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State v. Bishop

Court of Criminal Appeals of Tennessee, Jackson

May 16, 2017

STATE OF TENNESSEE
v.
SHANE H. BISHOP

         Appeal from the Circuit Court for Chester County No. 15-CR-73 Kyle Atkins, Judge

         Defendant, Shane H. Bishop, pled guilty to vehicular homicide by intoxication. He appeals from his sentence of eleven years, arguing that the trial court abused its discretion by denying an alternative sentence. Because Defendant was ineligible for an alternative sentence, we affirm the judgment of the trial court.

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

          George Morton Googe, District Public Defender, and Kandi Kelley Collins, Assistant Public Defender, for the appellant, Shane H. Bishop.

          Herbert H. Slatery III, Attorney General and Reporter; Robert W. Wilson, Assistant Attorney General; Jerry Woodall, District Attorney General; and Christopher Post, Assistant District Attorney General, for the appellee, State of Tennessee.

          Timothy L. Easter, J., delivered the opinion of the court, in which Alan E. Glenn and J. Ross Dyer, JJ., joined.

          OPINION

          TIMOTHY L. EASTER, JUDGE

         Procedural History and Factual Summary

         On October 27, 2015, Defendant was indicted for vehicular homicide resulting from the driver's intoxication, driving under the influence of an intoxicant ("DUI"), driving under the influence of an intoxicant with a blood alcohol concentration of .08 or more ("DUI per se"), and failure to exercise due care. The charges resulted from a single-vehicle accident in which Defendant's passenger, Wyndy Hubbard, died. On April 22, 2016, Defendant pled guilty as charged. The trial court merged both DUI convictions into the vehicular homicide conviction and held a sentencing hearing.

         At the sentencing hearing, the State introduced the pre-sentencing report. Waylon Mahler testified that the victim was his sister and that she had previously been in a relationship with Defendant. Mr. Mahler acknowledged that the victim's relationship with Defendant was "not good" and indicated that Defendant was a negative influence on the victim. Mr. Mahler described Defendant as a person who took advantage of anyone who tried to help him.

         Jennifer Mahler testified that the victim was her stepdaughter. The victim's death was "devastating" to Ms. Mahler because her relationship with the victim was more like that of "close friends" than that of a parent and child. They were "very close" and "always did family functions together." Ms. Mahler described the victim as "a really wonderful person. She lit up the room every time she walked in."

         Ms. Mahler described Defendant's relationship with the victim as "on and off" and "up and down." On one occasion, Defendant and the victim had an argument, during which Defendant "proceeded to smoke crack in front of her and blow it in her face while she was pregnant. And, she was very, very devastated by that." A few months later, the victim walked in on Defendant "having sex with another woman." Ms. Mahler suspected that Defendant may have physically abused the victim because "she had several black eyes when they were together."

         The victim told Ms. Mahler that Defendant was bipolar and that she wanted him to take medication. The victim also told Ms. Mahler that she was "worried" because Defendant's "behavior would become erratic." Despite having a young child in the house, "[i]n the middle of the night, [Defendant] would wake up and be walking around the house and put his old uniform on and turn on the karaoke machine and be singing at the top of his lungs."

         The victim and Defendant had a seven-month-old daughter at the time of the crash. Afterward, Ms. Mahler and her husband obtained emergency custody of the infant. Ms. Mahler "stopped going to college" so that she could provide for the victim's daughter. Ms. Mahler said that the victim did ...


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