Tennessee appeal results in a new criminal trial for the accused

A former Tennessee sheriff’s post-conviction legal efforts have paid off: The Tennessee Court of Criminal Appeals recently ordered a new trial.

The former sheriff was arrested for allegedly trying to shoot his wife. He was formally charged with attempted voluntary manslaughter, and the jury in his criminal trial found him guilty in February 2013. The sheriff’s attorney filed an appeal shortly after the conviction, but the appeals court did not issue its ruling until earlier this year. The ruling overturns the lower court’s criminal conviction and calls for a new trial.

There were several grounds for the sheriff’s appeal, including a theory of self-defense. The sheriff claims his wife carried a concealed weapon in an ankle holster. If the sheriff were shooting in self-defense, the analysis of the attempted voluntary manslaughter charge might be quite different.

The sheriff also asserted several procedural errors against the lower court. His appeal claimed that the court failed to give proper jury instructions. In addition, the sheriff claimed that the lower court denied him the opportunity to present evidence and testimony about the decline of his marriage and his wife’s allegedly aggressive behaviors.

The story is an important reminder of the importance of a strong appellate brief. As a criminal defense law firm that has represented clients throughout Tennessee, we have extensive experience with both state and federal criminal appeals. Criminal trials are not immune from procedural errors, and those mistakes can result in an unfair outcome. It may take an appeal to set things straight. In the hands of an aggressive criminal defense lawyer, a criminal appeal filing can lead to outcomes such as today’s story, where the defendant will have a second opportunity to present his defense strategy.

Source: The Jackson Sun, “Ex-sheriff to get new trial in shooting,” Sept. 30, 2016

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