Sunday, January 30, 2011

Appeals Court Upholds Local Judge's Decision

A Putnam County man convicted of murdering his estranged wife nearly four years ago continues to file appeals from his prison cell in Pikeville, Tennessee.  The most recent petition from James A. Burgess, acting as his own attorney, is called a "writ of error coram nobis."  That's where a defendant alleges that new evidence has been discovered that could lead to a different conclusion as to his guilt.  Judge David Patterson issued an order last year denying that petition because, he said, it was “merely a recitation of what the defendant alleges are trial errors” and contained no allegations of newly discovered evidence. This month, the Tennessee Court of Criminal Appeals agreed with the trial court that the evidence -- showing Burgess's ownership of the home where he killed the victims -- did not constitute newly discovered evidence.