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December 31, 2020
Tax mistakes are not a crime

If someone ever tells you that they’re nervous to do their taxes, what they’re really telling you is that they’re worried they might make a mistake. Unlike many other developed countries, the United States still makes its citizens do their own taxes, rather than simply telling them what they owe or taking the money out […]

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December 17, 2020
Is marijuana legal in Tennessee?

It feels, at times, like marijuana legislation is sweeping across the country. Colorado was one of the first states to legalize recreational use, but it has been followed by many other states. This seems to be a trend that could make its way everywhere. For instance, the most recent approvals for recreational use came from South Dakota, […]

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December 2, 2020
Could a biased juror give you grounds for an appeal?

As someone in the United States accused of a criminal act, you have certain rights. One of the most important rights for a criminal defendant is the right to a trial by jury. A jury of your unbiased peers makes a decision based on the evidence presented in court and delivers the verdict. Having a […]

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November 16, 2020
Grounds for relief: A habeas corpus petition

When you believe that your incarceration is unfair, you need to look at every possible avenue for relief under both state and federal law. One of the options you may have is a writ of habeas corpus. What is a writ of habeas corpus? A writ of habeas corpus (which means “produce the body”) is essentially an […]

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November 11, 2020
Did ineffective counsel impact the outcome of your trial?

One of your most basic rights as someone accused of a criminal offense is the right to defend yourself against those pending charges. Your criminal defense attorney is in a position of both trust and power. You have to trust in their decision-making and intelligence to help get you out of this difficult situation. You […]

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November 3, 2020
How much do you really know about the Fifth Amendment?

Most everyone has some idea of what “pleading the Fifth” means. They’ve seen people do it hundreds of times on the various incarnations of Law & Order and seen or heard people do it in real-life legal proceedings. The idea that a person shouldn’t be forced to incriminate themselves dates back to the very earliest founders of […]

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October 19, 2020
Visiting Nashville? Protect against DUI charges

There are many reasons to visit Nashville, with many people doing so because of its nightlife. From music venues to bars to restaurants, there’s no shortage of locations for having a good time. Unfortunately, if you take a good time too far, you could find yourself in trouble with the law. Here are some tips […]

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October 7, 2020
Tips for your application for clemency or pardon in Tennessee

Getting any kind of executive clemency in Tennessee takes work. As of 2016, it was estimated that roughly 150 people in the state apply each year and only three or four of those people succeed. Most are summarily denied before they even reach the governor’s desk — mostly because they don’t pass the screening criteria established by […]

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September 20, 2020
Can you appeal if you don’t like the outcome of your criminal trial?

Anyone who doesn’t get the outcome that they expect during a criminal trial may naturally hope that they can appeal the verdict. Appeals are a little more complicated than that, however. An appeal can only happen if there is a clear reason why that case needs to be reviewed again. The reasons can be anything […]

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September 11, 2020
Appealing a case? Work with an appellate attorney

You were tried for a crime, and you ended up being convicted. Your initial response was that you wanted to appeal the case, because you didn’t feel like the outcome was fair or appropriate based on what really happened. When you spoke with your trial attorney, they told you that they wouldn’t take the appeal to […]

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September 4, 2020
If you visit Tennessee and break the law, get local support

Tennessee has become a place where many people love to visit. They go there for vacations and just to getaway. The nightlife, music scene and beautiful scenery make it a perfect place for a short stay or longer vacation. Did you know that Tennessee’s tourism industry broke a record at $23 billion in domestic and international travel […]

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August 26, 2020
A Nashville bar fight could lead to assault charges

You and the boys had been planning it for months — a college reunion road trip to Nashville. You may be in your forties, but you still know how to party. Unfortunately, the only way your wives would let you go is if you took them along. Instead of being a calming influence, their wild […]

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August 12, 2020
When are 3 times when you could have a case for ineffective counsel?

