Legal Question in Criminal Law in Tennessee

If a defendant plead guilty to sexual battery by authority figure, at the advice of his public defender, and he now feels his didn't get to tell his side of the story, can his case be reviewed at all. The victim was initiating contact with him, and then blackmailed him for gifts so that she wouldn't tell. He refused a gift, and she told. Then, she became pregnant at 15 years old by a 20 year old boyfriend.

Asked on 4/19/13, 2:13 pm

1 Answer from Attorneys

There is a potential for review through a process called Petition for Post-Conviction Relief.

There is a strict time limit of one year after the final judgment was entered, so read the rules and make sure you qualify.

The essence of a petition in your case would be "ineffective assistance of counsel" and/or "denial of due process" but the standard of proof is high, and you have the burden of proof. Just declaring that you "didn't get to tell your side of the story" won't get you any relief. You will have to also establish what "your side of the story" was, and how it would have made a difference. Probably fewer that one out of a hundred petitions are granted, and the remedy is at best a new trial, not dismissal of charges. As a practical matter, you will have to prove that you had a reasonable defense. To be blunt, blaming a 14-15 year old probably isn't going to get you very far.

Here is a web site that explains the procedure and provides downloadable "fill in the blank" forms.

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Answered on 4/22/13, 11:57 am

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