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January 29, 2016

DAILYKENN.com -- The Supreme Court in Tennessee is hearing an appeal from Lemaricus Davidson. 

Davidson was convicted of the January 2007 murder, rape and torture of Channon Christian and Christopher Newsom. He was considered the ring leader and has been sentenced to death. 

A photocopy of the search warrant that led to the gruesome discovery of the murdered couple's bodies excluded the judges signature. It had apparently been cut off by misplacement of the original document in copier. 

Davidson's attorneys are hoping to overturn his death sentence.

The state Supreme Court is legally required to review death sentences to ensure it was not arbitrary, that the evidence properly supported the sentence, that circumstances supporting the sentences outweighed any mitigating circumstances, and that the sentence wasn't disproportionate to sentences in similar cases. 


In the hour they had before the justices at the Supreme Court building in downtown Knoxville, Davidson's attorneys argued that he wasn't properly read his Miranda rights when he was arrested.

They also claim that the initial search warrant for Davidson's home wasn't signed, and should be considered invalid. The Knoxville Police officer incorrectly photocopied the warrant, cutting off his signature. However, by the time they realized the mistake, KPD and the Knox County Sheriff's Office had already entered Davidson's home, and found Christian's body.

"Would Ms. Christian's body have been discovered but for the legal entry?" asked Davidson's attorney, David Eldridge.

Evidence found under a faulty search warrant is often excluded from a trial. However, the Supreme Court justices probed the idea of a so-called 'good faith exception.' Such laws do not exist in Tennessee, but do at the Federal level, and in other states. They allow courts to forgive clerical errors in documents if officers did not act with ill will. 
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