STATE OF TENNESSEE v. CORINIO PRUITT

With concurring and dissenting opinion.

A jury convicted the defendant of first degree felony murder. The jury imposed a sentence of death based on three aggravating circumstances: (1) the defendant had previously been convicted of one or more felonies involving the use of violence; (2) the murder was knowingly committed while the defendant had a substantial role in committing a robbery; and (3) the victim was seventy years of age or older. See Tenn. Code Ann. § 39-13-204(i)(2), (7), (14) (2010). The Court of Criminal Appeals affirmed. On automatic appeal pursuant to Tennessee Code Annotated section 39-13-206(a)(1) (2010), we designated the following issues for oral argument: (1) whether the evidence was sufficient to support the jury’s finding of guilt of first degree felony murder beyond a reasonable doubt; (2) whether the trial court erred in determining that the defendant had failed to prove by a preponderance of the evidence that he was intellectually disabled and thereby ineligible for the death penalty; and (3) whether the sentence of death is disproportionate or invalid pursuant to the mandatory review of Tennessee Code Annotated section 39-13-206(c)(1). On December 6, 2012, we ordered re-argument on the following issues: (1) whether the proportionality analysis adopted by the majority of the Court in State v. Bland, should be modified; (2) whether the absence of an intent to kill should render the death penalty disproportionate; and (3) whether the pool of cases considered in proportionality analysis should be broadened. Having carefully considered these issues and the other issues raised by the defendant, we find no merit to the defendant’s arguments. Accordingly, we affirm the judgment of the Court of Criminal Appeals.

Attorney 1: 

Harry E. Sayle, III and Tony N. Brayton, Memphis, Tennessee, for the appellant, Corinio Pruitt.

Attorney 2: 

Robert E. Cooper, Jr., Attorney General and Reporter; William E. Young, Solicitor General; Gordon W. Smith, Associate Solicitor General; James E. Gaylord, Assistant Attorney General; William L. Gibbons, District Attorney General; and Amy P. Weirich, Alanda H. Dwyer, and John W. Campbell, Assistant District Attorneys General, for the appellee, State of Tennessee.

Anne E. Passino and Wade V. Davies, Knoxville, Tennessee; Russell Cass, Daniel Greenfield, and Collin P. Wedel, Los Angeles, California; Eric Grant Osborne, Seema Kakad Jain, and Mary Schmid Mergler, Washington, D.C.; and J. Robin McKinney Jr., Nashville, Tennessee, for the amicus curiae, Tennessee Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers and The Constitution Project.

Allan F. Ramsaur, Jacqueline Belle Dixon, and Paul C. Ney, Nashville, Tennessee, and David Miller Eldridge, Knoxville, Tennessee, for the amicus curiae, Tennessee Bar Association.

Erica Knievel Songer, Kathryn A. Blair, Khang V. Tran, and Thomas N. Bulleit Jr., Washington, D.C., and Dwight L. Aarons, Knoxville, Tennessee, for the amicus curiae, Tennessee Death Penalty Assessment Team.

Mark A. Fulks, Johnson City, Tennessee, and J. Wally Kirby, Nashville, Tennessee, for the amicus curiae, Tennessee District Attorneys Conference.

Anthony J. Dick, Washington, D.C.; Brian J. Murray, Chicago, Illinois; and Jeffrey S. Henry, Nashville, Tennessee, for the amicus curiae, Tennessee District Public Defenders Conference.

Judge: 
HOLDER
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pruittc_100813.pdf345.96 KB
KOCH and LEE concurring in part and dissenting in part157.87 KB
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