State Representative Mary Littleton’s (R-Dickson) legislation House Bill 258, commonly referred to as the Sergeant Baker Bill, passed the House of Representatives on Monday night with strong support.
This bill removes the intermediate appeal to the court of criminal appeals in death penalty cases and provides for automatic direct review by the Tennessee Supreme Court for convictions for which a death sentence is imposed. Additionally, House Bill 258 removes the direct appeal from the trial court to the court of criminal appeals and instead provides that when the judgment has become final in trial court, the conviction and death sentence will be automatically reviewed by the Supreme Court.
“I am proud to stand with Sgt. Baker’s family and the families of all of our police officers and emergency personnel we have lost in the line of duty,” said Representative Littleton. “My colleagues and I are grateful for their service to our state, and we will fight to ensure their legacies are not forgotten.”
As referenced by media reports, this bill is named after Sgt. Daniel Baker, a Dickson County Sheriff’s Sergeant who was shot and killed in May of last year. Steven Wiggins and Erika Castro-Miles have been charged with first-degree murder, and the district attorney’s office is seeking the death penalty for both.