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State v. Bright

Court of Criminal Appeals of Tennessee, Nashville

April 20, 2017

STATE OF TENNESSEE
v.
TEENA MARIE BRIGHT

          Assigned on Briefs March 14, 2017

         Appeal from the Circuit Court for Franklin County No. 15-CR-187 J. Curtis Smith, Judge

         The Defendant, Teena Marie Bright, pleaded guilty to possession of .5 gram or more of a methamphetamine with intent to manufacture, sell, or deliver. Pursuant to the plea agreement, the trial court sentenced the Defendant to eight years as a Range I, standard offender. The sentence was suspended to supervised probation after 158 days in confinement. A violation of probation warrant was subsequently issued, and, after a hearing, the trial court revoked the Defendant's probation and ordered service of the balance of the sentence in confinement. The Defendant appeals the trial court's order that she serve her sentence in confinement. We affirm the trial court's judgment.

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

          Roger D. Layne, Winchester, Tennessee, for the appellant, Teena Marie Bright.

          Herbert H. Slatery III, Attorney General and Reporter; Leslie E. Price, Senior Counsel; J. Michael Taylor, District Attorney General; and Steven H. Strain, Assistant District Attorney General, for the appellee, State of Tennessee.

          Robert W. Wedemeyer, J., delivered the opinion of the court, in which Norma McGee Ogle and Camille R. McMullen, JJ., joined.

          OPINION

          ROBERT W. WEDEMEYER, JUDGE

         I. Background

         On September 24, 2015, the Defendant pleaded guilty to possession of .5 gram or more of a methamphetamine with intent to manufacture, sell, or deliver. The trial court sentenced the Defendant to serve eight years as a Range I standard offender, suspended to supervised probation after 158 days in confinement. The judgment included as conditions of probation that the Defendant be supervised by the Community Corrections program and participate in drug court. A copy of the "Drug Court Program Participant Waiver and Agreement and Order" is included in the record. The Defendant had initialed each provision and signed the document on the final page indicating her acknowledgement of the requirements of the Drug Court Program.

         A probation violation warrant was filed on June 28, 2016, based upon the June 23, 2016 order terminating the Defendant from drug court. The order terminating the Defendant from drug court identified the Defendant's failure to follow instructions and "curfew violations" as the violations resulting in her discharge. On December 9, 2015, the trial court held a probation revocation hearing.

         Ron Bailey, the Drug Court Director, testified at the hearing that the Defendant was admitted to the Drug Court Program and then went to residential rehabilitation before entering the Drug Court Program with intensive outpatient and "other entities." Mr. Bailey stated that "after a short period of time" it became apparent that the Defendant had difficulty following instructions and complying with the Court's directions. Mr. Bailey explained that if it were not for the Drug Court Program, the Defendant would be in the Tennessee Department of Correction custody; therefore, it was not only for her benefit to comply with program requirements but also for the benefit of the community.

         Mr. Bailey testified that on March 31, 2016, the Defendant was twenty minutes late to an appointment at Centerstone. On April 1, 2016, the Defendant "called in for curfew" at 8:55 p.m. but was observed by her case manager at Wal-Mart some distance from her residence at 8:54 p.m. The Defendant was sanctioned for this violation on April 21, 2016, and admitted that she lied and violated her curfew. The Defendant was sanctioned a second time on June 2, 2016, for driving without a license, a curfew violation, and for lying. Based upon these instances, the Defendant was placed "on-the-clock, " where the Defendant was required to perform specific duties for each day to show that she was serious about compliance. The Defendant failed to meet her responsibilities with these newly imposed daily duties and ultimately was terminated from the program.

         Mr. Bailey testified that he was aware of alternative treatment programs that might be available to the Defendant; however, he did not believe she would benefit from any of those programs at that time. He further opined that he did ...


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