Tennessee Supreme Court Upholds Hamilton County Court's Decision To Exclude Videotape Of Post-Polygraph Statements

Thursday, August 22, 2019
In an opinion released Wednesday, the Tennessee Supreme Court held that a trial court acted within its discretion in excluding from trial a defendant’s videotaped statements given in a post-polygraph interview. In so doing, the Court reversed the decision of the Court of Criminal Appeals.

The defendant, Quintis McCaleb, was indicted on one count of aggravated sexual battery and two counts of rape of a child in Hamilton County.   During the investigation of the charges, Mr. McCaleb agreed to take a polygraph examination.  At the end of the examination, a law enforcement officer additionally interrogated Mr.
McCaleb. Many of the questions contained references to the polygraph.  Mr. McCaleb sought to suppress the videotape of these statements.  Any testimony related to polygraphs is strictly prohibited under Tennessee law.  The trial court held that the statements should not be admitted because of the many references to the polygraph.

The State then pursued an interlocutory appeal, and the Court of Criminal Appeals held that the trial court abused its discretion in excluding the videotape of Mr. McCaleb’s statements from trial.  The intermediate court held that the trial court possibly could have admitted into evidence a redacted portion of the videotaped interrogation, even though no redacted version had been offered by the State.  As a result, the Court of Criminal Appeals reversed the trial court’s decision.  The Supreme Court then granted Mr. McCaleb’s application for permission to appeal.

The Supreme Court held that the trial court acted within its discretion in determining that the videotape of Mr. McCaleb’s post-polygraph statements should be excluded from trial.  In reaching this decision, the Court noted that a trial court has broad discretion in determining whether particular evidence should be admitted at trial.  As a result, as long as the trial court’s action was an objectively reasonable decision, an appellate court should not substitute its judgment for that of the trial court. Instead, it should uphold that decision, even if the appellate court would have reached a different result.  Under the facts of this case, the decision by the trial court was a reasonable option.  Therefore, the trial court did not err in deciding to exclude the evidence.   Accordingly, the Supreme Court reversed the judgment of the Court of Criminal Appeals and remanded the matter to the trial court for further proceedings.

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

Gas Prices Fall 4.4 Cents In Chattanooga

U.S. Stove Has Had To Innovate, Work Hard To Stay In Business 150 Years

Cordell And Cordell Hires Litigation Attorney Kellan B. Potts In Its Chattanooga Office


Chattanooga gas prices have fallen 4.4 cents per gallon in the past week, averaging $2.23 per gallon on Monday, according to GasBuddy's daily survey of 170 stations. Gas prices in Chattanooga ... (click for more)

U.S. Stove has had to innovate and work hard to stay in business, members of the Civitan Club were told on Friday. President August Jones gave club members an inside look into the world’s ... (click for more)

Cordell & Cordell, a domestic litigation firm focusing on representing men in family law cases, has hired litigation attorney Kellan B. Potts in its Chattanooga office. Mr. Potts earned ... (click for more)


Business

Gas Prices Fall 4.4 Cents In Chattanooga

Chattanooga gas prices have fallen 4.4 cents per gallon in the past week, averaging $2.23 per gallon on Monday, according to GasBuddy's daily survey of 170 stations. Gas prices in Chattanooga are 1.7 cents per gallon lower than a month ago, yet stand 3.7 cents per gallon lower than a year ago. According to GasBuddy price reports, the cheapest station in Chattanooga is priced ... (click for more)

U.S. Stove Has Had To Innovate, Work Hard To Stay In Business 150 Years

U.S. Stove has had to innovate and work hard to stay in business, members of the Civitan Club were told on Friday. President August Jones gave club members an inside look into the world’s foremost manufacturer of stoves. “We’re the largest manufacturer of things that keep people warm in five different continents,” said Mr. Jones, “We’re working on Antarctica.” The company, ... (click for more)

Breaking News

Judge Poole Denies Post-Conviction Relief For Chattanooga Man On Death Row

Criminal Court Judge Don Poole on Tuesday morning announced that he was denying Lee Hall’s request for post-conviction relief. Hall was convicted in the April 1991 murder of his ex-girlfriend, Traci Crozier. He is set to be executed on Dec. 5. In explaining his decision, Judge Poole said, "The petitioner’s second post-conviction petition is barred by Tennessee Code ... (click for more)

15-Year-Old Arrested In Sept. 28 Murder Of Marshon Langford, 40

Chattanooga Police, with the assistance of the Lookout Mountain Drug Task Force, arrested a suspect wanted in connection with a homicide that occurred in the 3800 block of Larry Drive on Sept. 28. Marshon Langford, 40, was shot on Larry Drive, then he drove to Pin Oak Drive, where he crashed his vehicle. He was taken to the hospital where he later died. The suspect, a 15-year-old ... (click for more)

Opinion

Rhonda Thurman: We Can Learn From The Private Schools

At Monday night’s School Board Agenda Session, I brought up the fact that I had received many complaints from parents and some school personnel about the half day of school on Wednesday, Nov. 13. This half day caught many parents off guard because students had just been off October 7-14 for Fall Break. This half day caused many to have to scramble for childcare. Some also noted ... (click for more)

All Property Owners Deserve The Right To STVR

Changes are coming to Chattanooga’s Short-Term Vacation Rental Ordinance. Chattanooga City Council is working on a draft of changes that would affect every Chattanooga property owner’s right to open their home to paying short term guests. This includes upping the ante on fines for those who are denied an application for permits. This first draft is to be presented to the council ... (click for more)