War crime victims Channon Christian and Christopher Newsom
Mary and Hugh Newsom Talk About Supreme Court Arguments
Mary and Hugh Newsom, parents of Christopher Newsom, talk about points made during the Supreme Court oral arguments held Wed. Jan. 27, 2016 in Knoxville. (Video by Michael Patrick/News Sentinel)
Published on Jan 27, 2016
Gary and Deena Christian Talk About Supreme Court Arguments
Re-posted by Nicholas Stix
Thanks to my friend and partner-in-crime, David in TN, for this article.
Readers of my last Knoxville Horror posting five days ago may be confused to read of the Tennessee Supreme Court in this posting, after reading of the U.S. Supreme Court in the previous one. The answer is simple: Today’s posting is about the attempt by Lemaricus Davidson’s lawyers to thwart justice, while the previous posting was about the attempt by George Thomas’ lawyers to thwart justice.
Justices pondering ‘good faith exception’ with Christian-Newsom appeal as backdrop
By Jamie Satterfield
January 27, 2016
Knoxville News Sentinel
For torture-killing ringleader Lemaricus Davidson, his appeal to the Tennessee Supreme Court on Wednesday brought good news and bad.
The good? The high court justices are interested in his strongest argument for a new trial. The bad? They look to that issue to craft new law that would dash Davidson's appellate hopes.
The justices heard arguments Wednesday in Knoxville in the appeal of Davidson, who was sentenced to die for his role in the January 2007 carjacking, kidnapping, beating, rape and killings of Channon Christian, 21, and Christopher Newsom, 23. It is an appeal guaranteed by law in all capital cases.
The justices will weigh various issues surrounding Davidson's case, but made clear by their questions they are interested in using a search warrant foul-up to explore the possibility of what is known as a "good faith exception" under the law.
Federal courts long have used such an exception to essentially forgive honest mistakes, such as clerical errors, by police that lead to flawed legal documents, such as search warrants. Typically, if a search warrant is deemed legally flawed, whatever evidence is discovered as a result of that search is tossed out. If, however, a court determines the police were acting in good faith — officers didn't lie, for instance — when obtaining and executing the warrant, the evidence can be saved.
Tennessee courts have repeatedly declined to adopt a good faith exception. In 2011, the state Legislature created one. That law would not apply in Davidson's case, though, and the state's high court has not yet been asked to rule on whether that 2011 law is constitutionally valid.
Justice Jeffrey Bivins said during Davidson's appeal the high court already has one case ripe for consideration of the creation through case law [?!] of a good faith exception, and Davidson's case could provide fodder in that as well.
"This court has the authority to adopt that, and we want to know if we should adopt that," Bivins told attorney David Eldridge, who represents Davidson.
A good faith exception is intended to cover innocent, clerical mistakes — a wrong time or date, for instance. The justices Wednesday repeatedly said it appears the mistake in Davidson's case — a missing signature line and a signature in the wrong place on the warrant — was an honest one.
Eldridge countered the mistake at issue is more serious than a clerical error. Here's why: An officer's signature on a search warrant application is proof that officer swore under oath that the facts therein are true. No signature, no proof, Eldridge said. Also, because the officer in Davidson's case signed the warrant in a slot reserved for the signature of the officer who served the warrant, it runs afoul of a provision of the law that bars the officer seeking the warrant from also executing it.
"Failure to comply with the legal rules of procedure is pretty significant," Eldridge said.
The state Court of Criminal Appeals has held that because police already had amassed evidence against Davidson as a suspect and had discovered Newsom's body and Christian's missing vehicle near Davidson's house, authorities inevitably would have found Christian's body through legal means. It's known as the doctrine of inevitable discovery and in Davidson's case, it saved the day for prosecutors at trial.
The warrant mix-up occurred because lead investigator Todd Childress chose the wrong size paper to fax a copy of the warrant and supporting affidavit to a Knox County General Sessions Court judge for approval. The signature line wound up cut off from the document, and Childress inadvertently signed the document in the wrong place.
