Court of Criminal Appeals of Tennessee, Knoxville
Session June 27, 2017
from the Criminal Court for Knox County No. 90389 Steven
Wayne Sword, Judge
Defendant, Andre Hill, appeals the Knox County Criminal
Court's revocation of his probation. On appeal, the
Defendant argues that (1) the admission of a witness's
statements at the revocation hearing violated his right of
confrontation; and (2) the trial court abused its discretion
by ordering him to serve his original sentence in
confinement. Upon review, the judgment of the trial court is
R. App. P. 3 Appeal as of Right; Judgment of the Criminal
Hedrick, Knoxville, Tennessee, for the Defendant, Andre Hill.
Herbert H. Slatery III, Attorney General and Reporter;
Zachary T. Hinkle, Assistant Attorney General; Charme Allen,
District Attorney General; and Sara Keith, Assistant District
Attorney General, for the Appellee, State of Tennessee.
Camille R. MCMULLEN, J., delivered the opinion of the court,
in which D. Kelly Thomas, Jr. and Robert L. Holloway, Jr.,
CAMILLE R. McMULLEN, JUDGE
November 28, 2012, the Defendant pled guilty to the sale of a
Schedule II drug. He received an effective eight-year
probationary sentence after service of 180 days'
incarceration. On April 17, 2013, a warrant was filed
alleging that the Defendant had failed to: report to his
probation officer and, therefore, submit to random drug
tests; pay fees to the Supervision and Criminal Injuries
fund; provide verification of a lawful occupation or
work-seeking efforts; and obtain permission before changing
his residence or leaving the state. The warrant alleged that
the Defendant had informed an officer that he had moved to
New York in March 2013. The warrant also alleged that the
Defendant was arrested in Shelby County on February 11, 2013,
for speeding and driving without a valid license.
August 19, 2016, the warrant was amended to further allege
that the Defendant: was arrested in West Virginia on April
28, 2013, for possession of heroin with intent to distribute;
failed to inform his probation officer of this arrest; left
the state on or about April 28, 2013, without his probation
officer's permission; and possessed an illegal drug on or
about April 28, 2013.
September 22, 2016 revocation hearing, Michael Bone, a
probation and parole officer in Knox County, testified that
he began supervising the Defendant in June or July 2016 after
the violation warrant was filed. Officer Bone reviewed the
Defendant's file and supervision history, which showed
that the Defendant was placed on probation in 2012 and
requested a transfer to Shelby County where he was a
resident. The Defendant's request was granted, however,
Officer Bone testified that "[the Defendant] never
reported to that probation officer in Shelby County."
Defense counsel objected to this statement on hearsay and
Confrontation Clause grounds. The trial court overruled the
objection, explaining that, "This is a violation of
probation hearing. Mr. Bone is working with the Tennessee
Department of Corrections, Probation and Parole. Certainly he
knows if anybody's reported."
Bone said that he was notified about the Defendant's
absconder status when the Defendant was arrested in Knox
County in 2016. The Defendant's case was then re-assigned
from the Shelby County probation officer to Officer Bone, who
investigated the Defendant's case and determined that an
amended warrant was necessary because the Defendant had also
been arrested in West Virginia. The parties stipulated that
the West Virginia charges were subsequently dismissed.
his personal interactions with the Defendant, Officer Bone
said that the Defendant had reported as requested but that
his attitude was "somewhat dismissive of all this"
and "[r]esistive . . . to, fundamentally, what . . . the
conditions of probation are." Officer Bone noted that
the Defendant still had not paid his court costs or found
employment but that he had submitted to drug tests and tested
negative. Officer Bone recommended that the Defendant's
probation be revoked or, alternatively, that he be considered
for enhanced probation. On cross-examination, Officer Bone
agreed that the Defendant had attended several meetings while
under Officer Bone's supervision. Officer Bone also
acknowledged that the Defendant had provided paperwork that
showed he was attempting to obtain disability assistance for
an injury that he allegedly suffered in 2015.
conclusion of the hearing, and following the arguments of
counsel, the trial court revoked the Defendant's
probation. Specifically, the court found that "the
[D]efendant violated his probation by changing residence and
not notifying his probation officer, which is, in essence,
absconding." The trial court also noted that,
"Whether or not he's . . . reporting twice a month
now that he's supposed to--the thing is, . . . he
didn't report for three years." Ultimately, the
trial court referred the ...