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Posted by: Tanja Trezise on Jun 3, 2013

Court: TN Court of Criminal Appeals

Attorneys 1:

James A. H. Bell, Knoxville, Tennessee (at trial and on appeal); John Wesley Hall, Little Rock, Arkansas (on appeal); Paula R. Ham, Loudon, Tennessee (at trial); Richard L. Holcomb, Honolulu, Hawaii (at trial), for the appellant, Raynella Dossett Leath.

Attorneys 2:

Robert E. Cooper, Jr., Attorney General and Reporter; John H. Bledsoe, Senior Counsel; Robert Steven Bebb, District Attorney General, pro tem; and Richard A. Fisher, Cindy LeCroy-Schemel, and Joseph Y. McCoin, Assistant District Attorneys General, pro tem, for the appellee, State of Tennessee.

Judge(s): THOMAS

Following a jury trial, the Defendant, Raynella Dossett Leath, was convicted of first degree premeditated murder and sentenced to imprisonment for life, with the possibility of parole. See Tenn. Code Ann. § 39-13-202. In this appeal as of right, the Defendant contends (1) that she was retried in violation of her state and federal constitutional protections against double jeopardy; (2) that the trial court erred by declining to exclude test results from analysis of the victim’s blood and urine; (3) that the trial court erred by admitting “certain estate planning documents” into evidence at trial; (4) that the trial court erred by denying the Defendant’s motion for a mistrial after a witness testified that she had previously stated that she was “scared” of the Defendant; (5) that the evidence was insufficient to sustain the Defendant’s conviction for first degree premeditated murder; (6) that the trial court erred by failing to instruct the jury on the State’s duty to preserve evidence pursuant to State v. Ferguson, 2 S.W.3d 912 (Tenn. 1999); (7) that the trial court’s jury instruction regarding the defense of alibi improperly shifted the burden of proof onto the Defendant; (8) that the trial court erred by failing to instruct the jury on the Defendant’s “theory of defense”; (9) that the trial court used an improper method to select the alternate juror; (10) that members of the jury committed misconduct by deliberating prematurely and reviewing extraneous prejudicial information; (11) that the State withheld evidence favorable to the Defendant in violation of Brady v. Maryland, 373 U.S. 83 (1963), and its progeny; (12) that the Defendant is entitled to a new trial based upon newly discovered evidence; (13) that the trial court, by accepting the jury’s guilty verdict, “abdicated” its role as the thirteenth juror; and (14) that the Defendant is entitled to a new trial based upon cumulative error. Following our review, we affirm the judgment of the trial court.