CRIMINAL – Double jeopardy: Tommie Brown v. Commonwealth of Kentucky (SC 10/29/2009)

Tommie Brown v. Commonwealth of Kentucky
2008-SC-000281-MR October 29, 2009
Opinion by Justice Noble. All sitting; all concur.

Brown was convicted ofmultiple charges after an incident where he led police on a high-speedchase. On appeal, the Court reversed Brown’s convictions of two countsof second-degree wanton endangerment as violative of the prohibition ondouble jeopardy. Applying the test from Blockburger, the Court held that second-degree wanton endangerment requires proof of no facts beyondthose required to prove first-degree fleeing or evading police, of whichBrown had also been convicted.

The Court affirmed the rest of Brown’sconvictions, holding that:1) Brown was not entitled to a directed verdict due to insufficiency ofthe evidence.2) Brown was not denied an impartial tribunal because of approvingstatements made by the trial court after the jury gave its sentencerecommendation.3) There was no error by the trial court in allowing the jury to hearthat Brown’s passenger was a 16 year old high school student,since the information was not unduly emphasized or intended toarouse sympathy.4) It was error for the trial court to instruct the jury that the passengerwas a high school student as part of its second-degree wantonendangerment instruction– but the issue was not properlypreserved and did not rise to the level of palpable error.

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