Legal Question in Criminal Law in Tennessee

I received an answer from Atty.Charles Bloodworth. He said a judge will not consider a conviction that was expunged due to diversion, which applies to person I'm asking for, when sentencing for a second charge. However, the first conviction was theft under $500 from Walmart. The second arrest was also theft under $500 from Walmart. Can Walmart bring up the previous arrest in court? Thanks for your help.

Asked on 9/05/13, 6:43 am

1 Answer from Attorneys

There is always the risk that the representative from Wal Mart might want to bring up the prior arrest, if only to try and smear you in front of the judge. The correct ruling from the judge SHOULD be:

"Mr. (Wal Mart), that is an irrelevent matter and I will totally disregard it."

If the case were to be presented to a jury the judge would disallow any mention of the prior arrest that led to a diversion and expungement, and the jury would never hear of the earlier incident.

WARNING: If the Defendant was caught shoplifting, and WalMart issued a "Criminal Trespass" or "Bar Letter" to the Defendant, then the fact that the Defendant was under a "Criminal Trespass" or "Bar" letter might be allowed into evidence in connection with a charge of criminal trespass or burglary with respect to the new arrest. In such a case WalMart would be permitted to testify:

"We barred Mr. Defendant from our stores on [date] yet he came back to our store to commit the (second) theft charge."

They would not be allowed to say WHY they barred you.

The reason I give that WARNING is that in our district the District Attorney has been known to allege that any person who enters a store in the face of a bar letter MUST have entered the store for the purpose of committing theft. Entering a business with the intent to commit theft inside the store elevates the crime from misdemeanor theft / criminal trespass up to a felony Burglary!

As usual, my best advice is always seek the assistance of an attorney in the jurisdiction concerned.

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Answered on 9/05/13, 2:09 pm

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