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August 17, 2018

Abatement of Conviction by Death

Case:  State v. Hassan Falah Al Mutory

Issue:  Does a criminal conviction on direct appeal abate upon death of the defendant?

Facts:  Defendant was convicted of reckless homicide, but died during the pendency of his direct appeal. Defendant’s attorney moved to abate the conviction due to death, which the State opposed.

Appellate Decision:  The Court of Criminal Appeals ordered that the Defendant’s conviction be abated as provided by existing Tennessee case law. Carver v. State, 398 S.W.2d 719 (Tenn. 1966). The Court surveyed several different approaches taken by different states and ultimately held that the dispute is one of public policy which should be resolved by the legislature rather than the judiciary.

Review Granted:  August 9, 2018.

Prediction:  The Hot List will not offer a prediction because of David’s potential involvement as co-counsel in the appeal.