Court of Criminal Appeals of Tennessee, Nashville
Assigned on Briefs at Knoxville December 9, 2014
Appeal from the Circuit Court for Rutherford County No. F70712 David M. Bragg, Judge
Guy R. Dotson, Jr., Murfreesboro, Tennessee, for the appellant, Keith Edward Clements.
Herbert H. Slatery, III, Attorney General and Reporter; Meredith Devault, Senior Counsel; Jennings Hutson Jones, District Attorney General; and Shawn Puckett, Assistant District Attorney General, for the appellee, State of Tennessee.
Alan E. Glenn, J., delivered the opinion of the Court, in which Thomas T. Woodall, P.J., and Timothy L. Easter, J., joined.
ALAN E. GLENN, JUDGE
The petitioner was indicted for multiple counts of aggravated burglary. His trial counsel filed a motion to suppress evidence obtained pursuant to a search warrant that was executed in an untimely fashion. The State conceded the motion to suppress and, thereafter, entered into a negotiated plea agreement wherein the petitioner pled guilty to four counts of aggravated burglary. Per the agreement, the petitioner received an effective sentence of six years at 30%, suspended to probation, to be served consecutively to a previous felony sentence. The State dismissed twelve other counts of an unknown nature against the petitioner.
At the plea submission hearing on December 21, 2012, the State informed the court that, had the case gone to trial, Detective Jeremy Weaver with the Rutherford County Sheriff's Department and some of the petitioner's co-defendants would have testified:
That during the month of January of last year, they were breaking into houses and taking items from those houses from the victims listed in the indictment. And that it pertained to Count Number 1 of the indictment, broke into the home of Phillip Morgan, Jeff Fields, Patrick Vangorder, and Jerry Webb taking items out of their house without their permission, being inside their house without their permission.
Some of those items, a majority of those items, were found in a residence at Peach Street and were corroborated by other statements from witnesses and other codefendants.
The petitioner conceded that the above facts recited by the State were true and correct. The petitioner stated that he and counsel went over the facts in the warrant and the indictment, all of the discovery provided by the State, and what the State would have to prove for him to be found guilty of aggravated burglary.
The petitioner verified under oath that he had discussed the plea agreement with counsel and that he was entering his plea freely and voluntarily. The petitioner affirmed to the court that he had enough time to consider the plea and did not feel rushed or pressured to enter it. The petitioner testified that counsel explained to him the range of punishment that he initially faced on all the charges, as well as the range of punishment in the plea agreement. The petitioner said that he had no questions about the waiver of rights petition or his pleas.
The petitioner subsequently filed a petition for post-conviction relief. In his petition, the petitioner asserted, among other things, that counsel was ineffective for advising him to plead guilty given the posture of the motion to suppress that the State had conceded that the search warrant was ...