Criminal Justice Section

The section was established to serve all elements of the criminal justice system, including state, federal and municipal prosecutors, judges with criminal jurisdiction, state and federal public defenders and those lawyers in private practice.

Chair
District Public Defender
112 S. Second St
Clarksville, TN 37040
(931)648-5538
Immediate Past Chair
Schell & Oglesby, LLC
509 New Highway 96 W Ste 201
Franklin, TN 37064
(615)550-2800
Staff Coordinator
Tennessee Bar Association
221 4th Avenue N. Suite 400
Nashville, TN 37219
(615)383-7421

On Final Day in Office, Haslam Grants Clemency to 23

In his final day of office, Gov. Bill Haslam granted executive clemency to 23 current or former Tennesseans, the Tennessean reports. “These individuals receiving pardons have made positive contributions to their communities and are worthy of the forgiveness that may help them restore their rights or obtain employment. Those receiving commutations will gain another chance to become contributing members of society,” Haslam wrote in an issued statement. Among the list include some whose crimes were committed in the earlier 1970s, and several who were convicted for drug charges. 

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Lawmakers Intend to Address Juvenile Sentencing Reform

The recent decision to grant clemency to Cyntoia Brown has lawmakers discussing Tennessee’s treatment of juvenile defendants and sentencing reform, The Commercial Appeal reports. Currently, juveniles in the state convicted of first-degree murder must serve a mandatory 51 years behind bars, the same as their adult counterparts. This is in stark contrast to many states which have reduced sentencing for adolescents on similar charges, with almost half doing away with life sentences for juvenile offenders altogether. A bill supported by Sen. Raumesh Akbari (D-Memphis), would give juveniles sentenced to life in prison a chance at parole after serving 20 years, and require the parole board to consider youth as a factor when making its decision. The measure, as proposed, would not affect those already sentenced. 

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