KNOXVILLE, TN (WLAF)- Kurt Brown’s firearms conviction is intact following a Tennessee Court of Criminal Appeals (CCA) ruling. Brown is currently serving eight years in prison after a Campbell County Jury convicted him of being a felon in possession of weapon.
Within his appeal, Brown said three factors went wrong at trial; his 911 call was admitted into evidence along with his prior voluntary manslaughter conviction and his previous aggravated assault conviction was deemed a violent crime.
The appeals court disagreed on all points.
This round of legal problems began for Brown in 2015 when an SUV with three people inside were shot at by someone, later determined to be Brown. Through an investigation by local police, it was learned that Brown had made a 911 call alleging he had been fired on inside his home. Witnesses inside the car testified Brown was the one who had shot at their SUV when it was stopped at an intersection, according to court documents.
When officers arrived at Brown’s home, he confessed to firing an air pellet gun in response to perceived trespassers. A search of his home revealed a .22 caliber rifle and loaded .45 caliber handgun, the CCA opinion said.
Attorneys argued on Brown’s behalf the 911 call that lead police to the home shouldn’t have been part of the trial. The higher court ruled that because the call wasn’t offered as proof that Brown was illegally in possession of firearms but was about something else, the admission of it at trial was allowable.
The next point of contention also happened when police questioned Brown. He told them he had a prior conviction for voluntary manslaughter but later sought to have that removed from the trial. After multiple rounds of legal maneuvering, it was determined by the trial court that jurors would hear that Brown had a reckless aggravated assault charge.
Yet during the seating of the jury, prosecutors revealed Brown’s criminal history included voluntary manslaughter. In one exchange with a potential juror, prosecutors mentioned the voluntary manslaughter charge “five additional times,” the court record said.
Eighth Judicial Criminal Court Judge Shayne Sexton instructed jurors not to give the voluntary manslaughter conviction “any weight” when determining their verdict in the gun case. The court of appeals deemed Sexton’s instructions as a sufficient solution in that matter.
On the last point, Brown took issue with his prior reckless aggravated assault charge being deemed a violent offense. The classification of this offense enhanced Brown’s conviction, the record said. Sexton determined at the pre-trial juncture that Brown’s “reckless conduct” that caused an aggravated assault resulted in a violent crime. The CCA agreed with Sexton’s ruling.
Brown, who is being housed at Trousdale Turner Community Corrections at Hartsville, is eligible for parole in September. (WLAF NEWS PUBLISHED -06/01/2020- 6AM)