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Clark v. State

Court of Criminal Appeals of Tennessee, Nashville

October 6, 2017

STEPHEN NATHAN CLARK, II
v.
STATE OF TENNESSEE

          Assigned on Briefs February 15, 2017

         Appeal from the Criminal Court for Davidson County Nos. 2011-D-2935, 2012-A-24 Cheryl A. Blackburn, Judge

         Petitioner, Stephen Nathan Clark, II, was indicted in case number 2011-D-2935 by the Davidson County Grand Jury for conspiracy to sell 300 pounds or more of marijuana and 300 grams or more of cocaine in a drug-free school zone. Petitioner was subsequently indicted in case number 2012-A-24 for possession with intent to sell or deliver not less than 0.5 ounces nor more than 10 pounds of marijuana in a drug-free school zone and possession with intent to sell or deliver 26 grams or more of cocaine in a drug-free school zone. Petitioner entered guilty pleas in both cases to conspiracy to sell 26 grams or more of cocaine and possession with intent to deliver 26 grams or more of cocaine. Petitioner agreed to serve 13 years in confinement as a multiple offender. Petitioner filed a petition for post-conviction relief, alleging that he received the ineffective assistance of counsel and that his pleas were unknowingly and involuntarily entered. Following an evidentiary hearing, the post-conviction court denied relief, and after review, we affirm the post-conviction court's judgment.

         Tenn. R. App. P. 3 Appeal as of Right; Judgment of the Criminal Court Affirmed

          Jesse Lords, Nashville, Tennessee, for the appellant, Stephen Nathan Clark, II.

          Herbert H. Slatery III, Attorney General and Reporter; Katherine C. Redding, Assistant Attorney General; Glenn R. Funk, District Attorney General; and Megan King and Ed Ryan, Assistant District Attorneys General, for the appellee, State of Tennessee.

          Thomas T. Woodall, P.J., delivered the opinion of the court, in which Robert W. Wedemeyer and Timothy L. Easter, JJ., joined.

          OPINION

          THOMAS T. WOODALL, PRESIDING JUDGE.

         Guilty plea hearing

         At Petitioner's plea hearing, the State provided the following factual basis for Petitioner's guilty pleas:

[I]n case 2011-D-2935 . . . in September of 2008 through February of 2011 police and fellow DEA agents uncovered a drug conspiracy involving and headed up by Codefendant Macon Espana. Espana was distributing marijuana and cocaine throughout Middle Tennessee that was transported in on his orders. During investigation the police obtained permission from the courts to engage in wiretap intercepts of various telephones. During those intercepts they intercepted telephone conversations from which they concluded that [Petitioner] was receiving from time to time cocaine supplied by Codefendant Macon Espana or other coconspirators at his direction. The cocaine would be fronted on some occasions, on some occasions it would be paid for but distributed by [Petitioner].
In case 2012-A-24 in which the Court had previously conducted a[n] evidentiary hearing on a suppression motion the facts show that on February 7th, 2011, [Petitioner] was stopped for a traffic violation, speeding. [Petitioner] had 4.3 ounces of cocaine in his possession, twenty-nine grams of marijuana, and a quantity of money.

         Post-conviction hearing

         Petitioner testified that he was initially represented on these charges by retained counsel, who later withdrew. Trial counsel was then appointed to represent Petitioner, and she visited him once at the Criminal Justice Center. Petitioner also spoke to trial counsel in court when his cases were set for trial. Trial counsel visited Petitioner on another occasion to convey a plea offer, and Petitioner "didn't want it." Petitioner testified that he "had trouble talking to her and [his] family did" after he rejected the State's plea offer. Petitioner testified that trial counsel "got upset" when he rejected the offer because she had to "come up with a defense for [him, ]" and trial counsel "didn't want to prepare anything to fight for [him] to go to trial." Petitioner testified that after trial counsel stopped communicating with him, he decided to accept the plea offer. Petitioner asked another attorney to contact trial counsel to have her contact Petitioner so that Petitioner could discuss the plea offer with trial counsel. Petitioner's initial retained counsel had filed a ...


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