Monday, July 5, 2010

Supreme Court Rules On Putnam Murder Case

Nearly 10 years after the crime, the Tennessee Court of Criminal Appeals has once again upheld the first degree murder conviction of a Putnam County man who had, most recently, argued that his constitutional rights were violated because he had an ineffective lawyer. Garner Dwight Padgett, who had received a life sentence for the murder of Matthew Eric Smith in March of 2001, claimed in what's called a post-conviction appeal that the trial court violated his federal and state constitutional rights at the trial by asking members of the jury pool whether they could be fair to both sides, thus lowering the State’s burden of proof. He also claimed that he received the ineffective assistance of counsel at the trial for failing to object to the court’s asking whether the members could be fair. But the Court of Criminal Appeals failed to find merit in either claim.