Court of Criminal Appeals of Tennessee, Nashville
Assigned on Briefs at Jackson June 6, 2017
from the Circuit Court for Marshall County No. 16-CR-85 F.
Lee Russell, Judge
Appellant, Michael Eugene Jones, pled guilty in the Marshall
County Circuit Court to selling one-half gram or more of a
Schedule II controlled substance, a Class B felony. Pursuant
to the plea agreement, the trial court was to determine the
length and manner of service of the sentence. After a
sentencing hearing, the trial court ordered that the
Appellant serve ten years in confinement. On appeal, the
Appellant contends that the length of his sentence is
excessive and that the trial court erred by not sentencing
him to community corrections. Based upon the record and the
parties' briefs, we affirm the judgment of the trial
R. App. P. 3 Appeal as of Right; Judgment of the Circuit
William J. Harold (on appeal and at trial), Lewisburg,
Tennessee, and Michael J. Collins (at trial), Shelbyville,
Tennessee, for the appellant, Michael Eugene Jones.
Herbert H. Slatery III, Attorney General and Reporter;
Alexander C. Vey, Assistant Attorney General; Robert J.
Carter, District Attorney General; and Weakley Edward Barnard
and William B. Bottoms, Assistant District Attorneys General,
for the appellee, State of Tennessee.
McGee Ogle, J., delivered the opinion of the court, in which
Thomas T. Woodall, P.J., and Robert W. Wedemeyer, J., joined.
MCGEE OGLE, JUDGE.
2016, the Marshall County Grand Jury indicted the Appellant
for selling one-half gram or more of cocaine and delivering
one-half gram or more of cocaine. On August 12, 2016, he
entered an open plea to the charge of selling cocaine, and
the State dismissed the delivering charge. During the plea
hearing, the State advised the trial court that the factual
basis for the plea was that the Appellant sold $100 worth of
cocaine to a confidential informant on October 23, 2015. The
sale occurred at the Appellant's home, and the cocaine
weighed 0.74 grams.
the Appellant's sentencing hearing, the State introduced
his presentence report into evidence. According to the report, the
then sixty-three-year-old Appellant was single with two adult
daughters. He dropped out of school after the tenth grade and
did not obtain his GED. However, he entered the National
Guard in 1975 and was honorably discharged in 1982. In the
report, the Appellant described his mental health as
"excellent" and his physical health as
"good." Although the Appellant did not report any
physical issues, he stated that he successfully completed a
thirty-day in-patient drug rehabilitation program in 1999 and
again in 2004 or 2005. The report showed that the Appellant
worked for Walker Cast Die from 1975 to 1977 and Liberty
Steel from 1979 to 1990 and that he began receiving
disability payments in 2001 due to a car accident. The report
showed numerous misdemeanor convictions since 1991.
Specifically, the Appellant had one conviction of possession
of drug paraphernalia, one conviction of public intoxication,
two convictions of driving under the influence, two
convictions of driving on a revoked license, two convictions
of simple possession, and three convictions of passing
worthless checks. The report also showed that the Appellant
had a prior felony conviction of being a habitual traffic
offender and that several capiases had been issued for his
arrest over the years due to his failure to abide by the
terms of probation.
counsel advised the trial court about a letter from The
Lighthouse, a drug rehabilitation facility in Memphis,
stating that the facility would accept the Appellant into its
program upon his release from jail. Counsel described the
program as "a longer term rehab" and requested that
the court sentence the Appellant to community corrections so
that the Appellant could "get himself cleaned up"
and become a productive member of society.
trial court noted that as a Range I, standard offender
convicted of a Class B felony, the Appellant's range of
punishment was eight to twelve years. See Tenn. Code
Ann. § 40-35-112(a)(2). The court stated that although
the Appellant had only one prior felony conviction, he had
"around a dozen misdemeanor convictions" and that
the convictions spanned "two-and-a-half decades."
The court found that enhancement factor (1), that "[t]he
defendant has a previous history of criminal convictions or
criminal behavior, in addition to those necessary to
establish the appropriate range, " was "most
assuredly present." Tenn. Code Ann. § 40-35-114(1).
The trial court also found that enhancement factor (8), that
"[t]he defendant, before trial or sentencing, failed to
comply with the conditions of a sentence involving release
into the community, " was present "in a very
dramatic way" due to the Appellant's repeatedly
failing to meet the terms of release for prior sentences.
Tenn. Code Ann. § 40-35-114(8). The court determined
that the Appellant's sentence should be enhanced from
eight to twelve years based on the two enhancement factors.
In mitigation, the trial court applied factor (13), the