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June 6, 2016
What types of due process violations might support an appeal?

The road to an appeal can be long, as a recent story reminds us. Specifically, the story profiled a 63-year-old Tennessee man’s request for a new trial. The man alleges that a missing pretrial transcript was not considered by the Court of Appeals.  The mistake may be traceable to the man’s first attorney, who did […]

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May 19, 2016
What causes wrongful convictions?

According to recent data, wrongful convictions are not just the subject of dramatizations. In 2015, 149 convictions were overturned. In fact, the number of exonerations has risen nearly every year in the past decade. Readers may wonder how wrongful convictions can result in a criminal justice system that requires the prosecution to present evidence of […]

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May 9, 2016
Is there benefit to sealing or expunging one’s criminal record?

If you’ve applied to a job recently, you might have seen a checkbox on the application inquiring whether you had ever been convicted of a crime. Is that fair? After all, one rationale of incarceration is rehabilitation. After an individual has served a sentence, he or she should have the right to reenter society and […]

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April 22, 2016
Does preparing an appeal involve a special set of legal skills?

Pursuing post-conviction relief or the filing of an appeal requires extensive legal preparation, as some local law students recently discovered. The third-year law students at the University of Tennessee spent nearly a year getting an immigration case ready for appeal. Their work involved preparing the record, drafting the appeal documents, and preparing for oral arguments. […]

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April 8, 2016
What happens if a due process violation occurred during a trial?

A conviction resulting from an unfair or procedurally compromised trial may not be the last word. The sexual assault mistrial involving several former Vanderbilt University football players is a recent example. The players were found guilty after standing trial in a Tennessee court. However, a post-conviction inquiry into the impartiality of the jurors determined that […]

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March 28, 2016
Can new DNA evidence be introduced after a conviction?

Although a successful outcome is always desired, a criminal defendant should keep in mind that post-conviction options may also be available. The obvious example is filing an appeal with the appropriate state or federal court. But post-conviction DNA analysis may also be available in some circumstances.  As its name suggests, post-conviction analysis of DNA evidence […]

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March 14, 2016
Is an appeal always an uphill battle?

Is preparing to file a state or federal appeal akin to being the underdog? As a law firm that has helped many clients with successful appeals, we would caution against assuming that the odds are always stacked against an appellant.  Consider the many was that errors might arise in a trial. Procedural and constitutional violations […]

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February 29, 2016
Can administrative outcomes be appealed to federal court?

Although federal appeals usually involve a lower court’s judgment, there are also administrative proceedings that can be appealed to a federal court. In a recent example involving sexual discrimination claims under Title IX against several University of Tennessee athletes, several victims are appealing the outcomes they received from the university’s administrative process.  The lawsuit, filed […]

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February 15, 2016
Are Tennessee police inviting appeals of drunk driving arrests?

Regardless of partisanship, the subject of law enforcement has come up in the 2016 presidential debates. A recent article suggests that even Tennessee authorities may need to take a second look into enforcement practices. Specifically, a recent federal lawsuit filing alleges that the Tennessee Highway Patrol is using a quota system for making arrests for […]

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February 1, 2016
Are Tennessee’s criminal prosecutors improperly aggressive?

Prosecutorial misconduct recently made a magazine’s top 10 listing of civil liberties betrayals from 2015. The article described the misconduct in racial terms, citing examples of wrongful convictions obtained by police and prosecutors allegedly working together to game the jury or right the evidence. Unfortunately, even Tennessee saw its share of tampering with the criminal […]

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