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State v. Clifton

Court of Criminal Appeals of Tennessee, Knoxville

March 3, 2017

STATE OF TENNESSEE
v.
CHRISTOPHER CLIFTON

          Assigned on Briefs September 20, 2016

         Appeal from the Criminal Court for Knox County No. 105231 Bobby R. McGee, Judge

         Defendant, Christopher Clifton, was charged with aggravated assault with a deadly weapon. Subsequently, Defendant entered a guilty plea to aggravated assault as a Range I standard offender. The State recommended and the trial court imposed a four-year sentence at thirty percent with the ability to apply for probation. On appeal, Defendant argues that the trial court erred by denying his motion to withdraw his guilty plea based on his assertion that the plea was not voluntarily or knowingly entered. After a thorough review of the record, we affirm the judgment of the trial court.

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

          Gerald L. Gulley, Jr. (on appeal) and Lance K. Baker (at motion to withdraw hearing), Knoxville, Tennessee, for the appellant, Christopher Clifton.

          Herbert H. Slatery III, Attorney General and Reporter; Katherine C. Redding, Assistant Attorney General; Charme Allen, District Attorney General; and TaKisha Fitzgerald, Assistant District Attorney General, for the appellee, State of Tennessee.

          Thomas T. Woodall, P. J., delivered the opinion of the court, in which Alan E. Glenn and Robert H. Montgomery, Jr., JJ., joined.

          OPINION

          THOMAS T. WOODALL, PRESIDING JUDGE

         I. Background

         Guilty Plea Submission Hearing

         The following facts were stipulated to underlying Defendant's guilty plea conviction. Despite the victim's request, the Defendant refused to leave the victim's residence. Eventually, Defendant left the residence but returned with a knife. He struck the victim with his fist and cut him below the ear and under his chin with the knife. The knife wound caused "great injury" to the victim. The victim was hospitalized due to the attack.

         Defendant testified that although he was taking seizure medication, he was not under the influence of any other medications or drugs that could "impair [his] ability to understand what's going on around [him]." Defendant also testified that he knew his conviction would appear on his record and enhance possible future convictions. He acknowledged that he was only applying for probation and had no guarantee of receiving probation. Defendant stated that he reviewed his guilty plea agreement with trial counsel, understood the agreement, and signed the agreement. He testified that he was waiving his right to a jury trial, his right to plead not guilty, his right to present a defense, his right to confront witnesses, his right to remain silent, and his right to grand jury review by pleading to the information. He also testified that he was not threatened to plead guilty, that he was guilty, and that he was satisfied with trial counsel's representation. Defendant did not have any questions for the trial court after giving his testimony.

         At the conclusion of the colloquy, the trial court accepted Defendant's guilty plea and set a date for the application for probation hearing. Following the guilty plea submission hearing, trial counsel withdrew from representation and the trial court appointed new counsel. At the application for probation hearing, the trial court denied the application and sentenced Defendant to four years in confinement as a Range I offender. After the application denial, Defendant filed a motion to withdraw his guilty plea.

         Withdrawal of ...


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