When your attorney started talking in court, you could barely follow what he was trying to say. Later in the case, he made a mistake and was actually corrected by the judge. You didn’t feel good about what you saw. Then, when a decision was made, you found out that you’d lost your case. You […]

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July 30, 2020
American Bar Association urged to consider implicit biases in the legal system

The term “implicit bias” references the way that someone’s unconscious attitudes about others (often based on stereotypes) can affect their actions. It’s a problem in many facets of society — and the court system is no exception. That’s why the American Bar Association (ABA) is using social justice to urge the ABA and individual states to require […]

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July 17, 2020
Commutations and pardons in Tennessee

If you have been wrongly convicted of a criminal offense, you may be resigned to the sentence handed down. Recent events have served as a timely reminder that this need not be the case. The president’s recent decision to commute a former advisor’s sentence has thrown the topic into the limelight. Unfortunately, only the president […]

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July 15, 2020
Suspicion of DUI: What should you do?

Police are on the lookout for drivers who aren’t following the rules of the road. Taking this one step further, if they have reason to believe you’re under the influence of alcohol, it won’t be long before you find yourself pulled to the side of the road. If you’re stopped for suspicion of DUI, it’s […]

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July 2, 2020
How is an appeal different from a criminal trial?

You refused a plea deal and took your criminal case to court, confident that a jury would acquit you — but that’s not what happened. The best way to manage your expectations moving forward is to understand what happens during an appeal. Perhaps the biggest thing you need to know is that an appeal is […]

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June 22, 2020
Can you appeal a DUI conviction?

If you get convicted of a DUI, do not assume that you have no options left and you simply must accept that conviction. You may still feel that it was made unfairly. In a case like that, you will be glad to know that you may be able to appeal that conviction. Just because the […]

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June 12, 2020
How Tennessee penalizes tax evasion

For many Nashville residents filing their annual returns, they cringe at the high cost of taxes that have to be paid. Yet, many also worry that they are missing something or claiming an exemption that they don’t truly qualify to receive. They are concerned the Internal Revenue Service will come after them for unpaid taxes. […]

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May 28, 2020
Misuse of company credit cards can bring serious legal consequences

Many people who misuse company funds start small. Maybe after charging a meal with a client and gas for a business trip, they also decided to charge gas purchases for their personal vehicle or a lunch that didn’t involve a client or work. This kind of financial fraud involving expense accounts, credit cards or cash allowances from […]

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May 20, 2020
Nashville Bar Association Announces Jack Norman, Sr. Award Recipient, Patrick T. McNally

The Nashville Bar Association is proud to announce Patrick T. McNally as the 2020 Jack Norman, Sr. Award recipient. He is a 1977 graduate of Wake Forest University and a 1982 graduate of the University of Tennessee College of Law and has been practicing criminal defense law ever since. Since 2010, he has practiced at […]

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May 15, 2020
Avoid marijuana if you are visiting Nashville

Marijuana is still illegal in Tennessee. It is important to remember this if you are making a cross-state road trip to visit Nashville and enjoy its fantastic live music scene. Just because some of the big-name musicians that played here have a reputation for smoking pot, does not mean you can. Nashville tried to decriminalize the possession […]

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May 15, 2020
Could an undisclosed conflict of interest lead to an appeal?

The people who work in the legal system get held to a relatively high standard when it comes to how their personal interests affect their job. Neither a judge nor an attorney should play a role in a criminal case where they have either personal experience that would contribute to bias or some kind of […]

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May 8, 2020
People tend to drink more and earlier when traveling

Thinking of heading to Nashville for a vacation later this year? You probably don’t actively consider it in advance, but odds are you will drink more on your trip than you would at home. On top of that, you may start drinking earlier than you would otherwise.  In one study, people who were traveling were […]

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April 30, 2020
What is the difference between tax fraud and a mistake?

People often feel nervous when doing their taxes, as if any little mistake they make is going to lead to an investigation by the IRS, serious financial fines and perhaps even jail time. This makes the tax season very stressful because the vast majority of Americans are not tax professionals, but are still required to […]

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April 22, 2020
Partying in Nashville? Protect your future and know your rights

Nashville is known as a wonderful place to party, but partying comes with its own risks. If you are out drinking, there is a potential for you to get behind the wheel of your car and to try to head back to your home or hotel for the night. Even if it’s a short drive, […]

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April 13, 2020
Should you defend yourself if you’re investigated for embezzlement?

