Court of Criminal Appeals of Tennessee, Nashville
Session Date May 12, 2015
Appeal from the Circuit Court for Cheatham County No. 16932 George Sexton, Judge
Michael J. Flanagan, Nashville, Tennessee, for the appellant, John Clayton Fields II.
Herbert H. Slatery III, Attorney General and Reporter; Ahmed A. Safeeullah, Assistant Attorney General; Dan M. Alsobrooks, District Attorney General; and Robert S. Wilson, Assistant District Attorney General, for the appellee, State of Tennessee.
James Curwood Witt, Jr., J., delivered the opinion of the court, in which Robert L. Holloway, Jr., and Robert H. Montgomery, Jr., JJ., joined.
JAMES CURWOOD WITT, JR., JUDGE
The trial court accepted the defendant's four no-contest pleas to one count of aggravated assault, a Class C felony, and three counts of child abuse, a Class A misdemeanor. The aggravated assault was a lesser included offense of an original charge of aggravated sexual battery. The plea agreement specified sentences of three years for aggravated assault and sentences of 11 months and 29 days each for the misdemeanors, with all sentences to be served concurrently. The agreement called for the trial court to determine the defendant's request for judicial diversion and, should diversion be denied, to consider his bid for probation.
In the sentencing hearing, the presentence investigator outlined the factual bases for the offenses. The aggravated assault resulted from the complaint of a then 13-year-old female that while she slept on the couch at the home of the defendant, her uncle, he moved her to his bed and that, when she awoke, "her shirt was pulled up and that her pants were down." The victim reported that the defendant "was behind her and was rubbing her vagina with his hands" and "was placing his penis on her back above her buttocks." The investigator indicated that the child abuse charges emanated from the defendant's giving a controlled substance to three minor victims.
The investigator testified that the defendant reported to him that his ex-sister-in-law "conspired" with his niece and cousin to retaliate for the defendant's role in the ex-sister-in-law's being convicted of theft. The investigator testified that the defendant exhibited no remorse and that he commented that the injustice in the case was done to him.
The investigator introduced a victim impact statement of the then 16-year-old female assault victim in which the victim said the defendant's actions left her "sad, mad and scared." The victim opined that the defendant should receive professional treatment, should be barred from associating with kids, and should be incarcerated. The victim reported having panic attacks as a result of the defendant's actions and indicated that her "main worry is that he gets off with this and continues to do this to kids."
The investigator testified that he received victim impact statements from two of the three child abuse victims. An 11-year-old victim of one of the abuse offenses said the offense made her feel "sad, mad and scared." She opined that the defendant should see a doctor, go to prison or jail, and stay away from kids. A 14-year-old victim of one of the abuse offenses said the offense made her feel "sad, mad." She also opined that the defendant should "stay in prison or jail, . . . go to a doctor to get help, [and] stay away from kids."
The investigator testified that the defendant completed secondary school and acquired some college credits and that he reported having problems with posttraumatic stress disorder, depression, and anxiety. The investigator said that the defendant was evaluated as a low risk for sexual offending. The defendant had no prior criminal record.
The investigator opined that the defendant's lack of remorse was problematic because "a lot of times . . . in order to change how someone thinks they have to accept responsibility of their actions."
The defendant testified in the sentencing hearing that he had lived in Cheatham County for about 30 years. He attended a police academy and worked as a police officer for Cheatham County and Ashland City before going to Iraq as a defense department contractor to train Iraqi police officers. He said he had recently served as a diplomatic security contractor in the former country of Burma. He said he was scheduled to return there to train security personnel for construction of a gas pipeline.
In Iraq, the defendant was injured and required surgery when he returned home. He testified that, at the time of the sentencing hearing, he remained under physical restrictions and was taking ...