TN lawmakers debate allowing victim photos during trial

(WBIR) One of the many bills making its way through the Tennessee General Assembly is House Bill 1524. The proposed piece of legislation would amend current state law and allow during a trial pictures of a violent crime victim if the victim is unable to testify or be present.

In February 2010, Scott and Kevin Tolliver's 76-year-old father, Roe Tolliver, was killed. The brothers said they had to sit through the trial of the woman charged with killing their father, but said they were unable to show who their father really was.

"We felt hopeless through it all," said Scott Tolliver.

"During that whole time we were unable to actually show pictures of our dad," said Kevin Tolliver.

The brothers believed a picture would have spoken volumes for the father are that's why they hope House Bill 1524 is passed. The bill is sponsored by State Representative Ryan Haynes (R - TN District 14).

"Any other victim in a crime, they're allowed to sit in the jury box just as long as they weren't deceased. But a person that's been murdered, they don't have the ability to do that," said Rep. Haynes.

Knox County Assistant District Attorney John Gill, Jr. issued the following statement:

"Tennessee DAS are strongly in support of the legislation allowing photos from life of a homicide victim to be admitted in evidence in a trial. Under the current law, the defendant is present before the jury, while the victim is an abstract figure, totally outside the sight of the jury. This law would allow a jury to more fully appreciate that the victim was once a real and alive."

However, Knoxville Criminal Defense Attorney Greg Isaacs said in a statement, "Victims have a right to be heard, however there's a danger that a picture will be used for the purpose of creating sympathy as opposed to the purpose of the rules of evidence and rues of criminal procedure."

The bill has been placed on the Civil Justice Subcommittee's calendar for Wednesday, March 19th.

To read House Bill 1524 visit

For a list of the committee members and how to contact them, go to


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