Supreme Court Rules That A Prosecutor’s File Note Cannot Be The Basis For A New Trial

Saturday, April 21, 2012

The Tennessee Supreme Court affirmed the trial court’s judgment and ruled that a prosecutor’s handwritten note that was not turned over to the defendant before the trial of his case was not admissible as evidence and, therefore, was insufficient to support the defendant’s petition for a new trial.

In Feb. 1994, a jury found Cyrus Deville Wilson guilty of first degree murder. He was sentenced to life in prison. The conviction and sentence were affirmed on appeal. In Aug. 2009, after obtaining a copy of the prosecutor’s file, Wilson discovered a note handwritten by an assistant prosecutor that expressed her opinion that it was a “good case but for most of the” witnesses were“juveniles who had already lied repeatedly.”  The defendant filed a petition for writ of error coram nobis, a statutory procedure that allows a defendant to seek a new trial based on newly discovered evidence relating to matters that were litigated at the trial if the judge determines the new evidence may have resulted in a different judgment had it been presented at trial. The trial court dismissed the petition because the assistant prosecutor’s note was attorney work product that was not subject to disclosure, but the Court of Criminal Appeals disagreed and ordered a hearing on the petition.

In a unanimous opinion authored by Justice Sharon G. Lee, the Tennessee Supreme Court ruled that the petition for writ of error coram nobis was based on evidence that was attorney work product, which would not have been admissible at the trial of the defendant’s murder case. Since the evidence was inadmissible, it would not have resulted in a different judgment at trial. Therefore, the Court reversed the Court of Criminal Appeals and reinstated the trial court’s judgment denying the petition for writ of error coram nobis.


Senator David Perdue Says The Debt Crisis Is Directly Impacting The Ability To Protect The Nation

Senator David Perdue, a member of the Senate Budget and Foreign Relations Committees, on Thursday highlighted the impact the federal debt crisis is having on the country’s ability to support the military and protect the nation.   Here are highlights: Responsibly Funding The Federal Government:  “The primary role of Congress is to responsibly fund the federal ... (click for more)

Department Of Labor And Workforce Development Awards Hamilton County Job Training Grants

Tennessee Department of Labor and Workforce Development Commissioner Burns Phillips announced on Thursday, the department has awarded $50,000 in Incumbent Worker Training Grants to two companies in Hamilton County. Incumbent Worker Training Grants assist employers with upgrading skills to avoid layoffs of their employees. “By helping employers throughout the state provide the ... (click for more)

Federal Judge Rules That Hutcheson Medical Center And Its Trustees Owe Erlanger $36,379,968.20

A federal judge at Rome, Ga., has ruled that the Hospital Authority of Catoosa, Dade and Walker counties and Hutcheson Medical Center are liable to pay Erlanger Health System $36,379,968.20. Judge Harold Murphy, in a 90-page opinion, discarded a counter-claim brought by Hutcheson against Erlanger. He directed that Erlanger be paid $20 million for money it spent while managing ... (click for more)

Southern Adventist University Launches $50 Million Campaign For Excellence In Faith And Learning; President Bietz Retires

Southern Adventist University on Thursday announced a $50 million Campaign for Excellence in Faith and Learning, while also announcing that President Gordon Bietz is retiring. The SAU president for the past 19 years, he is retiring in May. More than 1,000 people, including government officials and Chattanooga business leaders, were in attendance for the Bietz Legacy ... (click for more)

HCDE Administration And The County School Budget - And Response

It is pleasing to see the appointment of Jill Levine to a position of significance in the administration office. Would it be presumptive to ask what reductions were made to accommodate this financially?Have other central office staffers been demoted or let go?   I doubt that classrooms can suffer further budget reductions. Peter Van Deusen Chattanooga  * ... (click for more)

Roy Exum: Jill Levine Joins Kelly

In a bold move to launch his start as the interim school superintendent, Kirk Kelly wasted no time in naming one of his most heralded principals as the chief academic officer of the Hamilton County Department Of Education. His reasoning for moving Jill Levine, currently the principal at Normal Park Museum Magnet: “Our children can’t wait.” Kelly was picked as the school system’s ... (click for more)