Tennessee Supreme Court Affirms Mother's Convictions For 1st-Degreee Murder And Aggravated Child Abuse Of Newborn Twins

Friday, July 20, 2018

In a unanimous opinion, the Tennessee Supreme Court affirmed the convictions of Lindsey Lowe for first-degree murder and aggravated child abuse, stemming from the deaths of her newborn twins caused by her smothering the infants shortly after birth. 

Prior to trial, Ms. Lowe moved to suppress evidence obtained under a search warrant, based on the fact that one of the three copies of the search warrant stated the warrant was executed at 11:35 p.m., when the other two copies stated that the warrant was executed at 11:35 a.m.  The trial court denied the motion to suppress, relying on the Exclusionary Rule Reform Act (“the ERRA”). Ms. Lowe raised the suppression issue, and other issues, on appeal following her convictions. The Court of Criminal Appeals affirmed the judgments of the trial court, and the defendant filed an application for permission to appeal to the Tennessee Supreme Court.

The Supreme Court granted appeal in this case to address the issue of whether the ERRA violates the Separation of Powers Clause of the Tennessee Constitution and other alleged errors raised by Ms. Lowe.  The Court also requested briefing on the additional issue of whether the Court should expand the good-faith exception adopted in State v. Davidson to include technical violations during the service of a search warrant when the search is otherwise constitutional.

In its decision, the Court first held that the ERRA encroaches on the judiciary’s authority by legislatively mandating an exception to the exclusionary rule. As a result, the Court held that the statute violates the Separation of Powers Clause of the Tennessee Constitution.  The Court determined that the trial court erred in relying upon the ERRA in denying the defendant’s motion to suppress. 

However, the Court then adopted a good-faith exception to the exclusionary rule set forth in Tennessee Rule of Criminal Procedure 41 when “a magistrate has issued a warrant in compliance with constitutional requirements but, in good faith, fails to comply with Rule 41’s technical requirement of three ‘exact’ copies.” When a defendant has established that a search warrant, or its supporting affidavit, fails to comply with the technical requirements of Tennessee Rule of Criminal Procedure 41, the State then has the burden of establishing that the technical noncompliance was due to a good-faith error and that the error did not prejudice the defendant.  In this case, the Court concluded that the record established that the error was made in good faith and that the error did not prejudice Lowe.  Based on this conclusion, the Court upheld the trial court’s admission of the evidence seized under the search warrant.  Finally, the Court rejected the other issues raised by Ms. Lowe and affirmed her convictions.

 

To read the Supreme Court’s unanimous opinion in State of Tennessee v. Lindsey Brooke Lowe, authored by Chief Justice Jeff Bivins, go to the opinions section of TNCourts.gov.


Atlanta Fed President And CEO Raphael Bostic Keynotes Chattanooga COC Economic Outlook Breakfast

Local Cooling And Heating Company Joins National Brand

Dan Howell Awarded Legislator Of The Year Honors By FGA


The Chattanooga Chamber of Commerce hosts Raphael Bostic, Ph.D., president and CEO of the Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta, as keynote speaker for its Jan. 9, 2019 Economic Outlook Breakfast. ... (click for more)

Locally-owned and operated Southeast Air & Mechanical Systems, LLC, which has been serving the surrounding area for more than 15 years, has joined forces with One Hour Heating & Air Conditioning ... (click for more)

The Foundation for Government Accountability (FGA) has named Tennessee Representative Dan Howell as legislator of the year. The award was presented December 6th at the annual FGA policy summit ... (click for more)


Business

Atlanta Fed President And CEO Raphael Bostic Keynotes Chattanooga COC Economic Outlook Breakfast

The Chattanooga Chamber of Commerce hosts Raphael Bostic, Ph.D., president and CEO of the Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta, as keynote speaker for its Jan. 9, 2019 Economic Outlook Breakfast. The Economic Outlook Breakfast celebrates local business success over the previous year and looks ahead to the future. Mr. Bostic will share his expertise related to economic trends and ... (click for more)

Local Cooling And Heating Company Joins National Brand

Locally-owned and operated Southeast Air & Mechanical Systems, LLC, which has been serving the surrounding area for more than 15 years, has joined forces with One Hour Heating & Air Conditioning (One Hour), a national heating and air conditioning brand with independently owned and operated locations throughout North America. The company is now operating as One Hour Heating ... (click for more)

Breaking News

Former Assessor, County Commissioner Bill Bennett Dies At 82; Was One Of Hamilton County's Most Popular Public Figures

Bill Bennett, who served Hamilton County as assessor of property and a member of the County Commission, has died at 82. One of Chattanooga's most popular public servants, his experiences in a two-room schoolhouse helped hone his career. He was one of six boys, along with one girl, born to Ernest and Mary Roberts Bennett on the Cumberland Plateau. Ernest Bennett farmed and ... (click for more)

County Jail Inmate Dies Early Friday Morning After Having Trouble Breathing

A 57-year-old inmate at the Hamilton County Jail died Friday morning after having difficulty breathing and being transported to a local hospital. He was identified as David Leonard Bulloch. The Sheriff's Office said, "At 3:30 a.m. , Hamilton County Sheriff’s Office deputies assigned to the Corrections Division were made aware that an inmate was having difficulty breathing. ... (click for more)

Opinion

Bill Bennett Was One Of The Best Gentlemen In Politics - And Response (4)

In an era of political haughtiness and ego, we should recognize the life example of public service demonstrated by Hamilton County Assessor Bill Bennett. As I told my friend Bill many times, he and former Governor Winfield Dunn were the best “gentlemen” I knew in politics. He was kind, humble and honest. To honor his legacy, we should all try to carry ourselves a little more ... (click for more)

Roy Exum: The Saturday Funnies

All right, this one is on me. I knew what I wanted to suggest in this week’s Saturday Funnies and about mid-afternoon yesterday I crafted a story I think a lot of people will like. As soon as I was done, I put the story “in the can,” which is to say I saved it, and then caught up on my phone messages and chores. A couple of hours later I went to retrieve the story and – zip! nada! ... (click for more)