Court of Criminal Appeals of Tennessee, Knoxville
Assigned on Briefs September 16, 2014
Appeal from the Circuit Court for Blount County No. C-18427 David R. Duggan, Judge
J. Liddell Kirk (on appeal), Knoxville, Tennessee and Mack Garner (on appeal and at hearing), District Public Defender, for the appellant, Lee Ann Lynch.
Robert E. Cooper, Jr., Attorney General and Reporter; Clarence E. Lutz, Senior Counsel; Mike Flynn, District Attorney General; and Matthew Dunn, 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.
Robert H. Montgomery, Jr., Judge
On August 8, 2011, the Defendant pleaded guilty to promotion of methamphetamine manufacture. As part of the plea agreement, she accepted a four-year, split-confinement sentence, 120 days of which were to be served in jail with the remainder suspended and the Defendant placed on supervised probation. On November 30, 2012, a probation violation warrant issued and alleged that the Defendant violated four rules of probation by obtaining new charges, not notifying her probation officer of the charges, failing a drug screen, and having an unpaid balance of $3232.50 on the $3302.50 bill of cost for her conviction. The Defendant stipulated to the facts alleged in the violation warrant and waived a hearing. The trial court found that the Defendant violated the probation terms. It revoked her probation and ordered her to serve eighty days in jail and the balance in the community corrections program.
On April 15, 2013, the present violation warrant was issued. It alleged that the Defendant violated four conditions of community corrections by failing to report for supervision, failing to report for "MRT group, " failing to provide proof of employment, and failing to provide proof of court payments.
At the revocation hearing, Brian Hensley, an employee of East Tennessee Human Resource Agency Community Corrections, testified that he conducted the Defendant's intake on March 26, 2013, the only day she reported as required. He said the Defendant never provided employment verification, disability documents, or proof of payment of court costs. He said he tried unsuccessfully to contact the Defendant when she failed to report the following week. He said that one telephone number was disconnected and that the second number did not have voice mail. He said that offenders were required to report weekly until they completed "MRT" and that the Defendant never completed "MRT."
Mr. Hensley testified on cross-examination that at intake, the Defendant appeared to understand his explanation of the community corrections requirements. He thought she told him she would have a hard time reporting because she lived in Knoxville. He thought she had a history of drug use and suspected when he met her that she had substance abuse and emotional problems. He said the Defendant could have been transferred to a community corrections program in Knoxville if she had completed the necessary requirements.
The thirty-two-year-old Defendant testified that she was single and had six children, one of whom was ten weeks old. She attended school through the eleventh grade. She said her conviction related to her buying Sudafed that she planned to resell in order to have money to purchase drugs. She agreed her probation had been revoked after she was charged with driving with a revoked license and theft. She agreed she had not seen Mr. Hensley since March 26, 2013, when he had informed her of the rules of community corrections. She said that since March 26, she had "got back on drugs, " had been pregnant, and had her baby. She said that she became pregnant immediately after she was released from jail in March 2013 and that she learned she was pregnant three days after meeting with Mr. Hensley. She said she became addicted to drugs at age twenty-three.
The Defendant testified that she had not used drugs before meeting with Mr. Hensley. She said that pills were her preferred drug and that she began using them again after "hanging out" with a family member who had them. She said that during the time she was not reporting to Mr. Hensley, she lived with her aunt. She also had a relationship with a man who provided her with Hydrocodone pills. She said she did not use drugs for about two and one-half weeks after she was released from jail.
Regarding the circumstances of her arrest in December 2013 for the current violation warrant, the Defendant testified that the police responded when her brother and her baby's father fought. They discovered she had an outstanding warrant. She denied receiving any new charges.
The Defendant testified that she would do "whatever it takes" if the trial court would allow her to remain on community corrections. She said she would go to a halfway house and understood she must report as required. She understood she could not use drugs and ...