Court of Criminal Appeals of Tennessee, Nashville
Assigned on Briefs March 25, 2015 at Knoxville.
Appeal from the Criminal Court for Wilson County No. 2012CR185 David Earl Durham, Judge.
Adam Wilding Parrish, Lebanon, Tennessee, for the appellant, Charles Riley, Jr.
Herbert H. Slatery III, Attorney General and Reporter; Jeffrey D. Zentner, Assistant Attorney General; Tom P. Thompson, District Attorney General; and Thomas Swink, Assistant District Attorney General, for the appellee, State of Tennessee.
Robert L. Holloway, Jr., J., delivered the opinion of the Court, in which John Everett Williams and Norma McGee Ogle, JJ., joined.
ROBERT L. HOLLOWAY, JR., JUDGE.
On March 11, 2013, the Defendant pleaded guilty to aggravated domestic assault, a Class C felony. Pursuant to a plea agreement, the trial court sentenced the Defendant, as a Range II multiple offender, to eight years and suspended the Defendant's sentence to supervised probation.
On June 25, 2014, the trial court issued a violation of probation warrant, which alleged that the Defendant had violated the following rules of probation:
Rule #1: I will obey the laws of the United States, or any State in which I may be, as well as any municipal ordinances.
Rule #9: I agree to pay all required fees to the Supervision and Criminal Injuries Fund unless waived by appropriate authorities. Additionally, if so ordered by the court, I will pay all imposed fines, court costs, and restitution.
Rule #14: I will not engage in any assaultive, abusive, threatening or intimidating behavior. I will not behave in a manner that poses a threat to others or myself.
At the subsequent probation revocation hearing, the Defendant's probation officer, Nicole Clay, testified that she filed the violation of probation warrant against the Defendant based upon his arrest on new charges of aggravated domestic assault and interference with an emergency call and because the Defendant was behind on the payment of his court costs, restitution, and probation fees. Ms. Clay explained that the Defendant last made a payment in October 2013 and still owed $1, 375.80.
Brandi Ballinger, the Defendant's girlfriend and mother of his children, testified that she charged the Defendant with aggravated domestic assault after the Defendant punched her in the back and choked her during a dispute. Ms. Ballinger explained that the altercation with the Defendant ended when her daughter screamed and Ms. Ballinger threatened to call the police. The Defendant then grabbed Ms. Ballinger's cell phone, "tossed it, " and left the scene. Immediately after the incident, Ms. Ballinger reported the assault to the police and sought a warrant from a judicial commissioner. Ms. Ballinger testified that the Defendant caused bruising on her back and "marks around [her] throat, " which the officer observed. Ms. Ballinger acknowledged that she later asked the District Attorney's Office to dismiss the charges against the Defendant because she did not want the Defendant to go to prison. Nevertheless, Ms. Ballinger testified that the allegations in the assault warrant were true.
On cross-examination, Ms. Ballinger acknowledged that, in the early morning hours before the assault, she and the Defendant "were texting back and forth" and she threatened that, if he did not come home, she would have him "put in jail." She also acknowledged that, in another text message sent to the Defendant a few days ...