Jerry Sandusky is going to prison to serve between 30 to 60 years for being convicted of over 40 counts of abusing children. I am not sure of his convictions. The news reports just refer to molesting children or sex abuse. Under Tennessee law, it could be rape of a child or aggravated child abuse. Those crimes carry tough sentences. Rape of a child carries 25 to 40 years to serve at 100%. Aggravated sexual battery carries 8 to 12 years as a Range I offender at 100%.

If Sandusky was sentenced in Nashville, my prediction is that he would have gotten a sentence into the triple digits due to consecutive sentencing. Why? Tennessee allows consecutive sentencing if a defendant has been convicted of two or more statutory offenses involving sexual abuse. Tennessee Code Annotated 40-35-115 sets out when consecutive sentencing applies.

40-35-115. Multiple convictions

(a) If a defendant is convicted of more than one (1) criminal offense, the court shall order sentences to run consecutively or concurrently as provided by the criteria in this section.

(b) The court may order sentences to run consecutively if the court finds by a preponderance of the evidence that:

(1) The defendant is a professional criminal who has knowingly devoted the defendant’s life to criminal acts as a major source of livelihood;

(2) The defendant is an offender whose record of criminal activity is extensive;

(3) The defendant is a dangerous mentally abnormal person so declared by a competent psychiatrist who concludes as a result of an investigation prior to sentencing that the defendant’s criminal conduct has been characterized by a pattern of repetitive or compulsive behavior with heedless indifference to consequences;

(4) The defendant is a dangerous offender whose behavior indicates little or no regard for human life and no hesitation about committing a crime in which the risk to human life is high;

(5) The defendant is convicted of two (2) or more statutory offenses involving sexual abuse of a minor with consideration of the aggravating circumstances arising from the relationship between the defendant and victim or victims, the time span of defendant’s undetected sexual activity, the nature and scope of the sexual acts and the extent of the residual, physical and mental damage to the victim or victims;

(6) The defendant is sentenced for an offense committed while on probation; or

(7) The defendant is sentenced for criminal contempt.

(c) The finding concerning the imposition of consecutive or concurrent sentences is appealable by either party.

(d) Sentences shall be ordered to run concurrently if the criteria noted in subsection (b) are not met, unless consecutive sentences are specifically required by statute or the Tennessee Rules of Criminal Procedure.

A Tennessee judge imposing a sentence could have given Sandusky time in the triple digits at 100%.

That is why it is important to file a motion for a severance of counts in a Tennessee sex crimes case. More on a motion to sever later…