LIVESTREAMING: State v. Allison is now live

May 28, 2020

The Tennessee Supreme Court's second case of the day is now live-streaming:

State of Tennessee v. Robert Jason Allison– The defendant, Robert Allison, was convicted of two counts of delivery of marijuana, one count of possession with intent to distribute over ten pounds of marijuana in a drug-free school zone, one count of possession of a firearm during the commission of a dangerous felony, and two counts of money laundering.  The evidence at trial showed that the defendant engaged in two separate drug sales with a police informant in which he exchanged drugs for money, and he provided, or “fronted” drugs, and received payment at a later date.  The defendant appealed his convictions and the Court of Criminal Appeals affirmed.  On appeal to the Tennessee Supreme Court, the Court has narrowed the issues to the three addressed by the Court of Criminal Appeals: (1) whether the evidence at trial was sufficient to support the defendant’s convictions for money laundering, (2) whether the defendant’s convictions for money laundering violate the double jeopardy clause of the federal and state constitutions, and (3) whether the Tennessee money laundering statute is unconstitutionally vague.  The defendant argues that the drug sales and receipt of money for the “fronted” drugs were one single transaction and cannot be considered separate transactions to sustain the money laundering convictions and that his convictions violate the double jeopardy clause.  Additionally, the defendant argues that there was no proof that the money received for the “fronted” drugs was used in furtherance of illegal activity.  The State argues that the money received for the “fronted drugs” was a separate transaction apart from the two controlled buys with the police informant.  Additionally, the State contends that the evidence supports an inference that the money received for the “fronted” drugs was used to buy drugs for future sale.  The State also argues that the language of the Tennessee money laundering statute specifically provides for multiple convictions; therefore, the double jeopardy clause is not applicable.  Moreover, the offenses of money laundering and the sale of drugs require proof of different elements for conviction.  Lastly, the State argues that the defendant has waived his constitutional claim regarding the money laundering statute, but that, nonetheless, the statute is not vague.