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Bill to increase penalty for voluntary manslaughter taken off notice

Hank Hayes • Jun 5, 2020 at 1:30 PM

NASHVILLE — Tennessee state Rep. Bud Hulsey’s legislation that would enhance the penalty for voluntary manslaughter has been taken off notice.

Hulsey, R-Kingsport, agreed to a request to take the bill off notice during a Wednesday meeting of the House Finance, Ways and Means Subcommittee.

A conviction for voluntary manslaughter, a Class C felony, currently carries an average jail sentence of six years, according to the state’s Fiscal Review Committee.

Under Hulsey’s bill, voluntary manslaughter would be upgraded to a Class B felony with a jail term of eight to 12 years.

The Fiscal Review Committee determined Hulsey’s bill would increase state incarceration expenses by $4.9 million. The Tennessee Department of Correction (DOC) says the average operating cost for an offender is about $75 per day. DOC reported there has been an average of 52 admissions for voluntary manslaughter each year over the last 10 years.

Northeast Tennessee prosecutors had expressed support for the legislation.

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