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Hicks v. State

Court of Criminal Appeals of Tennessee, Nashville

May 15, 2017

WALTER LEE HICKS
v.
STATE OF TENNESSEE

          Assigned on Briefs November 8, 2016

         Appeal from the Circuit Court for Marshall County No. 2015-CR-134 Forest A. Durard, Jr., Judge

         Petitioner, Walter Lee Hicks, was indicted for aggravated assault, evading arrest, reckless endangerment with a deadly weapon, driving on a revoked driver's license, speeding, and making a false report. Following a jury trial, Petitioner was convicted of the lesser-included offense of assault, evading arrest, reckless endangerment, driving on a revoked driver's license, speeding, and making a false report. The trial court imposed a 17-year sentence. A panel of this court affirmed Petitioner's convictions and sentence on direct appeal, but the panel remanded the case for entry of corrected judgments to reflect that the conviction for misdemeanor assault merged into the conviction for felony reckless endangerment. State v. Walter Lee Hicks, Jr., No. M2013-01410-CCA-R3-CD, 2014 WL 2902277, at *1 (Tenn. Crim. App., June 26, 2014), perm. app. denied (Tenn., Oct. 22, 2014). Petitioner timely filed a petition for post-conviction relief. Following a hearing on the petition, the post-conviction court denied relief. On appeal, Petitioner alleges that he received ineffective assistance of counsel because trial counsel omitted portions of a state trooper's dash camera video when presenting that evidence at trial. After a thorough review, we affirm the judgment of the post-conviction court.

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

          M. Wesley, Hall IV, Jr., Unionville, Tennessee, for the appellant, Walter Lee Hicks.

          Herbert H. Slatery III, Attorney General and Reporter; Courtney N. Orr, Assistant Attorney General; Robert James Carter, District Attorney General; and Weakley E. Barnard, Assistant District Attorney General, for the appellee, State of Tennessee.

          Thomas T. Woodall, P.J., delivered the opinion of the court, in which Alan E. Glenn and Robert W. Wedemeyer, JJ., joined.

          OPINION

          THOMAS T. WOODALL, PRESIDING JUDGE

         Facts

         In its opinion on direct appeal, a panel of this court summarized the facts underlying Petitioner's convictions as follows:

Trooper John Judge is a Tennessee Highway Patrolman who was stationed in Marshall County at the time of the incident that gave rise to this appeal. On the evening of August 20, 2012, he was on duty with a radar gun on the southbound side of Highway 431. The posted speed limit at that location is 55 miles per hour. Sometime around 9:15 or 9:20 at night, the radar gun clocked an approaching car at 87 miles per hour. Trooper Judge activated the blue lights on his patrol car, and the speeding vehicle pulled over. When the blue lights came on, it automatically turned on the patrol car video camera.
The stopped vehicle was an orange Dodge Caliber with Florida plates. Trooper Judge observed two people in the car, both in the front seat. He exited the patrol car and approached the driver's side of the Dodge. He told the driver, [Petitioner], why he had stopped him. [Petitioner] said he was sorry. Trooper Judge then asked to see a driver's license. Petitioner said he had an Illinois license, but he was unable to produce it. Trooper Judge then asked [Petitioner] for his name and date of birth. [Petitioner] said his name was Stevie Hicks and he gave an inaccurate birth date. He was also asked for his social security number, but he said he didn't know it. Because [Petitioner] claimed the car was a rental, Trooper Judge asked him for the rental contract, but [Petitioner] was unable to produce it.
Trooper Judge then returned to his patrol car and tried to run the information [Petitioner] had given him, using his computer and radio. He was unable to find a drivers license for the name and date of birth he had been given. He returned to [Petitioner]'s car and asked him to step out. The ignition key remained in the ignition of the rental car. Trooper Judge instructed [Petitioner] to sit in the back seat of the patrol car while he tried once again to verify his identity. He tried several different spellings, and the dispatcher checked all fifty states, but they could not find a driver's license for Stevie Hicks.
Trooper Judge then opened the rear door of the patrol car and told [Petitioner] to step out because he was going to be arrested for driving without a license. After briefly searching [Petitioner] and finding and confiscating a box cutter, the trooper attempted to handcuff him. But [Petitioner] pulled away from his grasp and ran from the passenger side of the patrol car to the ...

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