Tennessee Supreme Court Rejects Due Process Analysis

Adopts Double Jeopardy For Multiple Offenses From Same Sexual Assault

Friday, August 25, 2017

The Supreme Court has ruled that multiple convictions for sexual offenses arising from a single act of sexual assault should be analyzed under double jeopardy principles.  In reaching this conclusion, the Court overruled its prior decision in State v. Barney, 986 S.W.2d 545 (Tenn. 1999), which held that such cases should be reviewed under a due process approach. 

This case arose from multiple instances of sexual molestation of a twelve-year-old girl by her step-father, the defendant, from January 1, 2010, through July 31, 2012.   The State provided an election of offenses, given that the victim testified to more instances than were charged. 

The defendant was convicted of attempt to commit aggravated sexual battery, four counts of aggravated sexual battery, and three counts of rape of a child.  He received an effective 40-year sentence.  On appeal, the Court of Criminal Appeals, relying on Barney, merged the conviction of attempt to commit aggravated sexual battery with one of the convictions for rape of a child based on due process principles. 

The Supreme Court granted the State’s application for permission to appeal to determine whether the Court’s decision in Barney should be overruled and whether the Court of Criminal Appeals properly merged two of the defendant’s convictions.  

In the unanimous opinion authored by Chief Justice Jeff Bivins, the Court overruled Barney because that case examined the propriety of multiple convictions from a single episode of criminal assault under a due process analysis.  As the Court explained, State v. White, 362 S.W.3d 559, 578 (Tenn. 2012), rejected a separate due process analysis on appeal for considering whether dual convictions arising in other settings from an allegedly singular episode were proper.  Although the Court held that White had not actually overruled Barney, it is now appropriate to do so.  The Court concluded that multiple convictions in a sexual assault case should be reviewed based upon principles of double jeopardy.  In so doing, the Court set forth a list of non-exclusive factors to be considered in determining whether multiple convictions arise from a singular act.  After applying the factors in this case, the Court determined that the defendant’s convictions of attempt to commit aggravated sexual battery and one count of rape of a child arose out of the same assault and, thus, violated double jeopardy principles.  Therefore, although for different reasons, the Court affirmed the Court of Criminal Appeals’ decision to merge the two convictions into one conviction of rape of a child. 

To read the Supreme Court’s opinion in State of Tennessee v. Christopher Scottie Itzol-Deleon, authored by Chief Justice Jeff Bivins, go to the opinions section of TNCourts.gov.



AOC Launching New Indigent Representation Payment System In February

The Administrative Office of the Courts will modernize its disbursement system for indigent representation payments to attorneys, interpreters, expert witnesses, and investigators in February 2018. The new AOC Claims and Payment (ACAP) system will replace the Indigent Claim Entry (ICE) system and will allow users to more accurately and efficiently input and track claims for payment.The ... (click for more)

Consistent Cold Temps Boosting EPB Bottom Line

Consistent cold temps are boosting EPB's bottom line, Chief Financial Officer Greg Eaves said. The city utility had $1.1 million in revenues from kilowatt sales in December. It wound up with a positive margin of over $3 million for the month. Mr. Eaves said January "is looking real good as well with consistent cold temperatures." He said the fact that the cold weather ... (click for more)

Ivy Johnson, 23, And Cordarrius Johnson, 26, Shot Early Sunday Morning On Lillian Lane

Ivy Johnson, 23, And Cordarrius Johnson, 26, were shot early Sunday morning.   Chattanooga Police were notified at 4:39 a.m. of two people arriving at a local hospital with gunshot wounds. Upon arrival, police spoke with the two victims who were suffering from non-life threatening gunshot wounds. The victims arrived at the hospital via personal vehicle.   ... (click for more)

2 Top Officials Leave Administration Of Sheriff Eric Watson

Bradley County Sheriff Eric Watson on Sunday announced the resignations of Chief Deputy Brian Smith and Director of Administrations Arnold Botts. He said they "served with distinction for the past four years." The Sheriff's Office said, "Smith notified Sheriff Watson that he is exploring business opportunities in the private sector, while Botts mentioned the timing was right ... (click for more)

DACA Or Amnesty To Become The Majority?

As we have the political drama that we see in D.C. let’s be honest about what DACA is all about. We understand as the liberal policies of abortion, dependency on the government and an anti-American globalist / progressive agenda that many have come to realize these policies no longer represent their core beliefs and have left a certain party. Without an influx of new dependency ... (click for more)

Roy Exum: Rebranding & ‘Culture’

My grandfather, who ran several very successful businesses, was a very astute fellow. I can’t tell you how many times he said, “The worst thing any salesman who calls on a business can say is, ‘I am here to save you some money.’ That’s not true -- In every instance they are in front of you hoping to make some money for themselves, else they would have never come by.” Another ... (click for more)