Tennessee Supreme Court to Hear Cases at Boys State in Cookeville

May 21, 2018

The Tennessee Supreme Court is scheduled to hold oral arguments before an accomplished group of Tennessee’s high school students at American Legion Boys State.  2018 marks the eighteenth year of this memorable tradition, both for the students and the justices.

The Court session is just one element of weeklong programs in which 600 students participate to learn through firsthand experience how our state government operates.  Student delegates elect leaders, conduct legislative sessions, and have law enforcement presentations, assemblies, and recreational programs. In addition to learning about the judicial process and studying the cases presented at oral argument, they also hear from a number of other elected officials in Tennessee.

Tennessee American Legion Boys State is held in Cookeville at Tennessee Technological University.  On May 23, 2018, Boys State delegates will observe oral arguments for the following two cases:

Benjamin Shea Cotten, et al. v. Jerry Scott Wilson

This case arises from the suicide of Christina Marie Cotten.  Ms. Cotten previously had attempted suicide in January 2014.  In November of 2014, Ms. Cotten committed suicide using the defendant’s gun while she stayed at his home after being evicted from her residence.  The defendant stored his gun in an unlocked china cabinet in his house.  The defendant was Ms. Cotten’s ex-boyfriend, and he was aware that Ms. Cotten had attempted suicide in January 2014.  The Supreme Court will determine whether the defendant was negligent in his failure to safely store his firearm, which, according to the plaintiff, resulted in Ms. Cotten’s death.

State of Tennessee v. Anthony Jerome Miller

In this case, the defendant was charged with sexual exploitation of a minor.  After an investigator in Virginia subpoenaed an internet provider to learn the identity of an IP address connected to sexual images of children, he forwarded the defendant’s name and location to the Morristown Police Department in Tennessee.  An investigator with the Morristown Police Department received verbal approval from an assistant district attorney general to apply for a search warrant.  Upon receipt of the search warrant, the investigator executed the warrant on the following day.  The Defendant moved to suppress evidence seized as a result of the search warrant, arguing that the procedure utilized in obtaining the search warrant violated Tennessee law.  The Supreme Court will determine whether the search warrant application procedure in this case violated Tennessee Code Annotated section 39-17-1007, which states that “no process, except as otherwise provided, shall be issued for the violation of §§ 39-17-1003 – 39-17-1005 unless it is issued upon the application of the district attorney general of the district.”