Supreme Court Rules Constitutional Protection Will Not Apply Retroactively To Guilty Plea

Tuesday, January 28, 2014

The Tennessee Supreme Court has declined to set aside a 13-year-old guilty plea in which the defendant was never told the full extent of his punishment. In doing so, the Court determined that a statute passed in 1995 severely limited the ability of prisoners and parolees to obtain the benefit of newly recognized constitutional rights.

Derrick Brandon Bush pleaded guilty to sexual attempt crimes in Sumner County in 2000. His plea bargain called for a sentence of one year of confinement followed by seven years of probation.

A Tennessee law also required that Mr. Bush be placed on lifetime community supervision, a type of parole. However, neither the trial judge nor Mr. Bush’s attorney informed him of this additional sentence. The sentence was added to judgment forms that Mr. Bush did not see until he finished his time in jail.

In 2010, the Supreme Court held in Ward v. State that a failure to inform a criminal defendant that his guilty plea would result in automatic lifetime supervision was a constitutional violation that could invalidate a guilty plea. Relying on this new ruling, Mr. Bush filed a petition for post-conviction relief in 2011 and asked the trial court to set aside his conviction. Under Tennessee’s post-conviction law, however, Mr. Bush could only receive the benefit of the Ward decision if the Ward decision applied retroactively to old convictions.

In a unanimous opinion, the Supreme Court held that its Ward decision did not apply retroactively. The Court pointed out that retroactivity decisions in post-conviction cases should be decided using a 1995 law that limited the types of cases that should be applied retroactively.  Because the Ward decision did not meet this law's standards, it should not be applied retroactively.

To read the Opinion in Derrick Brandon Bush v. State of Tennessee, authored by Justice William C. Koch Jr., visit the Opinions section of TNCourts.gov


Causeway Selects Top 20 Ideas To Receive $2,500 Each To Create A More Connected City

Causeway, a local non-profit that brings people together to share resources and ideas to create the change they want for our community, is wrapping up the first  ‘Causeway Challenge’, a competitive grant making program that awards $2,500 to twenty ideas that will make Chattanooga a more connected city. Applications were open August 1-29, and the panel of five community ... (click for more)

101 Mobility Of Chattanooga Now Open

101 Mobility of Knoxville has expanded into the Chattanooga area to better serve the needs of those living with disabilities and those wishing to age-in-place. 101 Mobility of Knoxville and now   101 Mobility of Chattanooga   are both local resources for mobility and accessibility solutions owned and operated by Dave Dean and Keith Kregel.   Area customers ... (click for more)

Sewell Says City, EPB "Close" On Amount Owed By Utility To City On Street Light Overbilling

City Internal Auditor Stan Sewell told City Council members on Tuesday that EPB and the city are "close" on the amount owed by the utility to the city on street light overbilling. Mr. Sewell said the city computed the amount at about $1.2 million, while he said EPB's auditing firm, Mauldin and Jenkins, has it at $1.5 million for an 89-month period that was audited. Mr. Sewell ... (click for more)

City Council Votes 5-4 On New Process For Naming IDB Members

The City Council voted Tuesday night 5-4 to set up a new process for naming members to the Industrial Development Board (IDB), which currently has four vacancies. The process includes three City Council panels: A (Districts 1, 2, 3), B (Districts 4, 5, 6), and C (Districts 7, 8, 9). Group A will fill two of the vacancies and Groups B and C one each. Agreement ... (click for more)

Dirt Decision At Camp Jordan May Come Back To Haunt East Ridge Councilmen

Wow. I thought the arrival of Bass Pro Shop would help bring East Ridge back to a position of prominence in the Chattanooga area, but the Council proved otherwise last night.  To the council - There is a reason that the developers want that dirt: It's valuable . You currently own it and the developer wants it. Bass Pro has already agreed to set up shop. They were going ... (click for more)

Roy Exum: I’m Certainly No Expert

Sometime on Monday night, after I had written a piece on getting swatted with a switch as a kid, I got an email from ESPN Canada asking if I would be a televised guest on “Off the Record,” the most watched daily sports show in Canada. The subject: corporal punishment in America. Are you kidding me? I am hardly an expert. All weekend my world of sports and its excitement was warped ... (click for more)