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Quevedo v. State

Court of Criminal Appeals of Tennessee, Knoxville

October 10, 2014


Assigned on Brief August 20, 2014

Direct Appeal from the Circuit Court for Montgomery County No. 40000492 Michael R. Jones, Judge

John E. Herbison, Clarksville, Tennessee, for the appellant, Craig U. Quevedo.

Robert E. Cooper, Jr., Attorney General and Reporter; David H. Findley, Senior Counsel; John W. Carney, District Attorney General; and Arthur Bieber, Assistant District Attorney General, for the appellee, State of Tennessee.

John Everett Williams, J., delivered the opinion of the Court, in which Camille R. McMullen, J., joined. Jerry L.Smith, J., Not Participating.



Procedural History

This appeal stems from the extensive sexual abuse and rape of the Petitioner's adopted minor stepdaughter over the course of four years. In 2002, the Petitioner pled guilty to thirty counts of rape and twenty-four counts of incest. He also pled nolo contendere to two counts of aggravated sexual battery, four counts of rape of a child, nine counts of rape, and one count of aggravated rape. State v. Craig U. Quevedo, No. M2002-02468-CCA-R3-CD. 2004 WL 193072, at *1 (Tenn. Crim. App. Jan. 27, 2004), perm. app. denied (Tenn. June 21, 2004). In support of its case, at the guilty plea hearing, the State introduced the petitioner's thirty-three page journal that had been found encrypted on his computer. Id. It was noted that:

in his journal, the [Petitioner] detailed his extensive history of molesting and raping his minor step-daughter, including the [Petitioner's] tactics of coercing the victim by abusing his position of parental authority and drugging the victim with the "date rape" drug, GHB. According to the [Petitioner's] journal, the [Petitioner] began having sexual relations with the victim when she was twelve years old and continued abusing her for four years. The State read excerpts from the journal that corresponded to each of the seventy counts in the indictment of which the [Petitioner] was pleading guilty or nolo contendere, and the [Petitioner] either admitted his guilt or agreed that the State could offer proof from which a jury could convict him.

Id. (footnote omitted). The petitioner's plea agreement was open, and the trial court reviewed the conviction and sentencing ranges prior to accepting the plea. Craig U. Quevedo v. State, M2010-01399-CCA-R3-PC, 2013 WL 1188957, at *4 (Tenn. Crim. App. Mar. 22, 2013), perm. app. denied (Tenn. Sept. 11, 2013). The trial court reviewed the factors it would utilize in determining the sentences and discussed the constitutional rights which the petitioner would be waiving. Id. The court also discussed the possibility of consecutive sentencing with the petitioner. Id. Following this colloquy with the trial court, the petitioner acknowledged a factual basis for the crimes, stating that his journal entries were true, and entered the pleas. Id.

Subsequently, a sentencing hearing was held on the matter. This court, in the petitioner's initial post-conviction appeal, summarized the sentencing hearing proof as follows:

[T]he State introduced the pre-sentence report, victim impact statements from the victim and other family members, and the [p]etitioner's journal. The pre-sentence report showed that the [p]etitioner had graduated from high school, that he had no prior criminal record, that he had been honorably discharged after seven years in the United States Air Force, and that he had worked for over twelve years for a defense contractor and was skilled in computer programming. During the sentencing hearing, trial counsel stated that the [p]etitioner had "a good work history" and that he had worked "in what must have been a highly sensitive area" and "was obviously trusted in that regard." In the pre-sentence report, the [p]etitioner stated that the circumstances of his offenses were "not that important" because of his pleas and that the [p]etitioner believed that he had done "the right thing" and accepted "full responsibility for [his] actions." The [p]etitioner also stated in the pre-sentence report that he had a "difficult" childhood and that he had witnessed his father sexually abuse one of his sisters.
In the victim's impact statement, the victim stated that the [p]etitioner has "used his role of authority to control [her]" and that he had stolen her youth and innocence. According to the victim, the [p]etitioner would "make it a point" to take out his frustrations on the rest of the family if she refused to satisfy his sexual desires. The victim explained that it was easier to give in to the [p]etitioner for "a few, brief, awful moments a day" so that "the rest of the day would be peaceful for everyone." The victim stated that she lived in constant fear of the [p]etitioner and that no one deserved "the torture [she] was subjected to." The victim described the [p]etitioner as having an "incurable disease" and that the [p]etitioner would go "to great lengths to make sure that he" got what he wanted. The victim's mother stated in her victim's impact statement that the [p]etitioner had fled the state after his abuse of the victim had been revealed and that the [p]etitioner had drained the family's bank accounts before he fled.
The [p]etitioner called the victim to testify at his sentencing hearing. The victim reiterated many of the things she had stated in her victim's impact statement. The victim testified that she was now married and had a child with her high school boyfriend, who the [p]etitioner had repeatedly threatened to kill in his journal. The victim further testified that she had frequent nightmares of the [p]etitioner's abusing her and that she had sought professional counseling to help her recover from the [p]etitioner's abuse.
The [p]etitioner addressed the trial court and apologized for "dragging this out as long as it" had. The [p]etitioner stated that he "had to make a very difficult choice" about whether to take this case to trial. The [p]etitiioner stated that he pled guilty and nolo contendere to save [the victim] any further grief and so she would not have to testify at trial. The [p]etitioner stated that he had "made a mistake, " but that it "was not [his] intention to harm anyone." The [p]etitioner insisted that his actions were not "premeditated" and that, despite sexually abusing the victim for several years, it just "happened." The [p]etitioner stated that he was sorry that he hurt so many people and that he "caused [himself] a great deal of grief." The [p]etitioner stated that he hoped that the victim and his family would one day forgive him and that he had "a lot of difficulty" with his guilt. The [p]etitioner also stated that he hoped the trial court could see "some measure of character and ...

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