You have worked with your employer for years. You worked up the ranks and eventually came to be a district manager. You’ve been very busy. Recently, your employer has been unusually particular about your region’s finances. You’ve been asked to turn over multiple accounting documents and feel that there is something unusual going on. Should […]

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April 3, 2020
Illegally obtained or mishandled evidence and your appeal

The evidence that law enforcement officers collect is one of the most important parts of a criminal case. Without evidence, ranging from physical evidence like DNA or fingerprints to testimony from witnesses, or even a confession from the person accused, it is typically not possible for a prosecutor to build a case. After all, the […]

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March 5, 2020
Can you get your criminal record expunged?

There are basically three categories of cases which may be expunged in Tennessee. First, cases in which charges were brought but which did not result in a conviction can be expunged. Second, cases that were resolved pursuant to a diversion agreement or sentence may be eligible to be expunged. And third, recent changes in the […]

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February 21, 2020
Is your criminal record eligible for expungement?

Being convicted of a crime can affect your ability to find work, apply for a loan or rent an apartment, but how much would your situation improve if your criminal record was erased? Some states are performing mass expungements of some criminal offenses; for example, CNN reports that Illinois is expunging around 800,000 marijuana convictions after legalizing […]

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February 18, 2020
Roadside breath tests: What you should know

When a law enforcement officer asks you to submit to a roadside breath test, you may feel anxious and alarmed. Facing a driving while driving charge is daunting and overwhelming. You may think that the reading obtained from the breath test device is enough to charge and convict you of a DUI. There are some […]

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February 3, 2020
Defendant charged for over $60K after admitting to $20K theft

After informing her employer that she embezzled $20,000 from the assisted-living facility she worked for, a Tennessee woman handed over a personal check for that amount. She also submitted her resignation. As reported by WBIR 10 News, a little over 18 months later, the woman found herself facing a Monroe County Grand Jury indictment. The charge […]

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January 29, 2020
What is ineffective assistance of counsel?

If you are accused of a crime, you have the right to legal representation. Many people choose to hire an attorney. Some cannot afford a lawyer, and the court appoints public legal counsel. Whoever represents you, you have the right to a well-managed trial by a competent lawyer. Your counsel should do everything in his […]

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January 24, 2020
Bar fights may lead to severe penalties

Nashville is a popular tourist spot with numerous bars and clubs, and it may be easy for a visitor to make a poor decision after one too many drinks. Unfortunately, even a minor confrontation in a bar may lead to significant legal charges and consequences. While bar fights may seem relatively harmless, they frequently lead […]

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January 9, 2020
Getting your criminal record erased

If you have a criminal record in Tennessee, it can alter the trajectory of your entire life. It can affect where you live, the types of jobs you can hold and whether you can get a loan. At Patrick T. McNally, Attorney at Law, we assist clients with their appeals and expunging criminal records. According […]

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January 4, 2020
Does the governor see all pardon applications?

In the state of Tennessee, the governor has the authority to grant pardons and commutations. So it is natural to think that the governor is certain to see your application for a pardon. However, some pardon applications may not even reach the desk of the governor. There are certain hurdles a pardon application must clear […]

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December 12, 2019
What do I do when caught traveling with a bong in Nashville?

If you love to travel and party, visiting Nashville may be one of the items on your goal list. However, when you visit this beautiful state known to be the home of country music, you need to be very vigilant and extra careful about the state laws. It is effortless and ordinary for amazing trips […]

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December 11, 2019
Jail time and other penalties associated with tax evasion

Most Tennessee residents are fearful of finding themselves on the receiving end of a tax audit, and with good reason. An audit involves the Internal Revenue Service taking a close look at virtually every aspect of your taxes, and if anything appears to be amiss, you could face serious, potentially life-changing consequences. Patrick T. McNally, […]

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December 4, 2019
What is the duty of candor?

When you hire a defense attorney, you know that he or she will work hard on your case. However, an attorney walks a fine line when defending a client. He or she must stay within the limits of the law when pleading your case and defending you. It is not always an easy task, but […]

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November 18, 2019
How do criminal appeals work?

