Court of Criminal Appeals of Tennessee, Knoxville
Assigned on Briefs October 21, 2014.
Appeal from the Criminal Court for Knox County No. 101833 Mary B. Leibowitz, Judge.
J. Liddell Kirk, Knoxville, Tennessee, for the appellant, Antonio Williams.
Robert E. Cooper, Jr., Attorney General and Reporter; Clarence E. Lutz, Senior Counsel; Randy E. Nichols, District Attorney General; and Sean McDermott, Assistant District Attorney General, for the appellee, State of Tennessee.
Robert L. Holloway, Jr. J., delivered the opinion of the Court, in which James Curwood Witt, Jr., and D. Kelly Thomas, Jr., JJ., joined.
ROBERT L. HOLLOWAY, JR., JUDGE.
Factual and Procedural Background
This is a post-conviction proceeding in which the Petitioner, Antonio Williams, claims that he was deprived of his constitutional right to effective assistance of counsel and that his guilty plea was involuntary and unknowing. The Petitioner pleaded guilty to possession with intent to sell less than point five grams of a Schedule II controlled substance within a drug-free zone in Counts 1 and 2 of Case No. 101586 and to possession with intent to sell point five grams or more of a Schedule II controlled substance within a drug-free zone in Count 3. In the same proceeding, the Petitioner submitted to a revocation of probation on a prior sentence. Pursuant to the plea agreement, the Petitioner received sentences of ten years as a Range III offender to be served at 100% in both Counts 1 and 2, and an eight-year sentence as a Range I offender to be served at 100% in Count 3. The three sentences were ordered to run concurrently with each other and with a four-year sentence on the revocation of probation.
The Petitioner filed a pro se petition for post-conviction relief. Post-conviction counsel was appointed, and an amended petition was filed alleging ineffective assistance of counsel and an involuntary and unknowing plea. After a hearing, the post-conviction court entered a written order denying relief. The Petitioner then filed a timely notice of appeal.
The Plea Colloquy
Counts 1 and 2 of Case No. 101856 were based upon undercover drug transactions in which the Petitioner was recorded selling drugs, and Count 3 was based on drugs found during a search of the Petitioner's residence. All three drug offenses occurred within 1, 000 feet of a library. Based upon these offenses, the State filed a petition to revoke the Petitioner's probation.
During the plea colloquy, the Petitioner was informed that his probation was being revoked and that the three new drug convictions would run concurrently with his revocation of probation. The Petitioner acknowledged that he understood the plea and that he was being sentenced to an effective ten years to be served at 100%. The Petitioner stated that he had reviewed the plea waiver with his attorney and that he understood its contents. He further agreed that he understood that by pleading guilty he would be giving up certain rights, including his right to a trial by jury. Additionally, the Petitioner stated that he had a bachelor's degree from Clemson University.
Notably, the Petitioner, through his attorney, explained to the court that he was not pleading guilty to any offense that may have been related to the traffic stop during which the police arrested him; he was only pleading guilty to the offenses stemming from the undercover drug buys and the evidence found at his residence when the police executed a ...