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Posted by: Stacey Shrader Joslin on Dec 30, 2016

Court: TN Supreme Court

Attorneys 1:

Gary Howell, Mt. Pleasant, Tennessee (at trial); Travis B. Jones, Assistant District Public Defender (at trial and on appeal); and Brandon E. White, Columbia, Tennessee (on appeal), for the appellant, Nicole Flowers.

Attorneys 2:

Herbert H. Slatery III, Attorney General and Reporter; Andrée Sophia Blumstein, Solicitor General; Leslie E. Price, Senior Counsel (on appeal); Brent Cooper, District Attorney General; and Kevin Latta, Assistant District Attorney General (at trial), for the appellee, State of Tennessee.

Judge(s): PAGE

Nicole Flowers (“the defendant”) was convicted of the criminal offense of stalking, see Tennessee Code Annotated section 39-17-315, based, in part, on her posting disparaging signs about the victim on the victim's private property and on the property of his employer, which was a public place. We granted this appeal to consider whether the signs placed by the defendant amounted to an exercise of her right to free speech, as protected by the United States and Tennessee Constitutions. We also consider whether the evidence presented at the bench trial was sufficient to sustain the defendant's conviction. We conclude, based on the proof in the record on appeal, that the evidence underlying the defendant's conviction for stalking is insufficient to sustain her conviction and therefore reverse the judgment of the Court of Criminal Appeals. Having determined that the evidence is insufficient, the issue of the defendant's right to free speech is pretermitted.