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Maxwell v. State

Court of Criminal Appeals of Tennessee, Nashville

August 4, 2017

CHARLES PHILLIP MAXWELL
v.
STATE OF TENNESSEE

          Assigned on Briefs June 20, 2017

         Appeal from the Criminal Court for Davidson County No. 2008-D-3374 Monte D. Watkins, Judge

         The Petitioner, Charles Phillip Maxwell, appeals the Davidson County Criminal Court's denial of his petition for a writ of error coram nobis from his driving with a suspended license conviction and his thirty-day sentence, which was suspended to probation after twenty-four hours in confinement. The Petitioner contends that the court erred by denying relief and improperly ordered him to pay court costs associated with his petition. We affirm the judgment of the coram nobis court.

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

          Charles Phillip Maxwell, Nashville, Tennessee, Pro Se.

          Herbert H. Slatery III, Attorney General and Reporter; Alexander C. Vey, Assistant Attorney General; Glenn Funk, District Attorney General; and Roger D. Moore, Assistant District Attorney General, for the appellee, State of Tennessee.

          Robert H. Montgomery, Jr., J., delivered the opinion of the court, in which Alan E. Glenn, J., joined. Timothy L. Easter, J., not participating.

          OPINION

          ROBERT H. MONTGOMERY, JR., JUDGE

         This case relates to a traffic stop during which the Petitioner was issued a citation for driving a motor vehicle when his license was suspended. State v. Charles Phillip Maxwell, No. M2009-02323-CCA-R3-CD, 2011 WL 345872 (Tenn. Crim. App. Feb. 1, 2011), perm. app. denied (Tenn. May 26, 2011). The Petitioner appealed, and in its opinion affirming the conviction, this court summarized the facts as follows:

Officer Coleman Womack of the Metro Nashville Police Department testified that on March 5, 2008, he was assigned to the traffic division and was traveling on Bell road in Davidson County when he observed the Defendant not wearing a seatbelt. The Defendant was driving a 1987 black Chevrolet Celebrity. Officer Womack stopped the Defendant and asked for his driver's license. The Defendant told him that he did not have a driver's license. Officer Womack "ran a status check" on the Defendant for "his driver's license status" and learned that the Defendant's driver's license had been suspended. Officer Womack gave the Defendant a citation and instructed the Defendant to pull into a Kroger parking lot and have someone drive him home.
On cross-examination, Officer Womack admitted that he initially drafted a citation for "driver's license required." Officer Womack testified that after he learned that the Defendant's license had been suspended, he corrected the citation before giving the citation to the Defendant. Officer Womack explained that the computer had been slow and that sometimes "it takes a minute to come back." Officer Womack testified that even though the status check revealed that the Defendant's license had been suspended, it was possible that the Defendant had never actually applied for a driver's license. He explained that if the Defendant had been stopped and cited for not having a driver's license, the department may have assigned the Defendant a driver's license number in order to document that the Defendant's privilege to drive had been suspended. However, he could not testify as to whether that had occurred in the Defendant's case because the records merely reflected that the Defendant's license had been suspended.
Kenneth Wade Birdwell of the Tennessee Department of Safety testified that he was the director of the financial responsibility office, which maintained the driving records in Tennessee. Mr. Birdwell testified that the Defendant's driver's license had been suspended and that his status had not been changed on March 5, 2008. Mr. Birdwell stated that according to the records maintained by the department, the Defendant applied for a driver's license and that a license was issued to the Defendant on August 31, 1989. On cross-examination, Mr. Birdwell admitted that he was only able to testify that the identifying information contained in the documents matched the Defendant, not that the Defendant was actually the person referenced in the records. Mr. Birdwell also testified that a person's privilege to drive may be suspended even if a person did not have an actual driver's license.

Id. at *1.

         The Petitioner included in his error coram nobis petition and in an appendix to his appellate brief a petition for post-conviction relief, which he purports to have filed with the court. However, the petition does not reflect a post-conviction court filed stamp. The post-conviction petition alleged that appellate counsel provided ineffective assistance because counsel did not raise allegations disputing the trial court's jurisdiction and the validity of the driver's license laws. The Petitioner stated that ...


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