Tennessee Supreme Court Rejects Challenge To Search Warrant In Sexual Exploitation Of Minor Case

Wednesday, May 22, 2019

In an opinion released Wednesday, the Tennessee Supreme Court affirmed the validity of a search warrant used to gather evidence in a case involving charges of sexual exploitation of a minor. 

The defendant, Anthony Jerome Miller, was indicted on one count of sexual exploitation of a minor after a detective from the Morristown Police Department executed a search warrant that resulted in the recovery of more than 50 images of a minor engaged in sexual activity from the defendant’s computer.  

Mr. Miller moved to suppress the evidence obtained as a result of the search warrant, arguing that the search was void because the warrant was not obtained by the district attorney general, referencing Tennessee Code Annotated section 39-17-1007.  The statute raised by the defendant states that “[n]o process, except as otherwise provided, shall be issued for the violation of [section] 39-17-1003 . . . unless it is issued upon the application of the district attorney general of the district.” 

The trial court denied Mr. Miller’s motion to suppress, determining that a search warrant was not “process” under the statute.  Mr. Miller then pleaded guilty to the charged offense and received a sentence of six years’ incarceration, suspended after service of 180 days.  He reserved a certified question of law at the time of entering his plea as to whether the search warrant obtained in this case was subject to the limitation found in Tennessee Code Annotated section 39-17-1007.  On appeal, the Court of Criminal Appeals affirmed the judgment of the trial court.  The Supreme Court granted permission to appeal in this case to determine this issue of first impression before the state’s highest court.

In its decision, the Supreme Court considered the general law pertaining to search warrants, noting that none of the applicable statutes or rules of criminal procedure provided for search warrants to be obtained solely by a district attorney general.  The Court also considered that, had the Legislature intended to limit the general law on search warrants through the statute at issue, it would have explicitly provided for such a limitation.  Furthermore, the Court rejected the defendant’s arguments that “process,” as provided in the statute, includes a search warrant. 

The Court held that the statute raised by Mr. Miller was not applicable to the search warrant obtained in this case.  As a result, the Supreme Court affirmed Mr. Miller’s conviction.  In so doing, the Court overruled two prior Court of Criminal Appeals cases, to the extent that they held otherwise. 

To read the Supreme Court’s opinion in State of Tennessee v. Anthony Jerome Miller, authored by Chief Justice Jeff Bivins, go to the opinions section of TNCourts.gov.



 


Tennessee Supreme Court Reverses Dismissal Of Legal Malpractice Suit

A Stroke of [Economic Development] Genius

Unum Named A Best Employer For Health And Wellbeing


The Tennessee Supreme Court Wednesday reversed the trial court’s dismissal of a legal malpractice claim against a Davidson County attorney, holding that sworn statements the plaintiff made in ... (click for more)

Once again, TVA tops the list of utilities for its economic development prowess. This is the 14th year in a row it has been honored by Site Selection magazine for being in the top 20. Bringing ... (click for more)

Employee benefits provider Unum is one of 50 companies in the nation to receive the 2019 Best Employers: Excellence in Health & Wellbeing award presented at the National Business Group on ... (click for more)


Business

Tennessee Supreme Court Reverses Dismissal Of Legal Malpractice Suit

The Tennessee Supreme Court Wednesday reversed the trial court’s dismissal of a legal malpractice claim against a Davidson County attorney, holding that sworn statements the plaintiff made in her divorce settlement agreement did not directly contradict sworn statements she made in the malpractice lawsuit. Beginning in 2006, Nashville attorney Jeffrey Levy represented Polly ... (click for more)

A Stroke of [Economic Development] Genius

Once again, TVA tops the list of utilities for its economic development prowess. This is the 14th year in a row it has been honored by Site Selection magazine for being in the top 20. Bringing jobs and investment to the Valley is part of TVA’s central mission to make life better for the people in our region. Because of the exceptional efforts of TVA’s Economic Development team ... (click for more)

Breaking News

Dr. William Jackson Named Erlanger’s New CEO; Spiegel Gets Year's Salary, Continuing Insurance

During a specially-called meeting of the Erlanger Health System Board of Trustees, Chairman Mike Griffin announced that Chief Medical Officer Dr. William L. Jackson Jr., has been appointed as the health system’s new president and chief executive officer. Also a settlement was reached with former president Kevin Spiegel, who resigned last week under pressure from the board. ... (click for more)

Car Accident On Lee Highway Causes Vehicle To Crash Into Hotel

A car accident on Lee Highway caused a gold van to leave the road, crash into an SUV in a hotel parking lot and then into two hotel rooms, structurally damaging the building. The incident happened just after 3 p.m. Wednesday at the In Town Suites on Lee Highway. Both hotel rooms were empty at the time of the incident. A total of 12 surrounding rooms were evacuated as a precaution. ... (click for more)

Opinion

Let The Water Company Pay The Bill - And Response

Tennessee American breaks a line and 35,000 people lose water for three days. Well they don’t exactly admit they broke it, they were working on it a few feet away and it just broke….so they say. One half of TAWC service area is out of water three days and nights, hospitals canceling surgery, schools closed and opened and then sending the children home, businesses shut down, government ... (click for more)

Gregg Gentry Says He Was Not At Meeting On Nurse Pay

Regarding Mr. Exum's claim in his Sept. 12 column that Erlanger Chief Administrative Officer Gregg Gentry attended his Sept. 4 meeting with Kevin Spiegel is not accurate. Mr. Gentry said he was not at this meeting. (click for more)