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Crim v. State

Court of Criminal Appeals of Tennessee, Nashville

April 13, 2015

JOHN C. CRIM
v.
STATE OF TENNESSEE

Assigned on Briefs February 11, 2015

Appeal from the Criminal Court for Wilson County No. 08-CR-567 David Earl Durham, Judge

Tillman W. Payne, Carthage, Tennessee, for the petitioner, John C. Crim.

Herbert H. Slatery III, Attorney General and Reporter; Meredith Devault, Senior Counsel; Tom P. Thompson; District Attorney General; and Thomas H. Swink, Assistant District Attorney General, for the respondent, State of Tennessee.

Timothy L. Easter, J., delivered the opinion of the Court, in which Robert L. Holloway, Jr., J., joined.

OPINION

TIMOTHY L. EASTER, JUDGE

Factual and Procedural Background

Nearly six years ago, on May 27, 2008, Petitioner admitted in an interview with a Wilson County Sheriff's Department detective that he touched his minor daughter "a few times each year from the time she was seven." He admitted to penile-vaginal contact with the child nine to twelve times and that she performed oral sex on him four or five times and he on her once. State v. John C. Crim, No. M2010-01281-CCA-R3-CD, 2012 WL 76891, at *1 (Tenn. Crim. App. Jan. 10, 2012), perm. app. denied (Tenn. Apr. 12, 2012).

Trial counsel filed a motion to suppress this statement. A full and fair hearing was conducted after which the trial court found that the interview was not a custodial interview and that (1) Petitioner went to the sheriff's office voluntarily; (2) nothing was intimidating about how the detectives were dressed; (3) the Detective told Petitioner that he was not in custody and free to leave; (4) Petitioner was not under the influence of drugs or suffering from any condition; (5) the conversation was not confrontational; and (6) Petitioner freely volunteered the information. See John C. Crim, 2012 WL 76891, at *2-3.

After a jury trial for alleged sexual offenses committed against his daughter, Petitioner was convicted of eight counts of rape of a child, each a Class A felony, and six counts of aggravated sexual battery of a child less than thirteen years old, each a Class B felony. He received a total effective sentence of 212 years' imprisonment from the trial court. This Court affirmed the trial court's denial of Petitioner's motion to suppress and affirmed Petitioner's convictions on direct appeal, but this Court remanded the case to the trial court for a new sentencing hearing. See John C. Crim, 2012 WL 76891, at *1-15. Upon remand, amended judgments were entered on February 12, 2013, resulting in a total effective sentence of 208 years.

Petitioner filed a pro se petition for post-conviction relief on February 24, 2014, seeking relief on the following alleged grounds: (1) use of a coerced confession; (2) use of illegally obtained evidence; (3) use of evidence obtained from an unlawful arrest; (4) violation of the privilege against self-incrimination; (5) ineffective assistance of counsel; (6) illegal evidence; and (7) prosecutorial and judicial misconduct. Through an attached appendix, Petitioner additionally alleged that the trial court had improperly excluded relevant and admissible evidence in the form of drawings made by Petitioner.

On the same day, Petitioner also filed a document entitled a "Motion to Grant Leave to Amend Petition for Post Conviction, " in which he sought the appointment of post-conviction counsel. This document was accompanied by a pro se "Supplemental Brief in Support of Petition for Post-Conviction Relief." In this lengthy document, Petitioner provides the factual bases and legal authorities purportedly supporting his claims.

On April 9, 2014, the post-conviction court entered a preliminary order denying post-conviction relief without appointing counsel or holding an evidentiary hearing. The post-conviction court concluded that Petitioner had not alleged a colorable claim for relief. Specifically, the post-conviction court found that all but two of Petitioner's grounds for post-conviction relief had been previously adjudicated during the direct appeal. The court determined that the allegations of prosecutorial and judicial misconduct were "without any factual basis." Additionally, the court concluded that the facts alleged to support the ineffective assistance of counsel claim would not entitle Petitioner to relief, even if true. Petitioner ...


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