After an elderly patient died while under medical care in Tennessee, the district attorney decided to charge the nurse who was caring for the patients at the time of their death. The charges have many discussing whether prosecuting the nurse is the best way to improve medical protocols and make medicine safer.
The Blindfold Law blocked criminal defendants from accessing information that may prevent them from blindly accepting plea bargains or sending them to trial without knowing the evidence that is being brought against them. This included defending attorneys, who were not allowed access to key evidence against their clients, including investigative reports and eyewitness testimonies. In some cases, innocent people were prompted to take plea deals even before they knew what evidence was being used to convict them of the crime. Had the evidence been brought beforehand, it may prove that there was insufficient data linking the suspect to the crime. At this point, however, the defendant already accepted a plea deal.
While there are many types of evidence that can be used to prove a suspect innocent or guilty of committing a crime, not all types are deemed reliable. In fact, some types of evidence may be misconstrued or used to create false data that can lead to the wrongful conviction of an innocent person. This includes a host of forensic methods, such as bite mark analysis, microscopic hair analysis and blood analysis. Some of the methods used to obtain evidence regarding a case are unable to provide consistent and reliable results indicating that a person is connected to a crime.
If you experienced excessive force by a police officer while being under arrest in Tennessee, you may be the victim of police brutality. While many law enforcement officers treat their jobs with respect, and they follow the guidelines outlined by local, state and federal laws, some overstep the boundaries and treat the suspect wrong. If this occurs, a good attorney may be able to use it to your benefit in your case.
You have three choices of representation if you are facing criminal charges in Tennessee. First, you can represent yourself. You will be facing a prosecutor who knows Tennessee criminal law, procedure and the rules of evidence. The prosecutor will also have experience before with the judge. Second, you can ask for the court to appoint a criminal defense attorney to represent you. It could be a private lawyer who accepts appointments from the court or a public defender. You will have no choice in who represents you and no knowledge of their skill level or experience. You will also have to meet income guidelines. Third, you can select and hire a criminal defense attorney based on what you want in a lawyer and what is important to you, such as experience, trial practice, and knowledge of criminal law. Maybe a divorce lawyer that dabbles in defending those accused of a crime is who you want.
Should the prosecutor in your Tennessee federal white-collar crime case offer you a favorable plea bargain, it may be in your best interests to accept it. Why? Because as Forbes recently reported, nearly 90 percent of federal defendants do, in fact, opt for a plea agreement instead of going to trial.
Not everyone who is convicted of a crime is guilty. There are numerous incidents where people are wrongfully chosen out of an eyewitness identification lineup, and as a result, are convicted of a crime they did not commit. Failures in the eyewitness lineup process are partially to blame for this horrendous error, as well as limitations of the human memory and a jury’s inclination to favor an eyewitness.
If you face criminal charges in Tennessee, you likely will enter a not guilty plea at your arraignment. The next major step in your prosecution will be your preliminary hearing. As FindLaw explains, a preliminary hearing is not a trial. Instead, it is a hearing to determine if the prosecutor has sufficient evidence against you for your case to proceed to trial.
Everyone in Tennessee and elsewhere knows about undercover police officers. Whether they are posed in a high-risk area to step in at the first sign of an assault or driving in an unmarked police car to find drunk drivers, the purpose of undercover officers is to catch wrongdoing without it being obvious there is a law enforcement presence. However, as you may not be aware, there is a difference between undercover officers stepping in after a crime has been committed and actively encouraging someone to commit a crime. When the latter occurs, it may be a case of entrapment.
As a Tennessee resident with a criminal record, you may find that having a record hinders your ability to do any number of different things. Depending on the details of your criminal case, you may find that it prevents you from finding a job or housing, for example, but there may be certain steps you can take to eliminate the damage your criminal record causes. At the Law Office of Rob McKinney, we understand what types of criminal cases are typically eligible for expungement, and we have helped many clients navigate the process and minimize the impact their criminal records have on their lives.