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Taylor v. State

Supreme Court of Tennessee, Jackson

August 21, 2014

QUANTEL TAYLOR
v.
STATE OF TENNESSEE

Session April 9, 2014.

Tenn. R. App. P. 11 Appeal by Permission; Judgment of the Court of Criminal Appeals Reversed; Case Remanded to the Circuit Court for Crockett County. Appeal by Permission from the Court of Criminal Appeals, Circuit Court for Crockett County. No. 3706B. Clayburn Peeples, Judge.

Marty B. McAfee and Gregory D. Allen (on appeal), Memphis, Tennessee; and S. Jasper Taylor IV (at trial and on appeal), Bells, Tennessee, for the appellant, Quantel Taylor.

Robert E. Cooper, Jr., Attorney General and Reporter; William E. Young, Solicitor General; Jeffrey D. Zentner, Assistant Attorney General; Garry G. Brown, District Attorney General; and Hillary Lawler Parham, Assistant District Attorney General, for the appellee, State of Tennessee.

GARY R. WADE, C.J., delivered the opinion of the Court, in which JANICE M. HOLDER, CORNELIA A. CLARK, WILLIAM C. KOCH, JR., and SHARON G. LEE, JJ., joined.

OPINION

GARY R. WADE, CHIEF JUSTICE.

Page 81

The petitioner pled guilty to charges of attempted first degree murder, second degree murder, and especially aggravated robbery. Later, he filed a petition for post-conviction relief, claiming that his trial counsel was ineffective and that his guilty pleas were not knowingly and voluntarily made. When the petitioner subpoenaed his three co-defendants to testify at the post-conviction hearing, the State filed a motion to quash because the co-defendants were all incarcerated. The post-conviction court granted the State's motion. The Court of Criminal Appeals ruled that the post-conviction court had erred, but held that the error was harmless under the circumstances. We hold that the post-conviction court committed prejudicial error by applying an incorrect legal standard and by failing to consider whether the proposed testimony by the co-defendants was material to the petitioner's claim of ineffective assistance of counsel. Because the record is insufficient for the issue to be resolved on appeal, we remand for the post-conviction court to reconsider the motion to quash under the proper standard. The judgment of the Court of Criminal Appeals is reversed, and the case is remanded to the post-conviction court for additional proceedings consistent with this opinion.

OPINION

I. Facts and Procedural History

On October 6, 2009, Quantel Taylor (the " Petitioner" ) entered best interest guilty pleas to charges of attempted first degree

Page 82

murder, second degree murder, and especially aggravated robbery. At the plea submission hearing, the State asserted that its evidence would show that on the night of January 21, 2003, the Petitioner, accompanied by Eugene Spivey and Jeffery Allen,[1] attempted to rob brothers John and Louis Neely (collectively, the " victims" ) at their residence in Crockett County, but that the victims managed to fend them off. The State alleged that the Petitioner, Spivey, Allen, and a fourth individual, Chad Bricco, returned the next night. The State further alleged that the Petitioner either acted as a lookout or stood outside the residence with a shotgun while Spivey and Allen broke into the victims' residence, killed John Neely, and severely injured Louis Neely.

In response, the Petitioner claimed that he had stayed in the car during the attempted robbery on the first night and that he did not participate in any way on the second night. Although the Petitioner expressed disagreement with the factual summary submitted by the State, he acknowledged at the submission hearing that it was in his best interest to plead guilty. The trial court accepted the ...


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