Law School Case Brief
Tackett v. Commonwealth - 445 S.W.3d 20 (Ky. 2014)
When considering the applicable standard of review in a criminal case, there is a difference between forfeited errors, which are subject to plain or palpable error review, and waived errors, which are not, and invited errors that amount to a waiver, i.e. invitations that reflect a party's knowing relinquishment of a right, are not subject to appellate review. A party cannot ask a trial court to do something and, when the court does it, complain on appeal that the court erred.
In June 2011, defendant General Tackett, Jr., returned to the United States from his then-home in Guatemala. Upon his arrival, he was arrested and charged with seven counts of sex crimes against two alleged victims, his son, Nicholas, and Sarah, a female friend of Tackett's children. At the time of trial in Kentucky circuit court, Nicholas was 20 years old and Sarah was 18 years old. The events giving rise to the charges occurred approximately ten years prior to trial. The Commonwealth accused Tackett of one count each of first degree sexual abuse, first degree rape and first degree sodomy as to Sarah and one count of first degree sexual abuse and three counts of first degree sodomy as to Nicholas. The circuit court convicted Tackett of two counts of first degree sexual abuse and three counts of first degree sodomy. The court sentenced Tackett to 30 years' imprisonment. He appealed his sentence as a matter of right alleging, among other issues, a denial of the right to speedy trial and undue prejudice with the introduction of certain testimony.
Was Tackett's conviction proper?
The Supreme Court of Kentucky affirmed the conviction holding that the improper testimony that was introduced did not amount to palpable error, and that there was no improper KRE 404(b) evidence. Moreover, taking all of the factors into consideration, and noting in particular Tackett's failure to articulate any concrete allegation of prejudice or bad faith on the part of the Commonwealth, the court held that his constitutional right to a speedy trial was not violated.
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