State Supreme Court Denies Appeals On Behalf Of Paul Dennis Reid

Thursday, January 24, 2013

The Tennessee Supreme Court has held that advocates for convicted serial killer Paul Dennis Reid may not continue appealing his convictions in state court against his wishes, despite claims he is not competent to abandon his appeals.

In 1997, Reid committed three armed robberies in Nashville and Clarksville during which he killed seven people. Reid received seven death sentences, after juries in Nashville and Clarksville convicted him of especially aggravated robbery and premeditated first degree murder.

In 2003, just before his first scheduled execution date, Reid filed a petition for post-conviction relief, seeking a new trial on three of his robbery and murder convictions. Later, he changed his mind about seeking relief and insisted that he had resigned himself to being executed and that he no longer desired to seek new trials. Despite Reid’s decision, his appointed attorneys and his sister filed petitions on his behalf in all of his cases. They asserted that Reid lacked the mental competency to abandon his post-conviction appeals.

The courts in Nashville and Clarksville conducted separate hearings in 2008. Both courts decided that Reid’s sister and his lawyers had failed to prove that Reid was not mentally competent to decide whether to pursue new trials. Thus, they dismissed the petitions seeking post-conviction relief that had been filed on Mr. Reid’s behalf by his sister and his lawyers. The Court of Criminal Appeals affirmed these decisions in 2011.

In a unanimous opinion, the Supreme Court affirmed the decisions of the trial courts and the Court of Criminal Appeals. Despite the evidence of Reid’s brain damage and mental health issues, the Court agreed with the lower courts that his sister and attorneys failed to present clear and convincing evidence that he is incompetent to make his own legal decisions. The Court’s opinion also clarifies the standards and procedures to be used to determine mental competency in post-conviction cases.

To read the opinion in Paul Dennis Reid v. State of Tennessee, authored by Justice William C. Koch, Jr., visit the Opinions section of TNCourts.gov


Sen. Alexander Urges TVA Not To Raise Tennesseans’ Electric Bills To Buy Power It Doesn’t Need

U.S. Sen. Lamar Alexander (R-Tenn.) urged the Tennessee Valley Authority (TVA) not to purchase power from the Clean Line Energy Partners’ proposed Plains and Eastern Clean Line wind energy transmission project, which would “carry comparatively more expensive, less reliable electricity to Tennessee and other southeastern states.” In a speech on the Senate floor, Alexander ... (click for more)

Big Creek Utility District Among Those Awarded Over $14.2 Million In Water And Wastewater Construction Loans

Big Creek Utility District was among those Governor Bill Haslam and Tennessee Department of Environment and Conservation Commissioner Bob Martineau announced Wednesday of three communities and two utility districts that have been approved to receive over $14.2 million in low-interest loans for water and wastewater infrastructure improvements.   “The State Revolving Fund ... (click for more)

City Council Winner Anthony Byrd Told He Cannot Continue Working At The County And Be On City Post; Resigns At Criminal Court Clerk's Office

Anthony Byrd, who upset City Council Chairman Moses Freeman in the District 8 council race, has been told that under the city charter he cannot remain on his county job and hold the city post. Mr. Byrd has worked in the Criminal Court Clerk's office for the past 22 years. Criminal Court Clerk Vince Dean said Mr. Byrd got the news of the ruling on Tuesday. He said, "No one ... (click for more)

Judges Say Judge Bales Has Not Signed Letter To Governor On Medical Disability; They Can't Find Him

General Sessions Court Judge Gary Starnes said fellow Judge David Bales apparently has not yet signed a letter to the governor saying he plans to take medical disability. Judge Starnes said, "We can't reach him. He does not answer any of our calls or texts." He added, "We are concerned about his well-being." Judge Bales last Friday, after a sit-down meeting with the other ... (click for more)

Repeal Obamacare, Congressman Fleischmann - And Response

Chuck: I'm writing to express my strong opposition to the plan that is being rolled out by Paul Ryan to replace Obamacare. And as I'm writing this, I'm remembering all the times you and all of your Republican colleagues over the last six years campaigned on REPEALING  Obamacare and used that call to action as the basis for your reelection. And I'm also remembering the ... (click for more)

Roy Exum: You, The Bald-Headed Lady

You were wearing a pretty sweat shirt and blue jeans when I saw you outside the Infusion Center at Erlanger Hospital on Wednesday. You were the one who was nearly bald and I was the guy you greeted with a huge smile as we said hello in passing. You reminded me exactly of my brother Franklin. Years ago when chemotherapy began to rob him of his hair, Franklin was pretty devastated ... (click for more)