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Nashville, Tenn. - The Tennessee Supreme Court has two cases set for its November 3, 2021 docket. The cases will be heard using livestream video conferencing and will be livestreamed to the TNCourt’s YouTube page: The first case will begin at 9:00 a.m., and the second case will begin at 10:30 a.m. The details of the cases are as follows:


Tommie Phillips v. State – In 2011, Petitioner Tommie Phillips was convicted of felony murder, reckless homicide, attempted first degree murder, aggravated rape, aggravated sexual battery, especially aggravated kidnapping, and aggravated burglary arising out of his attack on an acquaintance and multiple members of the acquaintance’s family. Petitioner fled the scene but was later identified as a suspect and turned himself in to police. During initial discussions, Petitioner admitted to stabbing two of the victims but maintained he was acting in self-defense. He then invoked his right to counsel, and the interview stopped. Believing they had probable cause, the police obtained a 48-hour hold order and booked Petitioner into jail. While incarcerated, Petitioner asked to speak with detectives, was given his Miranda warnings, and gave a more complete statement admitting to his crimes. Following his statement, Petitioner was formally charged and convicted of several offenses. After his conviction, Petitioner sought post-conviction relief, alleging various grounds of ineffective assistance of counsel, including counsel’s failure to challenge the admission of his statement to police on Fourth Amendment grounds. He argued that his probable cause determination was “unreasonably delayed” due to Shelby County’s 48-hour hold policy in place at the time of his detention and ultimate arrest. The post-conviction court denied relief, and the Court of Criminal Appeals affirmed the judgment. The Tennessee Supreme Court granted Petitioner’s application for permission to appeal particularly to consider the applicable standard of review, including the petitioner’s burden to establish prejudice when the petitioner alleges counsel was constitutionally ineffective for failing to file a motion to suppress or, as here, for failing to include a particular ground in the motion to suppress.


State v. Douglas E. Linville – While executing a search warrant at a private residence, officers encountered Defendant Douglas E. Linville, among other individuals, along with illegal drugs and drug paraphernalia. The residence was located within 1,000 feet of a nearby park. Defendant was charged with various drug-related offenses, and a jury ultimately convicted him of possession of 0.5 grams or less of methamphetamine with intent to deliver in a drug-free zone, possession of Oxycodone with intent to deliver in a drug-free zone, possession of Xanax with intent to deliver in a drug-free zone, simple possession of marijuana, and possession of drug paraphernalia. The Court of Criminal Appeals affirmed Defendant’s convictions but also made two corrections to “clerical errors” in the trial court’s judgment. First, the intermediate court agreed with Defendant that Xanax is a Schedule IV rather than a Schedule III controlled substance (as indicated on the judgment form). It also determined that the Class D felony in count three, possession of Xanax with intent to deliver in a drug free zone, should have been a Class C felony based on the drug-free zone enhancement statute, Tennessee Code Annotated section 39-17-432(b). The Tennessee Supreme Court granted Defendant’s application for permission to appeal to determine whether the Court of Criminal Appeals erred in its statutory interpretation of Tennessee Code Annotated section 39-17-432(b) when it found that Defendant is subject to sentencing at one felony classification higher than is provided for in section 39-17-417(b)-(i) when the drug-free zone is a park. 


Media members planning to attend oral arguments virtually should review Supreme Court Rule 30 and file any required request.