Assigned on Briefs September 7, 2016
from the Circuit Court for Hardeman County No. 2016-CR-52
Joseph H. Walker III, Judge
Petitioner, Charles Graham a/k/a Charles Stevenson, appeals
as of right from the Hardeman County Circuit Court's
summary dismissal of his petition for a writ of habeas
corpus. In his petition, the Petitioner argued that his
conviction for simple possession was improperly enhanced and
that his conviction for tampering with evidence was invalid
because the evidence was not destroyed. On appeal, the
Petitioner contends that his conviction for simple possession
is void because the trial court unlawfully relied on
forty-year-old convictions from other states to enhance his
sentence. Also, he argues that the trial court clerk's
failure to include the judgment form for his simple
possession charge in the record on direct appeal denied the
Petitioner consideration of the merits of his direct appeal.
Finally, the Petitioner argues that the cumulative effect of
these two errors results in structural constitutional error,
which invalidates his conviction for tampering with evidence.
Following our review, we affirm the dismissal order of the
habeas corpus court.
R. App. P. 3 Appeal as of Right; Judgment of the Circuit
Charles Graham a/k/a Charles Stevenson, Whiteville,
Tennessee, Pro Se.
Herbert H. Slatery III, Attorney General and Reporter; and
Jonathan H. Wardle, Assistant Attorney General, for the
appellee, State of Tennessee.
Kelly Thomas, Jr., J., delivered the opinion of the court, in
which Norma McGee Ogle, and Robert W. Wedemeyer, JJ., joined.
KELLY THOMAS, JR., JUDGE
opinion affirming the habeas corpus court's summary
dismissal of the Petitioner's first petition, this court
summarized the factual and procedural background as follows:
Following the Petitioner's involvement in a May 27, 2004
car crash, officers removed marijuana from inside the
Petitioner's vehicle, showed it to him, and laid it on
the trunk of the vehicle. See State v. Charles Edward
Graham, No. E2005-02937-CCA-R3-CD, 2008 WL 199851, at
*1-4, *11 (Tenn. Crim. App. Jan. 24, 2008), perm. app.
denied (Tenn. Sept. 15, 2008). According to Officer
Shane Watson of the Knoxville Police Department, the
Petitioner "suddenly reached out and grabbed one of the
marijuana cigarettes and attempted to crush it in his
hands." Id. at *11. "The officers were
eventually able to get the marijuana cigarette out of [the
Petitioner's] hand, but it was broken into pieces."
Id. Officer Watson stated that "they were able
to recover most of the marijuana from the ground but were not
able to retrieve all of the contraband." Id.
The Petitioner was indicted by the Knox County Grand Jury in
November of 2004 for vehicular assault, driving under the
influence, tampering with evidence, simple possession of a
controlled substance, resisting arrest, and failure to
provide proper evidence of financial responsibility. See
Graham, 2008 WL 199851, at *4. At the conclusion of a
jury trial, the Petitioner was found guilty of reckless
aggravated assault as a lesser-included offense of vehicular
assault, tampering with evidence, possession of marijuana,
and failure to provide proof of financial responsibility.
Id. The jury found the Petitioner not guilty of
driving under the influence and resisting arrest.
Id. The Petitioner was sentenced as a career
offender to twelve years for reckless aggravated assault,
fifteen years for tampering with evidence, six years for
possession of marijuana, and ordered to pay a $100 fine for
failure to provide proof of financial responsibility.
Id. at *1. The sentences for reckless aggravated
assault and tampering with evidence were ordered to run
consecutively to each other but concurrently with the
remaining sentences, resulting in a total effective sentence
of twenty-seven years. Id.
In his direct appeal to this court, the Petitioner raised
multiple issues, including a challenge to the sufficiency of
the evidence supporting his tampering with evidence
conviction. Id. *9. . . . This court determined that
the evidence was sufficient to support the Petitioner's
conviction. Id. at *11. The Petitioner's
remaining issues were likewise found to be without merit, and
his convictions and effective sentence were affirmed. The
Tennessee Supreme Court denied the Petitioner's
application for permission to appeal.
The Petitioner then filed a timely petition for
post-conviction relief alleging that his convictions resulted
from the ineffective assistance of counsel. Following an
evidentiary hearing, the post-conviction court denied relief.
This court affirmed the post-conviction court's denial of
relief. See Charles Edward Graham v. State, No.
E2010-02379-CCA-R3-PC, 2012 WL 344936 (Tenn. Crim. App. Feb.
3, 2012), perm. app. denied (Tenn. May 21, 2012).
Subsequently, in August 2012, the Petitioner filed a petition
for writ of error coram nobis, alleging as newly discovered
evidence the judicial misconduct and incompetency of the
judge who presided over the Petitioner's trial and
post-conviction proceedings. The coram nobis court denied
relief, and this court affirmed on appeal pursuant to Rule 20
of the Rules of the ...