Upon being arrested, Tennessee residents may hold tight to many beliefs about the criminal defense process and justice system. One of these is that a person is always innocent until proven guilty. Another is that even if convicted, the potential to appeal a decision or even to seek parole if ultimately incarcerated always exists. When situations arise that seem counter to these beliefs, it can be devastating to defendants.
Such is the case for one man in Sumner County today. In 2009, he was convicted on four sex crime charges. Two were for incest and two were for attempted rape of a child. The defendant was a teenager at the time of the convictions. He was ordered to spend up to 20 years in prison but said to be able to seek parole after serving an initial six years.
In 2013, defense attorneys initially sought parole but that request was denied by the parole board. The board reportedly denied the request based upon what it indicated were the serious nature of the offenses for which the man was convicted. Now, the same request came before the state Supreme Court and that court has only supported the parole board's decision. The high court is said to have indicated that it is only suggesting that the board had legal rights to make the decision it did and nothing further could be done.
What happens in cases like these can vary a lot from situation to situation. It may be helpful for defendants to talk with a lawyer to get clarification on their options at these times.
Source: The Tennessean, "Tennessee justices uphold parole ruling in Sumner case," Stacey Barchenger, Jan. 10, 2017