- The state uses a guideline sentencing system with three separate tiers based on an offender’s criminal history.
Art. I, § 16: That excessive bail shall not be required, nor excessive fines imposed, nor cruel and unusual punishments inflicted.
Any offender who has been previously convicted of six or more Class A, B, or C felonies and whose instant conviction is for a Class A, B, or C felony must receive the maximum Range III sentence. T.C.A. §40-35-108(1). Any offender with at least three Class A, or any combination of four Class A or B felony convictions must receive the maximum Range III sentence if the instant conviction is for a Class A or B felony. T.C.A. §40-35-108(2). Any offender with six prior felony convictions of any class must receive the maximum Range III sentence if the instant offense is a Class D or E felony. T.C.A. §40-35-108(3).
Parole eligibility for career offenders is set at 60 percent. T.C.A. §40-35-501(f).
Tennessee uses a guideline system with three-tiered sentencing ranges. T.C.A. §40-35-112. Range III sentences for Class A felonies range from 40 to 60 years; from 20-30 years for Class B felonies; from 10-15 years for Class C felonies; from 8-12 years for Class D felonies; from four to six years for Class E felonies. T.C.A. §40-35-112.
Especially mitigated offenders
Trial judges may depart from the minimum guideline sentence upon the finding that an offender has no prior felony convictions and the court finds mitigating, but no enhancement factors. T.C.A. §40-35-109.
Whether an offender qualifies as a mitigated offender is a question that rests within the sound discretion of the trial court; offenders will not generally qualify for sentencing as an especially mitigated offender absent extreme mitigating facts arising from the commission of the offense. State v. Buttrey, 756 S.W.2d 718 (Tenn.Crim.App. 1988).
On appeal, sentencing classification was overturned and defendant was re-classified as an especially mitigated offender where sentencing court overlooked a two-decade history of hospitalizations for mental illness when sentencing woman to 20 years in prison for murder. State v. Max, 714 S.W.2d 289 (Tenn.Crim.App. 1986).
State constitution calls for same proportionality analysis as the Eighth Amendment to the federal constitution. Van Tran v. State, 66 S.W.3d 790 (Tenn. 2001). However, fact that state and federal constitutions are textually similar does not foreclose the possibility of a more expansive interpretation of Art. I, §16. State v. Black, 815 S.W.2d 166 (Tenn. 1991).
Court upheld 25-year-sentence for child rape rejecting challenge to the voluntariness of plea entered by 70-year-old man who believed he would receive a lesser sentence due to his age and prior good works. Lucas v. State, 2012 WL 1656999 (Tenn.Crim.App. 2012) (slip copy).
A Defender’s Guide to Federal Evidence: A Trial Practice Handbook for Criminal Defense Attorneys
This Guide to Federal Evidence is the only federal evidence handbook written exclusively for criminal defense lawyers. The Guide analyzes each Federal Rule of Evidence and outlines the main evidentiary issues that confront criminal defense lawyers. It also summarizes countless defense favorable cases and provides tips on how to avoid common evidentiary pitfalls. The Guide contains multiple user-friendly flowcharts aimed at helping the criminal defense lawyer tackle evidence problems. A Defender’s Guide to Federal Evidence is an indispensable tool in preparing a case for trial.
Modern Digital Evidence & Technologies in Criminal Cases
Modern cases need modern defenses, and modern lawyers can't practice with an outdated playbook. This program is a contemporary training that identifies emerging technologies and digital evidence encountered in today's criminal cases and arms you with the tools necessary to combat expert witnesses, prosecutorial overreach, and an uneducated judge and jury. This comprehensive CLE program covers both general aspects of new technologies as well as practical courtroom application and legal challenges to the use of these new technologies.
Top Shelf DUI Defenses: The Law, The Science, The Techniques (2021)
If you are serious about being an effective DUI defense advocate, or if you’re considering adding DUI defenses to your portfolio, you need to know the latest scientific and legal strategies to optimize your success at trial. Learn from the best-of-the-best in the field in this unique CLE Program, updated for 2021.
Defending Modern Drug Cases (2021)
From challenging the arrest and seizure to picking a jury and cross-examining police officers, defense attorneys handling drug cases must be able to construct a defense that will increase the chances of the client getting a positive result for your client.
Effective motion practice, juror selection, and storytelling have never been more important. This seminar will introduce defense counsel to techniques that have been used at recent drug trials to rebut specific claims and overcome the emotion created in today’s criminal legal system.