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.
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.
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 to drive to and from work. No license means no work, making it even more difficult to pay off that speeding ticket.
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 of a liquid accelerant. A large container of kerosene was found in the home, which Garrett claims was used in a kerosene heater.
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 up in it.
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.
If you drive or wander onto someone's property in Tennessee, you might merely be asked to leave. Or, you might find yourself charged with criminal trespass. It's a misdemeanor charge but a conviction may result in a fine and at least some jail time.
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.
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.
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, drug possession, assault or another crime.