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State v. Smith

Court of Criminal Appeals of Tennessee, Nashville

May 8, 2015

STATE OF TENNESSEE
v.
REESE L. SMITH

Session April 22, 2015

Appeal from the Criminal Court for Davidson County No. 2012-C-2176 Mark Fishburn, Judge.

Appellant, Reese L. Smith, [1] was convicted of aggravated perjury, and the trial court sentenced him to six years and one month, suspended to eight years of supervised probation. On appeal, appellant challenges his conviction. Following our review of the parties' briefs, the record, and the applicable law, we affirm the judgment of the trial court.

Reese L. Smith, Clarksville, Tennessee, Pro Se.

Herbert H. Slatery III, Attorney General and Reporter; Clark B. Thornton, Assistant Attorney General; Victor S. Johnson III, District Attorney General; and Robert Elliott McGuire, Assistant District Attorney General, for the appellee, State of Tennessee.

Roger A. Page, J., delivered the opinion of the court, in which John Everett Williams and Alan E. Glenn, JJ., joined.

OPINION

ROGER A. PAGE, JUDGE.

This case arose from appellant's in-court testimony as a witness in a matter in the Davidson County General Sessions Court in which appellant denied being a convicted felon. The State later indicted appellant for aggravated perjury, and appellant's trial began on July 22, 2013.

I. Facts from Trial

Prior to presenting evidence, the State introduced judgments of conviction evidencing appellant's June 19, 2003 felony conviction for impersonating a licensed professional and appellant's March 31, 2005 felony convictions on two counts of impersonating a licensed professional.

The State's first witness was Katie Ladefoged, an assistant district public defender for the Metropolitan Nashville and Davidson County Public Defender's Office. Ms. Ladefoged testified that on April 5, 2012, she was representing a client in a bench trial, and appellant was a witness testifying against her client. Ms. Ladefoged explained that appellant's credibility was one of the "biggest issues" in her case due to the lack of physical evidence against her client. During Ms. Ladefoged's cross-examination, she asked appellant if he was a convicted felon, and appellant responded negatively. Ms. Ladefoged explained that she asked "a lot" of follow-up questions, even giving appellant the relevant case numbers. However, appellant unequivocally denied being a convicted felon. Ms. Ladefoged affirmed that appellant took an oath to tell the truth before testifying on April 5.

During cross-examination, [2] Ms. Ladefoged explained that after appellant denied being a convicted felon, she obtained a certified copy of appellant's judgment of conviction and submitted it to the court. Ms. Ladefoged stated that she was aware that appellant had previously filed a post-conviction petition but that to her knowledge, his conviction for impersonating a licensed professional was still valid.

The State and appellant agreed to enter the case summary of appellant's 2003 impersonating a licensed professional conviction.

Matt Smith, a criminal court clerk, testified that he was in the courtroom when appellant testified on April 5, 2012. Mr. Smith agreed that trials in general sessions court are not recorded unless one of the parties requests it and that neither party had requested a recording on April 5. Mr. Smith explained that when asked during cross-examination, appellant denied being a convicted felon, even when asked multiple questions in varying forms. Mr. Smith agreed that appellant was adamant in his refusal that he was a convicted felon. Upon appellant's denial, Mr. Smith used the criminal justice information computer system ("CJIS") to ascertain appellant's criminal history in preparation for possible questions from the judge. Mr. Smith explained that CJIS contains a case summary of each case that documents the status of the case, for example: if a case is appealed; the appellate court's determination; and if a conviction had been ...


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