Court of Criminal Appeals of Tennessee, Nashville
Assigned on Briefs February 15, 2017
from the Circuit Court for Lawrence County No. 33063 J.
Russell Parkes, Judge
Defendant, Justin Daniel Adams, pleaded guilty to aggravated
assault, agreeing to an out-of-range sentence of eight years.
The parties agreed to allow the trial court to determine the
manner of service of his sentence. After a hearing, the trial
court ordered that the Defendant serve his sentence in
confinement. On appeal, the Defendant contends that the trial
court erred when it denied him an alternative sentence and
that his judgment form should be amended to reflect
applicable pretrial jail credit. We affirm the trial
court's judgment. We remand the case to the trial court
for the entry of an amended judgment that reflects the
Defendant's applicable pretrial jail credit.
R. App. P. 3 Appeal as of Right; Judgment of the Circuit
Court Affirmed and Remanded
Claudia S. Jack, District Public Defender; Brandon E. White,
Columbia, Tennessee (on appeal); and Robert H. Stovall, Jr.,
Assistant District Public Defender, Lawrenceburg, Tennessee,
for the appellant, Justin Daniel Adams.
Herbert H. Slatery III, Attorney General and Reporter; Sophia
S. Lee, Senior Counsel; Brent A. Cooper, District Attorney
General; and Gary M. Howell, Assistant District Attorney
General, for the appellee, State of Tennessee.
W. Wedemeyer, J., delivered the opinion of the court, in
which Thomas T. Woodall, P.J., and Timothy L. Easter, J.,
W. WEDEMEYER, JUDGE
case arises from the Defendant's placing two guns to the
rib and temple of the victim on January 6, 2015. For his
actions, a Lawrence County grand jury indicted the Defendant
for aggravated kidnapping and unlawful possession of a
firearm during the commission of a dangerous felony. On
January 4, 2016, the Defendant pleaded guilty to aggravated
kidnapping, a Class B felony, in exchange for an eight-year,
Range I, sentence, agreeing to allow the trial court to
determine the manner in which he would serve that sentence.
The State agreed to dismiss the firearm charge. On February
22, 2016, the Defendant filed a motion to withdraw his guilty
plea, averring that his guilty plea was unknowingly and
involuntarily entered because he was not aware that the crime
to which he pleaded guilty required the service of his
sentence at 100%. The trial court granted the Defendant's
motion to withdraw his guilty plea.
March 14, 2016, the Defendant pleaded guilty to aggravated
assault, a Class C felony, agreeing to an out-of-range
sentence of eight years. At the guilty plea hearing, the
trial court ensured that the Defendant understood that, in
exchange for his guilty plea to a lesser charge, he was
agreeing to a Range II sentence of eight-years, even though
he was considered a Range I offender, which carried an
applicable sentencing range of three to six years. The trial
court explained that the Defendant was so doing to avoid the
possibility of having to serve his sentence at 100%. The
trial court then ensured that the Defendant understood that
the plea agreement contemplated that the trial court would
determine the manner of service of the Defendant's
sentence. The Defendant acknowledged that he understood the
plea agreement and the out-of-range sentence. He then offered
that he was pleading guilty because he had, in fact,
committed the offense.
trial court held a sentencing hearing during which the
parties presented the following evidence: The victim
testified that he worked as a self-employed hairdresser in
Loretto, Tennessee. The victim recalled that, on January 6,
2015, at around 2:00 or 3:00 p.m., he had finished with work
and was cleaning out his car at a gas station located next
door to the salon. An employee from the hair salon came
toward him and said that there was a man who needed a
haircut, and the victim saw the man to whom she was
referring, the Defendant. The victim told the woman and the
Defendant that he would be happy to do it. The Defendant
asked the cost, and the victim told him $5.00. The Defendant
said he had to call his mother and then proceeded to appear
to text someone on the cellular phone in his possession. The
Defendant then told him that he could not get a haircut at
that time. The victim said that he did not detect any anger
in the Defendant's demeanor at that point.
victim said that he returned to vacuuming his car and that
the Defendant remained and struck up a conversation with him
about a Loretto High School bumper sticker on the
victim's car. He described this as casual conversation
and said the two talked for between twenty and forty minutes.
The Defendant then said to the victim that his mother had
asked if the victim could give the Defendant a ride home so
that the Defendant did not have to walk. The victim told the
Defendant that he could give him a ride after he finished
cleaning his car.
victim testified that, when he began driving the Defendant
home, they headed north. The victim noticed the hilt of a
"particular knife" that the Defendant had that
looked like a knife that was similar to one the victim owned.
The victim said he told the Defendant, "Hey, man, if I
would have known you were armed like that, I don't know
if I would have given you a ride." The victim said that
he was not afraid at that point and was joking. The Defendant
then pulled a gun and placed it to the right-side of the
victim, near his ribs, and said, "[A]rmed like what? . .
. [D]o you mean armed like this, mother f***er?" The
victim said he was completely caught off guard by the change
in the Defendant's demeanor. The Defendant then took a
second gun out and placed it to the victim's temple and
said, "[M]aybe like this, b**ch?" The victim said
that he was afraid for his life.
victim testified that he began begging and pleading with the
Defendant, asking him why he was doing this when the victim
was giving him a ride home. The victim said he slowed the
car, and the Defendant said, "[D]on't f***ing do
it." The victim pulled over, stopped the car, pushed the
gun away from his head, and jumped out of the car. He ran
across the street to a Mapco gas station and asked the
attendant to call 911. The victim said he remained at the gas
station until law enforcement arrived.
cross-examination, the victim testified that, before he
agreed to give the Defendant a ride, the Defendant told him
that he lived on Commerce Street, which was "[n]ot very
far" from the car wash. He said that the Defendant
pulled out the weapons after the two had been in the car
together for three or four minutes. The victim estimated that
the weapons were pointed at him for approximately one to
one-and-a-half minutes before he successfully stopped and
exited his car. He agreed that the Defendant never fired a
weapon at him.
Littrell, Jr., testified for the Defendant, saying that he
lived close to the Mapco gas station located near these
events. Mr. Littrell said that he had known the Defendant for
five years and that, shortly before these events, the
Defendant moved into an apartment near him. Mr. Littrell said
that the Defendant was a "pretty timid boy, " whom
had never given Mr. Littrell any problem. He found it hard to
believe the events about which the victim testified. He found
it unlikely that the Defendant would brandish a weapon and
implausible that the Defendant could hold two weapons in the
manner described by the victim.
Littrell opined that the Defendant would not survive in jail.
He said that the Defendant would not hurt anybody. He
expressed no concern if the Defendant came back to live next
to him, saying that he was ...