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State v. Nicol

Court of Criminal Appeals of Tennessee, Nashville

July 14, 2015

STATE OF TENNESSEE
v.
CHAD M. NICOL

Assigned on Briefs April 28, 2015, at Knoxville.

Appeal from the Criminal Court for Wilson County No. 13-CR-615 David Earl Durham, Judge.

Jonathan M. Tinsley, Lebanon, Tennessee, for the appellant, Chad M. Nicol.

Herbert H. Slatery III, Attorney General and Reporter; Clarence E. Lutz, Senior Counsel; Tom P. Thompson, Jr., District Attorney General; James Lea, Jr., and Brian W. Fuller, Assistant District Attorneys General, for the appellee, State of Tennessee.

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

OPINION

ROBERT W. WEDEMEYER, JUDGE.

I. Facts

This case arises from the Defendant writing a worthless check to a jeweler in Lebanon, Tennessee. A Wilson County grand jury indicted the Defendant for passing a worthless check of more than $500, and the Defendant pleaded guilty as charged. At the January 29, 2014, guilty plea hearing, the State announced the factual basis underlying the guilty plea as follows:

[O]n December 3, 2011, the victim in this case, Shawn Smith, . . . a jeweler here in Lebanon, Wilson County, would state that the Defendant, [], came in to the store, made a purchase from the jeweler in the amount of [$785.84].
[The Defendant] made that purchase with a check on the account of Nora Lynn Nicol and [the Defendant]. It's [the Defendant's] signature on the check. That check came back insufficient funds. A few days later the store did try to contact [the Defendant]. [The store made] contact with him several times. He continuously promised that he would come back in with the money. They did send him a letter stating that he needed to take care of the check. The check was never picked up and never paid.

The State also made the following statement in open court:

[The Defendant] wants to enter a plea with a sentencing hearing. He's pleading guilty to a worthless check [charge] which is [a Class] E felony. [The State has] advised him . . . that his range would be anywhere from one to six years, Your Honor. He's possibly a career offender and [the State will] be filing an enhancement notice.

Based upon this evidence, the trial court accepted the Defendant's guilty plea. The trial court addressed the State's intention to file an enhancement notice and advised the Defendant that his prior convictions might place him in a higher sentencing range. The Defendant acknowledged his understanding of this possibility. On May 20, 2014, the State filed a notice of its intent to seek enhanced punishment for the Defendant as a career offender (hereinafter "notice").

A sentencing hearing was held on May 30, 2014, wherein the State offered the presentence report and certified copies of the Defendant's prior convictions, which the trial court admitted into evidence. Also admitted into evidence were records provided by the Defendant in support of mitigation, copies of judgments for the Defendant's prior convictions, and a booklet of statutory authority in support of his arguments. After hearing arguments and considering the evidence, the trial court stated that, for sentencing range purposes, it was considering the Defendant's six prior felonies committed before December 2011, the date of the ...


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