Assigned on Briefs November 1, 2016
from the Criminal Court for Shelby County No. 08-05480 Paula
L. Skahan, Judge.
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.
R. App. P. 3 Appeal as of Right; Judgment of the Criminal
A. Timmerman, Memphis, Tennessee, for the appellant, Rochelle
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.
Everett Williams, J., delivered the opinion of the court, in
which Camille R. McMullen and J. Ross Dyer, JJ., joined.
EVERETT WILLIAMS, JUDGE.
AND PROCEDURAL HISTORY
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
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 ...