In State of Tennessee v. Latickia Tashay Burgins, (Tenn. Crim. App. No. E2014-02110-CCA-R8-CO, filed Dec. 3, 2014) citizen accused Latickia Burgins, on bail for a criminal charge, then incurred additional criminal charges.  Pursuant to Tenn. Code Ann. Sect. 40-11-141(b) (which states in part that,”[i]f after the defendant is released upon . . . [a] bond approved by the court, the defendant . . . is charged with an offense committed during the defendant’s release . . . , then the court may revoke and terminate the defendant’s bond and order the defendant held without bail pending trial or without release pending trial”), Burgins’s prior bail was revoked and the trial court denied further pretrial bail.  See Burgins, at *2.

The Tennessee Supreme Court ruled that “to the extent Tennessee Code Annotated section 40-11-141(b) permits a trial court to hold a defendant ‘without bail pending trial,’ the statute violates the constitutional guarantee of the right to bail under Article I, section 15 of the Tennessee Constitution.”  Burgins, at *4.  The Court noted that in the 1952 Tennessee Supreme Court case of Wallace v. State, 245 S.W.2d 192, “the court held steadfast to the proposition that the right to pretrial bail in noncapital cases is without exception and that, in the face of affirmative evidence of forfeiture, a defendant may forfeit an existing bail but will still be afforded an opportunity to post an additional bail with appropriate conditions.”  Burgins, at *3-4 (citing to Wallace, 245 S.W.2d at 194).

As a brief aside, I would like to applaud the University of Tennessee College of Law’s Appellate Litigation Clinic, who argued this case on behalf of the citizen accused.  As an alumni of UT Law’s Clinical Programs, I am very pleased when I hear of the level of excellence produced by the programs.  Also, please allow me to end by especially congratulating the clinical student and staff who worked on this case.  To read more, click here.  Until next time, I remain

Very Truly Yours,

– Nick Lee –

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