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State v. Lacy

Court of Criminal Appeals of Tennessee, Jackson

May 12, 2017

STATE OF TENNESSEE
v.
KALANDRA LACY

          Session March 7, 2017

         Appeal from the Criminal Court for Shelby County No. 14-04930 Carolyn Wade Blackett, Judge No. W2016-00837-CCA-R3-CD

         The defendant, Kalandra Lacy, appeals her Shelby County Criminal Court guilty-pleaded conviction of abuse of a corpse, arguing that the trial court erred by denying her bid for judicial diversion. Following a de novo review occasioned by the trial court's failure to consider on the record all the factors relevant to the denial of judicial diversion as well as the trial court's consideration of irrelevant factors, we conclude that the defendant is entitled to judicial diversion. We remand the case for entry of an order placing the defendant on judicial diversion under the same terms and conditions of her previously-imposed sentence of probation.

         Tenn. R. App. P. 3; Judgment of the Criminal Court Reversed and Remanded

          Vicki M. Carriker, Memphis, Tennessee, for the appellant, Kalandra Lacy.

          Herbert H. Slatery III, Attorney General and Reporter; Andrew C. Coulam, Assistant Attorney General; Amy P. Weirich, District Attorney General; and Paul Goodman, Assistant District Attorney General, for the appellee, State of Tennessee.

          James Curwood Witt, Jr., J., delivered the opinion of the court, in which Thomas T. Woodall, P.J., and Robert L. Holloway, Jr., J., joined.

          OPINION

          JAMES CURWOOD WITT, JR., JUDGE.

         On May 12, 2015, the defendant entered an open plea of guilty to one count of abuse of a corpse, a Class E felony. The State summarized the facts of the offense:

[O]n October the 19th of 2014 officers started an investigation at the Gus's Fried Chicken on North Germantown Road in Bartlett, Tennessee. A motorist had found the remains of a deceased new born infant in the alley there behind the restaurant. Officers located a clear plastic bag with what appeared to be blood inside the bag [and] an infant's body. The umbilical cord was attached to the infant, and it appeared that the body of the infant had been run over by a vehicle.
Officers traced this in their investigation to the interior of the restaurant to a woman's restroom inside. They were told that the defendant . . . was possibly pregnant although it was not known for sure by coworkers. The store employee was contacted and advised that there had been a miscarriage that had happened in the women's restroom and [the defendant] had left work early on that occasion. The officers tracked down the defendant. The defendant told officers that she knew why they were there. And she stated that she had had a miscarriage and had put the baby in the dumpster behind the Gus's restaurant. . . . She stated that she had placed the body of the infant in the plastic bag.
The Medical Examiner's Office of course examined the infant and they could not determine cause of death. They could not determine whether this was a live birth or not. There was no way to say medically whether the infant had been born alive. The defendant is not charged with homicide but abuse of a corpse which was the charge that the State could have proven in this case.

         The State noted that the defendant "does qualify for diversion" but indicated that the "State is not agreeing to that."

         At a hearing conducted that same day, the defendant, who had previously given birth to three children, testified that on October 19, 2014, she went to the restroom near the end of her shift and "had a miscarriage" inside the restroom. She said that her "baby came out. It wasn't moving or making any sounds or anything." She described the infant as "pretty small." She said that ...


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