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State v. Jernigan

Court of Criminal Appeals of Tennessee, Jackson

January 28, 2015

STATE OF TENNESSEE
v.
WILLIAM JERNIGAN

Assigned on Briefs August 05, 2014.

Appeal from the Criminal Court for Shelby County No. W1201349 Paula L. Skahan, Judge.

R. Todd Mosley, Memphis, Tennessee, (on appeal), and James DeRossitt, Memphis, Tennessee, (at trial), for the appellant, William Jernigan.

Herbert H. Slatery, III, Attorney General and Reporter; Meredith Devault, Senior Counsel; Amy P. Weirich, District Attorney General; and Kevin Rardin, and Marques Young, Assistant District Attorneys General, for the appellee, the State of Tennessee.

Thomas T. Woodall, P.J., delivered the opinion of the Court, in which Alan E. Glenn and Roger A. Page, JJ., joined.

OPINION

THOMAS T. WOODALL, PRESIDING JUDGE.

During an investigation by Memphis police officers, Defendant gave the officers consent to search his home. Therein the officers found over four pounds of marijuana packaged in different bags, plus over $1, 200.00 cash in one of the bags containing marijuana, in addition to over $1, 000.00 cash found in Defendant's wallet. Also seized during the search were two pill bottles collectively containing fifty-four Alprazolam (Xanax) pills. These pill bottles were found in a bedroom dresser drawer.

At the sentencing hearing, Defendant testified that he had sold marijuana for several months prior to the search of his home in order to financially support his family. Defendant stated that the Alprazolam pills were for his own use, but he admitted that he did not have a prescription for the drug. When asked by the State during cross-examination, Defendant refused to provide the name of the person who sold him marijuana to re-sell and the name of the other person who sold him the Alprazolam.

Defendant's prior criminal record includes a felony conviction in 2001 for "attempt to commit felony" involving sale of the drug ecstasy, for which he was on probation for three years, and a misdemeanor conviction in 2008 for possession of marijuana for which he was fined $250.00.

Defendant admitted in his testimony that he had regularly used marijuana from the time of his arrest in September 2012 until January 2013, which was about three months prior to the sentencing hearing. Defendant denied having a "drug problem, " because he was "completely clean" at the time of the sentencing hearing. However, Defendant added,

I'm admitting that I did drugs and that I did them on a daily basis and the only reason why I stopped doing any of it is because I got in trouble for this. Otherwise, I would still do probably the same thing.

At the conclusion of the sentencing hearing the trial court announced its ruling which we set forth in its entirety:

THE COURT: All right, stand up, Mr. Jernigan. Mr. Jernigan, I think you have been honest with the Court if not especially forthcoming. You have been given probation in the past and you did successfully complete but that was meant to teach you a lesson and unfortunately it didn't deter you from being involved in the same type of activity.
Again, you were again arrested in 2008, charged with possession of I take it marijuana. So measures less restrictive have been attempted in the past. I think that there is potential for you to be a successful citizen ...

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