Assigned on Briefs at Knoxville May 17, 2017
from the Circuit Court for Tipton County No. 8281 Joseph H.
Petitioner, James Hoover, pleaded no contest to vehicular
homicide and vehicular assault. The trial court entered the
sentence agreed to by the parties: twelve years. The
Petitioner then filed a petition for post-conviction relief
in which he alleged that his counsel had been ineffective,
rendering his plea unknowingly and involuntarily entered.
After a hearing, the post-conviction court denied the
Petitioner relief, and after review, we affirm the
post-conviction court's judgment.
R. App. P. 3 Appeal as of Right; Judgment of the Circuit
T. Armstrong, Covington, Tennessee, for the appellant, James
Herbert H. Slatery III, Attorney General and Reporter;
Jonathan H. Wardle, Assistant Attorney General; D. Michael
Dunavant, District Attorney General; and Sean G. Hord,
Assistant District Attorney General, for the appellee, State
W. Wedemeyer, J., delivered the opinion of the court, in
which Thomas T. Woodall, P.J. and John Everett Williams, J.,
W. WEDEMEYER, JUDGE.
20, 2015, the Petitioner pleaded no contest to vehicular
homicide and vehicular assault. At the hearing on the plea,
the State first noted that the incident included four counts:
Count 1 was aggravated vehicular homicide, a Class A felony;
Count 2 was DUI, per se, a Class A misdemeanor; Count 3 was
Notice of a prior DUI; and Count 4 was vehicular assault, a
Class D felony. The State informed the trial court that the
parties had agreed to allow the Petitioner to plead no
contest in Count 1 to the lesser-included offense of
vehicular homicide, a Class B felony, and in Count 4 to
vehicular assault and that the State would dismiss the
remaining charges. The State also informed the trial court
that the parties had agreed that the Petitioner's
sentence would be ten years, served at thirty percent, for
the Class B felony and two years, served at thirty percent,
for the Class D felony.
State articulated the facts supporting the convictions as
This case stems from a motor vehicle crash that happened on
July 6, 2013, when the THP responded to a motor vehicle crash
near what we know as The Farm Club on Highway 51 here in
From the Investigation the THP did determine that [the
Petitioner] was the unrestrained operator of a 2001 Chevrolet
Impala traveling northbound on U.S. 51 in the southbound
Ray Allen was the unrestrained operator of a 2012 Nissan
Altima that had just entered onto the southbound lane of U.S.
51 coming from a commercial driveway. Antonio Norfolk was an
unrestrained passenger in that right front seat of the 2012
Nissan Altima driven by Ray Allen. Norfolk, Antonio Norfolk,
was killed as a result of the crash.
A sample of [the Petitioner's] blood was collected by the
Regional Medical Center the day of the crash. A search
warrant was obtained for the blood sample. That blood sample
was then given to the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation crime
lab for testing, and it was determined that [the
Petitioner's] blood sample contained 0.26 of ethyl
alcohol. The official toxicology report determined that [the
Petitioner's] blood . . . also contained THC. The driver
of the other car had zero alcohol in his system.
After the impact, Allen's vehicle rotated
counter-clockwise. Allen's vehicle came to a final rest
in the southbound lane of U.S. 51 facing north. At the time
that the two vehicles collided, [the Petitioner], . . . was
traveling a minimum of 71 miles per hour, and Allen, the
driver of the other car who was injured with serious bodily
injury during the crash which would account for the vehicular
assault in Count 2, was traveling at a minimum of 14 miles
It was the conclusion of the THP based upon their
investigation that the crash was the result of [the
Petitioner] operating his vehicle while under the influence
of alcohol, traveling north in the southbound lane of U.S. 51
and causing a head-on ...