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State v. Lyczkowski

Court of Criminal Appeals of Tennessee, Nashville

October 16, 2017

STATE OF TENNESSEE
v.
STEPHEN ALEXANDER LYCZKOWSKI

          Assigned on Briefs June 27, 2017 at Knoxville

         Appeal from the Circuit Court for Maury County No. 24677 David L. Allen, Judge

         The Defendant, Stephen Alexander Lyczkowski, entered a guilty plea in the Maury County Circuit Court to domestic aggravated assault with the length of the sentence to be determined by the trial court. Following a hearing, the trial court imposed a sentence of ten years. On appeal, the sole issue presented for our review is whether the trial court imposed an excessive sentence. The judgment of the trial court is affirmed.

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

          Brandon E. White, Columbia, