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Evidence Archives

Conviction Affirmed Despite Use of Evidence of Other Crimes

Generally, evidence of other crimes or bad acts is not admissible in a criminal trial in Tennessee when its only purpose would be to prove conforming conduct (under the reasoning that a jury should consider only the offense charged and not other bad things the accused may have done). However, it may admissible if relevant for other reasons ... such as to establish motive, a common scheme or plan, identity, or absence of mistake or accident. Upon request by the objecting party, a trial court should hold a jury out hearing to determine the admissibility of the evidence in question. In the recent case of State v. Grimes, W2014-00786-CCA-R3-CD (Tenn.Crim.App. 6-26-2015), the Tennessee Court of Criminal Appeals, in a split decision, affirmed a conviction for aggravated sexual battery despite the introduction of evidence of other crimes or bad acts not charged in the indictment and which occurred outside the jurisdiction of the trial court.

Blood Evidence Admissible by Implied Consent

Circumstances under which evidence from a warrantless blood draw of a person suspected of driving under the influence (DUI) have been the subject of much legal argument since the U.S. Supreme Court decision in Missouri v. McNeely (2013), finding that exigent circumstances do not always justify warrantless blood draws in DUIcases. Tennessee law mandates a blood draw under certain circumstances. But, when that blood draw occurs without first obtaining a warrant, it still must occur pursuant to a constitutional exception to the warrant requirement. Tennessee has an implied consent law. Though it appears that implied consent may be withdrawn before a blood draw occurs, the recent Tennessee case of State v. Reynolds, E2013-02309-CCA-R9-CD (Tenn.Crim.App. 11-12-2014) determined that when implied consent is not actively withdrawn and the blood draw not specifically refused, it can occur pursuant to the consent exception to the warrant requirement.

Blood Evidence Admissible by Implied Consent

Circumstances under which evidence from a warrantless blood draw of a person suspected of driving under the influence (DUI) have been the subject of much legal argument since the U.S. Supreme Court decision in Missouri v. McNeely (2013), finding that exigent circumstances do not always justify warrantless blood draws in DUIcases. Tennessee law mandates a blood draw under certain circumstances. But, when that blood draw occurs without first obtaining a warrant, it still must occur pursuant to a constitutional exception to the warrant requirement. Tennessee has an implied consent law. Though it appears that implied consent may be withdrawn before a blood draw occurs, the recent Tennessee case of State v. Reynolds, E2013-02309-CCA-R9-CD (Tenn.Crim.App. 11-12-2014) determined that when implied consent is not actively withdrawn and the blood draw not specifically refused, it can occur pursuant to the consent exception to the warrant requirement.

Inadequate Record of the Evidence Results in Dismissal of Appeal

Evidence introduced in a criminal trial is usually preserved by a transcript of the witness testimony and preservation of exhibits. Using a good court reporter is the preferred and most reliable way of recording the witness testimony. However, if no court reporter is present to create a transcript of the testimony, it is still possible to file a written statement of the evidence, agreed to by the parties, with disputes resolved by the trial court judge. Though people convicted of a crime at trial have a right of appeal of that conviction, an appellate court can only review the case if there is a reliable record of what happened in the trial court. In the recent Tennessee case of State v. Reller, E2012-01842-CCA-R3-CD (Tenn.Crim.App. 8-6-2013), an appeal of a criminal conviction was dismissed because there was no transcript or statement of the evidence in the record for the appellate court to review.

Inadequate Record of the Evidence Results in Dismissal of Appeal

Evidence introduced in a criminal trial is usually preserved by a transcript of the witness testimony and preservation of exhibits. Using a good court reporter is the preferred and most reliable way of recording the witness testimony. However, if no court reporter is present to create a transcript of the testimony, it is still possible to file a written statement of the evidence, agreed to by the parties, with disputes resolved by the trial court judge. Though people convicted of a crime at trial have a right of appeal of that conviction, an appellate court can only review the case if there is a reliable record of what happened in the trial court. In the recent Tennessee case of State v. Reller, E2012-01842-CCA-R3-CD (Tenn.Crim.App. 8-6-2013), an appeal of a criminal conviction was dismissed because there was no transcript or statement of the evidence in the record for the appellate court to review.

