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State v. Bradley

Court of Criminal Appeals of Tennessee, Jackson

May 12, 2017

STATE OF TENNESSEE
v.
SHAWN P. BRADLEY

          Session January 4, 2017

         Appeal from the Circuit Court for Carroll County No. 15CR43 Donald E. Parish, Judge No. W2015-02228-CCA-R3-CD

         The Defendant, Shawn P. Bradley, appeals from the Carroll County Circuit Court's order declaring him to be a Motor Vehicle Habitual Offender (MVHO). On appeal, the Defendant argues that the trial court erred in declaring him to be a MVHO because the judgment forms for the qualifying offenses were facially invalid. Upon review, we affirm the judgment of the trial court.

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

          Benjamin S. Dempsey, Huntingdon, Tennessee, for the Defendant-Appellant, Shawn P. Bradley.

          Herbert H. Slatery III, Attorney General and Reporter; M. Todd Ridley, Assistant Attorney General; Matthew F. Stowe, District Attorney General; and Adam Jowers, Assistant District Attorney General, for the Appellee, State of Tennessee.

          Camille R. McMullen, J., delivered the opinion of the court, in which John Everett Williams and Alan E. Glenn, JJ., joined.

          OPINION

          CAMILLE R. McMULLEN, JUDGE

         The Defendant was convicted of driving under the influence on May 6, 2010[1] and two counts of driving on a cancelled, suspended, or revoked license on September 3, 2014. On April 8, 2015, the State filed a petition with the Carroll County Circuit Court to declare the Defendant a MVHO pursuant to Tennessee Code Annotated section 55-10-601. On the same day the State's petition was filed, the trial court filed a show cause order requiring the Defendant to appear and explain "why [the Defendant] should not be declared a Motor Vehicle Habitual Offender." On July 1, 2015, the Defendant filed an answer arguing that the State's petition was not supported by "three valid triggering driving convictions within a three year period, " and that the petition failed to "identify three facially valid judgments" or a "validly signed waiver of . . . [C]onstitutional rights." The Defendant asserted that the State's petition was barred by the doctrine of "laches" because the State used his 2010 conviction to declare him a MVHO and waited seven months after his 2014 conviction to file the petition. The Defendant also argued that the petition was unconstitutional because it was "void for vagneness [sic] per se" and as applied to the Defendant.

         On July 30, 2015, the Defendant filed a motion to dismiss the State's petition, arguing, inter alia, that the State waited seven months after the third triggering conviction to file its petition and that this delay was "unnecessary" and substantially prejudiced the Defendant. He again asserted that the petition was barred by the doctrine of "laches." Finally, he noted that if the trial court granted the State's petition, he could lose his current employment. Shortly thereafter, the Defendant filed a "Conformed Motion [t]o Dismiss Supported [b]y Affidavit" raising the same arguments as his first motion to dismiss. On September 14, 2015, the Defendant filed a subsequent motion to dismiss alleging that the MVHO Act is unconstitutional, a petition for post-conviction relief, and an "Amended Answer [t]o Petition [t]o Declare [Defendant MVHO]." However, on September 21, 2015, the Defendant voluntarily dismissed his petition for post-conviction relief, which the trial court granted without prejudice.

         According to the record, the trial court conducted a hearing on the Defendant's motions to dismiss on October 1, 2015.[2] On October 9, 2015, the Defendant filed an "Affidavit in Opposition to the HMVO Petition" stating that he did not have an attorney to represent him when he pled guilty in 2014, and that the Assistant District Attorney did not advise him that those two convictions would be used to declare him a MVHO.[3] On October 16, 2015, the trial court entered two written orders denying the Defendant's motions to dismiss and a third order declaring the Defendant to be a MVHO. The trial court found that the State's petition was timely and that the doctrine of laches did not bar the State from filing its petition. Citing State v. Orr, 694 S.W.2d 297 (Tenn. 1985), the trial court noted that the "criminal provisions of the [MVHO] Act, codified at T.C.A. [§] 50-10-616, . . . have been previously determined to be constitutional" and denied the Defendant's motion to dismiss. The trial court also denied the Defendant's constitutional challenge on the grounds that "[t]his is a not a criminal prosecution but a civil proceeding which seeks to merely establish the [Defendant's] status." Finally, in the order declaring the Defendant to be a MVHO, the trial court noted that when the parties appeared in court on October 9, 2015, they stipulated that the Defendant had been convicted of the traffic offenses alleged in paragraphs one, two, and three of the State's petition. In declaring the Defendant to be a MVHO, the trial court reasoned as follows:

The [c]ourt concludes that the three prior traffic offense convictions as alleged by the Petition are facially valid. [The Defendant] signed a waiver in each instance which surrendered his right to indictment or presentment, right of trial by jury[, ] and the right to counsel. The [c]ourt further concludes that the convictions are not subject to collateral attack.
This timely appeal now ...

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