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Martin v. State

Court of Criminal Appeals of Tennessee, Knoxville

May 15, 2015


Assigned on Briefs April 28, 2015

Appeal from the Criminal Court for Knox County No. 101977 Steven W. Sword, Judge

J. Liddell Kirk, Knoxville, Tennessee, for the Appellant, Wilmarcus H. Martin.

Herbert H. Slatery III, Attorney General and Reporter; Meredith DeVault, Senior Counsel; Charme P. Allen, District Attorney General; and Philip H. Morton, Assistant District Attorney General, for the Appellee, State of Tennessee.

D. Kelly Thomas, Jr., J., delivered the opinion of the court, in which Robert W. Wedemeyer and Timothy L. Easter, JJ., joined.




On December 14, 2012, the Petitioner pled guilty in case number 100546 to possession with the intent to sell 0.5 grams or more of a Schedule II controlled substance within 1, 000 feet of a park, a Class B felony. See Tenn. Code Ann. §§ 39-17-417, -432. It was further announced at the plea submission hearing, "He has four different cases on today. Three of them are on for sentencing, and one was on for status." Thereafter, the State provided the following factual basis for the Petitioner's plea to the drug charge in case number 100546:

Proof in this case would show that on April 5th of this year about two o'clock in the morning officers with the Knoxville Police Department were conducting a walking patrol in Ridgebrook Apartments which is located-the area of this event was located within [1, 000] feet of Malcolm Martin Park. They observed [the Petitioner] sitting in the driver's seat of a Lexus parked in a handicapped space in front of 2108 Ridgebrook Lane.
They approached the [Petitioner], spoke with him, [and] noticed an odor of alcoholic beverage coming from the vehicle. He also advised that he was not a resident of that complex and did not have identification on him.
Further investigation using a narcotic K-9 resulted in a positive alert on that vehicle for the presence of narcotics. A subsequent search pursuant to that sniff revealed a black pouch in the center console that contained approximately 24.7 grams of [a] white rock-like substance that field-tested positive for cocaine and was confirmed to be cocaine from the lab. That amount was consistent with possession for resale. [The Petitioner] also had $295 in denominations consistent with the sale of narcotics.

In outlining the terms of the agreement, the assistant public defender stated, "[W]e've reached an agreement in [case 100546] whereby he'll be serving . . . some time, and part of that agreement is that time will be concurrent with some of the sentence-two of the sentences [case numbers 98745 and 99030] that were on for sentencing today." She continued, "And one of them has to be consecutive [case number 99962].[1] We kind of recognize that [the Community Alternatives to Prison Program] did not want to supervise [the Petitioner] and kind of saw the writing on the wall there that he was probably going to be sentenced to serve on those six years-that total six-year sentence but have worked out this agreement that should take care of everything today."

In exchange for his plea to Count 1 in case number 100546, the Petitioner received a sentence of eight years with 100% service percentage, to be served consecutively to a two-year sentence in case number 99962 with 30% Range I offender service percentage, resulting in a total effective sentence of ten years. Two-year sentences were also imposed for case numbers 98745 and 99030, and those sentences were to be served concurrently with the eight-year sentence in case number 100546. A second count of the indictment in case number 100546 was dismissed.[2] Thus, four separate cases were disposed of by the plea deal. Furthermore, the assistant district attorney commented directly on the Petitioner's release eligibility for the drug charge: "Recommended sentence is eight years, the minimum sentence with drug-free zone release eligibility. That-meaning that full eight years would have to be served."

In response to questioning by the trial court, the twenty-six-year-old Petitioner stated that he had obtained his General Equivalency Diploma, that he could read and write, and that he was not under the influence of any substances that would impair his cognitive skills. The Petitioner confirmed that the announcement of the assistant district attorney coincided with his understanding of the terms of the agreement. The trial court then specifically inquired regarding the Petitioner's release eligibility for his cocaine possession conviction, "In that case you'll receive a minimum sentence of eight years. Since it's within ...

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