Vanderbilt Law Review

First Page



The Tennessee Supreme Court, elected simultaneously for the first time since the early 1900's, assumed office in September 1974 amid speculation concerning future judicial policy. The court, com-posed of Chief Justice William H. D. Fones and Justices Ray L.Brock, Jr., Robert E. Cooper, William J. Harbison, and Joe W.Henry, immediately indicated the importance of a uniform judicial policy governing criminal procedure by creating a special commission to revise the state rules of criminal procedure. Additionally,during its present term the court has decided numerous cases directed toward the formation of well-defined rules under which criminal allegations can be adjudged. This Special Project will examine the supreme court's criminal procedure opinions, focusing specifically on the following areas: jury selection, right to counsel, scope of discovery, admissibility of evidence, limitations on proper prosecutorial argument to the jury, jury instructions, sentencing procedures, and expungement of criminal records.' The Tennessee position will be compared with the policies enunciated by the United States Supreme Court, the federal circuit courts, and various uniform acts and standards proposed by legislative advisory groups. Although this Project does not attempt to extract any singular theme underlying the decisions discussed, its analysis should assist in understanding the court's present judicial guidelines in the field of criminal procedure and should indicate the policies that the court will adhere to in future criminal decisions.