Jury Instructions- Curative Instructions

Unless otherwise indicated, all indented material is copied directly from the court’s opinion.

Decisions of the Tennessee Supreme Court 

Decisions of the Tennessee Court of Criminal Appeals


State v. Starks-Twilley, No. W2022-00020-CCA-R3-CD, p. 20-21 (Tenn. Ct. Crim. App. May 8, 2023).

A trial court should provide a curative instruction once an objection is made. State v. Griffis, 964 S.W.2d 577, 599 (Tenn. Crim. App. 1997). However, if the trial court fails to give a curative instruction sua sponte, then counsel for the party has the obligation to request the trial court to provide a curative instruction. Id. If the party fails to request a curative instruction, or is dissatisfied with the instruction and fails to request a more complete instruction, then the party waives this issue for appellate purposes. Id. Because the Defendant never asked the trial court for a curative instruction and never requested that the court strike the State’s question, she has waived this issue. See Tenn. R. App. P. 36(a) (“Nothing in this rule shall be construed as requiring relief be granted to a party responsible for an error or who failed to take whatever action was reasonably available to prevent or nullify the harmful effect of an error.”); State v. Trenton Jermaine Bell, No. M2019-01810- CCA-R3-CD, 2021 WL 794771, at *6 (Tenn. Crim. App. Mar. 2, 2021) (reiterating that when a defendant fails to ask for a curative instruction, he waives the issue on appeal).



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