Hindman & Lanzon Hindman & Lanzon
Call for a Free Consultation
865-223-6450

Posts tagged "premeditation"

Expert Testimony Not Admissible to Establish "Heat of Passion"

Expert testimony may be used in criminal trials in Tennessee when it can substantially assist the trier of fact to understand the evidence or to determine a fact at issue. It is not uncommon for there to be evidentiary disputes about whether a particular expert's testimony on a particular subject does that. A trial court judge, guided by legal precedent, must ultimately determine whether particular expert testimony will be admissible. Then the trier of fact (a jury in most criminal trials) must determine how much weight to afford that evidence. In Tennessee criminal trials for first degree premeditated murder, the defense may present expert testimony regarding the defendant's mental state only if the expert testimony can conclude that the defendant 1) suffered from a specific mental disease or defect; and 2) was unable to form premeditation as a result of that mental disease or defect. If the proffered expert(s) on the defendant's mental state does not reach both these conclusions, the testimony will be inadmissible. Additionally, the expert may not testify on the question of whether he or she believes the defendant experienced "sufficient provocation" or acted in the "heat of passion," as those determinations are not scientific or medical conclusions.

Expert Testimony Not Admissible to Establish "Heat of Passion"

Expert testimony may be used in criminal trials in Tennessee when it can substantially assist the trier of fact to understand the evidence or to determine a fact at issue. It is not uncommon for there to be evidentiary disputes about whether a particular expert's testimony on a particular subject does that. A trial court judge, guided by legal precedent, must ultimately determine whether particular expert testimony will be admissible. Then the trier of fact (a jury in most criminal trials) must determine how much weight to afford that evidence. In Tennessee criminal trials for first degree premeditated murder, the defense may present expert testimony regarding the defendant's mental state only if the expert testimony can conclude that the defendant 1) suffered from a specific mental disease or defect; and 2) was unable to form premeditation as a result of that mental disease or defect. If the proffered expert(s) on the defendant's mental state does not reach both these conclusions, the testimony will be inadmissible. Additionally, the expert may not testify on the question of whether he or she believes the defendant experienced "sufficient provocation" or acted in the "heat of passion," as those determinations are not scientific or medical conclusions.

State Supreme Court Reinstates Jury Finding of Premeditation

In Tennessee,  proof of premeditation to kill is required for a criminal conviction of premeditated first degree murder (though not under a 'felony murder' theory of first degree murder) or attempted first degree murder.  There is a substantial distinction in punishment between homicides or attempted homicides which are premeditated and those which are not. In the recent case of State v. Dickson, E2010-01781-SC-R11-CD (Tenn. 10-8-2013), the Tennessee Supreme Court reinstated a jury conviction for attempted first degree murder after the Court of Criminal Appeals had reduced the conviction.

State Supreme Court Reinstates Jury Finding of Premeditation

In Tennessee,  proof of premeditation to kill is required for a criminal conviction of premeditated first degree murder (though not under a 'felony murder' theory of first degree murder) or attempted first degree murder.  There is a substantial distinction in punishment between homicides or attempted homicides which are premeditated and those which are not. In the recent case of State v. Dickson, E2010-01781-SC-R11-CD (Tenn. 10-8-2013), the Tennessee Supreme Court reinstated a jury conviction for attempted first degree murder after the Court of Criminal Appeals had reduced the conviction.

State Supreme Court Reinstates Jury Finding of Premeditation

In Tennessee,  proof of premeditation to kill is required for a criminal conviction of premeditated first degree murder (though not under a 'felony murder' theory of first degree murder) or attempted first degree murder.  There is a substantial distinction in punishment between homicides or attempted homicides which are premeditated and those which are not. In the recent case of State v. Dickson, E2010-01781-SC-R11-CD (Tenn. 10-8-2013), the Tennessee Supreme Court reinstated a jury conviction for attempted first degree murder after the Court of Criminal Appeals had reduced the conviction.

map map

Hindman & Lanzon
550 West Main Street
Suite 550
Knoxville, TN 37902

Toll Free: 866-383-1545
Phone: 865-223-6450
Fax: 865-521-6371
Knoxville Law Office Map