Court of Criminal Appeals of Tennessee, Nashville
Assigned on Briefs November 12, 2014.
Appeal from the Circuit Court for Bedford County No. 17352, 17574 Forest A. Durard, Jr., Judge.
Donna Orr Hargrove, District Public Defender; Andrew Jackson Dearing, III (on appeal) and Michael J. Collins (at trial), Assistant Public Defenders, Shelbyville, Tennessee, for the Defendant-Appellant, Skylar Matthew Gant.
Robert E. Cooper, Jr., Attorney General and Reporter; Tracy L. Alcock, Assistant Attorney General; Robert Carter, District Attorney General; and Michael Randles and Richard Cawley, Assistant District Attorneys General, for the Appellee, State of Tennessee.
Camille R. McMullen, J., delivered the opinion of the court, in which Norma McGee Ogle and Robert H. Montgomery, Jr., JJ., joined.
CAMILLE R. McMULLEN, JUDGE.
The Defendant-Appellant, Skylar Matthew Gant, was indicted in case number 17352 for two counts of the sale of .5 grams or more of crack cocaine and two counts of the delivery of .5 grams or more of crack cocaine, Class B felonies. See T.C.A. § 39-17-417. He was subsequently indicted in case number 17574 for one count of failure to appear, a Class E felony. See id. § 39-16-609. The Defendant entered open guilty pleas to these offenses as charged.
Plea Submission Hearings.
At the October 22, 2012 plea submission hearing, the State summarized the facts supporting the guilty pleas to the drug offenses in case number 17352:
Count 1 and 2 [for the sale and delivery of .5 grams or more of crack cocaine] occurred on April 23rd, 2008. There was a confidential informant [CI] working under the control and direction of the Drug Task Force, who placed a recorded and monitored telephone call to the defendant about purchasing crack cocaine in the amount of $400. The defendant agreed to that.
The confidential informant was searched, and that met with negative results, was provided a recorder and the funds with which to make the purchase. Then went to the defendant's mother's residence here in Bedford County, under the observation of the task force agents. The defendant was actually observed coming outside of the residence, greeting the confidential informant. They both then went back inside. The transaction occurred. The defendant directed the confidential informant to actually hand the money to a third party black male and the confidential informant did that. The defendant then handed back the drugs. The confidential informant then left, met back up with the task force agents, handed the drugs over to the agents. They were sent to the lab, and it weighed 10.1 grams.
Counts 3 and 4 [for the sale and delivery of .5 grams or more of crack cocaine] occurred on April 29, 2008, and, again, was a controlled buy. There was a recorded telephone call about discussing the purchase of crack cocaine. The agreement was made to do that. The confidential informant was searched, and that met with negative results.
It was supposed to be a $300 buy, so the confidential informant was provided with money and a recording device. The confidential informant went to the defendant's residence, entered the residence. This was a hand-to-hand buy. The confidential informant handed the money to the defendant, and the defendant hand[ed] back the drugs. However, it wound up being a little bit less than $300. It was $245.
The CI then left and met back up with task force agents, handed over the drugs which were purchased, and $55, which was not used in the transaction. Was searched again. That met with negative results. The dope was sent to the lab, and it weighed 4.8 grams.
The trial court accepted the Defendant's guilty pleas and set the matter for a sentencing hearing on December 17, 2012. Thereafter, the Defendant failed to appear at the hearing, which resulted in his indictment in case number 17574. He was ultimately apprehended about ten months later, in October 2013. At the December 16, 2013 plea ...