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Reynolds v. State

Court of Criminal Appeals of Tennessee, Nashville

December 15, 2014

CHRISTOPHER JAKE REYNOLDS
v.
STATE OF TENNESSEE

Appeal from the Circuit Court for Giles County No. 11240 Jim T. Hamilton, Judge

Hershell D. Koger, Pulaski, Tennessee, for the appellant, Christopher Jake Reynolds.

Herbert H. Slatery III, Attorney General & Reporter; Sophia S. Lee, Senior Counsel; Mike Bottoms, District Attorney General; and Larry Nickell, Assistant District Attorney, for the appellee, State of Tennessee.

Timothy L. Easter, J., delivered the opinion of the court, in which Thomas T. Woodall and Robert W. Wedemeyer JJ., joined.

MEMORANDUM OPINION

TIMOTHY L. EASTER, JUDGE

Petitioner was convicted on June 23, 2005, in Giles County of possession of .5 grams or more of cocaine with the intent to sell. He was sentenced as a Career Offender to thirty years in incarceration on September 23, 2005. Trial counsel filed a motion for new trial on October 26, 2005. Although untimely when filed, the trial court heard and ruled on the motion. The motion for new trial was denied on August 15, 2008, [1] and no direct appeal was filed from the denial of that motion. Then,

on January 21, 2010, nearly one-and-a-half years after the denial of the motion for new trial, [Petitioner] filed petitions in the trial court seeking a delayed appeal, post-conviction relief, and a renewed motion for new trial. [Petitioner] argued that "after his motion for new trial his attorney . . . was disbarred from practicing law in the state of Tennessee and . . . never did file an appeal on behalf of [Petitioner]." [Petitioner] claimed that the errors and inaction of trial counsel amounted to ineffective assistance of counsel.

State v. Jake Christopher Reynolds, No. M2010-00607-CCA-R3-CD, 2011 WL 1991943, at *1 (Tenn. Crim. App. May 23, 2011), perm. app. denied, (Tenn. Aug. 24, 2011). The trial court denied the petition seeking a delayed appeal, post-conviction relief and renewed motion for new trial, after finding that the court lost jurisdiction of the case thirty days after the denial of the motion for new trial. Additionally, the trial court determined that if the pleading were considered a petition for post-conviction relief, it would be barred by the statute of limitations. Petitioner appealed to this Court. Id.

On appeal, this Court affirmed the summary dismissal of the post-conviction claims, finding that due process did not require the tolling of the statute of limitations for filing a post-conviction petition and that Petitioner was not entitled to a delayed appeal. The opinion was filed on May 23, 2011. Id. The supreme court denied permission to appeal on August 24, 2011.

In October of 2011, Petitioner filed a second petition for post-conviction relief. In the petition, he alleged that due process should toll the statute of limitations. This petition was summarily dismissed on October 31, 2011. According to Petitioner, an appeal was filed on November 22, 2011.[2]

On December 2, 2011, Petitioner filed his third pro se petition for post-conviction relief, again alleging that due process should toll the statute of limitations. Counsel was appointed and an amended petition was filed.

On February 28, 2012, the post-conviction court entered a preliminary order in which the court appointed counsel. Counsel filed an amended petition on December 21, 2012. In the amended petition, Petitioner sought relief based on ineffective assistance of counsel.

The post-conviction court held a hearing on the petition on August 7, 2013. At the hearing, Petitioner testified that he was serving a thirty-year sentence based on the conviction from the jury trial in Giles County. He informed the post-conviction court that he last interacted with his trial counsel at the hearing on the motion for new trial. He received no further communication from trial counsel after that date but left the hearing with the understanding that trial counsel was going to initiate an appeal of his conviction.

Petitioner testified that he tried to determine the status of his appeal sometime around August of 2009. He learned through an article that he read that trial counsel had been disbarred. He did not receive any type of formal notice of trial counsel's disbarment and filed his first ...


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