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Posted by: Tanja Trezise on Dec 17, 2014

Court: TN Court of Criminal Appeals

Attorneys 1:

Steven M. Garner, Franklin, Tennessee, for the appellant, Karl P. Cooper.

Attorneys 2:

Robert E. Cooper, Jr., Attorney General and Reporter; Clark B. Thornton, Senior Counsel; Kim R. Helper, District Attorney General; and Carlin C. Hess, Assistant District Attorney General, for the appellee, State of Tennessee.

Judge(s): OGLE

A Williamson County Circuit Court Jury convicted the appellant, Karl P. Cooper, of driving under the influence (DUI), second offense; speeding; and violating the open container law. The appellant received a total effective sentence of eleven months and twenty-nine days and was ordered to spend sixty days of the sentence in jail before being released on probation. On appeal, the appellant contends that the trial court erred by allowing the State to violate the rule of witness sequestration, that the trial court erred by sustaining the State’s objection to the appellant’s request to have the arresting officer demonstrate a field sobriety test, and that the evidence was insufficient to sustain his DUI conviction. The State concedes that the trial court erred by allowing the violation of the rule of sequestration but contends the error was harmless. Upon review, we conclude that the violation of the rule of sequestration was reversible error; accordingly, the judgment of the trial court is reversed, and the case is remanded for a new trial.