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August 2014 Archives

Appellate Court Rules Confession Was Involuntary

A confession to the charged crime can be compelling evidence for the prosecution in a criminal case. In the United States, the government cannot force someone to confess to a crime, or even to give statements which may be incriminating. Statements a person makes voluntarily, however, can generally be used by the government in a criminal prosecution of that person. When a prosecutor seeks to use an incriminating statement against a defendant in a criminal case over objection, the prosecution must first show that the statement was voluntary. Particular scrutiny is afforded for statements made by a person who was in police custody when making the statement. In those situations, typically, a person must be first informed of the right to remain silent and right to counsel.

Appellate Court Rules Confession Was Involuntary

A confession to the charged crime can be compelling evidence for the prosecution in a criminal case. In the United States, the government cannot force someone to confess to a crime, or even to give statements which may be incriminating. Statements a person makes voluntarily, however, can generally be used by the government in a criminal prosecution of that person. When a prosecutor seeks to use an incriminating statement against a defendant in a criminal case over objection, the prosecution must first show that the statement was voluntary. Particular scrutiny is afforded for statements made by a person who was in police custody when making the statement. In those situations, typically, a person must be first informed of the right to remain silent and right to counsel.

Tennessee man, 20, may be facing vehicular homicide charges

A 20-year-old man is currently facing charges of violating house arrest as well as a reckless endangerment charge in connection with a fatal accident. The Tennessee assistant district attorney has stated, however, that the charges will most likely be revised to vehicular homicide. A hearing was recently held to determine the merits of the criminal case.

Vehicular Assault Non-Eligible for Judicial Diversion

Judicial diversion in Tennessee law is a means of allowing a qualified defendant who is convicted of or pleads guilty to an offense to avoid having a recorded conviction for the offense if certain conditions are met. To qualify, a defendant must not already have any serious prior convictions and must not have received a judicial diversion in the past. The offense must also be an eligible offense. Certain offenses are specifically not eligible for this resolution. A DUI offense is not eligible for diversion in Tennessee. In the recent case of State v. Jones, M2013-00938-CCA-R3-CD (Tenn.Crim.App. 8-20-2014), the Court of Criminal Appeals has ruled that the crime of vehicular assault, though not expressly excluded by statute, is also not eligible for judicial diversion, as it contains the lesser included offense of DUI, which is expressly ineligible.

Vehicular Assault Non-Eligible for Judicial Diversion

Judicial diversion in Tennessee law is a means of allowing a qualified defendant who is convicted of or pleads guilty to an offense to avoid having a recorded conviction for the offense if certain conditions are met. To qualify, a defendant must not already have any serious prior convictions and must not have received a judicial diversion in the past. The offense must also be an eligible offense. Certain offenses are specifically not eligible for this resolution. A DUI offense is not eligible for diversion in Tennessee. In the recent case of State v. Jones, M2013-00938-CCA-R3-CD (Tenn.Crim.App. 8-20-2014), the Court of Criminal Appeals has ruled that the crime of vehicular assault, though not expressly excluded by statute, is also not eligible for judicial diversion, as it contains the lesser included offense of DUI, which is expressly ineligible.

Vehicular Assault Non-Eligible for Judicial Diversion

Judicial diversion in Tennessee law is a means of allowing a qualified defendant who is convicted of or pleads guilty to an offense to avoid having a recorded conviction for the offense if certain conditions are met. To qualify, a defendant must not already have any serious prior convictions and must not have received a judicial diversion in the past. The offense must also be an eligible offense. Certain offenses are specifically not eligible for this resolution. A DUI offense is not eligible for diversion in Tennessee. In the recent case of State v. Jones, M2013-00938-CCA-R3-CD (Tenn.Crim.App. 8-20-2014), the Court of Criminal Appeals has ruled that the crime of vehicular assault, though not expressly excluded by statute, is also not eligible for judicial diversion, as it contains the lesser included offense of DUI, which is expressly ineligible.

Tennessee man pleads guilty to vehicular homicide and DUI

A soldier who was walking home late one night was hit and left for dead by a fellow soldier. The man who was later located and charged with vehicular homicide just recently entered a guilty plea. The decision was made after the Tennessee prosecutor told the family that the state could not pursue the case.

A Tennessee drunk driving charge could get costly

When a person has been charged with a DUI or similar offense, there could be many consequences, especially if the state were to gain a conviction. However, one of the harsher penalties associated with a drunk driving charge is the monetary cost. Furthermore, Tennessee laws have increasingly hefty costs with subsequent charges.

