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State v. Vincent

Court of Criminal Appeals of Tennessee, Nashville

September 28, 2017

STATE OF TENNESSEE
v.
DOUGLAS ARTHUR VINCENT

          Assigned on Briefs July 19, 2017

         Appeal from the Circuit Court for Sequatchie County No. 2015CR78 Thomas W. Graham, Judge

         The defendant, Douglas Arthur Vincent, appeals his Sequatchie County Circuit Court guilty-pleaded conviction of rape, claiming only that the trial court erred by imposing the maximum available sentence. Discerning no error, we affirm.

         Tenn. R. App. P. 3; Judgment of the Circuit Court Affirmed

          B. Jeffrey Harmon, District Public Defender, for the appellant, Douglas Arthur Vincent.

          Herbert H. Slatery III, Attorney General and Reporter; Clark B. Thornton, Assistant Attorney General; J. Michael Taylor, District Attorney General; and Steven H. Strain, Assistant District Attorney General, for the appellee, State of Tennessee.

          James Curwood Witt, Jr., J., delivered the opinion of the court, in which John Everett Williams and Timothy L. Easter, JJ., joined.

          OPINION

          JAMES CURWOOD WITT, JR., JUDGE

         Originally charged with one count each of the aggravated rape, incest, and aggravated sexual battery of his adult daughter, D.V., [1] the defendant pleaded guilty to a single count of the lesser included offense of rape as a Range II offender, with the length of service of the sentence to be determined by the trial court following a sentencing hearing. The State summarized the facts of the offense at the guilty plea submission hearing:

[I]f this matter came to trial, the State would be calling Keith Herron, who is now with [the] Tennessee Bureau of Investigation ["TBI"] as its primary law enforcement witness, although other officers did work on this. The State would be showing that on April 14, 2015, in Sequatchie County officers were dispatched to . . . meet with the victim . . . [on an] allegation of a sexual assault that had occurred in the Deer Head community . . . . The victim was taken to the sheriff's department, or followed the officers to the sheriff's department. She did make a statement to law enforcement that her biological father, [the defendant], had sexually penetrated her by force . . . .
From there the victim was taken to the Rape Crisis Center in Chattanooga. She was examined by . . . Bonnie Kidd[, who] would testify that she has been through the appropriate training, that she is a licensed nurse in the State of Tennessee, [and] has also received specialized training in forensic nursing. She examined the victim in this case. She would testify that [the victim] suffered from bruising in the vaginal area. Also that there was evidence of the [p]etechiae, which [are] broken blood capillaries in the vagina. Nurse Kidd would testify that this indicates that . . . [the victim's] vagina was not ready for sexual intercourse and that . . . these findings are consistent with the victim being forcibly raped. She also prepared a rape kit. She took swabs from the victim. Collected clothing et cetera. That she placed those [items] into evidence at the Rape Crisis Center. . . . Agent Herron would testify that he went by the Rape Crisis Center several days later, picked up the rape kit, and submitted it to the [TBI] along with . . . buccal swabs from the victim as well as from the defendant.
TBI Agent Gregory Foster would testify that he is a forensic scientist with the [TBI], has testified as an expert, and would be qualified to testify as an expert witness in the area of forensic biology. He would testify that - that on anal swabs, vaginal swabs, and also the underwear from the victim that sperm, that the DNA would identify as coming from the [d]efendant . . . were found.
The victim would testify that . . . she was with her father on that particular night. That, at the preliminary hearing she stated that he did stuff that no father should do to his child. She went on to describe that [the defendant] without her consent sexually penetrated her, and that this occurred in Sequatchie County.
She would also testify that [the defendant] was her biological father, and that she had been taken by her mother, I believe, to Texas, [and] had a very limited relationship with him for a number of years. She's approximately 22 years of age when this happened. That she had come to Sequatchie County partly in the hope of having a relationship ...

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