Court of Criminal Appeals affirmed the trial court ruling permitting some of the testimony about false confession but excluding testimony about the Defendant's particular vulnerability to it.

Tennessee man faces drunk driving charges after running into bus

Students on their way home from a Tennessee school recently received quite a scare when the bus on which they were riding was involved in a head-on collision. About 45 children were passengers on the school bus when the accident occurred. The man allegedly responsible now faces multiple drunk driving charges.

Dustin's Law increases penalties for drunk driving in Tennessee

Drunk drivers in Tennessee could soon be facing stiffer penalties -- especially if their actions result in injury or death to others. A proposed law would make those convicted of drunk driving more than once subject to lengthier prison terms than they currently face. The mother of a young man killed in a drunk driving accident three years ago is leading efforts to make the proposal a law.

Inmate Petitions for a Longer Sentence

Under Tennessee law, an illegal sentence can be corrected at any time. In the recent case of Lee v. State, W2013-01088-CCA-R3-CO (Tenn.Crim.App. 3-7-2014), an inmate serving time for multiple convictions (two felony drug offenses and a weapon offense) concurrently, filed a motion with the trial court to correct his judgments to impose consecutive sentences, thereby increasing the length of his effective prison term.

Inmate Petitions for a Longer Sentence

Under Tennessee law, an illegal sentence can be corrected at any time. In the recent case of Lee v. State, W2013-01088-CCA-R3-CO (Tenn.Crim.App. 3-7-2014), an inmate serving time for multiple convictions (two felony drug offenses and a weapon offense) concurrently, filed a motion with the trial court to correct his judgments to impose consecutive sentences, thereby increasing the length of his effective prison term.

Inmate Petitions for a Longer Sentence

Under Tennessee law, an illegal sentence can be corrected at any time. In the recent case of Lee v. State, W2013-01088-CCA-R3-CO (Tenn.Crim.App. 3-7-2014), an inmate serving time for multiple convictions (two felony drug offenses and a weapon offense) concurrently, filed a motion with the trial court to correct his judgments to impose consecutive sentences, thereby increasing the length of his effective prison term.

Tennessee assistant football coach facing drunk driving charge

Driving while under the influence of alcohol can have far-reaching consequences on a person's life. In a recent Tennessee arrest, a man suspected of consuming too much alcohol and then getting behind the wheel of a car is facing a drunk driving charge and could potentially lose his job. It is the second time he has been in this situation, according to a newspaper report.

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