Assigned on Briefs April 11, 2017
from the Circuit Court for Henderson County No. C-16072-2
Donald H. Allen, Judge.
se Petitioner, Frankie Jason Cope, appeals the summary
dismissal of his petition for post-conviction DNA analysis.
Following our review, we affirm the summary dismissal of the
petition pursuant to Rule 20, Rules of the Court of Criminal
R. App. P. 3 Appeal as of Right; Judgment of the Circuit
Court Affirmed Pursuant to Rule 20, Rules of the Court of
Frankie Jason Cope, Clifton, Tennessee, pro se.
Herbert H. Slatery III, Attorney General and Reporter;
Katherine C. Redding, Assistant Attorney General; James G.
(Jerry) Woodall, District Attorney General; and Angela R.
Scott, Assistant District Attorney General, for the appellee,
State of Tennessee.
E. Glenn, J., delivered the opinion of the court, in which
Timothy L. Easter and J. Ross Dyer, JJ., joined.
E. GLENN, JUDGE.
December 2, 2008, the Petitioner pled guilty in the Henderson
County Circuit Court to two counts of aggravated sexual
battery in exchange for concurrent sentences of ten years at
100% in the Department of Correction. As part of his
negotiated plea agreement, a charge of rape of a child was
dismissed. The Petitioner did not file a direct appeal of the
16, 2016, the Petitioner filed a petition for post-conviction
DNA analysis pursuant to the Post-Conviction DNA Analysis
Act, arguing that it was "more probable than not that
exculpatory results" would have been obtained that would
have resulted in his not being prosecuted for or convicted of
the crimes. In his statement of facts in support of the
petition, he alleged that the minor victim's mother had
encouraged her daughter "to lie and say that [the]
Petitioner was the one that was sexually involved with her
that led to her acting out sexually" in retaliation for
the Petitioner's role in having the victim's mother
and her partner investigated by the Department of
Children's Services. The Petitioner asserted that he was
never afforded the opportunity pretrial to present the facts
relating to the mother's motive to retaliate against him
and that he never should have been convicted without physical
evidence of a crime.
18, 2016, the post-conviction court entered an order of
summary dismissal on the basis that the petition was barred
by the one-year statute of limitations for post-conviction
petitions and there was "never any
'biological evidence' in existence or in the
possession or control of the prosecution or any law
enforcement personnel." The court noted that the
prosecution was based on the identification by the
five-year-old victim of the Petitioner as "the person
who had sexually touched her vagina 'more than once'
with his hand." The court further noted that the
Petitioner had freely, voluntarily, knowingly, and
intelligently entered his guilty pleas.
29, 2016, the Petitioner filed a "Motion to Alter and
Amend Judgment, " in which he argued that the
post-conviction court erroneously applied the one-year
statute of limitations applicable to a petition for
post-conviction relief to his petition for post-conviction
DNA analysis. The Petitioner acknowledged that there was no
biological evidence in his case but argued that "the
purpose of the DNA Analysis Act is to confirm with biological
evidence that a crime had occurred rather than being based
solely on verbal allegations." The Petitioner asserted
that, without physical evidence of his crime, he "should
have received a more favorable sentence and/or not have been
convicted at all."
29, 2016, the post-conviction court entered an order denying
the motion to alter and/or amend judgment on the basis that
it was without merit. Thereafter, the Petitioner filed a
timely notice of appeal to this court challenging the denial
of his petition for post-conviction DNA analysis.
Petitioner is mistaken in his assertion that the purpose of
the Post-Conviction DNA Analysis Act is to prevent
convictions based solely on a victim's testimony. The
purpose of the post-conviction DNA Analysis Act is twofold:
to exonerate the wrongfully convicted and to identify the
true perpetrators of their crimes. See Powers v.
State, 343 S.W.3d 36, 51 (Tenn. 2011). The Act provides
that a person convicted of and sentenced for the commission
of one of a number of enumerated crimes may at any time file
a petition "requesting the forensic DNA analysis of any
evidence that is in the possession or control of the
prosecution, law enforcement, laboratory, or court, and ...