After a criminal conviction, you might be wondering where to turn. If you did not get a fair trial or if something else happened that subverted the justice system, there is a possibility that you could find recourse through the Tennessee Court of Criminal Appeals. Unfortunately, you would not be alone if the court system […]

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October 28, 2019
What can I expect during a traffic stop?

As a tourist in Nashville, you’ll probably use a vehicle to make your way around the city. You might even be pulled over at some point during your journey, which doesn’t necessarily need to be a stressful experience. Nashville.gov provides the following information to motorists in the city so they know what to expect when pulled over. […]

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October 15, 2019
Good jury instructions are vital to receiving a fair trial

If you are facing criminal charges in Tennessee, you may worry about your future. After all, you may lose your freedom if a jury convicts you of certain offenses. You likely are also nervous about sitting through a trial. Unless you are an attorney, you may find the inner workings of a courtroom to be […]

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October 14, 2019
Traveling through Tennessee with marijuana could mean trouble

One of the potential issues with the varying marijuana laws in different states is that someone could inadvertently break the law on a road trip. According to World Population Review, 33 states allow residents to use marijuana in some form—most for medical purposes. Eleven states and Washington, D.C., allow residents to use marijuana medically and recreationally, and […]

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October 7, 2019
What is an expungement?

If you have a criminal conviction in Tennessee, then you probably understand the repercussions of such a conviction. It can make your life more difficult. Everything from getting a job to finding a place to live is made a little more difficult when you have a criminal record. That is why the state does allow […]

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October 7, 2019
What is ineffective assistance of counsel?

There are limitations put on your ability to request an appeal of a criminal conviction in Tennessee. One of those is that you have to have a compelling legal reason to request an appeal. One common reason is ineffective assistance of counsel, which, according to Jurist, is your assertion that your attorney did not adequately represent […]

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August 30, 2019
3 important aspects of requesting a pardon

If you have a criminal conviction that you simply do not agree with, then you may want to consider asking for a pardon. A pardon comes from the governor of Tennessee. It removes the criminal charge from your record so it is as if it never happened. This is the highest level of removing a […]

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August 29, 2019
How can you prevent road rage from escalating?

A vacation in Nashville can be a lot of fun, but it can also be very stressful trying to navigate by car. Being unfamiliar with the roads and local traffic laws can cause you to make mistakes. This is not only a frustrating situation for you, it may also cause aggravation for the other motorists […]

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August 15, 2019
Do you have all the facts about expunging your record?

You have a criminal record in Tennessee, but you know all too well that it does not make you a criminal. You also know how much your record can hamper your life’s progress. Have you looked into expungement? The Marshall Project aims to help people like you understand the expungement legal process. Learn more about what […]

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August 2, 2019
What to know about Tennessee’s Sergeant Daniel Baker Act

Tennessee’s Sergeant Daniel Baker Act sheds some light on the appeal process for defendants who are convicted of an offense that results in capital punishment. I am attorney Patrick T. McNally, and I understand how this Act, which went into effect on August 1, 2019, may help speed up the appeals process in certain death […]

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July 30, 2019
Assault charges during a trip to Nashville

Many people like to visit Nashville due to its historical sites and entertainment options. With an impressive music scene and many other attractions, it is no surprise that so many people come to Tennessee on vacation. Whether you are visiting from another state or even another country, there are a number of things to be […]

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July 8, 2019
When could you be eligible for a pardon?

A criminal charge or conviction on someone’s record can impact nearly every aspect of their life. Even a minor charge, such as a DUI or a drug charge could inhibit someone’s ability to choose where they want to live or work. And it is not easy to escape the stigma of that charge, even after […]

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June 20, 2019
When is it possible to appeal after making a guilty plea?

