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Nashville Criminal Defense Law Blog

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 other ways.

One common but somewhat embarrassing reason tourists get arrested in Nashville and around Tennessee is public indecency. This is particularly common at big outdoor festivals such as Bonnaroo, where long lines for bathrooms can frustrate some otherwise law-abiding people to use "alternative facilities." There are also instances where people engage in a more sexual form of indecency.

'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 have failed to perform a legal duty toward the defendant. That could be, for example, the duty to perform a reasonable investigation of the case, to present favorable witnesses or to introduce any evidence pointing to the defendant's innocence. Second, however, counsel is only considered ineffective if that failure to perform the legal duty can be shown to have impacted the outcome of the trial.

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 in a trial.

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

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 it sets up an apparent conflict of interest and calls the trustworthiness of the test results into question.

Over 20 DUI defendants appealed their convictions, claiming that the testing fees give the TBI an incentive to produce positive test results. They made clear that they weren't accusing the TBI of actually falsifying any results. Rather, they claimed it "created the appearance of impropriety and the potential for abuse based upon financial interest." That, they said, violates defendants' due process rights.

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, however, a direct constitutional appeal was not specifically among the claims the defendant waived his right to appeal. The Supreme Court says that he may move forward with that type of appeal.

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 popular attractions include the Grand Ole Opry, Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum, Honky Tonk Highway and the historic Music Row, to name a few.

In 2016, approximately 13.9 million tourists came and left the city of Nashville throughout the year. In fact, within a decade, the city known for drawing a large crowd has seen an increase of visitors by 45 percent. With so much magnetism to city attractions, there usually involves lots of drinking and fewer inhibitions that may cost an unknowing visitor legal trouble if not careful.

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?

'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 prove guilt beyond a reasonable doubt, does the defendant walk free?

Not necessarily. What happens next is up to the prosecution, believe it or not. There will be a hearing before a judge, but it rarely goes like you've probably seen in the movies. There's usually no apology on behalf of the state.

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 should be deserving of your trust, some lawyers might cut corners and mishandle your case. This can cost years of time in jail, legal fees and even a wrong conviction. It can be tough to see that your lawyer is rotten early in the case, but there are a few things that can tip you off to potential risk.

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Patrick T. McNally, Attorney at Law
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Nashville, TN 37219

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