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State v. Gordon

Court of Criminal Appeals of Tennessee, Nashville

August 28, 2014

STATE OF TENNESSEE
v.
CURTIS GORDON, Jr

Assigned on Briefs July 23, 2014 at Knoxville

Direct Appeal from the Criminal Court for Davidson County No. 2012-D-3261, J. Randall Wyatt, Jr., Judge

Jeffrey A. DeVasher, Nashville, Tennessee, for the Appellant, Curtis Gordon, Jr; Michael Engle, Nashville, Tennessee, at sentencing.

Robert E. Cooper, Jr., Attorney General and Reporter; Sophia S. Lee, Assistant Attorney General Criminal Justice Division, Victor S. Johnson, III, District Attorney General, and Rachel Thomas, Assistant District Attorney General, for the appellee, State of Tennessee.

Joe H. Walker, III, Sp.J., delivered the opinion of the court, in which JAMES CURWOOD Witt, Jr., and Robert Wedemeyer, JJ., joined.

OPINION

JOE H. WALKER, Sp.J.

Petitioner entered a plea of guilty in September 2013, to robbery, a Class C felony, with an agreement for the trial court to determine sentence. The State had properly filed notice of intent to seek enhanced punishment. At sentencing, the trial court found the defendant to be a Range III, persistent offender.[1] The defendant was sentenced to fifteen years, the maximum sentence in the range. The sentence was imposed consecutively to a sentence received by the defendant in Sumner County, [2] for which he was on probation at the time of the robbery, and which he was currently serving at the time of sentencing.

Defendant cites as error that the trial court imposed an excessive sentence, and erred in ordering the sentence in this case to be served consecutively to his Sumner County sentence.

Sentencing Hearing

At the sentencing hearing, the victim testified that the defendant came into her place of business and inquired about doing some landscaping. It was near closing time and she was alone. The defendant pushed her about fourteen feet into the break area and pinned her against the wall, choking her with a briefcase, which left marks on her neck. The defendant told her he was there to rob her and repeatedly demanded to know where she kept the money. The victim testified she was "freaked" and "scared." Because of the nature of her business she did not have much cash in the building, but told the defendant where it was located. The defendant took zip ties out of his briefcase and bound the victim's hands and feet. She assumed he had a weapon in the briefcase by the way he was acting. She did not fight back, but was "scared to death. I was just trying to hold myself together and get through it." He had hurt her and she believed he was getting pleasure out of inflicting pain, so she tried to not show resistance. Before he left, the defendant tightened the zip ties on her hands so tight that every time her heart beat they swelled. Her hands turned black and were swollen when she was freed by a police officer. She testified about the emotional trauma the defendant has caused her.

The defendant testified that he is a forty-nine year old alcoholic who allowed his life to spiral out of control. He apologized to the victim, and stated it was his decision to commit the robbery. "[I]t was solely my choice from start to finish. I take full and complete responsibility for the robbery and the degree of suffering I had caused."

In sentencing the defendant, the trial court reviewed on the record the considerations for the sentence imposed. He reviewed the facts of the case, the effect on the victim, and statements of the defendant. He found that the defendant has convictions in addition to those necessary to establish the appropriate range. He found that the victim was treated with "exceptional cruelty, totally unnecessary." He noted that the defendant was on probation at the time of this offense for another robbery in Sumner County. He found no mitigating factors. The trial court noted the defendant had multiple convictions from different parts of Tennessee, and from Kansas, Texas, and Virginia.

The trial court imposed the maximum sentence of fifteen years as a ...


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