Sometimes, pleading guilty might seem like the easy way out of criminal charges. And there are plenty of attorneys who might encourage their clients to plead guilty, claiming that there will be fewer consequences. However, pleading guilty waives an individual’s right to due process and a trial in front of a jury of their peers. […]

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June 6, 2019
What to know about the new criminal justice reforms

Now that the congressional session of the Tennessee General Assembly has ended, the state is facing some new changes. And for those facing criminal charges, or those who have already served time, some of these changes are good news. Criminal justice reform was Gov. Lee’s priority this year According to Knox News, Gov. Bill Lee […]

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June 4, 2019
Public intoxication and disorderly conduct in Tennessee

Nashville is a great place to visit. But sometimes, things can get out of hand in this city. If the bar gets too rowdy, you may face criminal charges for disturbing the peace. The Tennessee penal code has an entire chapter that addresses a wide variety of offenses that threaten public safety, health and welfare. Here are some common […]

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May 21, 2019
What is a petition for post-conviction relief?

All too often, the result of a criminal case leaves a person facing far more severe consequences than they should. Perhaps the jury instructions pitted the jury against the defendant, or the court denied an appeal in violation of state law. When that happens, you do not have to sit back and accept your fate. […]

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May 9, 2019
Facing charges of tax evasion

Taxpayers have gone through their first year under the new Tax Cuts and Jobs Creation Act. In light of this, the IRS has eased its rules and penalties. These include no penalties if the taxpayer pays at least 80% of what the IRS determines to be their tax obligation on time. What happens if I […]

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April 29, 2019
Exaggerated forensic testimony a key contributor to false convictions

Each year, the National Registry of Exonerations sends out an annual report that reveals how many innocent people were exonerated that year, along with information about what problems brought about their wrongful convictions. Last year, 151 people were found not to have committed the crimes they were convicted of committing. Together, they spent over 1,600 […]

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April 23, 2019
Defending oneself against stalking charges

Stalking is a term that is used a lot these days. Whether it is a traditional act of following someone or tracking their digital footprint, there is little to no tolerance stalking and accusations will often quickly be made. People accused of such actions are protected under the law until they are proven guilty, but […]

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April 19, 2019
Expungement basics in Tennessee

Most have heard the term “expungement,” but few understand how it works beyond the fact that it enables one to clear their name. Here in Tennessee, expungement, expunction or sealing of records are different legal processes where the arrest, charge or conviction is removed from the state’s legal records or sealed. The benefits of doing this […]

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April 5, 2019
Navigating the high stakes of an out-of-state DUI

As summer draws nearer in Tennessee, many tourists will flock to Nashville and other parts of the state. Unfortunately, a fun vacation can be soured when a police officer pulls you over on suspicion of drunk driving. A DUI arrest can be devastating at any time. Yet, for those coming from out of state, you […]

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March 28, 2019
The subject of Serial podcast will not get a retrial

The circumstances of Adnan Syed’s conviction in 2000 became the basis of the Serial podcast in 2014. It reexamined without bias the conviction of Adnan Syed, who is serving a life sentence for strangling his ex-girlfriend and then burying her with help from a friend, whose story has since proven unreliable. The popularity of the podcast, which […]

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March 8, 2019
The criminal appeals process

For many Tennessee residents, the process of appealing a court ruling is a bit unclear. In order for an appellate court to consider an appeal, there must be demonstrable evidence indicating that a grievous error was made during the trial, one that had a large effect on the final outcome. Otherwise, even if the aggrieved […]

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February 19, 2019
Nashville Conviction Review Unit to uncover wrongful convictions

“We need to be able to look at old cases, especially where someone is claiming that they are wrongfully convicted,” says Assistant District Attorney Robert Jones, who leads the Conviction Review Unit at the Nashville District Attorney’s office. According to the National Registry of Exonerations, 25 Tennessee inmates have been exonerated since 1989. Combined, they […]

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February 11, 2019
Visiting Tennessee? Understand our reckless driving law

In many states, the offense of reckless driving is limited to a few specific activities. In Tennessee, there are some specific activities that constitute reckless driving, but the overall definition is driving any vehicle “in willful or wanton disregard for the safety of persons or property.” That means that whether you are charged with this […]

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January 28, 2019
Could the Brown case mean criminal justice reform in Tennessee?

