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Cole v. State

Court of Criminal Appeals of Tennessee, Nashville

March 1, 2017

WILLIE C. COLE
v.
STATE OF TENNESSEE

          Assigned on Briefs February 15, 2017

         Appeal from the Circuit Court for Montgomery County Nos. 41300139, 41300140 William R. Goodman, III, Judge

         Petitioner, Willie C. Cole, filed a pro se petition for post-conviction relief, challenging various aspects of trial counsel's representation as ineffective, among other things. After appointment of counsel and a hearing, the post-conviction court denied relief and dismissed the petition. We affirm the judgment of the post-conviction court.

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

          B. Nathan Hunt, Clarksville, Tennessee, for the appellant, Willie Charles Cole.

          Herbert H. Slatery III, Attorney General and Reporter; James E. Gaylord, Senior Counsel; John W. Carney, District Attorney General; and Dan Brollier, Assistant District Attorney General, for the appellee, State of Tennessee.

          Timothy L. Easter, J., delivered the opinion of the court, in which Thomas T. Woodall, P.J., and Robert W. Wedemeyer, J., joined.

          OPINION

          TIMOTHY L. EASTER, JUDGE

         Factual Background

         In February of 2013, Petitioner was indicted in Case Number 41300139 for theft of property valued over $10, 000 and in Case Number 41300140 for aggravated robbery. On September 13, 2013, Petitioner, with the assistance of trial counsel, entered a guilty to both crimes. At the guilty plea hearing, counsel for the State informed the trial court that it was prepared to put forth proof at trial to show that on December 3, 2012:

[Petitioner] and his codefendant Marquex Townsend entered into an agreement whereby Mr. Townsend w[ould] take the victim . . . in the Wal-Mart store and cash a check, . . . g[e]t some cash while in the store. They -- they were - - we actually have text messages between them kind of setting up the incident.
When Mr. Townsend and [the victim] came back out of the store and got into [the victim's] vehicle, [Petitioner] met them and approached them with a gun in his hand. I believe it did turn out to be a pellet gun, but I - - I have a photograph of it here for the Court if the Court wants to see it. It had every bit of the appearance of being a real automatic handgun. [Petitioner] did take [$]632 in cash and a cell phone - - cell phone from . . . [the victim].
He was caught later that night with the stolen property in his possession and with the gun in his possession. [Petitioner] made a full confession to the robbery as did Mr. Townsend, who had - - has already been charged and entered a plea in this case.

         The facts giving rise to Case Number 41300139 took place on December 12, 2012. On that day:

[Ms.] Blevins left her 2009 Chrysler 300 running while she ran into the Dollar General Store. Her seven year old child was in the car at the time. [Petitioner] saw the car running, jumped into it, took off with it, eventually stopped at Wal-Mart, put the child out of the car, and [was] eventually apprehended a little bit later by the police. He had the stolen vehicle car keys in his pocket at the time he was apprehended. He did admit to that theft as well. He told officers he took the car because he needed the money for the bail in the aggravated robbery case. And the value of that car was over $20, 000. He was [also] initially charged with kidnapping. The State chose not to present th[at] to the Grand Jury.

         Prior to accepting the plea, the trial court informed Petitioner of the range of punishment for each offense, taking into account that Petitioner was a Range II offender. The trial court also notified Petitioner that the sentences would be served consecutively to any sentence he was already serving. Petitioner acknowledged that he was giving up his right to a jury trial, his right to confront witnesses, his right to subpoena witnesses, his right to remain silent, his right to testify, and his right to appeal. Petitioner acknowledged his understanding that these convictions could be used to enhance any future convictions he received. Petitioner informed the trial court that it was in his best interest to plead guilty and admitted to the trial court that he was guilty of the offenses.

         The trial court approved the negotiated settlement of the cases, sentencing Petitioner to eight years for aggravated robbery to be served at 100 percent and six years for theft of property to be served as a Range II, multiple offender. The trial court did not award Petitioner any jail credits because he was "presently serving" a sentence on a probation violation at the time of the guilty plea hearing. The trial court ordered the sentences in the present cases to be served ...


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