TBA Law Blog

Posted by: Amelia Ferrell Knisely on Jan 19, 2016

The Knoxville News Sentinel reports an opinion issued last week by the Tennessee Supreme Court set legal precedent in the state when the court ruled that an autopsy report can serve as evidence in a murder trial – even when the medical examiner who wrote it is no longer available to testify. Dr. Sandra Elkins, formerly Knox County’s chief medical examiner, was forced to step down after authorities say she suffered a drug relapse. Bob Jolley, defense attorney for Thomas Lee Hutchison in the case, argued that Hutchison had the right to confront Elkins if the autopsy were to be admitted. Justice Holly Kirby said that the justices agreed an autopsy report does not itself accuse a particular defendant of murder but only documents that a killing took place. Read the full opinion authored by Justice Kirby.