The Tennessee State Legislature has a habit of enacting new criminal laws on an isolated incident that occurred in someone’s legislative district. The practice creates terrible laws. I read a great quote recently from an outgoing U.S Senator. " Legislatures should govern not campaign." Tennessee State Legislator Jeremy Faison tweeted that the death penalty

In more than three dozen cases across the country,  rap lyrics are  playing a major role in criminal trials. Gangsta rap is a genre of rap music that embraces a violence, drug deals, and shootings. The explosion in the use of rap lyrics at trial are causing some criminal defense lawyers concern. The lyrics

Patriots tight end Aaron Hernandez has been charged with murder . While his lawyer Michael Fee puts his spin that "it is a circumstantial evidence case;it is not a strong case." I disagree with Mr.Fee based upon what is reported in the news.

Mr.Hernandez was caught in large part based on the newest weapon in

Craig Garber pleaded guilty to a triple murder in Nashville,Tn. yesterday. Mr.Garber was facing the death penalty. Nashville’s District Attorney’s Office made the decision to offer a plea bargain agreement where Mr.Garber must  serve three consecutive life sentences.Mr.Garber will be eligible to get out in 153 years. There were several reasons why the District Attorney’s

For some reason , I follow foreign  criminal trials. It always amazes me the difference between our criminal justice system and those around the world. Italians make great wine and fine clothes but the criminal justice system is noting like the American system.

Amanda Knox was convicted of murder in Italy.Then , Knox’s murder

Montana has a Castle Doctrine as a defense to a murder charge.  However, it is currently being reexamined.  Heather Fredenberg had an affair with Brice Harper. Her husband, Dan Fredenberg, found out about the affair and went to Mr. Harper’s house to confront him.  Mr. Fredenburg walked though a open garage door where he was shot and

I had not followed the Drew Peterson murder trial until a friend asked me if I thought he was guilty. I did not know much until the verdict came down. It appears some hearsay evidence persuaded the jurors to return a guilty verdict.  A new rule of evidence was passed in 2008 which allowed some

Rutherford County Tennessee Circuit Judge Don Ash issued two key rulings in the murder trial of Shanterrica Madden . First , the court issued a gag order . The Government moved the court for the gag order which would prohibit the attorneys from publicly discussing the case. The state asked for the gag order to "ensure the jury pool is not tainted " . It is unusual for a court to issue a gag order in most criminal cases.

The court had already granted a motion for a change of venue . A request for a change in venue is a written motion seeking to have the jury pool made up of folks from another county . It is most common in high profile capital murder cases where there has been intense pretrial publicity. Rule 21 of the Tennessee Rules of Criminal Procedure sets out the procedure. The court may change venue on the defendant’s motion or on its own initiative with the defendant’s consent. The key point that the court must consider when deciding the motion for a change of venue is when a fair trial is unlikely because of undue excitement against the defendant in the county where the offense was committed.

The Tennessee Criminal  Court of Appeals has adopted several factors the court can consider when granting a motion for a change of venue ;

1. The nature, extent, and timing of pretrial publicity.

2. The nature of publicity as fair or inflammatory.

3. The particular content of the publicity.

4. The degree to which the publicity complained of has permeated the area

from which the venire is drawn.

5. The degree to which the publicity circulated outside the area from

which the venire is drawn.

6. The time elapsed from the release of the publicity until the trial.

7. The participation by police or by prosecution in the release of publicity.

8. The severity of the offense charged.

9. The absence or presence of threats, demonstrations, or other hostility

against the defendant.

10. Size of the area from which the venire is drawn.

11. Affidavits, hearsay or opinion testimony of witnesses.Continue Reading Murfreesboro Judge Issues Gag Order In MTSU Murder Trial

Yesterday , I watched and waited on whether the execution of Troy Davis would be stayed . It was not and Troy Davis was put to death.  In the days before his execution , public interest swelled . Protesters , posts on twitter and an outcry to stop the execution. The last minute appeal to