Tennessee Supreme Court to Hear Oral Arguments at Boys State in Cookeville

May 20, 2019

This year marks the nineteenth year in a row that the Tennessee Supreme Court will hold oral arguments before an accomplished group of Tennessee’s high school students at American Legion Boys State. 

The Court session is just one element of weeklong programs in which 600 students participate to learn through firsthand experience about the operation of our state government.  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.  Student delegates also elect leaders, conduct legislative sessions, and have law enforcement presentations, assemblies, and recreational programs.

Tennessee American Legion Boys State is held in Cookeville at Tennessee Technological University.  On Wednesday, May 22, 2019, Boys State delegates will observe oral arguments for the following two cases:

  • State of Tennessee v. Ernesto Delgadilo Rodriguez – The defendant in this case became engaged in a struggle with police officers after the officers responded to a call regarding a domestic incident.  Following a trial, the defendant was convicted of resisting arrest and assault, and the Court of Criminal Appeals affirmed the defendant’s convictions.  The Supreme Court granted review of the case to determine the following in the context of the offense of resisting arrest: whether the initial determination of a defendant’s detention should be a question for the trial judge or the jury; whether the assessment of the detention should be based on an objective standard or by the subjective beliefs of either the officer or the defendant; and whether the definition of “arrest,” as submitted by the State and included in the jury instructions at trial, misled the jury.  Additionally, the Court granted review to determine whether the evidence at trial was sufficient to support the defendant’s convictions for resisting arrest and assault.
  • State of Tennessee v. Denton Jones – The defendant in this case was convicted of theft of $1,000 or more but less than $10,000 based on evidence presented at trial that he stole items from two different stores over the course of five separate days.  The Court of Criminal Appeals affirmed the defendant’s conviction.  The Supreme Court granted review of the case, limited to the following issues: whether the State properly indicted the defendant for theft of property of $1000 or more but less than $10,000, based on the total value of the property stolen from two different locations on five separate days; and whether the evidence at trial was sufficient to establish that the separate instances of theft arose “from a common scheme, purpose, intent or enterprise” as required by statute.

Media members planning to attend oral arguments should review Supreme Court Rule 30 and file any required request.