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Home » Turner Law Offices Blog » Tennessee Supreme Court Overturns Union County Sexual Battery Case, Grants New Trial

Tennessee Supreme Court Overturns Union County Sexual Battery Case, Grants New Trial

dominicfraustoThe Tennessee Supreme Court has overturned the initial ruling for a Union County sexual battery case, allowing the defendant to have a new trial.  The reasoning: the jury selection did not follow the set manner described by the Tennessee Rules of Criminal Procedure.


In 2009, Dominic Frausto had been found guilty of two charges of sexual battery by a Union County jury.  He later appealed the case for, among things, the incorrect selection procedure of the trial’s jury.


In Tennessee Law, the process of selecting a jury is written out in very specific terms.  A group of jurors are initially brought in and the attorneys for both sides of the case are given a set number of challenges.  The attorneys question the jurors and issue their challenges to remove a person from the jury panel.  The leftover members are then set to be the trial’s jury.


For Frausto’s trial, however, the court had initially brought in 18 jurors and let the defense attorney use his 9 challenges, bringing the number to 11.  Instead of just bringing on two additional replacement jurors to set the number at the needed amount of 13, the trial judge excused the first 11 and brought in a second set of 18.  The attorneys issued another 5 challenges, and then the court dismissed one juror for cause, bringing the number to 12 in the second set. The judge then brought back the first 11, combined the two groups, and chose 13 jurors at random from the combined number of 23 jurors.


The defense objected to the procedure, claiming that it was not authorized by the Rules of Criminal Procedure, but the trial court overturned the objection.


After appealing to the Tennessee Supreme Court, Frausto has now been granted a new trial.


If you are facing criminal charges, do not go into the courtroom alone.  The court will do everything in its power to punish you to the full extent of the law.  You need a skilled criminal defense attorney by your side who knows the ins-and-outs of criminal law, and who can catch the slightest mistakes made by the prosecutors to boost your case.


Don’t face the court alone, call us today.

Call (615) 259-2660

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