Faith-healing case reaches TN Supreme Court

Faith-healing case reaches TN Supreme Court

Jacqueline Cranks Jacqueline Cranks
6 News Anchor/Reporter

KNOXVILLE (WATE) - State supreme court justices heard arguments Thursday in the appeal case of a mother who relied on faith to heal her daughter. It's a case we've been covering for years.

Previous story: Controversial Loudon County child neglect case reinstated

Jacqueline Crank and her minister Ariel Sherman were charged with neglect back in 2002 and convicted after a long legal battle. Sherman died last December.

Previous story: Preacher charged in Loudon girl's death dies

The state and defense agreed over the facts of the case, but not over legal questions like when can a parent choose prayer over medicine?

Jessica Crank, 15, died of bone cancer in 2002. Her mother argues she was unfairly convicted because Tennessee law only allows parents with a recognized church to rely on faith healing.

"The record is uncontroverted that my client relied on prayer, that she was earnest, that she prayed daily with her daughter," said Crank's defense attorney Greg Isaacs. "Detectives began asking people about the Universal Life Church. Then they began asking questions about whether this could be a cult. Therein lies the issue of whether the statute is unconstitutionally broad and vague."

"We believe the defendant has not show that she is entitled to any relief in this direct appeal of her conviction," said John Bledsoe, attorney for the state.

Isaacs thinks the law needs to be clarified, but first he wants his client's case dismissed. Jacqueline Crank was not in court with her attorney for the appeal. No word on when the state supreme court will issue a ruling on the case.

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