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Campbell v. State

Court of Criminal Appeals of Tennessee, Nashville

December 9, 2014


Assigned on Briefs July 16, 2014

Appeal from the Circuit Court for Rutherford County No. F67160 Mitchell Keith Siskin, Judge

Benjamin L. Parsley, III, Murfreesboro, Tennessee, for the appellant, Derrick Devon Campbell.

Herbert H. Slatery, III, Attorney General and Reporter; Tracy L. Alcock, Assistant Attorney General; Jennings Jones, District Attorney General; and J. Paul Newman, Assistant District Attorney General, for the appellee, State of Tennessee.

Thomas T. Woodall, P.J., delivered the opinion of the Court, in which Norma McGee Ogle and Alan E. Glenn, JJ., joined.




Guilty Plea Submission Hearing

The facts of Petitioner's case as recited by the State at the guilty plea submission hearing are as follows:

[T]he State would introduce witnesses to include Detective Tannas Knox as well as other members of the Murfreesboro Police Department and other civilian witnesses who the State would believe would testify as follows. That on or about July 14th, 2009, that they received a call to 1320 Peachtree Street here in Rutherford County, State of Tennessee, regarding someone kicking a door in and shooting someone inside the house. When the police got there they did see a female victim who was later identified as Valerie Campbell who was in the process of escaping through the bedroom window. She did have a gun in her hand which was her gun. And she was screaming. They did approach her. Then gained entry into the house. While inside the house they did observe that the victim, Mr. Christopher White, had been shot. It was later determined that he had been shot a total of three times. They also determined that there was another victim. Ms. Valerie Britton. Who is the mother of Valerie Campbell. That she was in the other bedroom and that at some point she did witness part of this transaction and had escaped there to escape any possibility of injury. She was there as well. Mr. Campbell apparently had made a phone call or a couple of phone calls before then. He expressed some concern that his wife at that time was with some other person. Apparently from what we've learned the wife did express that yes, maybe someone was there, but he was just there as a friend. And then that there were other phone calls saying that Mr. Campbell may be on the way. But from the autopsy it was clear that he was shot a total of three times. The victim was not armed and his body was found on the couch where he was seated at a place where the witnesses would say he was when the door was kicked in.

Post-conviction hearing

Petitioner was represented on the original charges by two attorneys with the public defender's office. They will be referred to herein as "trial counsel" and "co-counsel." Trial counsel testified that he had worked at the public defender's office for twenty-one years. He was appointed to represent Petitioner in circuit court, and he first met with Petitioner on December 15, 2009. They discussed Petitioner's charges and the penalty ranges. Petitioner was originally charged with two alternative counts of first degree murder, aggravated burglary, two counts of aggravated assault, and felony possession of a weapon. Trial counsel and co-counsel met with Petitioner at least five additional times, and they discussed discovery, trial strategy, and any offers made by the State. Trial counsel also wrote four letters to Petitioner.

Trial counsel testified that on November 11, 2010, Petitioner advised trial counsel and co-counsel that he wanted to accept the State's plea offer to second degree murder with an agreed sentence of thirty years at one-hundred percent. Petitioner had rejected previous offers because he wanted an offer that was less than second-degree murder. Trial counsel testified that he discussed the consequences of the plea with Petitioner, and he explained to Petitioner the meaning of pleading "out of range." Trial counsel further explained the difference between one-hundred percent and thirty percent service of the sentence. Concerning the plea offer, trial counsel testified:

In fairness, I think that was an offer that had been open for some time. And we had probably talked to him in previous meetings in regard to it. But on [November 11, 2010] when he indicated that he was going to accept that plea, we talked about the consequences of - - we talked once again about it. And the fact that it ...

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