Inadequate Record of the Evidence Results in Dismissal of Appeal

Evidence introduced in a criminal trial is usually preserved by a transcript of the witness testimony and preservation of exhibits. Using a good court reporter is the preferred and most reliable way of recording the witness testimony. However, if no court reporter is present to create a transcript of the testimony, it is still possible to file a written statement of the evidence, agreed to by the parties, with disputes resolved by the trial court judge. Though people convicted of a crime at trial have a right of appeal of that conviction, an appellate court can only review the case if there is a reliable record of what happened in the trial court. In the recent Tennessee case of State v. Reller, E2012-01842-CCA-R3-CD (Tenn.Crim.App. 8-6-2013), an appeal of a criminal conviction was dismissed because there was no transcript or statement of the evidence in the record for the appellate court to review.

Appellate Court Reverses Exclusion of Evidence

Evidence obtained as a result of an unlawful arrest is generally not admissible at trial. If evidence was obtained as a result of a defendant's arrest, and there is reason to challenge the legality of that arrest, this is an issue which should be determined by the trial court before the trial of the case. For an arrest to be legal, there must exist, at the time of the arrest, probable cause to believe the defendant has committed a crime for which a person may be arrested. In the recent case of State v. Kennedy, M2012-00755-R10-CD (Tenn.Crim.App. 6-28-13), a trial court had excluded evidence obtained as a result of the defendant's arrest for second offense driving under the influence (DUI). However, on an interlocutory appeal by the state, the Tennessee Court of Criminal Appeals reversed the trial court ruling due to the trial court applying an incorrect legal standard, and remanded for reconsideration of whether there was probable cause for arrest.

Appellate Court Reverses Exclusion of Evidence

Evidence obtained as a result of an unlawful arrest is generally not admissible at trial. If evidence was obtained as a result of a defendant's arrest, and there is reason to challenge the legality of that arrest, this is an issue which should be determined by the trial court before the trial of the case. For an arrest to be legal, there must exist, at the time of the arrest, probable cause to believe the defendant has committed a crime for which a person may be arrested. In the recent case of State v. Kennedy, M2012-00755-R10-CD (Tenn.Crim.App. 6-28-13), a trial court had excluded evidence obtained as a result of the defendant's arrest for second offense driving under the influence (DUI). However, on an interlocutory appeal by the state, the Tennessee Court of Criminal Appeals reversed the trial court ruling due to the trial court applying an incorrect legal standard, and remanded for reconsideration of whether there was probable cause for arrest.

Appellate Court Reverses Exclusion of Evidence

Evidence obtained as a result of an unlawful arrest is generally not admissible at trial. If evidence was obtained as a result of a defendant's arrest, and there is reason to challenge the legality of that arrest, this is an issue which should be determined by the trial court before the trial of the case. For an arrest to be legal, there must exist, at the time of the arrest, probable cause to believe the defendant has committed a crime for which a person may be arrested. In the recent case of State v. Kennedy, M2012-00755-R10-CD (Tenn.Crim.App. 6-28-13), a trial court had excluded evidence obtained as a result of the defendant's arrest for second offense driving under the influence (DUI). However, on an interlocutory appeal by the state, the Tennessee Court of Criminal Appeals reversed the trial court ruling due to the trial court applying an incorrect legal standard, and remanded for reconsideration of whether there was probable cause for arrest.

Evidence Sufficient to Affirm Conviction for Rape of a Child

In a criminal trial with conflicting evidence, it is the role of the jury to resolve the evidentiary conflicts and arrive at a conclusion as to guilt or acquittal. On appeal, appellate courts do not consider whether they agree or disagree with the jury's resolution of conflicting facts and evidence. Appellate courts review to determine whether there was evidence from which the jury could reasonably have reached its conclusions of guilt (jury acquittals are not appealable in the United States). In the recent case of State v. Pantaleon, M2012-00575-CCA-R3-CD (Tenn.Criim.App. 4-25-2013), the Tennessee Court of Criminal Appeals concluded the evidence was sufficient to support the Defendant's convictions for rape of a child and aggravated sexual battery.

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