Court Rules on Post-Conviction Relief in Criminal Contempt

The Tennessee Supreme Court ruled today that persons found in criminal contempt under the general contempt statute have not been convicted of a criminal offense and may not obtain post-conviction relief from such criminal contempt findings. In its opinion today, the court upheld the Court of Criminal Appeals decision, noting the distinction between a conviction of a criminal offense and a finding of criminal contempt under the general contempt statute. While both may result in a punishment of jail time, Tennessee law does not define contempt as a criminal offense, or equate a finding of criminal contempt with a conviction of a criminal offense. The opinion concerns the case Tracey Ross Baker v. State of Tennessee.