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Craigmire v. State

1999 WL 508445

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Craigmire v. State

Tennessee Court of Criminal Appeals

1999 WL 508445

Facts

Craigmire was convicted of being a habitual criminal under a Tennessee state statute that provided for this conviction if a defendant had been convicted of a certain number of previous crimes. The statue did not require or allow for the nature or seriousness of the prior convictions to be an element under consideration in a habitual-criminal prosecution. At Craigmire’s trial, Craigmire’s attorney attempted to claim in his closing argument that Craigmire’s prior convictions were too minor to warrant his conviction for the habitual-criminal charge. This argument essentially amounted to a request for jury nullification because Craigmire had in fact been convicted of the requisite number of previous offenses required under the law. The trial judge admonished the defense attorney not to make this jury-nullification argument and threatened to hold the attorney in contempt if he continued doing so. Craigmire was convicted and appealed. In his appeal, Craigmire argued that the judge had violated his constitutional rights by restricting the ability of his defense attorney to argue for jury nullification.

Rule of Law

Issue

Holding and Reasoning (Ogle, J.)

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