Evidence and Procedure

I have a confession. I love to read John Grisham’s books. I just finished Sycamore Row. It was a great story. Many of the characters were from Grisham’s first book . Jake  Brigance returns  to try a will contest case. The trial revisits emotions from a time long ago. I  highly recommend the book.

A battle is being fought in the Vanderbilt football players rape trial. However , the battle is not between the accused verses the government. It is The Tennessean verses Metro Police. The Tennessean issued a request pursuant to the Tennessee Open Records Act . Metro Police issued a denial of the records request based upon

Walter Roche wrote a nice article in the Tennessean yesterday on the new bail bond law. The first version of the bill limited the bail bond company’s exposure to one year on a misdemeanor and two years on a felony. If the case was not concluded , the accused had to make a new bond. Now, most folks think one year is enough time to settle a case. However , blood tests for drugged driving cases take up to forty weeks and sometimes longer to get a result. The bill that was passed let a bail bond company off the hook once a defendant pleaded guilty .The effect is that a person has to make a new bond or go to jail until the sentencing hearing. Folks that made a bond before the law went into effect probably were not told what would happen.

I am proud that the Davidson County Criminal Court Judges stepped up to the plate to create some fairness in the system.The court order requires the bail bondsmen to notify their clients if they intend to go off a person’s bond at plea. I should also state that most bail bond companies in Nashville are remaining on the bail bond after plea. I do understand the bail bondsmen position.Maybe a little communication is in order . My proposal is just to notify the bail bondsmen or bonds women that a plea was entered and a sentencing date is set. For those not in the criminal justice system , a plea of guilty to certain crimes carries a automatic revocation of bond like rape. Most folks at a sentencing hearing are eligible for some type of alternative sentencing.Continue Reading New Tennessee Bail Bond Law Creates Chaos

The purpose of a  bail bond is to release a person charged with a crime from jail. In exchange , the accused promises to make all their court dates subject to the bail bond being forfeited upon a failure to appear. What happens when the courts set an excessive or punitive bond to punish those

Recently , there has been some discussions among Tennessee criminal defense lawyers about a motion that has been filed by a Tennessee prosecutor. An Assistant District Attorney has filed a motion in limine to preclude the defense attorney from referring to the state’s attorney as " The Government’ during trial. The motion asserts that referring

It is October 1, and the U.S.Supreme Court is back in session after the summer break. Now if only Justice Thomas will ask a question during arguments. It is a full docket for the court on issues that effect criminal defense lawyers. Here is a brief list of the cases that might impact you in

The United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit is scheduled to reconsider today whether California violates the Fourth Amendment’s prohibition against searches and seizures by requiring police to take DNA samples from those arrested but not yet convicted. California’s law is designed to accurately identify those arrested , solve crimes , and exonerate

One of the routine questions I am asked is" what is an arraignment ."  An arraignment  is that stage of the criminal proceedings where a defendant is called upon by name to enter a plea. It is at this stage of the case where the defendant is to provide notice to the defendant that a

Lawyers and Judges are struggling with the explosion of social media in the courtroom. Recently , a Virginia judge sanctioned a lawyer over $500,000.00 for advising a client to delete a facebook account in a civil case. Most states have a theory of law in civil cases called spoliation of the evidence. Basically , one

Certain criminal convictions can be used to attack the credibility of witnesses during trial. It is commonly referred to a impeachment evidence. In some trials , it is who the judge or jury believes that makes the difference. In many cases such as a domestic violence charge, no one witnesses the alleged charge except the parties.