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State v. Burgins

Supreme Court of Tennessee, Nashville

April 7, 2015

STATE OF TENNESSEE
v.
LATICKIA TASHAY BURGINS

Session: February 5, 2015.

Page 299

[Copyrighted Material Omitted]

Page 300

Tenn. R. App. P. 8 Appeal by Permission; Judgment of the Court of Criminal Appeals Reversed; Case Remanded to the Trial Court. Appeal by Permission from the Court of Criminal Appeals, Criminal Court for Knox County. No. 101255. Bobby R. McGee, Judge.

Herbert Slatery, III, Attorney General and Reporter; André e S. Blumstein, Solicitor General; and John H. Bledsoe, Assistant Attorney General, for the appellant, State of Tennessee.

G. Michael Davis, University of Tennessee Legal Clinic Attorney; Wade V. Davies and Valorie K. Vojdik, Supervising Attorneys, Knoxville, Tennessee, for the appellee, Latickia Tashay Burgins.

SHARON G. LEE, C.J., delivered the opinion of the Court, in which CORNELIA A. CLARK, GARY R. WADE, JEFFREY S. BIVINS, and HOLLY KIRBY, JJ., joined.

OPINION

Page 301

SHARON G. LEE, CHIEF JUSTICE.

We granted review in this case to determine whether Tennessee's bail revocation statute, Tennessee Code Annotated section 40-11-141(b), is constitutional, and if so, to establish the procedure to be followed in bail revocation proceedings. A Knox County grand jury returned a presentment against the defendant for simple possession of marijuana. The defendant posted bond and was released. Subsequently, a Knox County grand jury issued a nineteen-count presentment against the defendant, charging her with multiple crimes, including attempted first degree murder, employing a firearm during the commission of a dangerous felony, attempted especially aggravated robbery, attempted carjacking, and aggravated assault. The trial court, pursuant to Tennessee Code Annotated section 40-11-141(b), granted the State's motion to revoke the defendant's bail. The Court of Criminal Appeals reversed, holding that the statute violated article I, section 15 of the Tennessee Constitution. We hold that the Tennessee Constitution guarantees a defendant the right to pretrial release on bail, but this right is not absolute. A defendant may forfeit her right to bail by subsequent criminal conduct. Before pretrial bail can be revoked, the defendant is entitled to an evidentiary hearing. We remand this case

Page 302

to the trial court for further proceedings consistent with this opinion.

OPINION

I. Factual and Procedural Background

On March 12, 2013, a Knox County grand jury returned a presentment against Latickia Tashay Burgins for the misdemeanor offense of simple possession of marijuana. Ms. Burgins' bail was set at $5000. On June 11, 2013, Ms. Burgins, through a bonding company, posted an appearance bond and was released from jail.

On or about March 8, 2014, while awaiting trial on the marijuana charge, Ms. Burgins allegedly was involved in an attempted carjacking in Knox County. On April 15, 2014, a Knox County grand jury issued a nineteen-count presentment against Ms. Burgins, charging her with multiple crimes, including attempted first degree murder, employing a firearm during the commission of a dangerous felony, attempted especially aggravated robbery, attempted carjacking, and aggravated assault. On April 24, 2014, a capias was served on Ms. Burgins.[1]

On April 25, 2014, the State moved to revoke Ms. Burgins' bail in the 2013 marijuana case based on Tennessee Code Annotated section 40-11-141(b) (2012) (" the revocation statute" ). The motion alleged that Ms. Burgins had been arrested for allegedly committing serious criminal offenses while on bond and was a threat to the community. In response, Ms. Burgins moved the trial court to set bail and to declare the revocation statute unconstitutional under article I, section 15 of the Tennessee Constitution. On June 24, 2014, the trial court, without conducting an evidentiary hearing, revoked Ms. Burgins' bond, finding that the violent and serious nature of the crimes she was alleged to have committed while on bail created a " rational basis to believe that she's a violent person, and her release would be detrimental to the safety and welfare of the community." The trial court found that the revocation statute was constitutional, noting that a defendant is guaranteed an initial grant of pretrial bail in noncapital cases but there is no denial of the right to bail when it is revoked after the defendant has committed a crime of violence while released on pretrial bail.

Ms. Burgins sought review by the Court of Criminal Appeals under Tennessee Rule of Appellate Procedure 8(a). The Court of Criminal Appeals granted relief, holding that the revocation statute violated article I, section 15 of the Tennessee Constitution to the extent that it permits a trial court to hold Ms. Burgins without bail pending trial. The intermediate appellate court remanded the case for consideration of the statutory factors outlined in Tennessee Code Annotated section 40-11-118(b) (2012) and the imposition of additional conditions for bail that may be necessary to reasonably assure the appearance of the defendant ...


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