State Supreme Court Says Juror Misconduct Did Not Influence Guilty Verdict In Murder Case

Thursday, May 16, 2013
The Tennessee Supreme Court has affirmed the conviction of a man serving a life sentence for the 2006 first degree premeditated murder of his girlfriend.

On April 16, 2006, Prince Adams was at his mother’s residence in Shelby County and then left with Ohrdra Flowers in her automobile. Two days later, Adams informed his cousin that he had fought with Ms. Flowers and had killed her with his pocketknife after she admitted to an affair with another man. Adams later confessed to the police.

After the jury returned a guilty verdict on the charge of first degree murder, the jury foreman notified the trial judge that he had discovered a note in his hotel room the previous night, indicating that the two alternate jurors thought Adams was guilty as charged. The alternate jurors had been released from service before deliberations began. Claiming misconduct on the part of the alternate jurors, Adams sought a new trial. The trial court denied the request after the foreman testified that the note did not affect his or any other juror’s view of the evidence. The Court of Criminal Appeals upheld the conviction.

The Supreme Court granted the appeal to clarify that the note qualified as an “improper outside communication,” which as a matter of law results in a presumption that the jury was prejudiced and the guilty verdict should be set aside. In a unanimous opinion, the Court held that even though the note was improper, the prosecution had successfully overcome the presumption of prejudice by introducing other evidence to demonstrate that the communication had no effect on the jury’s deliberations.

The Court further observed that under the rules the foreman should not have been allowed to testify about the effect the note had on his view of the evidence, but in this instance there was no reasonable possibility that the verdict was influenced by the note. In reaching this conclusion, the Court considered the nature and content of the communication, the number of jurors who were aware of the note, the manner and timing in which the foreman received the note, and the weight of the remaining evidence at trial.

The Court also rejected Adams’ claims of other errors in the trial. He is serving a life sentence for the murder.

To read the State of Tennessee v. Prince Adams Opinion, authored by Chief Justice Gary R. Wade, visit the Opinions section of TNCourts.gov .


Lookout Mountain, Ga., City Council Agrees On $10 Monthly Sewer Charge

The Lookout Mountain, Ga., City Council on Thursday evening agreed with the idea of a $10 monthly sewer charge. Also up for discussion was the annual millage rate, of which the city has left in place but has not given final approval.  The city council discussed logistics on how to revise billing for repairs done to the grinder pumps located at each residence within the ... (click for more)

Witnesses Say Smith Was Man With Gun At Marriott, 3rd Street McDonald's

In a preliminary hearing before General Sessions Court Judge Clarence Shattuck, witnesses testified that Roderick Smith was the man who came into the downtown Marriott and a McDonald's with a gun, demanding money. Marriott employee Gary Williams said the defendant came into the hotel shortly after 5 a.m on Aug. 12. He said he held a gun straight up in the air and told him to ... (click for more)

Black Creek TIF Decision-Who Guards The Hen House? - And Response

Citizens of Chattanooga were invited to give public comment before their own Industrial Development Board Aug. 15. They arrived to find foxes guarding their hen house.  Many thought the meeting was their opportunity to seek redress in the ill-conceived Black Creek Tax Increment Financing plan. However, they learned it was a sham orchestrated by both the past and present ... (click for more)

Roy Exum: Coaches Vs. ‘Top 25’ Foes

The long-accepted measuring stick for a college football coach has been his win-loss record, with an after-glance at his win-loss record within his conference. But in Wednesday’s editions of the Wall Street Journal, writer David Everson, with the help of Stats LLC, used a much-tougher litmus test when he revealed the records of 65 major-college coaches against opponents that were ... (click for more)

East Ridge's JoJo Tillery Relies Heavily On His Football MoJo

(This is the 15th in a series of preseason stories on new high school football coaches, or veteran coaches at a different school, and top players in the Chattanooga area) The numbers don’t lie. East Ridge quarterback JoJo Tillery can be a nightmare for defensive coordinators. Do they make him run? Or do they want him throw the football? Pick your poison, fellas. ... (click for more)

UTC's Jay Hay Has Found a Football Home

“Without a doubt, I cannot think of a place I would rather be than here at UTC playing football. The veteran players welcomed me this summer as a junior college transfer with open arms.” UTC defensive back Jay Hay It’s been a crazy, at times frustrating and difficult, four-year football journey for Dade County, Fla. native Jeremiah “Jay” ... (click for more)