Forced Confessions in Tennessee for Sex Offenses.
Ask most people and they would tell you that a person cannot be forced to confess to a crime because our constitutional rights prohibit the police from forcing criminal defendants to confess. It seems like a no-brainer. Unbelievably in Tennessee current law allows the State to force some individuals accused of sex crimes such as aggravated sexual battery, or rape, or sexual battery, or statutory rape to confess to that crime and if they do not confess they can be prosecuted for refusing to confess and sent to jail simply because they did not confess. I know, it sounds like something out of the Salem witch trials but it is happening now in 2014 in the state of Tennessee.
Tennessee’s Department of Correction forces individuals convicted of a sex crime such as sexual battery or rape as part of their probation or parole or life time supervision to “admit” that they committed the crime even if the accused took their case to trial and denied the crime but were convicted anyway. If the person does not “confess” they are then charged with a second crime of failing to follow sex offender treatment requirements which is a separate and new crime.
I recently represented such an individual. Many years ago before I represented him he was charged with aggravated sexual battery. He maintained his innocence thru trial but the jury convict him anyway. When he got out of prison he was ordered by the judge as part of Tennessee’s mandatory sex offender treatment law into counseling. When he refused to confess to the crime he was charged with violating his treatment program, prosecuted, and put back in jail – simply because he refused to confess.
I represented this man at his trial for violating sex offender treatment and I challenged this law as unconstitutional. I was shocked when the trial court and the Tennessee Court of Criminal Appeals allowed this law to stand. I did not think it was possible that any Court in the United States of America, or in the State of Tennessee would actually rule that it was ok to coerce confessions and if the person refused to confess to throw that person in jail. What ever happened to due process?
At the law office of Brent Horst we have teamed up with renowned Constitutional and Tennessee Appellate Lawyer David Raybin to appeal this case to the Tennessee Supreme Court. The brief will be filed with the Tennessee Supreme Court today. It is an Honor for Brent Horst to work with Mr. Raybin.