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Woods v. State

Court of Criminal Appeals of Tennessee, Jackson

November 7, 2016

ANTHONY L. WOODS
v.
STATE OF TENNESSEE

          Assigned on Briefs July 12, 2016

         Appeal from the Circuit Court for Henderson County No. 15133-1 Roy B. Morgan, Jr., Judge

          Michael Thorne, Lexington, Tennessee, for the appellant, Anthony L. Woods.

          Herbert H. Slatery III, Attorney General and Reporter; Jonathan H. Wardle, Assistant Attorney General; Jerry Woodall, District Attorney General; and Angela R. Scott, Assistant District Attorney General, for the appellee, State of Tennessee.

          John Everett Williams, J., delivered the opinion of the court, in which Alan E. Glenn and Robert W. Wedemeyer, JJ., joined.

          OPINION

          JOHN EVERETT WILLIAMS, JUDGE

         FACTUAL AND PROCEDURAL HISTORY

         On June 2, 2014, the Petitioner was indicted on two counts of aggravated assault and two counts of driving on a revoked driver's license, fifth offense. According to the transcript of the guilty plea hearing, he pled guilty to two counts of aggravated assault, each with a six-year sentence. He also pled guilty to two counts of driving on a revoked license, which the trial court merged into one count. The Petitioner received a sentence of eleven months and twenty-nine days for driving on a revoked license. Pursuant to the plea, the trial court imposed an effective sentence of six years on probation.

         Guilty Plea Submission Hearing

         The plea submission hearing reveals that the Petitioner's aggravated assault convictions involved a firearm, which was seized by the Lexington Police Department. At the guilty plea submission hearing, the Petitioner merely stipulated to the facts as stated in his indictment. While the indictments are not included in the record, we glean from the petition for post-conviction relief and the amended petition that the Petitioner was charged with threatening a man and a woman with a weapon, and that a Co-Defendant, Jennifer Blackwell, was also charged with an offense in connection with the same events.

         The Petitioner affirmed that he was not under the influence of drugs or alcohol at the time of the plea hearing; that he understood the crimes with which he was charged; that he faced a potential three- to six-year sentence for each aggravated assault conviction and eleven months and twenty-nine days for the revoked license convictions; that, by accepting the plea, he was waiving his right to plead not guilty, right to a jury trial, right to confront witnesses, right to present a defense, and right to testify; that he understood he was admitting guilt to every pled offense by entering the plea agreement; and that his guilty plea conviction could increase the penalty for future convictions he may face. The Petitioner affirmed that he was satisfied with trial counsel's representation; that he reviewed the facts in the indictment with trial counsel; that the facts in the indictment were "substantially correct"; and that, as a result of his plea agreement, he was to be sentenced to an effective six-year sentence to be served on probation. The trial court found that the Petitioner freely and voluntarily entered his guilty plea and did so knowingly and intelligently.

         Post-Conviction Hearing

         The Petitioner testified that he was arrested, arraigned about a month later in the general sessions court, and then released on bond about five to six months later. He testified that trial counsel was appointed at his arraignment and re-appointed after the Petitioner was indicted on the charges. The Petitioner stated that while incarcerated, he was visited by trial counsel once. The Petitioner testified that, at this meeting, trial counsel discussed the facts of his arrest and "that each of the aggravated assault charges carried 3 to 6 years." The Petitioner said he did not meet with trial counsel again until the day of the guilty plea submission hearing. The Petitioner also said they spoke by telephone on about two separate occasions regarding the plea negotiation.

         The Petitioner said that the State first offered him a five-year sentence to be served in confinement and that he rejected the offer because he did not want to serve time in prison. He testified that he informed trial counsel he wanted to accept a plea agreement "if [trial counsel] could get [him] a state probation deal." The Petitioner believed that, after telling trial counsel his parameters ...


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