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State v. Blackman

Court of Criminal Appeals of Tennessee, Nashville

August 14, 2017


          ASSIGNED ON BRIEFS JUNE 20, 2017

         Appeal from the Circuit Court for Marshall County No. 15-CR-117 Franklin Lee Russell, Judge

         The Defendant, Demarcus Lashawn Blackman, was convicted by a Marshall County Circuit Court jury of aggravated criminal trespass and evading arrest, Class A misdemeanors. See T.C.A. §§ 39-14-406 (2014) (aggravated criminal trespass), 39-16-603 (2014) (amended 2016) (evading arrest). The trial court sentenced him to consecutive terms of eleven months, twenty-nine days for each conviction and ordered the sentence to be served consecutively to an unrelated twelve-year sentence. On appeal, he contends that his sentence is excessive. We affirm the judgments of the trial court.

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

          Donna Orr Hargrove, District Public Defender, and William J. Harold and Michael J. Collins, Assistant District Public Defenders, for the appellant, Demarcus Lashawn Blackman.

          Herbert H. Slatery III, Attorney General and Reporter; Alexander C. Vey, Assistant Attorney General; Robert J. Carter, District Attorney General; and William B. Bottoms, 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 and Timothy L. Easter, JJ., joined.



         The Defendant was charged with aggravated criminal trespass, evading arrest, possession of cocaine with the intent to sell, and possession of cocaine with the intent to deliver. At the trial, Lewisburg Police Sergeant Chris Sawyers testified that on July 3, 2015, at about 2:00 a.m., he saw a car with no license plate light. The car ran a stop sign while making a turn, and Sergeant Sawyers activated his blue lights and siren. He could see two men inside. The driver made two turns and stopped the car two to three minutes later. Before Sergeant Sawyers left his police cruiser, he saw two African-American men leave the car and "[take] off running, " and Sergeant Sawyers called for backup. Sergeant Sawyers described the driver, later identified as the Defendant, who had long dreadlocks and wore a white t-shirt, and the passenger, who had short hair and wore a blue shirt. The Defendant and the other man had run in opposite directions. Sergeant Sawyers noted that the Defendant had looked toward Sergeant Sawyers as he left the car and that he had seen the Defendant's face. Between forty-five minutes and one hour after the initial traffic stop, Sergeant Sawyers went to the rear of an apartment, where Officer Lonnie Cook had detained the Defendant.

         On cross-examination, Sergeant Sawyers testified that the traffic pursuit only spanned two blocks. The camera in Sergeant Sawyers's police cruiser was not working at the time of the incident.

         Lewisburg Police Officer Lonnie Cook testified that when he arrived at the location of the traffic stop, Sergeant Sawyers described the two men, and Officer Cook and other officers searched unsuccessfully for the men. As Officer Cook drove, two young women flagged him down. He said that after speaking to the women, he looked for a "dark colored" Nissan Altima driven by a Caucasian man who was accompanied by an African-American man, who had long dreadlocks and wore a white shirt and matched the description provided by Sergeant Sawyers. Officer Cook said that about 2:30 a.m., he saw a Nissan Altima matching the description provided by the two women and that he followed the vehicle. The Nissan pulled over onto the side of the road, and Officer Cook pulled his police cruiser alongside it. Officer Cook saw the driver, a Caucasian man, and the passenger, who was later identified as the Defendant, an African-American man who had long dreadlocks. The Defendant exited the car and ran, and Officer Cook stood beside his police cruiser and shouted at him. The Defendant turned and responded, "Who me?" and Officer Cook told him he wanted to talk. The Defendant ran, and Officer Cook followed and yelled at the Defendant to stop. The Defendant and Officer Cook ran through the backyards of houses and jumped over "fences, little rock walls."

         Officer Cook testified that he lost sight of the Defendant. Officer Cook returned to his police cruiser and saw that the Nissan and its driver were gone. Officer Cook saw the Defendant behind a church, and the Defendant ran again. Officer Cook chased the Defendant toward a nearby apartment complex. He said he saw people inside an apartment pushing the Defendant out of the apartment and the Defendant's throwing something as the Defendant went down concrete steps in front of the apartment. Officer Cook drew his gun, ordered the Defendant onto the ground, and held the Defendant at gunpoint until another officer arrived and Officer Cook could handcuff him. Officer Cook noted that the Defendant threw something about five feet away from where Officer Cook handcuffed him.

         Officer Cook testified that he saw two clear plastic bags containing a white substance on the ground in the area where he had seen the Defendant throw something. The Defendant's cell phone was on the ground near where he had been handcuffed, and Officer Cook noted that the cell phone and plastic bags were dry, although the grass was wet.

         Officer Cook examined the cell phone's text messages to determine to whom the cell phone belonged, and he saw messages addressed to "Gucci." He stated that the Defendant's nickname was Gucci. Officer Cook collected the plastic bags as evidence, the substance inside the bags field tested positive for cocaine, and Officer Cook ordered laboratory testing. He noted ...

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