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State v. Tollison

Court of Criminal Appeals of Tennessee, Nashville

February 28, 2017

STATE OF TENNESSEE
v.
CHRYSTAL TOLLISON

          Assigned on Briefs January 18, 2017 at Knoxville

         Appeal from the Criminal Court for White County No. CR-6506 David Patterson, Judge

         The defendant, Chrystal Tollison, appeals her White County Criminal Court guilty-pleaded conviction of child neglect, claiming that the trial court erred by denying her bid for judicial diversion. Discerning no error, we affirm.

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

          Michael J. Rocco, Sparta, Tennessee, for the appellant, Chrystal Tollison.

          Herbert H. Slatery III, Attorney General and Reporter; Brent C. Cherry, Assistant Attorney General; Bryant C. Dunaway, District Attorney General; and Phillip Hatch, Assistant District Attorney General, for the appellee, State of Tennessee.

          James Curwood Witt, Jr., J., delivered the opinion of the court, in which D. Kelly Thomas, Jr., and Robert H. Montgomery, Jr., JJ., joined.

          OPINION

          JAMES CURWOOD WITT, JR., JUDGE

         Originally charged with aggravated child abuse, a Class A felony, the defendant pleaded guilty to the lesser included offense of child neglect, with the length and manner of service of the sentence to be determined by the trial court following a sentencing hearing. The State summarized the facts of the offense at the guilty plea submission hearing:

The [S]tate would show [that on August 11, 2013] officers with the Sparta Police Department responded to an apartment complex here in Sparta, Tennessee. Along with the TBI, an investigation was conducted on the injuries sustained by a child, date of birth 12/11/2012. Those injuries included subdural hem[a]toma and retinal hemorrhaging. The child was taken to Vanderbilt Hospital, where she was seen by Dr. Verena Brown.
A history of [the defendant] the previous forty[-]eight hours leading up to the date of [the offense] indicated that [the defendant] and her child had been at a family garage sale that day, the 10th, that the child was in good health with no medical issues. Brought back to the residence that evening of the 10th and the following morning [the defendant] stated that the child fell off of a bed onto a pile of clothes lying on the floor, sustaining the injuries that were subsequently found at the hospital.
Based on the testimony of the statement, the [S]tate met with both the TBI and the police department and met with Dr. Brown at Vanderbilt and based on her findings, her testimony, the [S]tate would anticipate to be very consistent with non-accidental trauma, based on the age of the child and the lack of any other explained mechanism for the injury.

         The trial court accepted the plea and set the case for a sentencing hearing. The defendant indicated an intent to ask the court for judicial diversion, but no application or motion appears in the record on appeal.

         At the sentencing hearing, Doctor Jennifer Yates, an occupational therapist, testified that the defendant brought the victim to her clinic for occupational therapy once a week to address "hypertonicity in her left arm." Doctor Yates explained that the hypertonicity caused the victim's arm "to kind of flex or contract in a little bit" and that her therapy was designed "to promote that arm to be as functional as possible." Doctor Yates said that the defendant was very involved in the victim's therapy and that the defendant ...


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