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The General Assembly established the Court of Criminal Appeals in 1967 pursuant to Tenn. Const., art. VI, § 1. Originally, there were seven members, but the membership was increased to nine in 1976. No more than three judges can reside in any grand division. As with the Court of Appeals, these judges must be at least 30 years of age, a five year resident of the state, and licensed to practice law in Tennessee. T.C.A. § 16-5-102. The court may sit en banc or in panels of three, five or seven judges. However, the concurrence of a majority of judges sitting is necessary for a decision. T.C.A. § 16-5-107.

Court must be held at Knoxville on the fourth Monday in June, at Nashville on the third Monday in February, and at Jackson on the second Monday in October.  The court may sit at the above-mentioned places without reference to terms for the purpose of hearing and deciding cases and other matters before it, and for such time as may, in the court's judgment, be necessary for the prompt and orderly dispatch of its business. T.C.A. § 16-5-107.  


Jurisdiction is appellate only, with the court having no original jurisdiction. T.C.A. § 16-5-108. Jurisdiction extends to review of final judgments of trial courts in the following cases:  

  1. Criminal cases, both felony and misdemeanor;
  2. Habeas corpus and post-conviction proceedings attacking the validity of a final judgment of conviction or the sentence in a criminal case, and other cases or proceedings instituted with reference to or arising out of a criminal case;
  3. Civil or criminal contempt proceedings arising out of a criminal matter; and
  4. Extradition cases. T.C.A. § 16-5-108.

Direct appeals to the Supreme Court in criminal cases extend only to those cases expressed in the statute.  However, an appeal by permission may be taken from a final decision of the Court of Criminal Appeals to the Supreme Court on application and in the court's discretion.