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Posted by: Tanja Trezise on Jul 3, 2013

Court: TN Court of Criminal Appeals

Attorneys 1:

Charles G. Currier, Knoxville, Tennessee, for the appellant, Phillip Trevor Lenoir.

Attorneys 2:

Robert E. Cooper, Jr., Attorney General and Reporter; Deshea Dulany Faughn, Assistant Attorney General; Steven Bebb, District Attorney General; and Krista Oswalt, Assistant District Attorney General, for the appellee, State of Tennessee.


A Monroe County jury found the Defendant, Phillip Trevor Lenoir, guilty of aggravated child neglect. Thereafter, the trial court judge recused herself and a successor judge was appointed. The successor judge sentenced the Defendant as a Range I offender to serve twenty-five years in the Department of Correction. The Defendant appeals claiming: (1) the successor judge failed to engage in the proper analysis as the thirteenth juror; (2) the trial court erred when it denied the Defendant’s motion for a continuance; (3) the State was statutorily required to make an election between aggravated child abuse and aggravated child neglect; (4) the evidence is insufficient to support his convictions; (5) the trial court failed to require the jury to announce the fines imposed; (6) the trial court failed to instruct the jury on “third-party culpability;” and (7) the trial court erred when it did not allow the Defendant to offer “reliable hearsay” in his defense. After a thorough review of the record and relevant law, we conclude that because the successor judge was unable to properly approve the verdict as “thirteenth juror,” a new trial must be granted. Accordingly, the judgment of the trial court is reversed and this case is remanded for a new trial.