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State v. Noble

Court of Criminal Appeals of Tennessee, Nashville

December 22, 2016

STATE OF TENNESSEE
v.
KATHY BELL NOBLE

          Assigned on Briefs May 18, 2016

         Appeal from the Circuit Court for Williamson County No. IIC-R017732 Walter C Kurtz, Judge

         Following a jury trial, Defendant, Kathy Bell Noble, was convicted of driving on a suspended license, violation of the vehicle registration law, and failure to obey a traffic control device. The trial court imposed a sentence of six months and the jury's fine of $500 for driving on a suspended license and concurrent sentences of thirty days each for violation of the vehicle registration law and failure to obey a traffic control device. Defendant was ordered to serve forty-eight hours for driving on a suspended license with the remainder of the sentence subject to supervised probation. The thirty-day sentences for violation of the vehicle registration law and failure to obey a traffic control device were suspended. On appeal, Defendant argues that the evidence was insufficient to support her convictions. After a thorough review, we affirm the judgments of the trial court.

         Tenn. R. App. P. 3 Appeal as of Right; Judgments of the Circuit Court Affirmed

          Matthew J. Crigger, Brentwood, Tennessee, for the Appellant, Kathy Bell Noble.

          Herbert H. Slatery III, Attorney General and Reporter; Brent C. Cherry, Senior Counsel; Kim R. Helpher, District Attorney General; and Tammy Rettig, Assistant District Attorney General, for the Appellee, State of Tennessee.

          Thomas T. Woodall, P.J., delivered the opinion of the Court, in which James Curwood Witt, Jr., and D. Kelly Thomas, Jr., JJ., joined.

          OPINION

          THOMAS T. WOODALL, PRESIDING JUDGE

         Background

         Officer Matthew Smalley of the Franklin Police Department Traffic Unit testified that on the night of September 6, 2013, he was travelling southbound on Mallory Lane when he came to the intersection with Liberty Pike. He said:

And my light, at that time of night the traffic light is flashing red in my direction. And also for traffic coming across the street from North Royal Oaks Boulevard it's flashing red. Liberty Pike the traffic is a flashing yellow light. So, I was stopped waiting for traffic to proceed east and westbound. While I was sitting there, I observed a dark colored Volvo coming towards me, northbound on - - well, it's North Royal Oaks Boulevard and then it changes to Mallory Lane, the road name changes. And that vehicle did not stop for the flashing red light it didn't appear to slow down for the flashing red light. It just proceeded straight through the intersection.

         Officer Smalley explained that a motorist can proceed through a flashing yellow light without stopping "as long as you maintain caution and maintain a safe look out." He stated that a flashing red light should be treated as a stop sign. Officer Smalley testified: "So, you have to come to a complete stop before you proceed through the intersection if traffic is clear."

         Officer Smalley activated his blue lights and completed a "U-turn because the vehicle was still travelling towards the north." The Volvo pulled into the entrance to Centennial High School, and Officer Smalley exited his patrol car and approached the Volvo. He noticed that the registration stickers on the vehicle's license plate expired in July of 2012. Concerning his interaction with Defendant, Officer Smalley testified:

I approached and asked [Defendant] for her driver's license, registration and proof of insurance. She provided me with a Georgia driver's license, and that's how I learned that her name was Kathy Noble. I explained to her why I stopped her for going through the red light. And we had a brief conversa - - well, it was more than a brief conversation, it was several minutes about why the light was flashing and what you were supposed to do with that type of intersection. She ...

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