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Posted by: Tanja Trezise on Aug 23, 2012

Court: TN Court of Criminal Appeals

Attorneys 1:

Bradley A. MacLean and Avram D. Frey, Nashville, Tennessee, for the appellant, James Patrick Stout.

Attorneys 2:

Robert E. Cooper, Jr., Attorney General and Reporter; Sophia S. Lee, Senior Counsel; Amy P. Weirich, District Attorney General; and John W. Campbell, Assistant District Attorney General, for the appellee, State of Tennessee.


The Petitioner, James Patrick Stout, was convicted of felony murder, especially aggravated kidnapping, and especially aggravated robbery. At the sentencing hearing for the felony murder conviction, the jury found three aggravating circumstances: (1) the defendant was previously convicted of one or more felonies whose statutory elements involved the use of violence to the person; (2) the murder was committed for the purpose of avoiding, interfering with, or preventing a lawful arrest or prosecution of the defendant or another; and (3) the murder was knowingly committed, solicited, directed, or aided by the defendant, while the defendant had a substantial role in committing or attempting to commit, or was fleeing after having a substantial role in committing or attempting to commit, any robbery or kidnapping. T.C.A. § 39-13-204(1)(2), (6) (Supp. 1995). The jury also found that the evidence of these aggravating circumstances outweighed evidence of the mitigating circumstances beyond a reasonable doubt and imposed a sentence of death for the Petitioner’s felony murder conviction. In a separate sentencing hearing, the trial court sentenced the Petitioner to forty years for each of his convictions for especially aggravated robbery and especially aggravated kidnapping, to be served consecutively to one another and consecutively to the death sentence. On direct appeal, the Tennessee Supreme Court affirmed the Petitioner’s convictions and sentences. See State v. Stout, 46 S.W.3d 689 (Tenn. 2001). The Petitioner filed a pro se petition for post-conviction relief, which was later amended by appointed counsel. Following an evidentiary hearing, the post-conviction court entered an order in which it denied the Petitioner post-conviction relief from each of his three convictions and his sentences for the convictions of especially aggravated robbery and especially aggravated kidnapping. The post-conviction court’s order granted the Petitioner post-conviction relief from his sentence of death, ordering that the Petitioner have a new sentencing hearing. The Petitioner appeals the post-conviction court’s order denying relief regarding the guilt phase of trial. After a thorough review of the record and applicable authorities, we affirm the postconviction court’s judgment.