TBA Law Blog

Posted by: Amelia Ferrell Knisely on Jan 28, 2016

The Tennessee Supreme Court today said that in generic evidence cases, where the child victim testifies about repeated incidents of sexual abuse but cannot provide details about the acts, the prosecution is not obligated to choose a specific instance of abuse. The announcement comes as the Court upheld the conviction of Jimmy Dale Qualls, of Hornsby, for 37 counts of sexual battery by an authority figure. The state asked the high Court to review the case after Qualls appealed to the Court of Appeals; Qualls claimed prosecution’s method of election was not sufficiently specific to guarantee the defendant his state constitutional right to a unanimous verdict on each charged offense. The Court, analyzing decisions from courts in other states, encouraged prosecutors to always attempt to gather details about specific incidents of sexual abuse. Read the unanimous opinion in State of Tennessee v. Jimmy Dale Qualls, authored by Justice Cornelia A. Clark.