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State v. Pierce

Court of Criminal Appeals of Tennessee, Knoxville

October 14, 2014

STATE OF TENNESSEE
v.
LAWRENCE PIERCE

Assigned on Briefs September 16, 2014

Appeal from the Criminal Court for Bradley County Nos. 12-CR-322, 12-CR-310 Carroll L. Ross, Judge

Charles Richard Hughes, Jr., District Public Defender, for the appellant, Lawrence Pierce.

Robert E. Cooper, Jr., Attorney General and Reporter; Ahmed A. Safeeullah, Assistant Attorney General; Stephen Crump, District Attorney General; and Stephen Hatchett, Assistant District Attorney General, for the appellee, State of Tennessee.

Robert H. Montgomery, Jr., J., delivered the opinion of the court, in which Norma McGee Ogle and Roger A. Page, JJ., joined.

OPINION

ROBERT H. MONTGOMERY, JR., JUDGE

On August 12, 2013, the Defendant pleaded guilty to violating the sex offender registry law and to two counts of flagrant nonsupport and was sentenced to an effective eight years to be served on probation. On September 17, 2013, a probation violation affidavit alleging that the Defendant violated the conditions of his release by failing to pay supervision fees, court costs, and restitution was issued. On September 19, 2013, the Defendant was arrested for violating his probation.

At the revocation hearing, Charles Matthews testified that he was the Defendant's probation officer, that the Defendant was required to pay restitution in the amount of $500 per month, and that they discussed the restitution and reviewed the judgment. He said the court costs and restitution totaled $98, 934.94. The restitution resulted from the Defendant's failing to pay child support. The order of restitution was reflected on the judgment, which was signed by the Defendant.

Mr. Matthews testified that he was the Defendant's probation officer beginning in 2007 for an unrelated flagrant nonsupport case. In 2010, the Defendant violated the conditions of his probation in that case by failing to report to Mr. Matthews and by failing to pay court costs.

On cross-examination, Mr. Matthews testified that he met with the Defendant on August 14, 2013, and that the Defendant complied with the sex offender registry requirements at their meeting. The Defendant was placed on maximum supervision, which required him to wear a monitoring device and to report to Mr. Matthews twice monthly. The Defendant complied with the reporting requirements in August and September. Mr. Matthews agreed that the Defendant was arrested and served with the probation violation warrant at the probation office.

Mr. Matthews testified that the Defendant had served one year in confinement in another state before being released on probation in the present cases and that the Defendant was diagnosed with a back injury. They discussed the Defendant's need for surgery to correct the injury. Although Mr. Matthews did not speak with the Defendant's work supervisor, the Defendant told Mr. Matthews that he lived at a motel and began working there on September 3, 2013. The Defendant told Mr. Matthews that his work supervisor was going to pay him $160 per week and was allowing him to live at the motel.

Mr. Matthews testified that he spoke to the prosecutor, who instructed him to file a probation violation report if the Defendant did not submit a $500 restitution payment by September 12, 2013, because the judgment required a payment every thirty days. The Defendant was arrested after he failed to make a payment.

The Defendant testified that he met with Mr. Matthews the day after his release and that he was told he was required to pay $500 monthly toward restitution. He looked for employment at the career center and applied for jobs online but could not find a job. He found a job working at the motel three weeks after his release. He showed the trial court a receipt for $140.

The Defendant had been in confinement for one year and two months before his release on probation in the present cases. He was extradited to Tennessee from Connecticut and had no clothing, money, or place to live at the time of his release. He said he had previous convictions for kidnapping and sexual battery and had served fifteen years in confinement before being ordered to pay $500 per month restitution in the present cases. He said that when he was released in 2010, he worked for Parris Roofing, who garnished his wages for child support payments. He said he gave "this woman" her money before the garnishment became effective. He said he bought the children car seats and "bought everything you could imagine for the[] babies, " although he was not certain they were his children. He said he did ...


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