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State v. Bray

Court of Criminal Appeals of Tennessee, Jackson

May 1, 2015

STATE OF TENNESSEE
v.
GREGORY LEE BRAY

Assigned on Briefs March 3, 2015.

Appeal from the Circuit Court for Hardeman County Nos. CC-14-CR-2, CC-14-CR-18B J. Weber McCraw, Judge.

Shana Johnson, Somerville, Tennessee, for the appellant, Gregory Lee Bray.

Herbert H. Slatery III, Attorney General and Reporter; Jonathan H. Wardle, Assistant Attorney General; Michael Dunavant, District Attorney General; Joe VanDyke, Assistant District Attorney General, for the appellee, State of Tennessee.

Timothy L. Easter, J., delivered the opinion of the Court, in which Robert W. Wedemeyer and Robert H. Montgomery, Jr., JJ., joined.

OPINION

TIMOTHY L. EASTER, JUDGE.

Factual and Procedural Background

This is a direct appeal by Defendant of the sentence imposed by the trial court in the Circuit Court of Hardeman County. On January 6, 2014, Defendant was indicted in case number CC-14-CR-2 by the Hardeman County Grand Jury with one count of delivery of Clonazepam, a Schedule IV controlled substance. On the same day, Defendant was also indicted in case number CC-14-CR-18B by the Hardeman County Grand Jury with one count of delivering Alprazolam, a Schedule IV controlled substance.

In August of 2014, Defendant pled guilty to the offenses as charged in both cases, specifically reserving the right to appeal the sentence. After a sentencing hearing, the trial court sentenced Defendant as a Range III, Persistent Offender to ten years in incarceration for each offense. After noting that Defendant's criminal history spanned nearly thirty-five years, the trial court ordered the sentences to be served consecutively on the basis that Defendant was "an offender whose record of criminal activity is extensive" and is a "professional criminal who has knowingly devoted his life to criminal acts." Additionally, the trial court denied alternative sentencing.

Defendant filed separate notices of appeal in each case. The trial court consolidated the cases for the purposes of appeal.

Analysis

On appeal, Defendant challenges the trial court's decision to order the sentences to run consecutive to each other as well as the denial of an alternative sentence. Specifically, Defendant complains that the trial court "based its decision to impose consecutive sentences and to deny probation or community corrections solely on [Defendant's] criminal record." The State counters that Defendant's "extensive criminal history" provided a "proper basis for the trial court to impose consecutive sentences and deny alternative sentencing."

Consecutive Sentences

When a defendant challenges the length, range, or manner of service of a sentence, this Court reviews the trial court's sentencing decision under an abuse of discretion standard with a presumption of reasonableness. State v. Caudle, 388 S.W.3d 273, 278-79 (Tenn. 2012); State v. Bise, 380 S.W.3d 682, 708 (Tenn. 2012). This presumption applies to "within-range sentencing decisions that ...


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