Warrantless Searches of Parolees Are Reasonable

In criminal cases in the United States, warrantless searches generally require some established exception to the warrant requirement in order to be considered reasonable. Consent is one exception. In Tennessee, a person granted parole is required to consent to being subject to warrantless searches as one of the conditions of being on parole. Both the United States Supreme Court and the Tennessee Supreme Court have determined this requirement to be reasonable and constitutional. In the recent Tennessee case of State v. Cotham, M2012-01150-CCA-R3-CD (Tenn.Crim.App. 7-31-2014), the Court of Criminal Appeals affirmed a trial court ruling that a defendant subject to parole supervision in Tennessee had no legal basis to contest a warrantless acquisition of cell phone tracking data which led to the discovery of further evidence.

Warrantless Searches of Parolees Are Reasonable

In criminal cases in the United States, warrantless searches generally require some established exception to the warrant requirement in order to be considered reasonable. Consent is one exception. In Tennessee, a person granted parole is required to consent to being subject to warrantless searches as one of the conditions of being on parole. Both the United States Supreme Court and the Tennessee Supreme Court have determined this requirement to be reasonable and constitutional. In the recent Tennessee case of State v. Cotham, M2012-01150-CCA-R3-CD (Tenn.Crim.App. 7-31-2014), the Court of Criminal Appeals affirmed a trial court ruling that a defendant subject to parole supervision in Tennessee had no legal basis to contest a warrantless acquisition of cell phone tracking data which led to the discovery of further evidence.

Tennessee man charged in accident faces punishments if convicted

A 35-year-old driver has been arrested and is facing several charges after his vehicle allegedly struck a motorcyclist and he fled the accident scene. Tennessee officials have filed vehicular assault charges and additional accusations related to this incident. If he were to be convicted on these charges, he would likely face harsh punishments and other consequences.

Man, 20, charged with drunk driving into Tennessee home

A 20-year-old Tennessee man has recently been arrested after purportedly driving his vehicle into a family's home. The man has been charged with drunk driving and authorities have stated that he will be facing additional charges in connection with this incident. He has since been released from custody after posting bail.

DNA Evidence Admissible Under Independent Source Doctrine

The 'independent source' doctrine may come into play when evaluating the admissibility of evidence in a  criminal trial. The doctrine, similar to the doctrine of inevitable discovery, allows for the admissibility of evidence which may have been obtained by unlawful means when the same evidence was also obtained by lawful means independent of any illegality. A typical example may be when evidence inside a residence is discovered by an unlawful entry and then also subsequently discovered during the execution of a valid warrant, based upon facts independent of anything discovered from the unlawful entry. In the recent Tennessee case of State v. Hernandez, M2013-01321-CCA-R3-CD (Tenn.Crim.App. 7-29-2014), the Court of Criminal Appeals relied upon the independent source doctrine to affirm the admissibility of DNA evidence initially obtained unlawfully.

DNA Evidence Admissible Under Independent Source Doctrine

The 'independent source' doctrine may come into play when evaluating the admissibility of evidence in a  criminal trial. The doctrine, similar to the doctrine of inevitable discovery, allows for the admissibility of evidence which may have been obtained by unlawful means when the same evidence was also obtained by lawful means independent of any illegality. A typical example may be when evidence inside a residence is discovered by an unlawful entry and then also subsequently discovered during the execution of a valid warrant, based upon facts independent of anything discovered from the unlawful entry. In the recent Tennessee case of State v. Hernandez, M2013-01321-CCA-R3-CD (Tenn.Crim.App. 7-29-2014), the Court of Criminal Appeals relied upon the independent source doctrine to affirm the admissibility of DNA evidence initially obtained unlawfully.

DNA Evidence Admissible Under Independent Source Doctrine

The 'independent source' doctrine may come into play when evaluating the admissibility of evidence in a  criminal trial. The doctrine, similar to the doctrine of inevitable discovery, allows for the admissibility of evidence which may have been obtained by unlawful means when the same evidence was also obtained by lawful means independent of any illegality. A typical example may be when evidence inside a residence is discovered by an unlawful entry and then also subsequently discovered during the execution of a valid warrant, based upon facts independent of anything discovered from the unlawful entry. In the recent Tennessee case of State v. Hernandez, M2013-01321-CCA-R3-CD (Tenn.Crim.App. 7-29-2014), the Court of Criminal Appeals relied upon the independent source doctrine to affirm the admissibility of DNA evidence initially obtained unlawfully.

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