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State v. Burton

Court of Criminal Appeals of Tennessee, Nashville

August 25, 2017

STATE OF TENNESSEE
v.
JAMES W. BURTON

          Assigned on Briefs August 8, 2017

         Appeal from the Criminal Court for Fentress County No. 2015-CR-146 E. Shayne Sexton, Judge

         A Fentress County jury convicted the Defendant of perjury, and the trial court sentenced him to serve eleven months and twenty-nine days on supervised probation. On appeal, the Defendant asserts that the evidence is insufficient to support the jury's verdict against the Defendant for perjury. After review, we affirm the trial court's judgment.

          Thomas Harding Potter, Jamestown, Tennessee, for the appellant, James W. Burton.

          Herbert H. Slatery III, Attorney General and Reporter; Brent C. Cherry, Assistant Attorney General; Jared R. Effler, District Attorney General; and David Pollard and Tessa Lunceford, Assistant District Attorneys General, for the appellee, State of Tennessee.

          Robert W. Wedemeyer, J., delivered the opinion of the court, in which D. Kelly Thomas, Jr., and J. Ross Dyer, JJ., joined.

          OPINION

          ROBERT W. WEDEMEYER, JUDGE

         I. Facts

         This case arises from testimony given at an order of protection hearing. The Defendant filed an order of protection against Faye Barna. Based upon the Defendant's testimony at the hearing, a Fentress County grand jury indicted the Defendant for aggravated perjury.

         A. Order of Protection Hearing

          As relevant to this appeal, we include the Defendant's testimony from the October 28, 2015 order of protection hearing.

I don't know if you're aware of my case, but I've just spent the last year and a half in jail for false statements that Ms. Barna and her friends have made.
I have a -- on October 1st, approximately 7:40 a.m., Ms. Barna drove by my place of work, gave me the finger twice, and -- and gave me the sign of a gun as though - as if she was shooting at me.
Now, I have -- on other occasions, I have here bills from Jamestown hospital on some broken ribs that she had assaulted me in the past.
I, also, have a list. I -- I pleaded to a -- a violation of an Order of Protection, because I was not allowed to turn my guns in. And the reason I didn't get to turn my guns in was because Ms. Barna had hidden them. I have a list that she gave -- that she gave the sheriff.

         The Defendant began listing multiple weapons that were "missing." When asked how this was relevant to the basis of the order of protection and his fear of Ms. Barna, he responded:

[I] was saying I was in fear of my life. I hate to admit it. We used to shoot a lot together, and she's probably a better shot than I am. I ...

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