Court of Criminal Appeals of Tennessee, Nashville
Assigned on Briefs February 15, 2017
from the Criminal Court for Davidson County Nos. 2011-D-2935,
2012-A-24 Cheryl A. Blackburn, Judge
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.
R. App. P. 3 Appeal as of Right; Judgment of the Criminal
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
T. Woodall, P.J., delivered the opinion of the court, in
which Robert W. Wedemeyer and Timothy L. Easter, JJ., joined.
T. WOODALL, PRESIDING JUDGE.
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
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.
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 ...