TBA Law Blog


Posted by: Katharine Heriges on Aug 8, 2019
The Tennessee Supreme Court yesterday ruled unanimously that the Court of Criminal Appeals should no longer vacate convictions when criminal defendants die during an appeal guaranteed by law, known as an appeal as of right from the conviction. In State v. Mutory, the court unanimously concluded that, due to changes in the public policy of Tennessee in the arena of victims’ rights, the doctrine of abatement ab initio should be abandoned. The court majority referred the issue to the Advisory Commission on the Rules of Practice and Procedure for further study and, if appropriate, for a recommendation of a procedure to replace the doctrine of abatement ab initio to apply when a defendant dies during the pendency of an appeal as of right from a conviction.