Tennessee Code 17-117

The statute is very clear; it provides that if a trial judge dies or is otherwise incapacitated with a motion for a new trial before him, it "shall be granted."

James Earl Ray

It is also well established that a request for a new trial need not be couched in any particular form. A letter is considered sufficient.

It is outrageous that although the procedure is routinely followed in case after case, Tennessee courts have never honored this statute in Ray's appeals, where the statute has been pled at least three times.

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