2018 Tennessee Code
Title 40 - Criminal Procedure
Chapter 35 - Tennessee Criminal Sentencing Reform Act of 1989
Part 3 - Sentences
§ 40-35-322. Preservation of evidence in death penalty cases.

Universal Citation: TN Code § 40-35-322 (2018)
  • (a) For purposes of this section:

    • (1) "Biological evidence" is any identifiable biological material that was collected as part of a criminal investigation or that may reasonably be used to incriminate or exculpate a person charged with a criminal offense;

    • (2) "Biological evidence" includes the contents of a sexual assault examination kit or any item that contains blood, semen, hair, saliva, skin tissue, fingernail scrapings, bone, bodily fluids, or other identifiable biological material, and applies whether the material is catalogued separately or is present on other evidence collected; and

    • (3) "Biological evidence" does not include perishable liquid or tissue specimens collected for toxicological analysis.

  • (b) All biological evidence collected for a criminal offense or offenses in which one (1) or more of the defendants received a sentence of death based upon the same criminal acts, whether the defendants were tried separately or together, shall be preserved until all defendants receiving a death sentence based on the same conduct are executed, otherwise die, or all related charges for which the defendants were convicted are dismissed.

  • (c) Biological evidence required to be preserved by this section shall be preserved as follows:

    • (1) By the investigating law enforcement agency or agencies for biological evidence that was collected for the case but never introduced at a trial; and

    • (2) By the clerk of the court in which any biological evidence was introduced at the defendant's trial.

  • (d) If the origin of a biological sample is well documented through photographs or case files, and the sample was taken from a larger piece of evidence, only the documented biological sample is required to be preserved.

  • (e) This section shall apply to:

    • (1) All applicable biological evidence that is collected on or after April 27, 2016; and

    • (2) All applicable biological evidence that was collected prior to April 27, 2016, and is in the custody of, and being preserved by, a court clerk or law enforcement agency or agencies.

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