STATE OF TENNESSEE v. SUSAN JO WALLS - Articles

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Posted by: Landry Butler on Nov 9, 2017

Head Comment: Wit concurring opinion by LEE

Court: TN Supreme Court

Attorneys 1:

Herbert H. Slatery III, Attorney General and Reporter; Andre´e S. Blumstein, Solicitor General; Andrew C. Coulam, Assistant Attorney General; Robert J. Carter, District Attorney General; and Richard A. Cawley and Michael D. Randles, Assistant District Attorneys General, for the appellant, State of Tennessee.

Attorneys 2:

Christopher P. Westmoreland, Shelbyville, Tennessee, for the defendant, Susan Jo Walls.

Judge(s): PAGE

We granted this appeal by the State of Tennessee to consider whether the trial court erred by allowing the jury in this case to deliberate late into the night and early morning on the last day of trial before convicting the defendant of first degree murder and conspiracy to commit first degree murder. The Court of Criminal Appeals granted the defendant relief on this issue, reasoning that absent a showing of unusual circumstances, late-night trial proceedings should be avoided and that such circumstances were not presented in this case. We accepted this appeal to examine this issue and clarify the applicable standard of review on appeal. Following our review, we conclude that the Court of Criminal Appeals erred in concluding that the trial court’s conducting late-night trial proceedings requires reversal of the defendant’s convictions. Accordingly, the Court of Criminal Appeals is reversed and the judgments of the trial court are affirmed.