Current Pending Cases – Criminal

State of Tennessee v. Tyshon Booker (Sentencing of Minor)

Style:   State of Tennessee v. Tyshon Booker

TSC Docket Number: E2018-01439-SC-R11-CD

Court of Criminal Appeals Decision https://www.tncourts.gov/sites/default/files/tyshon_booker_cca_majority_opinion.pdf

Court of Criminal Appeals Summary:

During a botched robbery, sixteen-year-old Tyshon Booker, the Defendant-Appellant, shot and killed the victim, G’Metrick Caldwell. Following extensive hearings in juvenile court, the Defendant was transferred to criminal court to be tried as an adult. At trial, the Defendant admitted that he shot the victim several times in the back while seated in the backseat of the victim’s car; however, he claimed self-defense. A Knox County jury convicted the Defendant of two counts of first-degree felony murder and two counts of especially aggravated robbery, for which he received an effective sentence of life imprisonment. In this appeal as of right, the Defendant raises the following issues for our review: (1) whether the process of transferring a juvenile to criminal court after a finding of three statutory factors by the juvenile court judge violates the Defendant’s rights under Apprendi v. New Jersey, 530 U.S. 466 (2000); (2) whether the State’s suppression of alleged eyewitness identifications prior to the juvenile transfer hearing constitutes a Brady violation, requiring remand for a new juvenile transfer hearing; (3) whether the juvenile court erred in transferring the Defendant to criminal court given defense expert testimony that the Defendant suffered from post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and was amenable to treatment; (4) whether the trial court erred in finding that the Defendant was engaged in unlawful activity at the time of the offense and in instructing the jury that the Defendant had a duty to retreat before engaging in self-defense; (5) whether an improper argument by the State in closing arguments constitutes prosecutorial misconduct requiring a new trial; (6) whether evidence of juror misconduct warrants a new trial and whether the trial court erred in refusing to subpoena an additional juror; (7) whether a sentence of life imprisonment for a Tennessee juvenile violates the United States and Tennessee Constitutions. Discerning no reversible error, we affirm.

Rule 11 Application Granted on Limited Issues:

(1) Whether the sentence of life imprisonment violates the United States or Tennessee Constitutions; and (2) what sentencing options may be available under Tennessee law if the sentence of life imprisonment is improper.  In their supplemental briefs, the parties shall also address what sentencing options may be available under Tennessee law if the sentence of life-imprisonment is improper.

Pre-argument Briefing:

Appellant:  November 19, 2020

Appellee:  December 18, 2020

Appellant’s Reply:  January 19, 2020

First Oral Argument Date:  February 24, 2021 in Nashville (by video).

Link to Oral Argument Video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=z–ll0N8ayo

Second Oral Argument Date:  February 24, 2022 in Nashville (live).

Second Oral Argument Video:  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QOgOOcDowZk

Post-argument Briefing As Requested by the Court:   Order of June 10, 2021 

Approximately two months after the parties in this appeal presented oral arguments before this Court on February 24, 2021, the United States Supreme Court decided Jones v. Mississippi, 593 U.S. ___ (Apr. 22, 2021), and in it discussed Miller v. Alabama, 567 U.S. 460 (2012) and Montgomery v. Louisiana, 577 U.S. 190 (2016). The parties are hereby ordered to file supplemental briefs addressing any implications Jones, and specifically its discussion of Miller and Montgomery, has to the issue in this appeal. The supplemental briefs shall be filed by the State and by Mr. Booker within thirty (30) days of this Order.

Appellee’s supplemental brief: filed July 10, 2021

Appellant’s supplemental brief:  filed July 12, 2021

Date of TSC Opinion:

Decision of the Tennessee Supreme Court :  None to date.

Summary of decision of the Tennessee Supreme Court: none to date.

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