Court of Criminal Appeals of Tennessee, Nashville
Session: July 18, 2017
from the Circuit Court for Dickson County No. 2015-CR-243
Larry Wallace, Judge
Corey E. Huddleston, pleaded no contest to sexual battery on
February 8, 2016. As a result of the no contest plea, he was
sentenced to one year of incarceration and placed on the sex
offender registry. Defendant sought to withdraw his no
contest plea, and the trial court denied the motion.
Defendant appeals the denial of his motion to withdraw his
plea. We affirm the trial court's decision.
Leonard G. Belmares II, Charlotte, Tennessee (on appeal) and
Jake Lockhart (at plea hearing), District Public Defender,
for the appellant, Corey E. Huddleston.
Herbert H. Slatery III, Attorney General and Reporter; M.
Todd Ridley, Assistant Attorney General; Ray Crouch, District
Attorney General; and Carey Thompson, Assistant District
Attorney General, for the appellee, State of Tennessee.
Timothy L. Easter, J., delivered the opinion of the court, in
which James Curwood Witt, Jr., and John Everett Williams,
TIMOTHY L. EASTER, JUDGE
and Procedural Background
was indicted by a Dickson County grand jury with one count of
aggravated burglary and one count of sexual battery. The
State alleged that Defendant broke into a family dwelling in
Dickson County, entered the bedroom of a minor boy, and
touched the boy's genitals. On February 8, 2016,
Defendant entered a no contest plea to sexual battery and
received a one-year sentence in the Tennessee Department of
Correction to be served concurrent to Defendant's
sentences from cases in the Dickson Municipal Court. In
exchange for the plea, the aggravated burglary charge was
dismissed. During Defendant's plea hearing, his attorney,
Jake Lockhart, the Public Defender for the 23rd Judicial
District of Tennessee, was not present. Dawn Kavanagh, an
assistant public defender, stood in on behalf of Mr.
Defendant was entering his plea, it became evident that
Defendant was not aware that he was going to be placed on the
sex offender registry. After hearing that he will be placed
on the sex offender registry, Defendant stated,
"What's that? They didn't tell me what that
is." At that point, Ms. Kavanaugh explained
that being on the sex offender registry is similar to being
on probation and that Defendant will have to check-in around
his birthday every year. Ms. Kavanaugh further stated that
Defendant would have to disclose to the sex offender registry
where he was living and where he was working. She also
stated, "I think that you do have to pay for it."
She goes further to tell him about certain jobs involving
children that he cannot obtain, places around children where
he cannot live, and other restrictions that he would
encounter while on the sex offender registry. She even stated
that the sex offender registry is very "onerous, "
but that it was part of the plea agreement.
trial court asked Defendant if he would like more time to
consult with his lawyer about the plea, and Defendant asked
if that would affect whether the plea would get done that
day. The trial court indicated that it was unclear if the
plea would be done that day if Defendant wanted to further
consult with his attorney, and then Defendant responded,
"Just run it, man. . . . Just do it. Just do it."
After a brief exchange, the trial court inquired, "So,
you want to go forward?" Defendant responded,
"Yes." The trial court confirmed by asking,
"Are you sure?" Defendant responded, "Yes
sir." Defendant went on to indicate that he wanted to go
forward with the plea knowing that he would be placed on the
sex offender registry and agreed that he was entering the
plea voluntarily. Defendant told the trial court that he
pleaded "no contest."
days later, Defendant filed a pro-se motion to withdraw his
guilty plea. Defendant argued that he should be permitted to
withdraw his guilty plea because he did not realize that he
would be placed on the sex offender registry. The trial court
appointed Defendant an attorney, and a hearing was held on
November 16, 2016.
hearing, Defendant testified that he did not "want to
plead guilty to nothing because [he] didn't do
nothing." Defendant also testified that he
"didn't know nothing about no sex offender
registry." Defendant stated that he "would have
never, ever signed [his plea agreement] if [he] had known
that [he] had to do all this." On cross- examination,
Defendant admitted that it was explained to him by the judge
that he was going to be on the sex offender registry for ten
years. However, Defendant contended that it was not an
Kavanaugh and Mr. Lockhart both testified at Defendant's
hearing regarding the withdrawal of his guilty plea. Neither
Ms. Kavanaugh nor Mr. Lockhart could independently recall
facts that differed from the audio recording of the plea
colloquy. Ms. Kavanaugh added that she did not provide
Defendant with the standard form that contained information
about the sex offender registry. Mr. Lockhart admitted that
he did not discuss the ...