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Roskam v. State

Court of Criminal Appeals of Tennessee, Nashville

May 27, 2015


Assigned on Briefs January 14, 2015.

Appeal from the Criminal Court for Davidson County No. 2010C2679 Cheryl A. Blackburn, Judge.

David D. Harris (on appeal), Nashville, Tennessee; and Kelly Young (post-conviction hearing) Nashville, Tennessee, for the appellant, James Randall Roskam.

Herbert H. Slatery III, Attorney General and Reporter; Clarence E. Lutz, Senior Counsel; Victor S. Johnson, III, District Attorney General; and Pamela Anderson, Assistant District Attorney General, for the appellee, State of Tennessee.

Thomas T. Woodall, P.J., delivered the opinion of the Court, in which Robert W. Wedemeyer and Robert L. Holloway, Jr., JJ., joined.




A summary of the facts underlying Petitioner's conviction can be found in this court's opinion in State v. James Randall Roskam, No. M2011-02071-CCA-R3-CD, 2012 WL 3611749 (Tenn. Crim. App., Aug. 20, 2012), perm. app. denied (Tenn., Nov. 26, 2012). In that opinion, this court gave the following synopsis of the facts:

The victim, Santiago Martinez, testified at trial that in July 2010, he was homeless and living in Nashville. To make money, the victim sold The Contributor, a newspaper focusing on homeless people. The victim usually sold his newspapers at the corner of 4th Avenue and Broadway from 8:00 a.m. to about 11:00 p.m., and he always wrote his name on any five-, ten, and twenty-dollar bills he received in case he was robbed. The victim said that on the night of Saturday, July 17, 2010, he was selling newspapers when a man approached. The man told the victim that he was "going to collect taxes, " pulled a knife, and put it against the victim's stomach. The victim felt the knife and saw that it had a stone handle. He said the knife was more than six inches long and "kind of scary." The man was wearing a dark shirt and jeans, was carrying a backpack, had a hat or bandana, and smelled of alcohol. The victim said he had seen the man one time previously when they were on a bus "going to a meal" for the homeless.
The victim testified that the man told him that "if you don't give me the money, I'm going to stick you." The victim gave the man a five-dollar bill, and the man ran west on Broadway. The victim said that as the man was fleeing, the man said, "I got some money now, I got some money now, I can go drink." The victim used his Safe Link cellular telephone to call 911. At some point, the police brought the man, who was the appellant, to the victim, and the victim identified him as the robber. The victim also identified the appellant at trial as the robber. The State showed the victim a five-dollar bill with the name "Santiago" written on it, and the victim identified it as the bill he gave to the appellant. He said that he did not give the money to the appellant in order for the appellant to buy beer and that he had no intention of drinking beer with the appellant on the night of July 17.
On cross-examination, the victim acknowledged that he testified at the appellant's preliminary hearing. When asked if he said at the hearing that he did not see the knife's handle, he stated, "It's kind of hard to remember. It's been a while now." The victim usually made one hundred to two hundred dollars per day selling newspapers. However, on July 17, 2010, he had been working all day and had only five dollars. He said that the robbery occurred about 10:30 p.m., but he acknowledged that he said at the preliminary hearing the robbery occurred about 7:30 or 8:00 p.m. He did not remember if tourists were around him at the time of the robbery. He denied that the appellant asked to "split" a pack of beer with him and said that he did not know what the appellant did with the knife after the robbery.
Officer Michael Eva of the Metropolitan Nashville Police Department (MNPD) testified that about 10:30 p.m. on July 17, 2010, he responded to the victim's robbery call. The victim and his girlfriend were present, and the victim was upset and concerned about his money. The victim was not intoxicated. The victim claimed the robber approached him, pulled a knife, demanded money, and threatened to stab him. The victim said the robber was wearing a black shirt and blue jeans and was carrying a backpack. The victim also told the officer that the robber's name was "Roscoe" and that he gave the robber a "marked" five-dollar bill. The victim later identified the appellant as the man who robbed him.
On cross-examination, Officer Eva testified that he was on bike patrol when he responded to the victim's call. He was about one-half block away from the robbery and arrived at the scene within one or two minutes. He did not look for a knife after the robbery, and a knife was never found.
Officer Brian Theriac of the MNPD testified that he was on bike patrol on the night of July 17, 2010, and learned about the robbery. The robber had been described as a white male, who went by the name "Roscoe." The robber supposedly was wearing blue jeans and a black shirt and carrying a backpack. Officer Theriac rode along Broadway and saw the appellant, who matched the robber's description, walking over the railroad tracks just west of 10th Avenue. Officer Theriac yelled, "Roscoe, " and the appellant answered, "[Y]eah, what." Officer Theriac asked the appellant where he was coming from, and the appellant said Broadway. The appellant allowed Officer Theriac to search him. The officer found a five-dollar bill marked with the victim's name and arrested the appellant.
On cross-examination, Officer Theriac testified that he did not find a knife on the appellant's person. He looked for the knife along Broadway but did not find it. The appellant did not attempt to flee from him, was not nervous or upset, and was cooperative. Officer Theriac said the appellant claimed "he was going to get beer" at the nearby gas station.
Officer Keith Holley of the MNPD acknowledged that he transported the appellant back to the corner of 4th Avenue and Broadway for a "showup." The appellant smelled of alcohol, ...

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