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State v. Chick

Court of Criminal Appeals of Tennessee, Nashville

July 17, 2017

STATE OF TENNESSEE
v.
ANNA CHICK

          Assigned on Briefs April 18, 2017

         Appeal from the Circuit Court for Williamson County No. I-CR109180 Joseph A. Woodruff, Judge

         The defendant, Anna Chick, appeals her Williamson County Circuit Court conviction of failure to appear, see T.C.A. 39-16-609, arguing that Code section 39-16-609 is unconstitutional; that the evidence was insufficient to support her conviction; that the trial court erred by admitting certain evidence in violation of the defendant's constitutional right to confront the witnesses against her; that the State failed to establish that the offense was committed before the finding of the indictment; and that the six-year sentence imposed in this case constitutes unconstitutionally cruel and unusual punishment. Discerning no error, we affirm the judgment of the trial court.

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

          Joseph D. Baugh, Franklin, Tennessee, for the appellant, Anna Chick.

          Herbert H. Slatery III, Attorney General and Reporter; M. Todd Ridley, Assistant Attorney General; Kim R. Helper, District Attorney General; and Mary Katharine White, Assistant District Attorney General, for the appellee, State of Tennessee.

          James Curwood Witt, Jr., J., delivered the opinion of the court, in which John Everett Williams and Camille R. McMullen, JJ., joined.

          OPINION

          JAMES CURWOOD WITT, JR., JUDGE

         Originally charged with two counts of failure to appear, the defendant was convicted following a bench trial of a single count of failure to appear.

         Roberta Faulkner, deputy clerk in the Williamson County Circuit Court Clerk's Office, testified that she prepared the docket for the criminal court as well as the record for court proceedings. She said that the proceedings of a "regular motion day" would be recorded by a court reporter who, in turn, would reduce the recordings to compact discs that are then stored in the clerk's office and available to any member of the public. Additionally, any member of the public may request transcripts of court proceedings. Ms. Faulkner identified an agreed order filed on August 6, 2015, which ordered the defendant to appear in the Williamson County Circuit Court for a hearing on her probation violation on September 3, 2015. Ms. Faulkner also identified the four probation violation warrants filed in the defendant's case.

         Ms. Faulkner identified a copy of the docket book for the Williamson County Circuit Court for September 3, 2015. The docket book included a clerk's handwritten note that a "forfeit and capias was issued and a $50, 000 bond was set" in the defendant's case. She also identified copies of the Order for Forfeiture and Conditional Judgment and the Capias issued on September 9, 2015. Ms. Faulkner testified that copies of each were sent to the defendant's last known address. Ms. Faulkner identified a copy of the document executed by bondsman Hope Redden of Grumpy's Bail Bonding and signed by a deputy sheriff, which document indicated that the defendant was surrendered to the Williamson County Sheriff at 9:30 a.m. on October 2, 2015. The document was signed by the defendant at 9:43 a.m. on October 2, 2015. Ms. Faulkner, who had personally witnessed the defendant's signature on at least one occasion and had observed it on other documents, said that the defendant's signature on the October 2, 2015 document matched the defendant's signature on the other documents in the court's records.

         The State then offered into evidence a copy of the transcript of court proceedings on September 3, 2015. Following an objection from the defendant, the court went through the transcript line by line to determine which portions would be available as exceptions to the hearsay rule. Those portions contained the following exchange:

THE CLERK: #46, State of Tennessee versus Anna Chick.
MS. CHICK: My lawyer got called down to another Courtroom. He will be right back.
THE COURT: All right, I will mark your case for discussion, Ms. Chick, thank you.

         At noon on September 3, 2015, the court took a "one hour" lunch recess. The court later issued a capias and order for forfeiture and conditional judgment.

         Ms. Faulkner conceded during cross-examination that nothing in any of the exhibits indicated to the defendant that she should return to court at a specific time on September 3, 2015, after she had appeared at the call of the docket.

         During redirect examination, Ms. Faulkner testified that she assisted the defendant on July 16, 2015, in connection with the probation violation warrants filed in the defendant's case. On that date, Ms. Faulkner explained to the defendant that she was required to appear on August 6, 2015, to answer the charges in the violation warrants. Ms. Faulkner also said that she told the defendant that she was to appear at 9:00 a.m. unless the defendant wanted appointed counsel, in which case she should appear at 8:30 a.m. She said that court typically started at 9:00 a.m. each day. Ms. Faulkner also testified that it was the normal practice for the court to issue "a forfeit and capias" when individuals failed to appear as scheduled.

         Attorney Shane McNeill testified that he was appointed to represent the defendant on charges that she violated the terms of the probationary sentence imposed for her felony convictions of TennCare Fraud. He identified his signature as the defendant's attorney on an agreed order resetting the defendant's case from August 6, 2015, to September 3, 2015. ...


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