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Posted by: Landry Butler on Jul 6, 2017

Head Comment: With concurring opinion by Woodall

Court: TN Court of Criminal Appeals

Attorneys 1:

Jonathan Harwell, Assistant District Public Defender (on appeal); and Troy L. Bowlin II and Sheena A. Foster, Morristown, Tennessee (at trial), for the appellant, Brandon Scott Donaldson.

Attorneys 2:

Herbert H. Slatery III, Attorney General and Reporter; Renee W. Turner, Assistant Attorney General; Charme P. Allen, District Attorney General; and Kevin J. Allen and Molly Martin, Assistant District Attorneys General, for the appellee, State of Tennessee.

Judge(s): WITT

The defendant, Brandon Scott Donaldson, appeals his Knox County Criminal Court jury convictions of second degree murder, attempted second degree murder, and employing a firearm during the commission of a dangerous felony, claiming that the trial court erred by excluding certain evidence and by giving certain jury instructions, that the evidence was insufficient to sustain his convictions of second degree murder and attempted second degree murder, that the sentence imposed was excessive, and that the cumulative effect of these errors prevented a fair trial. In addition, the defendant raises a number of challenges to the statute regarding the death of a fetus. Because the trial court committed prejudicial error by excluding as hearsay certain witness testimony, because this exclusion violated the defendant’s constitutional right to present a defense, we reverse the defendant’s convictions and remand for a new trial.