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State v. Marlin

Court of Criminal Appeals of Tennessee, Nashville

April 24, 2017

STATE OF TENNESSEE
v.
GREGORY MAURICE MARLIN

          Assigned on Briefs March 21, 2017, at Knoxville

         Appeal from the Circuit Court for Bedford County No. 18166 Franklin L. Russell, Judge.

         The Defendant, Gregory Maurice Marlin, was convicted of evading arrest while operating a motor vehicle, evading arrest on foot, and operating a motor vehicle while declared a habitual traffic offender. The trial court sentenced the Defendant as a standard offender to two years for the evading arrest while operating a motor vehicle conviction, eleven months and twenty-nine days for the evading arrest on foot conviction, and two years for the operating a motor vehicle while declared a habitual offender conviction, all to be served consecutively to each other. After the sentencing hearing, the trial court amended the sentence and merged the evading arrest on foot conviction with the evading arrest while operating a motor vehicle conviction, for an effective sentence of four years in prison. The Defendant argues that the evidence is insufficient to support his convictions and that the trial court abused its discretion in sentencing him. After a thorough review of the record and applicable law, we affirm the judgments of the trial court.

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

          Donna Orr Hargrove, District Public Defender; and Michael Collins (at trial and on appeal) and Brian Belden (at trial), Assistant District Public Defenders, for the appellant, Gregory Maurice Marlin.

          Herbert H. Slatery III, Attorney General and Reporter; Ruth Anne Thompson, Senior Counsel; Robert J. Carter, District Attorney General; and Michael D. Randles, Assistant District Attorney General, for the appellee, State of Tennessee.

          John Everett Williams, J., delivered the opinion of the court, in which Timothy L. Easter and J. Ross Dyer, JJ., joined.

          OPINION

          JOHN EVERETT WILLIAMS, JUDGE

         FACTUAL AND PROCEDURAL HISTORY

         The Defendant was indicted for one count of evading arrest while operating a motor vehicle, one count of evading arrest on foot, and one count of operating a motor vehicle while declared a habitual traffic offender. The evidence presented at trial established the following underlying facts.

         Deputy Garcia Jordan with the Bedford County Sheriff's Department testified that he had known the Defendant for "several years" and could "easily recognize [the Defendant] by sight, " and he made an in-court identification of the Defendant. On March 24, 2013, Deputy Jordan was at the Bedford County Workhouse having maintenance done on his marked patrol vehicle. The back of the workhouse where he brought his vehicle, abutted West Jackson Street. He testified that after the maintenance was completed, he pulled his vehicle out of the parking lot of the workhouse and attempted to pull out onto West Jackson Street. Before he could do so, he saw two vehicles traveling on West Jackson Street headed away from South Cannon Boulevard toward Tyson. He stated that the first vehicle he saw was a black Nissan Altima and the second vehicle, which passed by shortly thereafter, was a gold Chevrolet Caprice, traveling in the same direction as the Nissan Altima. He testified that the Caprice caught his attention because it was "obviously exceeding the 30-mile-an-hour speed limit."

         Deputy Jordan decided to pull over the Caprice and activated his patrol lights and siren. He stated that as he pursued the Caprice, the driver of the Caprice accelerated, attempting to get away. He also stated that while in pursuit of the Caprice, he was travelling at about seventy to seventy-five miles per hour. Deputy Jordan testified that the driver of the Caprice made a right turn onto Pencil Street, travelled along Pencil Street until the intersection of West Lane Street, continued through a stop sign without stopping, and made a left turn onto West Lane Street. He explained that West Lane Street has a speed limit of thirty miles per hour. He stated that the driver of the Caprice then made a right turn onto Buckingham Lane, making no attempt to stop for Deputy Jordan. He also stated that the Caprice crested a hill along Buckingham Lane, and he briefly lost sight of the vehicle.

         Deputy Jordan testified that after losing sight of the Caprice for a moment, he regained a visual of the vehicle which was attempting a left turn onto the driveway of a house on Buckingham Lane. The house with the driveway that the Defendant attempted to turn into was later determined to belong to the Defendant's cousin, Mr. Austin Smith. He also testified that the driver of the Caprice failed to successfully turn onto the driveway and instead skidded across the front yard of Mr. Smith's residence, leaving tracks in the yard from the road to the neighboring house's yard. Deputy Jordan explained that the yard was wet because it had rained earlier in the day. He also explained that the Caprice came to a stop in the front yard of neighboring house and made a 180-degree turn while skidding across the front yard, causing the driver's side of the Caprice to face him at a distance of about fifteen to twenty yards. He testified that at the time of the pursuit of the Caprice, it was daylight, it was not raining, and visibility was fine. He also testified that after the Caprice came to a stop, he saw the driver's door open and the Defendant step out and look directly at him. Deputy Jordan stated that the Defendant closed the car door and quickly walked behind the neighboring house. He explained that he ran after the Defendant but that after reaching the back of the house, he did not see the Defendant. Deputy Jordan testified that there were many garages, toolsheds, trees, and shrubs behind the residence and that the Defendant could have found many places to hide. He also testified that once other police officers responded to the scene, they began to search the area for the Defendant but were unable to find him.

         Deputy Jordan testified that the black Nissan Altima he saw before pursuing the Caprice was in the driveway of Mr. Smith's residence when the search for the Defendant began. He also testified that the license plate tag of the Caprice was registered to Mr. Austin Smith who lived at the house on Buckingham Lane. Deputy Jordan stated that he was certain that the driver of the Caprice was not, in fact, Mr. Smith. He also ...


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