All Content

Posted by: Tanja Trezise on Aug 29, 2014

Court: TN Court of Criminal Appeals

Attorneys 1:

Daniel E. Kirsch and Kertyssa Delynn Smalls, Nashville, Tennessee, for the appellant, Robert Faulkner.

Attorneys 2:

Robert E. Cooper, Jr., Attorney General & Reporter; Andrew Craig Coulam, Assistant Attorney General; Amy P. Weirich, District Attorney General; and John Campbell, Assistant District Attorney General, for the appellee, State of Tennessee.

Judge(s): OGLE

The Petitioner, Robert Faulkner, appeals the denial of his petition for post-conviction relief from his conviction of first degree premeditated murder and resulting sentence of death. On appeal, the Petitioner contends that (1) the jury foreperson demonstrated bias and violated the Petitioner’s right to a fair and impartial jury; (2) he is intellectually disabled and, thus, ineligible for the death penalty; (3) he received the ineffective assistance of counsel during the guilt and penalty phases of trial; (4) the prosecution failed to disclose exculpatory evidence; (5) the prosecution presented false and misleading testimony; (6) the trial court demonstrated bias; (7) the “acquittal-first instruction” violated his due process rights; (8) Tennessee’s death penalty scheme is unconstitutional; and (9) cumulative error warrants a new trial. We conclude that due to the jury foreperson’s false statements about past domestic violence, the Petitioner was denied his constitutional right to a fair and impartial jury. Accordingly, we reverse the judgment of the post-conviction court, vacate the Petitioner’s conviction and death sentence, and remand the case to the trial court for a new trial.