As you probably know, Governor Bill Haslam granted clemency to Cyntoia Brown. Brown, 30, was sentenced to life in prison after she, a teenage sex trafficking victim, killed a man who paid to have sex with her. Brown had appealed her life sentence after the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that sentencing juveniles to life behind […]

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January 15, 2019
Why would you appeal a felony conviction?

If you’ve been found guilty of a felony, you might wonder how your trial could’ve gone differently. Paying fines, providing compensation to a victim or their family, serving prison time and parole may all factor into your sentencing. But in some cases, your punishment may not be proportionate to the crime. Or, you might believe […]

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January 8, 2019
Tennessee man wins release, finally, thanks to First Step Act

You may remember the plight of Matthew Charles. Convicted for a crack offense, Charles was lucky enough to be released from prison in 2016, nearly a decade before his term was up. He had been saved — he thought — by a reduction in the federal sentencing guidelines’ mandatory sentences for crack offenses. Previously, crack […]

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December 25, 2018
The holidays could find you needing a Tennessee criminal defense

The holiday season is here, and you may be visiting friends or family here in the Nashville area. You could attend plenty of parties and holiday gatherings with those you love, which means you may travel between locations and/or to and from a hotel. During those travels, you could end up gaining the attention of […]

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December 11, 2018
Cyntoia Brown to serve 51 years before eligible for parole

In 2012, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled in Miller v. Alabama that sentencing juvenile offenders to life in prison without the possibility of parole violates the Eighth Amendment’s prohibition on cruel and unusual punishments. The court had previously ruled that the death penalty is unconstitutional when applied to juvenile defendants. “Mandatory life without parole for a juvenile […]

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November 27, 2018
Does the Constitution’s ‘excessive fines’ clause apply to states?

In 2015, Tyson Timbs pled guilty to heroin charges and sentenced to five years’ detention and probation. However, since his 2012 Land Rover was allegedly used to transport the drugs, the state of Indiana seized it as property that had been involved in crime. The vehicle was worth approximately $42,000 — four times the maximum […]

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November 14, 2018
Can you get a DUI in Tennessee without actually driving?

In Tennessee as in many states, people can be convicted of DUI not because they were actually driving, but because they were in physical control of a motor vehicle. This can potentially lead to some troubling cases. For example, suppose an intoxicated person is found asleep in their car. They may very well have been […]

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November 7, 2018
Man who got a 17-year sentence for a minor drug charge freed

Calvin Bryant was incarcerated in 2008 for selling ecstasy out of his apartment. The Nashville man received a 17-year sentence, which is sentence typically given to those convicted of second-degree murder or rape. It was Bryant’s first criminal charge. However, since Bryant lived within 1,000 feet of a school, that bumped up the potential punishment for […]

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November 1, 2018
What could tourists face over fights in Nashville?

Tourists coming to Nashville to enjoy its music scene, restaurants, attractions, nightlife and other offerings hope for a fun trip without troubles. Unfortunately, things don’t always go as smoothly as a visitor would hope. Some unexpected problems are just minor inconveniences. Others could have the potential to have major repercussions that last long after the […]

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October 22, 2018
Judge: Tennessee can’t revoke driver licenses for unpaid tickets

If you can’t afford to pay your Tennessee traffic ticket, the state may have threatened to take away your driver’s license — or it may already have done so. If so, you probably thought that license revocation was a strikingly counterproductive way of getting people to pay debts. After all, most people in Tennessee need […]

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October 8, 2018
His conviction was based on junk science. Will he be released?

In 1992, 24-year-old Lorie Lee Lance was killed in a house fire in Old Hickory, Tennessee. Claude Francis Garrett, Lance’s boyfriend, was accused of setting the fire. Although he swore he was innocent, an arson investigator claimed that a set of large, irregular burns in the living room represented a “pour pattern” indicating the use […]

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September 24, 2018
Blood-spatter expert in murder case admits his analysis was wrong

There have been developments in the case of Joe B., a former high school principal who was convicted of his wife’s 1985 murder based largely upon bloodstain-pattern evidence that has now been discredited. Now 78 and in frail health, Joe is hoping for a new trial. Joe’s conviction was based largely upon a single detective’s […]

