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


New Hamilton County Businesses

Here are the new business licenses from the County Clerk's office: AMERICAN AUCTION TRANSPORTERS SERVICE 1815 E 23RD ST CHATTANOOGA, TN 37404 AMERICAN TOWING 3515 CLIO AVENUE CHATTANOOGA, TN 37407 BEFORE AND AFTER AUTO DETAILING 14514 DAYTON PIKE SALE CREEK, TN 37373 CCC SERVICES 8428 W CRABTREE RD HIXSON, TN 37343 CHATTANOOGA RETAIL 8346 ... (click for more)

Association Of Fundraising Professionals' Southeastern Chapter To Hold Membership Meeting May 27

The Southeastern Chapter of the Association of Fundraising Professionals (AFP) will hold its monthly membership meeting on  Wednesday, May 27  at the Mountain City Club, located at 729 Chestnut Street, from 11:30 a.m.-1:30 p.m .   This month’s guest speaker is Lynne Wester, Founder and Principal of Donor Relations Guru. Ms. Wester is a frequent conference ... (click for more)

Unexpected Amount East Ridge Owes On Fire Hall Property Rises To $603,000; City To Apply For Reimbursement

The unexpected amount the city of East Ridge will owe the state on the fire hall property in connection with the Bass Pro development has risen to $603,000. Earlier, East Ridge officials said the payment would be $428,000. City Manager Andrew Hyatt said Monday, "The Tennessee Department of Transportation notified the city of East Ridge that an appraisal of the city’s former ... (click for more)

Fire Breaks Out At House Off Highway 58

A fire broke out on Memorial Day afternoon at a house off Highway 58. A 911 call was made at 12:10 p.m. reporting a house fire at 6019 Hillcrest Dr. The Highway 58 Volunteer Fire Department responded and found fire showing on an addition to the house. Firefighters worked quickly entering the addition to extinguish the fire from spreading to the main level of the house. ... (click for more)

A Memorial Day Reflection

I wish I could find that combination of words that would capture an inclusive meaning of Memorial Day.  I have attended many Memorial Day programs at the Chattanooga National Cemetery, so many that now they have merged into one memory.  But what stands out is that each year there are more friends and veterans to visit.  Some gave their all many years ago.  And ... (click for more)

Roy Exum: Two More Kick Out UAW

Woody Hayes, the great Ohio State football coach, used to teach his players to “paralyze resistance with persistence” but, my word, the likable theory has taken quite a beating in the past two years at the NTN-Bower ball-bearing plant in Hamilton, Ala. The workers there voted to decertify from the United Auto Workers union two years ago but getting the UAW out the door has turned ... (click for more)