After all the years of handling murder charges in Nashville, I discovered a new twist in how these charges are brought in Nashville, Tennessee. In Tennessee, there are several different theories to prosecute a murder charge. From first degree murder, all the way to criminally negligent homicide are the possible theories of prosecution.
In reading an arrest warrant the other day, I discovered something that I have overlooked. In Nashville cases, the arrest warrant only alleges criminal homicide under T.C.A 39-13-201. Under that code section, the type of murder charge is not specifically named. It could be first-degree murder, second-degree murder, voluntary manslaughter, criminally negligent homicide or vehicular homicide. It is a tactical advantage for the government to not declare the charge at the General Sessions Court hearing. One reason is they have a wide range of available charges. It might not mean much in the big picture, but it might be an area worth looking into at the preliminary hearing.