Post Conviction DNA Analysis

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

Bailey v. State, No. E2022-01302-CCA-R3-PC, p. 6 (Tenn. Ct. Crim. App. July 31, 2023). 

A post-conviction court is not required to hold a hearing in order to determine whether to grant a petition for DNA testing. Powers v. State, 343 S.W.3d 36, 56 (Tenn. 2011). The court must dismiss the petition if the petitioner fails to establish each of the four criteria required pursuant to either Code section 40-30-304 or 40-30-305. Id. at 48. The court’s determination is not subject to reversal unless it is unsupported by substantial evidence. See Charles E. Jones v. State, No. W2014-02306-CCA-R3-PC, 2015 WL 3882813, at *3 (Tenn. Crim. App. June 24, 2015), perm. app. denied (Tenn. Sept. 21, 2015); Willie Tom Ensley v. State, No. M2002-01609-CCA-R3-PC, 2003 WL 1868647, at *4, n.2 (Tenn. Crim. App. Apr. 11, 2003); see also State v. Hollingsworth, 647 S.W.2d 937, 938 (Tenn. 1983) (stating that in matters entrusted to the discretion of the trial court, “the appellate court is not authorized to substitute its judgment for that of the trial court when the judgment of the trial court is supported by substantial evidence”).

Atha v. State, No. E2022-01247-CCA-R3-PC (Tenn. Ct. Crim. App. June 12, 2023). 

The post-conviction court has considerable discretion in determining whethertograntreliefundertheAct,andthescopeofappellatereviewislimited. See Sedley Alley v. State, No. W2006-01179-CCA-R3-PD, slip op. at 7 (Tenn. Crim. App., Jackson,June 22,2006).In making itsdecision,the post-conviction court must consider alltheavailableevidence,includingtheevidencepresentedattrialand anystipulationsof factmade by eitherparty.Id. Thelowercourtmay alsoconsidertheopinionsofthiscourt and the Tennessee Supreme Court on direct appeal of the petitioner’s convictions or the appealsofthepetitioner’spriorpost-convictionorhabeascorpusactions.Id. On appellate review,thiscourtwillnotreverseunlessthejudgmentofthelowercourtisnotsupported bysubstantialevidence.Id.

Allen v. State, No. E2022-00373-CCA-R3-PC, p. 4 (Tenn. Ct. Crim. App. Nov. 8, 2022). 

A post-conviction court is given considerable discretion in determining whether to grant the petitioner relief under the Act. Jesse Haddox v. State, No. M2003-00514-CCA- R3-PC, 2004 WL 2544668, at *2 (Tenn. Crim. App. Nov. 10, 2004) (citing Jack Jay Shuttle v. State, No. E2003-00131-CCA-R3-PC, 2004 WL 199826, at *4 (Tenn. Crim. App. Feb. 3, 2004)). Consequently, this court will not reverse a post-conviction court’s judgment unless it is not supported by substantial evidence. Id. (citing State v. Hollingsworth, 647 S.W.2d 937, 938 (Tenn. 1983); Willie Todd Ensley v. State, No. M2002-01609-CCA-R3- PC, 2003 WL 1868647, at *4 (Tenn. Crim. App. Apr. 11, 2003)).


Grading Papers - Criminal Copyright © 2023 by BirdDog Law, LLC (No copyright claimed as to government works).. All Rights Reserved.