Court of Criminal Appeals of Tennessee, Nashville
Assigned on Briefs March 11, 2015.
Appeal from the Criminal Court for Davidson County No. 2005-B-1226 Cheryl Blackburn, Judge.
Vanessa Saenz, Nashville, Tennessee, for the appellant, Ines Mendez Monreal.
Herbert H. Slatery III, Attorney General and Reporter; Jeffrey D. Zentner, Assistant Attorney General; Victor S. Johnson III, District Attorney General; and Robert McGuire, Assistant District Attorney General, for the appellee, State of Tennessee.
Roger A. Page, J., delivered the opinion of the court, in which James Curwood Witt, Jr., and Camille R. McMullen, JJ., joined.
ROGER A. PAGE, JUDGE.
At the guilty plea submission hearing, petitioner acknowledged his intent to enter a conditional guilty plea to possession of over ten pounds of marijuana with the intent to sell or deliver, for which he would be placed on judicial diversion for a period of four years. The trial court asked, "[D]o you understand that this could affect your ability to stay in the United States?" Petitioner responded affirmatively. The court continued, "[I]t could affect you even though you do not get a conviction today. Do you understand that?" Again, petitioner responded that he understood. The trial court further explained:
Because you're on this special probation[, ] you do not actually get a conviction. Now, if you were to violate your probation, you might. But the Homeland Security individuals can still consider this a tentative plea and might use it against you even though you have not been convicted. Do you understand that's a possibility?
Petitioner stated, "Yes."
The trial court then advised petitioner with regard to his potential sentence exposure and confirmed that petitioner understood the agreement into which he was entering. The court explained petitioner's rights associated with a trial and asked whether petitioner had been promised anything or threatened into entering the conditional guilty plea. The trial court questioned petitioner's attorney, "[H]ave you discussed this with your client, and do you think [he] understand[s] what [he's] doing?" Petitioner's counsel answered, "I discussed it with [petitioner]." And on several occasions[, ] due to language barriers[, ] I asked if he understood and he indicated that he did. I think he does."
As a factual basis for the guilty plea, the State offered the following facts:
[T]he State's proof would be that on February  3rd[, ] [, ] the defendants were stopped in a vehicle. And within the vehicle was twenty-two pounds of marijuana. In light of these facts, and the defendants' pleas[, ] ...