Searching over 5,500,000 cases.


searching
Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.

Brown v. Freeman

United States District Court, M.D. Tennessee, Nashville Division

October 28, 2016

CYNTOIA DENISE BROWN Petitioner,
v.
VICKI FREEMAN, Warden Respondent.

          MEMORANDUM

          John T. Nixon Senior District Judge

         The petitioner is an inmate at the Tennessee Prison for Women in Nashville. Through counsel, she brings this action pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 2254 against Vicki Freeman, Warden of the facility, seeking a writ of habeas corpus.

         I. Background

         On August 25, 2006, a jury in Davidson County found the petitioner guilty of first degree premeditated murder, first degree felony murder, and especially aggravated robbery. Docket Entry No. 14-16 at pg. 97. Because the murder convictions involved a single killing, the trial court merged the murder convictions. Id. at pg. 99. For her crimes, the petitioner received a life sentence for murder along with a concurrent sentence of twenty (20) years for especially aggravated robbery. Docket Entry No. 2 at pgs. 39-44.

         On direct appeal, the Tennessee Court of Criminal Appeals affirmed the murder conviction and sentence. However, the petitioner had been charged with aggravated robbery rather than especially aggravated robbery. As a result, the case was remanded back to the trial court “for entry of a judgment of conviction for aggravated robbery and a sentencing hearing as to that offense.” Docket Entry No. 14-23.

         On remand, the petitioner received a sentence of eight years in prison for aggravated robbery. Docket Entry No. 14-26 at pg. 57. The Tennessee Supreme Court later denied the petitioner's Rule 11 application for further review. Docket Entry No. 14-25.

         In August, 2010, the petitioner filed a pro se petition for state post-conviction relief in the Criminal Court of Davidson County. Docket Entry No. 14-26 at pgs. 58-78. Following the appointment of counsel, an amendment of the petition and an evidentiary hearing, the trial court denied the petitioner post-conviction relief. Docket Entry No. 1-1. On appeal, the Tennessee Court of Criminal Appeals affirmed the denial of post-conviction relief. Docket Entry No. 14-35. Once again, the Tennessee Supreme Court denied petitioner's Rule 11 application for additional review. Docket Entry No. 14-39.

         II. Procedural History

         On June 26, 2015, the petitioner initiated this action with the filing of a petition (Docket Entry No. 1) for writ of habeas corpus. Upon its receipt, the Court reviewed the petition and determined that the petitioner had stated a colorable claim for relief. Rule 4, Rules - - - § 2254 Cases. Accordingly, the respondent was directed to file an answer, plead or otherwise respond to the petition. Docket Entry No. 10.

         Before the respondent could file an answer, counsel for petitioner filed an amended habeas corpus petition. Docket Entry No. 13. The petition, as amended, contains twelve (12) claims for relief. These claims include:

1) trial counsel provided the petitioner with ineffective assistance when
a) counsel failed to present evidence of petitioner's Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder (FASD) and other mental shortcomings; at pg. 13
b) counsel provided faulty advice that led the petitioner to forego her right to testify; at pg. 18
c) counsel failed to present evidence of petitioner's sexual, emotional and physical abuse; at pg. 20
d) counsel neglected to investigate the petitioner's family background and history of mental problems; at pg. 21
e) counsel failed to retain a mental health expert qualified to conduct “an adequate forensic evaluation” of the petitioner; at pg. 22
f) counsel did not include all relevant issues for review in their motion for new trial or and on direct appeal of the convictions;[1] at pg. 27
2) the prosecution was unable to prove that the petitioner had the requisite mens rea to kill, thus rendering the evidence insufficient to sustain the murder and robbery convictions; at pg. 16
3) the petitioner is actually innocent of first degree murder; at pg. 17
4) appellate counsel was ineffective for failing to challenge the jury instruction defining reasonable doubt; at pg. 28
5) the reasonable doubt instruction was unconstitutional; at pg. 28
6) the mandatory minimum life sentence is unconstitutional; at pg. 29, and
7) the post-conviction court erred when it failed to consider petitioner's claim for coram nobis relief. at pg. 30.

         Presently before the Court is the respondent's Answer (Docket Entry No. 15) to the amended petition, to which ...


Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.