Rule 19: Publication of Opinions — Citation of Unpublished Opinions


Rule 19. Publication of Opinions —Citation of Unpublished Opinions.


(a) No opinion of the Court of Criminal Appeals shall be published unless it meets one or more of the following standards:

(1) the opinion establishes a new rule of law, alters or modifies an existing rule, or applies an existing rule to a set of facts significantly different from those stated in other published opinions;

(2) the opinion involves a legal issue of continuing public interest;

(3) the opinion criticizes, with reasons given, an existing rule of law;

(4) the opinion resolves an apparent conflict of authority whether or not the earlier opinion or opinions are reported;

(5) the opinion updates, clarifies or distinguishes a principle of law; or

(6) the opinion makes a significant contribution to legal literature by reviewing either the development of a common law rule or the legislative or judicial history of a provision of a constitution, statute, or other written law.

(b) No opinion shall be published if the Supreme Court of Tennessee grants an application for permission to appeal or concurs only in the result reached or otherwise directs that the opinion should not be published.

(c) An opinion of the Court that meets one or more of the standards in subsection (a), and that is not otherwise barred from publication by any of the criteria in subsection (b), shall be published only if a majority of the Court votes affirmatively in favor of publication.


(a) No opinion shall be recommended for publication until the time has expired for the filing of an application for permission to appeal. The author of an opinion who recommends it for publication shall deliver a copy of the opinion to each member of the Court, along with a letter stating which of the standards of subsection 1.(a) are met. Within thirty (30) days of the receipt of an opinion recommended for publication, each member who agrees that the opinion should be published shall notify the presiding judge in writing. The failure of a member to respond shall be construed as a vote against publication of the opinion.

(b) The author of an opinion may recommend for publication any part of an opinion meeting one or more of the standards for publication specified in subsection 1.(a). The published part of the opinion shall indicate which part is unpublished. All factual and legal material that aids in the application or interpretation of the published part shall be in the published part. The author of an opinion may make minor editorial changes, including corrections in spelling, punctuation, syntax, or citations after an opinion has been filed.

(c) When the opinion is forwarded for publication the presiding judge shall indicate on its face the date the opinion was filed and shall also show whether permission to appeal was sought and, if sought, the date of its denial.

3. A separate concurring or dissenting opinion shall be published with the majority opinion if the majority of the Court vote affirmatively for publication of both opinions and the author of such separate opinion does not object in writing to the presiding judge within the time allowed for voting. A copy of the separate opinion shall be delivered to each member of the Court by the author of the majority opinion at the same time as the letter recommending publication of the majority opinion. The voting procedure shall be the same as provided in subsection 2. for the majority opinion. Absent such opinion being published with the majority opinion, the publication shall note only the fact of concurrence or dissent.

4. Unpublished opinions of the Court of Criminal Appeals may be cited in briefs and other documents filed with the Court, and a copy of the opinions may be attached to such filing, provided that multiple opinions are individually tabbed or indexed. The citation to an unpublished opinion shall include either a notation that no appeal to the Tennessee Supreme Court has been filed or a notation of the date and action taken by the Tennessee Supreme Court in ruling upon an application for permission to appeal. When appropriate, the citation shall include a notation that an application for appeal to the Tennessee Supreme Court is pending at the time of the filing with this Court.

[As adopted by order entered September 1, 1988; amended by order filed February 1, 1993; by order filed June 2, 1997; by order filed October 30, 2013; and by order filed March 26, 2014.]

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