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State v. Skaggs

Court of Criminal Appeals of Tennessee, Knoxville

July 10, 2017

STATE OF TENNESSEE
v.
XAVIER SANCHEZ SKAGGS

          Assigned on Briefs May 17, 2017

         Appeal from the Circuit Court for Sullivan County No. S55353 R. Jerry Beck, Judge

         In 2008, the Defendant, Xavier Sanchez Skaggs, pleaded guilty to possession of contraband in a penal institution, and the trial court sentenced him to a suspended sentence of eight years, as a Range II offender. The trial court ordered this sentence to be served consecutively to other sentences being served by the Defendant. In 2016, the Defendant's probation officer filed an affidavit alleging that the Defendant had failed to regularly attend relapse prevention classes and that he also failed two drug screens. The Defendant pleaded guilty to violating his probation, and the trial court revoked his probation and ordered him to serve the balance of his sentence in confinement. On appeal, the Defendant contends that the trial court erred when it ordered him to serve his sentence in confinement because the trial court failed to address the Defendant's underlying problem of persistent drug use. After review, we affirm the trial court's judgment.

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

          Stephen M. Wallace, Public Defender, and M. Tyler Harrison, Assistant Public Defender, Blountville, Tennessee, for the appellant, Xavier Sanchez Skaggs.

          Herbert H. Slatery III, Attorney General and Reporter; Renee W. Turner, Senior Counsel; Barry P. Staubus, District Attorney General; and Joseph Eugene Perrin, Deputy District Attorney General, for the appellee, State of Tennessee.

          Robert W. Wedemeyer, J., delivered the opinion of the Court, in which Thomas T. Woodall, P.J. and John Everett Williams, J., joined.

          OPINION

          ROBERT W. WEDEMEYER, JUDGE.

         I. Facts

          This case arises from the Defendant possessing contraband while incarcerated in 2007. The indictment alleged that the Defendant took marijuana into a penal institution on October 7, 2007. For this offense, the Defendant pleaded guilty, and the trial court sentenced the Defendant as a Range II offender to eight years of probation. The trial court ordered that the Defendant's sentence run consecutively to the Defendant's prior sentences.

         On July 14, 2016, the Defendant's probation officer filed an affidavit swearing that the Defendant had violated his probation. The probation officer alleged that the Defendant had failed a drug screen on May 16, 2016, for "oxy, " cocaine, and marijuana, all of which the Defendant denied using. The probation officer further alleged that the Defendant had failed a second drug screen on June 29, 2016, for "oxy, " cocaine, and marijuana, all of which the Defendant again denied using. The probation officer further alleged that the Defendant had failed to attend relapse prevention classes and had not taken required counseling classes. The trial court issued a warrant for the Defendant's arrest and appointed him legal counsel.

         The trial court held a hearing on the Defendant's probation violation. At the hearing, the Defendant pleaded guilty to violating his probation. The Defendant stipulated that the facts contained in the affidavit were true. The Defendant testified that he was twenty-eight years old at the time of the hearing and lived with his grandmother. He had a two-year-old child whom he helped to support through his employment at Longhorn Restaurant. The Defendant said that, before being incarcerated, he worked approximately thirty hours a week. The Defendant admitted that he had failed two drug screens, explaining that it was "stressful out there." He said, however, that he took full responsibility for what he had done, had no new charges, and did not abscond.

         The Defendant testified that, if returned to probation, he could pass a drug screen because he had not recently used drugs. He agreed that he had previously been convicted of introducing contraband into a penal institution and that he had been convicted of two other felonies: selling cocaine and reckless endangerment. The Defendant said he had several other misdemeanor convictions. He asked the trial court to reinstate his probation, saying that he had since learned that using drugs was not worth it.

         During cross-examination, the Defendant agreed that he gave a statement to the trial court in 2007 in which he acknowledged that his drug use was a problem. In that statement, he asked the trial court for an alternative sentence. The Defendant agreed that, nine years later, he was again before the trial court acknowledging a drug problem ...


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