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September 10, 2018
Court of Criminal Appeals rules roadblock unlawful, overturns DUI

There are certain rules law enforcement must follow when setting up sobriety checkpoints or DUI roadblocks, but the Tennessee highway patrol failed to follow them in a 2012 roadblock in Harris County. Therefore, the Tennessee Court of Criminal Appeals found the roadblock unconstitutional and vacated the DUI conviction of a Chattanooga man who was caught […]

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September 7, 2018
How do Tennessee DUI laws differ from other states?
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August 27, 2018
Justice Dept challenges Tennessee’s rule on exculpatory evidence

In the 1963 case of Brady v. Maryland, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled the Constitution requires prosecutors to hand over to the defense any evidence that tends to prove the defendant’s innocence. When they do not and the defendant is convicted, their failure or refusal to do so can result in a new trial. However, […]

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August 2, 2018
The secret consequences of underage drinking

For most college students, their first party is a rite of passage. First-year students will walk through the door of a fraternity or campus house and smile in the excitement of their newfound freedom. But with newfound freedom comes responsibilities. Alcohol is a significant aspect of the college party scene, and students have to decide […]

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July 30, 2018
Commission: Forensic evidence in murder case was ‘entirely wrong’

When it comes to blood-spatter analysis, “expert” witnesses for the prosecution are often law enforcement officers with just a week of training. This was so in the case of Joe B., a high school principal accused of murdering his wife. He was convicted in 1985 based on flecks of blood on a flashlight found in […]

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July 11, 2018
Judge: Tennessee can’t take away driver’s licenses for court debt

A federal judge has ruled that Tennessee’s practice of revoking driver’s licenses merely because defendants can’t afford to pay court fines and fees. Since the law doesn’t provide an exception for the indigent, it violates people’s right to due process and equal protection under the law. The case does not apply to license suspensions or […]

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June 28, 2018
Beware: Increased 4th of July DUI enforcement has begun

Between June 25 and July 5, many Tennessee law enforcement agencies will be engaging in increased DUI enforcement surrounding Independence Day. The Tennessee Highway Safety Office provides funding for county sheriff’s departments in concert with statewide and national messaging meant to reduce serious and fatal accidents involving drunk drivers. You may notice more sobriety checkpoints […]

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June 18, 2018
Arrested at Bonnaroo or another Tennessee festival? Get help now

The 17th annual Bonnaroo Music and Arts Festival in Manchester is only one of many fantastic music and cultural festivals in Tennessee that attract thousands of revelers from across the nation. While the festival is well worth the trip, some people end up having a negative experience. They end up arrested or cited for DUI, […]

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June 7, 2018
Supreme Court affirms warrants required for searches around homes

The U.S. Supreme Court has reaffirmed that police need to obtain a warrant to search the premises around someone’s home, even if they think they have spotted stolen property there. They aren’t allowed to take a quick peek and initiate a search based on what they see. The case involved a stolen black and orange motorcycle. […]

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May 21, 2018
Understanding appellate court: your second chance at freedom

Being arrested on a criminal charge is a frightening experience. If you’ve been arrested and then convicted it is considerably worse. When your time in court is said and done, and the judge has rendered a guilty verdict, it may be time for you to make an appeal. When you’ve been found guilty of a […]

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May 18, 2018
Driving a rental car? Police need probable cause to search you

When you’re driving in your own car, the police can’t just pull you over for no reason — they need reasonable suspicion that you’ve committed an offense. Once they’ve stopped you, they need probable cause to believe that a crime has been committed before they can perform a full search of your vehicle. This is […]

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May 4, 2018
If your bail is completely unaffordable, is it ‘excessive’?

The Eighth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution prohibits “excessive bail.” Over time, courts have made numerous rulings on what constitutes “excessive,” but our country still finds itself in the midst of a bail crisis. By some estimates, as many as 70 percent of that jail population in the United States are behind bars because they […]

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April 23, 2018
Tourist arrested for public indecency at a Nashville event?

