Tennessee Supreme Court Affirms Mother's Convictions For 1st-Degreee Murder And Aggravated Child Abuse Of Newborn Twins

Friday, July 20, 2018

In a unanimous opinion, the Tennessee Supreme Court affirmed the convictions of Lindsey Lowe for first-degree murder and aggravated child abuse, stemming from the deaths of her newborn twins caused by her smothering the infants shortly after birth. 

Prior to trial, Ms. Lowe moved to suppress evidence obtained under a search warrant, based on the fact that one of the three copies of the search warrant stated the warrant was executed at 11:35 p.m., when the other two copies stated that the warrant was executed at 11:35 a.m.  The trial court denied the motion to suppress, relying on the Exclusionary Rule Reform Act (“the ERRA”). Ms. Lowe raised the suppression issue, and other issues, on appeal following her convictions. The Court of Criminal Appeals affirmed the judgments of the trial court, and the defendant filed an application for permission to appeal to the Tennessee Supreme Court.

The Supreme Court granted appeal in this case to address the issue of whether the ERRA violates the Separation of Powers Clause of the Tennessee Constitution and other alleged errors raised by Ms. Lowe.  The Court also requested briefing on the additional issue of whether the Court should expand the good-faith exception adopted in State v. Davidson to include technical violations during the service of a search warrant when the search is otherwise constitutional.

In its decision, the Court first held that the ERRA encroaches on the judiciary’s authority by legislatively mandating an exception to the exclusionary rule. As a result, the Court held that the statute violates the Separation of Powers Clause of the Tennessee Constitution.  The Court determined that the trial court erred in relying upon the ERRA in denying the defendant’s motion to suppress. 

However, the Court then adopted a good-faith exception to the exclusionary rule set forth in Tennessee Rule of Criminal Procedure 41 when “a magistrate has issued a warrant in compliance with constitutional requirements but, in good faith, fails to comply with Rule 41’s technical requirement of three ‘exact’ copies.” When a defendant has established that a search warrant, or its supporting affidavit, fails to comply with the technical requirements of Tennessee Rule of Criminal Procedure 41, the State then has the burden of establishing that the technical noncompliance was due to a good-faith error and that the error did not prejudice the defendant.  In this case, the Court concluded that the record established that the error was made in good faith and that the error did not prejudice Lowe.  Based on this conclusion, the Court upheld the trial court’s admission of the evidence seized under the search warrant.  Finally, the Court rejected the other issues raised by Ms. Lowe and affirmed her convictions.

 

To read the Supreme Court’s unanimous opinion in State of Tennessee v. Lindsey Brooke Lowe, authored by Chief Justice Jeff Bivins, go to the opinions section of TNCourts.gov.


Startup Spectruss Sees Record Growth

Creative Solar USA Installs Solar Panels On Roof Of Dade County High School

Gas Prices Drop 3.5 Cents In Chattanooga


Spectruss, a full-service marketing agency based in the Chattanooga area continues rapid growth through its virtual CMO service that provides clients direct access to the expertise of an in-house ... (click for more)

Creative Solar USA has completed its installation of a solar generation facility on the roof of Dade County High School. A grant from the Georgia Environmental Finance Authority helped pay ... (click for more)

Gasoline prices in Chattanooga have fallen 3.5 cents per gallon in the past week, averaging $2.54 per gallon on Monday, according to GasBuddy's daily survey of 170 stations in Chattanooga. This ... (click for more)


Business

Startup Spectruss Sees Record Growth

Spectruss, a full-service marketing agency based in the Chattanooga area continues rapid growth through its virtual CMO service that provides clients direct access to the expertise of an in-house marketing team minus the premium salary of hiring a full-time marketing director. Additionally, the agency recently hired multiple new team members to support their continued growth in ... (click for more)

Creative Solar USA Installs Solar Panels On Roof Of Dade County High School

Creative Solar USA has completed its installation of a solar generation facility on the roof of Dade County High School. A grant from the Georgia Environmental Finance Authority helped pay the upfront cost of solar equipment that will extend the school’s energy conservation efforts. The 60-kilowatt installation is part of ongoing improvements that reduce energy, utility costs ... (click for more)

Breaking News

HCSO Corrections Corporal Arrested

Hamilton County Sheriff’s Office personnel on Tuesday afternoon arrested HCSO Corrections Corporal Kaquience Williams on the charge of possession of drug paraphernalia. Corporal Williams was arrested after she was found to be in possession of drug paraphernalia during a traffic stop. She is presently in the booking process at the Hamilton County Jail and has been placed on ... (click for more)

Downtown Post Office Finally Getting Handicap Ramp

Chattanooga's Downtown Post Office, after some lawsuits and numerous complaints over the years, is finally getting a handicap ramp. Federal Judge Sandy Mattice said the complaints had increased in recent months and the General Services Administration agreed to fund the project at the historic building on Georgia Avenue. The judge said, "It's a beautiful building, but it's ... (click for more)

Opinion

Too Many Questions

First it was about 2,000, then we were told it’s up to 4,000. We have no way of knowing who’s coming or what their purpose is. NBC and CNN assure us they are seeking sanctuary but how can we know? Neither Honduras or our subjective media in America have been honest with us in the past. So, how do we know why that many people are marching across Central America? Then this morning ... (click for more)

Roy Exum: No, I’m Not Average

When Bear Bryant was the football coach at Alabama, he had a most delicious way of keeping his players on an even keel. If a player got a bit full of himself, Coach would set it up with one of his writer friends like this: “When everybody gets to where they ask questions, I want you to ask about (insert name) and how he is playing this year, alright?” It would always turn out ... (click for more)