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State v. Inmon

Court of Criminal Appeals of Tennessee, Nashville

June 22, 2017

STATE OF TENNESSEE
v.
DANIEL INMON

          Assigned on Briefs March 14, 2017

         Appeal from the Circuit Court for Rutherford County No. M-73182 Royce Taylor, Judge

         Pro se Defendant, Daniel Inmon, was indicted by the Rutherford County grand jury with four counts of educational neglect, Tennessee Code Annotated sections 49-6-3001 to -3006, a class C misdemeanor, for failing to cause his four children to attend school for a period of seventeen days. He was subsequently convicted as charged and sentenced to thirty days supervised probation for each count, to be served consecutively. On appeal, the Defendant argues that the evidence was insufficient to sustain his convictions. Upon our review, we affirm the judgments of the trial court.

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

          Daniel Imon, Murfreesboro, Tennessee, pro se.

          Herbert H. Slatery III, Attorney General and Reporter; M. Todd Ridley, Assistant Attorney General; Jennings H. Jones, District Attorney General; and John Zimmermann, Assistant District Attorney General, for the Appellee, State of Tennessee.

          Camille R. McMullen, J., delivered the opinion of the court, in which Norma McGee Ogle and Robert W. Wedemeyer, JJ., joined.

          OPINION

          CAMILLE R. McMULLEN, JUDGE

         On September 17, 2015, the Defendant attempted to turn himself into the Rutherford County Sheriff's Office for not taking his children to school but was unable to do so. In response, Officer Mathew Harvey of the Murfreesboro Police Department went to the Defendant's home to perform a child welfare check. Upon arrival, Officer Harvey encountered the Defendant, who was cordial and aware of the children's absence from school. Officer Harvey intended to issue a misdemeanor citation in lieu of the Defendant's arrest for the instant offense, but the Defendant insisted on "going straight to jail so that he could talk to the Magistrate." The Defendant told Officer Harvey that his children had been absent from school because "there was a form that the school asked them to fill out [and] he refused to sign it."

         Crystal Farris with Murfreesboro City Schools testified that she was responsible for maintaining the city school attendance records for 2014. She obtained the records for the Defendant's four children. The Defendant stipulated that his children had not attended school "since August 22, " and the records were admitted into evidence. The records showed that all four of the Defendant's children had been absent from school for over seventeen days. The Defendant's children did not miss school due to a medical condition, and they were not enrolled in any other type of school.

         Lee Wilkerson, the principal at Cason Lane Academy in Murfreesboro, testified that the Defendant's home was zoned for Cason Lee Academy and his children attended the school in 2014 and 2015. Based on the age of the children, they were subject to the compulsory school attendance laws. Principal Wilkerson said the last day the children attended school was on August 22, 2014, but they attended a half day of school on August 5, 2015. The Defendant did not provide the school with any formal excuse accounting for the absence of the children.

         Asked if he knew any reason why the Defendant kept his children from attending school, Principal Wilkerson replied

There was a -- first of all, there was a homework policy on the part of our third grade teachers. And it had been a long standing policy that in order to encourage children to return paperwork documents that were sent home to be signed and returned to the school, there was a provision within this homework policy that would have after a certain number of days resulted in a missed assignment.
A missed assignment would be considered basically a zero on homework assignment that would be -- it constituted 10 percent of the grade, the homework assignments in general. So, those missed assignments were -- it was a way to try and encourage communication between ...

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