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Bush v. State

Court of Criminal Appeals of Tennessee, Jackson

January 18, 2017

ROCHELLE BUSH
v.
STATE OF TENNESSEE

          Assigned on Briefs November 1, 2016

         Appeal from the Criminal Court for Shelby County No. 08-05480 Paula L. Skahan, Judge.

         The Petitioner, Rochelle Bush, appeals the denial of her petition for post-conviction relief in which she challenged her concurrent sentences of ten years at thirty percent for her aggravated robbery conviction and twenty years at one hundred percent for her especially aggravated kidnapping conviction. On appeal, the Petitioner contends that she was denied her right to the effective assistance of counsel, which resulted in the trial court improperly enhancing her sentences. We affirm the post-conviction court's denial of relief.

         Tenn. R. App. P. 3 Appeal as of Right; Judgment of the Criminal Court Affirmed.

          Monica A. Timmerman, Memphis, Tennessee, for the appellant, Rochelle Bush.

          Herbert H. Slatery III, Attorney General and Reporter; Sophia S. Lee, Senior Counsel; Amy P. Weirich, District Attorney General; and Pam Stark, Assistant District Attorney General, for the appellee, State of Tennessee.

          John Everett Williams, J., delivered the opinion of the court, in which Camille R. McMullen and J. Ross Dyer, JJ., joined.

          OPINION

          JOHN EVERETT WILLIAMS, JUDGE.

         FACTUAL AND PROCEDURAL HISTORY

         Trial

         The facts underlying the Petitioner's convictions were summarized by this court on direct appeal as follows:

On August 14, 2008, the [Petitioner], Rochelle Bush, and her accomplice, Nicole Spates, were indicted on one count of especially aggravated kidnapping in violation of Tennessee Code Annotated section 39-13-305, and one count of aggravated robbery in violation of Tennessee Code Annotated section 39-13-402. The charges stemmed from conduct committed by the [Petitioner] and her partner at an IHOP restaurant on November 19, 2007.
At the [Petitioner]'s trial on September 6-9, 2011, the State presented the testimony of two witnesses. The victim, Ms. Moneeca Wells, testified that in November of 2007 she was working as a manager of an IHOP restaurant located in Shelby County in Memphis, Tennessee. She testified that she was five months pregnant at the time. The victim testified that on November 19, 2007, two women robbed her restaurant while she was working her shift.
The victim testified that she first encountered the two women when they came into the restaurant and approached her while she was standing near the restaurant's front register. The victim remember that "[w]hen they came in I tried to seat them and they w[ere] trying to s[i]t like close towards the office but that section was closed, so I sat them like over in the middle, and I just sat them and one of the servers waited on them."
The victim testified that she first realized that something was wrong when she went into the back of the restaurant, peeked behind the door to the restaurant's office, and saw that someone was standing behind it. The victim testified that she suddenly "realized maybe somebody was up to something and I tried to pull out [when] they pulled me into the office." The victim testified that after being pulled into the office she realized that there were two individuals standing inside-the same women she had seated earlier.
The victim testified that she "was thrown to the floor and somebody put their feet into my back and told me don't move." The women further told her that if she "move[d] they w[ere] going to stick me with a knife." The victim testified that the women tried to use pepper spray on her, but the spray did not hit her because she managed to cover her face with her jacket. The victim testified that the women asked her for the combination to the restaurant's safe, which was also located in the office. The victim testified that the women threatened her life and repeatedly held a knife to her stomach (where her pregnancy was showing) and threatened to stab her there. The ...

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