The number of men convicted in Tennessee last year for committing felony crimes was 14,401, nearly six times greater than the 2,480 felony convictions for women, a new court report shows.
Total reported felony convictions statewide rose by 1,809, from 15,072 in 1998 to 16,881 in 1999. Data for the Felony Judgment Documents Report is compiled annually by the Administrative Office of the Courts based on information submitted by court clerks across the state.
Of the 105 first-degree murder convictions in 1999, seven resulted in death sentences, up from four the previous year out of 102 first-degree murder convictions. Increased convictions also were reported in 1999 for second-degree murder, voluntary manslaughter, vehicular homicide, all kidnapping categories, all robbery categories, rape and statutory rape, aggravated sexual battery, sexual battery, aggravated assault, reckless endangerment and “other” crimes against persons.
Felony convictions for property crimes increased for all theft categories, aggravated burglary, burglary of motor vehicle, forgery and “other” property crimes. Convictions for Class C cocaine, “other” drugs and “other” felonies also rose last year over the previous year.
Categories in which there were decreases were criminally negligent homicide, rape of child, carjacking, burglary, Class B cocaine, cocaine-attempted, marijuana and facilitation of a felony.
Average sentences ranged from life with parole for first-degree murder to 1.82 years for Class E theft. By law, a life with parole sentence is 60 years in Tennessee, of which at least 51 years – or 85 percent - must be served.
Nearly half of convicted felons last year were represented by public defenders; 29.2 percent retained private lawyers; 13.9 percent had court-appointed attorneys; 0.8 percent represented themselves; and the information was not available for 7 percent. More than 96 percent of the felons entered guilty pleas.