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State v. McDonald

Court of Criminal Appeals of Tennessee, Nashville

October 12, 2017

STATE OF TENNESSEE
v.
GREGORY RICARDO MCDONALD III

          Assigned on Briefs April 26, 2017 at Knoxville

         Appeal from the Circuit Court for Coffee County No. 40, 443F Vanessa A. Jackson, Judge.

         Following a bench trial, the Defendant, Gregory Ricardo McDonald III, was convicted of one count of criminal impersonation, a Class B misdemeanor; two counts of forgery of $500 or less, a Class E felony; and one count of identity theft, a Class D felony. See Tenn. Code Ann. §§ 39-14-105, -14-114, -14-150, -16-301 (2012). The trial court subsequently imposed a total effective sentence of twelve years. In this appeal as of right, the Defendant contends (1) that the evidence was insufficient to sustain his convictions and (2) that his statement to police should have been excluded because "there was not an adequate waiver executed in acknowledgement of his" Miranda v. Arizona, 384 U.S. 436 (1966), warnings. Discerning no error, we affirm the judgments of the trial court.

         Tenn. R. App. P. 3 Appeal as of Right; Judgments of the Circuit Court Affirmed

          John E. Nicoll, District Public Defender; Jesse Stockwell, Assistant District Public Defender (at trial); and C. Brent Keeton, Manchester, Tennessee (on appeal), for the appellant, Gregory Ricardo McDonald III.

          Herbert H. Slatery III, Attorney General and Reporter; Ruth Ann Thompson, Senior Counsel; Charles Craig Northcott, District Attorney General; and Marla R. Holloway, Assistant District Attorney General, for the appellee, State of Tennessee.

          D. Kelly Thomas, Jr., J., delivered the opinion of the court, in which Robert L. Holloway, Jr., and Robert H. Montgomery, Jr., JJ., joined.

          OPINION

          D. KELLY THOMAS, JR., JUDGE.

         FACTUAL BACKGROUND

          Greta Curbow testified at trial that she was a supervisor at the Tennessee Department of Safety and Homeland Security's Driver Services Center in Tullahoma, Tennessee. Ms. Curbow reviewed an application for a driver license that was submitted at the Driver Services Center on September 10, 2012. The name listed on the application was Brian Lyle McDonald. The application was also signed Brian Lyle McDonald. For proof of identity, it was noted on the application that a certified California birth certificate for Brian Lyle McDonald had been presented. The application also noted that the social security number provided on the form matched the name and date of birth for Brian Lyle McDonald.

         Ms. Curbow testified that a learner permit was issued that day because there was no one available at the Driver Services Center to administer the required road test for a driver license. The name Brian Lyle McDonald and the social security number provided were not in the Department of Safety and Homeland Security's database, so a new license number was issued for the learner permit. The learner permit was signed Brian Lyle McDonald using a computer signature pad at the Driver Services Center. Ms. Curbow identified the Defendant as the man in the photograph on the learner permit issued under the name Brian Lyle McDonald. Ms. Curbow admitted that she did not personally assist the Defendant with the application or speak to the Defendant on September 10, 2012.

         Detective Jennifer West of the Murfreesboro Police Department (MPD) testified that she knew the Defendant and interviewed him about the learner permit. Det. West recalled that she Mirandized the Defendant before interviewing him. Det. West explained that she turned the rights waiver form toward the Defendant and read it to him. Det. West further explained that she waited for the Defendant to acknowledge each right before moving on to the next one. Det. West believed that the Defendant understood his rights. Det. West admitted that the Defendant had signed the rights waiver form on the "name printed" line. However, Det. West testified that signing on the wrong line was a common mistake. A video recording of the interview was played for the trial court. The Defendant told Det. West that he got the learner permit in an attempt to help him find employment because his status as a registered sex offender made it hard for him to get a job.

         Rick Jones testified that in 2012, he was employed in the Tennessee Highway Patrol's identity crimes unit. Mr. Jones was contacted by the MPD after the Defendant was arrested and his fingerprints did not match the name on the learner permit he provided the arresting officer. Mr. Jones confirmed the Defendant's fingerprints and that Brian Lyle McDonald was an actual person. However, Mr. Jones admitted that he was unable to locate or speak to Brian Lyle McDonald.

         Based upon the foregoing, the trial court convicted the Defendant of criminal impersonation, two counts of forgery of $500 or less, and identity theft. Following a sentencing hearing, the trial court sentenced the Defendant to six months and imposed the statutorily mandated fine of $500 for the criminal impersonation conviction. The trial court sentenced the Defendant to six years for each of the forgery convictions and twelve years for the identity theft conviction. The trial court ordered all of the Defendant's sentences to run concurrently with his sentence for identity theft, for a total effective sentence of twelve years. This timely appeal followed.

         ANALYSIS

         I. Sufficiency of the Evidence

         The Defendant contends that the evidence was insufficient to sustain his convictions. Regarding his criminal impersonation conviction, the Defendant argues that there was no evidence that he intended to injure or defraud the State of Tennessee because he sought to "simply have a form of identification . . . [so] he could obtain a job and a legal source of income." Likewise, the Defendant argues that there was no evidence that he intended to defraud or harm the State of Tennessee with respect to the forgery convictions. Regarding the identity theft conviction, the Defendant again argues that there was no evidence that he intended to commit an unlawful act by obtaining a learner's permit with the personal identifying information of another person. The Defendant also argues that there is no proof that Brian Lyle McDonald did not consent to the ...


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