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Crimes Targeting Different Victims are Never Incidental

A single criminal case may include different victims, multiple victims, and/or multiple offenses. This can complicate the analysis of double jeopardy questions and due process when attempting to distinguish which convictions should merge and which are separate offenses. For example, Tennessee courts in recent years have been attempting to answer the question of whether a kidnapping can ever be incidental to a robbery, rape or assault when the kidnapping conviction relates to a different victim than the robbery, rape or assault. Different panels of the Court of Criminal Appeals had arrived at different conclusions. The state Supreme Court has, this week, settled the question with the ruling that offenses involving specific victims can never be 'incidental' to each other when they apply to different victims.

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