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Posted by: Stacey Shrader Joslin on Sep 5, 2012

Court: TN Court of Criminal Appeals

Attorneys 1:

Robert Dalton, Lewisburg, Tennessee, for the appellant, Adrian Hill.

Attorneys 2:

Robert E. Cooper, Jr., Attorney General & Reporter; Benjamin Ball, Assistant Attorney General; Charles Crawford, District Attorney General; Robert Carter, Assistant District Attorney General, for the appellee, State of Tennessee.

Judge(s): BIVINS

Adrian Hill (“the Defendant”) appeals the trial court’s judgments finding him guilty of failing to comply with a child support order in two separate cases under Tennessee Code Annotated section 36-5-104(a). The trial court convicted the Defendant on one count in each of the two cases after conducting a bench trial. On appeal, the Defendant asserts that he was: (1) denied the right to grand jury action; (2) denied the right to a trial by jury; and (3) sentenced contrary to the applicable sentencing laws for criminal offenses. Upon review, because the statute at issue is a general criminal statute as opposed to a contempt statute, we conclude that the Defendant was entitled to grand jury action as a requirement to invoke the jurisdiction of the trial court. The record demonstrates that the Defendant did not receive grand jury action and did not waive his right to grand jury action. Therefore, we are compelled to vacate the judgments of the trial court and dismiss the charges against the Defendant.