Nashville has more than 180 music venues in addition to the venerable Grand Ole Opry House and Ryman Auditorium. The Music City hosts concerts, festivals and events year-round that attract both Tennessee residents and visitors. Unfortunately, visitors to Tennessee sometimes make costly, inconvenient mistakes such as using drugs, driving drunk or breaking the law in […]

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April 6, 2018
‘Serial’ podcast defendant Adnan Syed granted a new trial

What is ineffective assistance of counsel in a criminal case? Thanks to the Sixth Amendment and associated court rulings, criminal defendants are entitled to the assistance of counsel — and that counsel is to be effective. However, the standards for determining when counsel has been constitutionally ineffective are hard to meet. First, the attorney must […]

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April 4, 2018
3 reasons courts will suppress evidence

Not all evidence is admissible in a courtroom. Mistakes can be made throughout police investigations, and illegally obtained evidence can be tossed. In a suppression hearing, a judge will decide if evidence should be suppressed. What kind of evidence is inadmissible and why? Below, we provide an overview of the reasons evidence can be suppressed […]

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March 23, 2018
Registry: Misconduct a factor in over half of 2017 exonerations

The National Registry of Exonerations has just released data on the 139 people known to have been exonerated in 2017, along with historical data. This information gives us some insight into why 139 innocent people ended up behind bars, and how they ended up getting freed. Exonerations are rising due to prosecutors and professional advocates […]

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March 8, 2018
Court of Criminal Appeals rules DUI testing fees unconstitutional

In Tennessee, people who are convicted of DUI after a blood or breath test are required to pay the Tennessee Bureau of Investigations, which performs those tests, a $250 fee. People who are not convicted are not required to pay the fee. The state’s Court of Criminal Appeals recently found that to be unconstitutional because […]

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February 22, 2018
SCOTUS: Certain constitutional appeals still allowed after pleas

The U.S. Supreme Court has just ruled in favor of an appeal for a man who styles himself a “constitutional bounty hunter.” He pled guilty to a gun possession crime but then sought to appeal the constitutionality of the statute. Ordinarily, a standard guilty plea agreement altogether waives your right to appeal. In this case, […]

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February 16, 2018
3 Nashville laws tourists should know

Nashville is a unique part of the country that has a rich appeal to tourists looking for a fun time exploring the robust music scene, rich history and down-to-earth culture. There are many reasons more and more visitors are crossing state lines to have a good time in the music city. Some of the most […]

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February 9, 2018
Pulled over for DUI while visiting or driving through Nashville?

Being pulled over while you’re on vacation can suck all the fun out of your trip — especially if you are arrested for DUI. Nashville is a fun town, but Tennessee has little patience for drunk driving. If you’re arrested for DUI in Tennessee, what can you expect? First, you’re probably going to jail, and your […]

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January 27, 2018
‘Alford pleas’ on the rise for potentially innocent defendants

When a defendant is exonerated, what happens next? Suppose the defense proves that DNA evidence from the crime scene does not match the defendant. Or, perhaps a key witness recants their story. In some cases, misconduct by the police, prosecutors or the jury is discovered. Once it’s clear that the prosecution’s case is insufficient to […]

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January 16, 2018
Bad lawyers can cost your freedom — check these signs

There are some kinds of services that you don’t want to take a chance with: dentists, airplane pilots, surgeons and sushi chefs. These workers must be skilled enough to manage the high risks of their job. Just like other professions that handle safety and well-being, lawyers need to be vigilant and knowledgeable. Although your attorney […]

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January 13, 2018
Supreme Court: Racist juror statement deserves consideration

Keith Tharpe, an African-American, was convicted of a terrible crime. In 1990, a Georgia jury said he had ambushed his wife and sister-in-law while they were driving to work. He murdered the sister-in-law and then kidnapped and raped his wife. The sister-in-law’s body was later discovered in a ditch by her own husband. Tharpe had […]

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December 29, 2017
Why would I want a different attorney for an appeal?

It is sad that many people who get accused of crimes in the Nashville area wind up getting convicted even if they did not commit the crime or, legally speaking, they were “not guilty.” In other cases, a Tennessee resident may acknowledge that their conviction is fair and may have even pled guilty to a […]

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