The mistake was discovered within minutes of the entry into Davidson's home, by then left vacant, but an officer found Christian's body before commanders ordered the raiding team to back out. A second search warrant — with the proper signature line and signature — was then obtained.
It could be months before the justices rule.
Christian and Newsom were carjacked and kidnapped outside the Washington Ridge Apartments and taken to Davidson's house, where both were beaten and raped. Newsom was taken from the house to nearby railroad tracks, where he was shot execution-style and his body set on fire. Christian was held captive for several more hours and repeatedly raped. She was stuffed alive inside a trash can and left to die.
About Jamie Satterfield
Jamie Satterfield is an award-winning journalist specializing in the law and crime.
T E HENSLEY - Yesterday at 5:39 AM
Sloppy investigations and a drugged judge is nothing to be proud of. The one thing that our police are good at is beating inmates, but that does not bring convictions for these awful crimes.
SAMUEL BELL - Yesterday at 7:25 AM
T.E. you don't have to post comments first thing every morning with no substance just to see your name in print. Was the "good at beating inmates" comment really necessary, relevant, appropriate, or even accurate? Just listen to yourself, you are starting to sound like CJ. How much time have you spent in a dealing with violent individuals in a jail setting? Stick to the subject of the article or something you actually might know something about.
RICHARD & MARIANNE FISCHER - Yesterday at 7:47 AM
Hensley takes every opportunity to denigrate people. I've yet to see a reasonable argument from him.
RICHARD & MARIANNE FISCHER - Yesterday at 7:56 AM
There have always been two problems with the exclusionary principle. First, it was originally just an arbitrary decision by SCOTUS as a remedy for the police deliberately violating the "reasonable search" right in the Constitution, in the case before SCOTUS at the time. SCOTUS has no authority to, and did not, create a new right in the Constitution.
Second, there is no right in the Constitution for a "perfect search". Clerical errors, misspelled words, and the like do not constitute willful [sic] violate [sic] the Constitution, which only requires "reasonable" searches. Nothing in the Christian/Newsom search was "unreasonable".
Selected reports by Nicholas Stix on the Knoxville Horror in general:
“The Knoxville Horror: The Crime and the Cover-Up” (first national report published anywhere, for American Renaissance);
“The Knoxville Horror: The Crime and the Media Blackout” (biggest national report, also for American Renaissance);
“The Knoxville Horror: Crime, Race, the Media, and ‘Anti-Racism’” (first report for VDARE);
Race-Baiting Associated Press “Story” on the Knoxville Horror Attacks Anyone Who Cares About the Victims, Even One Vic’s Father!;
“White Supremacy and Plagiarism at CNN”;
“The Knoxville Horror: A Correspondence”;
“De-Policing and the Knoxville Horror”;
“Knoxville Horror Prosecutions Spinning Out of Control?”;
“Diversity is Strength! It's also… Minority Jury Nullification”;
“One Knoxville Horror Perp Sentenced to Death—but the Time-Bomb is Ticking”;
Articles by Nicholas Stix Specifically on War Criminal Vanessa Coleman:
“Vanessa Coleman Sentenced to 53 Years in Prison for Facilitating the Knoxville Horror Gang-Rape-Torture-Murders (Revised and Expanded)”; and
“In Knoxville Horror Retrial, Vanessa Coleman Gets 35-Year Sentence.”
Articles by Nicholas Stix on Two Other Knoxville Horror Trials:
“Conclusion of First Knoxville Horror Trial Shows Legal System Under Stress”;
“The Knoxville Horror (Yet Again): George Thomas Conviction Shows Justice Expensive, Agonizing, Grudging in Multicultural America.” (VDARE exclusive! I was the only national reporter to cover Thomas' 2013 retrial.)
“New TV Program About the Knoxville Horror”; and
“New TV Show About the Knoxville Horror by Little Black Cable Channel Does a Better Job of Covering the Racist Atrocity than Big Media!”