Criminal Contempt – Length of Sentence

Except as indicated, all indented material is copied directly from the court’s opinion.

Decisions of the Tennessee Supreme Court

Decisions of the Tennessee Court of Appeals


Saleh v. Pratt, No. E2021-00965-COA-R3-CV, p. 6 (Tenn. Ct. App. May 17, 2022).

In reviewing the appropriateness of a sentence imposed by the trial court, this court applies an abuse of discretion standard, with a presumption of reasonableness afforded to within-range sentencing decisions. State v. Caudle, 388 S.W.3d 273, 278-79 (Tenn. 2012); see also Worley v. Whitaker, No. E2010-00153-COA-R3-CV, 2011 WL 1202060, at *8 (Tenn. Ct. App. Mar. 31, 2011) (applying an abuse of discretion standard to a review of a criminal contempt proceeding). Our review of discretionary decisions is limited. Beard v. Bd. of Prof’l Responsibility, 288 S.W.3d 838, 860 (Tenn. 2009). We do not “second-guess the court below” or “substitute [our] discretion for the lower court’s.” Lee Med., Inc. v. Beecher, 312 S.W.3d 515, 524 (Tenn. 2010). In reviewing discretionary decisions, we consider “(1) whether the factual basis for the decision is properly supported by evidence in the record, (2) whether the lower court properly identified and applied the most appropriate legal principles applicable to the decision, and (3) whether the lower court’s decision was within the range of acceptable alternative dispositions.” Id. In reviewing a sentence for multiple counts of criminal contempt, the court determines if a sentence was the “least severe measure necessary to achieve the purpose for which the sentence is imposed.” State v. Wood, 91 S.W.3d 769, 776 (Tenn. Ct. App. 2002).


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