In a unanimous opinion, the Tennessee Supreme Court has upheld the convictions of a Murfreesboro man who was found guilty of fabricating evidence and making a false report in his wife’s disappearance.
Glover P. Smith was charged with two counts of fabricating evidence and six counts of making a false report after he parked his wife’s vehicle in a Walmart parking lot, rode away on a bike, and later reported to police that she was missing. A Rutherford County jury found Mr. Smith guilty on all counts.
The trial court later dismissed Mr. Smith’s convictions for fabricating evidence, but the Court of Criminal Appeals reinstated those convictions on appeal. The appellate court dismissed, however, two of the six convictions for making a false report. Both Mr. Smith and the state appealed to the Tennessee Supreme Court.
At issue in the appeal was the meaning of the phrase “pending or in progress” as it is used in the law that prohibits fabricating evidence. The Court examined the history of the statute and determined that the word “pending” means “impending or about to take place.”
The Court affirmed Mr. Smith’s convictions for fabricating evidence after it determined that he knew an investigation was impending when he parked his wife’s vehicle in the Walmart parking lot with plans to later report her disappearance.
The Court also ruled that some of Mr. Smith’s convictions for making a false report were redundant and violated the double jeopardy clause of the United States and Tennessee Constitutions. The Court therefore dismissed four of the six counts but upheld the sentence imposed by the trial court of one year in jail and six years of probation.