Reviewing the concept of corruption of blood

On Behalf of | Oct 7, 2019 | Post-Conviction Relief |

A criminal conviction in Memphis can leave one facing an uncertain future once they have fulfilled all of the requirements that justice demands be served for their crime. Their ability to succeed may depend largely on what resources are available to them at the completion of their sentences. Many may think, however, that one loses whatever property or assets that might have previously owned once they have been convicted of a serious crime (in this context, a felony would be viewed as being serious). This assumption is based on a concept known as “corruption of blood.”

This legal concept was widely recognized in the past as an additional form of punishment for crimes such as treason. Per the Cornell Law School, a designation of corruption of blood resulted in the forfeiture of one’s estate. In addition, the designee’s heirs would also be stripped of any entitlement that they may have had to inherit their assets. While the idea of corruption of blood originated in England, it has been employed (to an extent) here in the U.S.

The application of the corruption of concept is not nearly as common as it may have once been. According to the Constitution of Tennessee, no conviction of any crime shall merit the designation of corruption of blood. One retains ownership of their personal property even after a conviction. Those entitled to it by rights of descent retain those rights, as well.

It should be remembered, however, that one might not necessarily be allowed to grow their estates while fulfilling the terms of their conviction (or even after having served them). While one can certainly legitimately increase their own personal wealth, they cannot profit off a crime they were convicted of committing in any way.


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