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Posted by: Tanja Trezise on Mar 16, 2015

Court: TN Court of Criminal Appeals

Attorneys 1:

Eliot Kerner, Franklin, Tennessee, (on appeal); and Nathan Moore, Nashville, Tennessee, (at trial), for the appellant, Jeremy Wendell Thorpe.

Attorneys 2:

Herbert H. Slatery, III, Attorney General and Reporter; Clarence E. Lutz, Senior Counsel; Victor S. Johnson, III, District Attorney General; Sharon Reddick and Tali Rosenblum, Assistant District Attorneys General, for the appellee, the State of Tennessee.

Judge(s): WOODALL

Following a jury trial, Defendant, Jeremy Wendell Thorpe, was found guilty as charged of aggravated arson, a Class A felony, and vandalism of a structure of a value of sixty thousand ($60,000.00) dollars or more, a Class B felony. He was sentenced to concurrent sentences of seventeen years for the aggravated arson conviction and nine years for the vandalism conviction. In his appeal of right, Defendant challenges the legal sufficiency of the evidence to support his conviction for aggravated arson. Specifically, Defendant argues that the State failed to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that he “knowingly” committed the offense. An integral part of this issue is Defendant’s assertion that aggravated arson requires a “result-ofconduct” knowing mens rea. Defendant asserts there are conflicting opinions of this Court as to this issue. The State initially argues that Defendant’s motion for new trial was filed one day late, and that as a result, the notice of appeal was not timely filed. The State urges this Court to dismiss Defendant’s appeal. In a reply brief, Defendant concedes his motion for new trial was filed late by one day and although the notice of appeal was also late, the timely filing of the notice of appeal should be waived. The State declined to address Defendant’s argument that aggravated arson is a “result-of-conduct” offense. Defendant does not challenge the vandalism conviction. After a through review of the record, the parties’ briefs, and the applicable law, we conclude that the State’s argument that the notice of appeal was filed late is void of merit. Notwithstanding the fact the State waived argument on the “knowing” mens rea definition for aggravated arson, we conclude that aggravated arson is not a result-of-conduct offense. Following our review of the record, we affirm the judgments of the trial court.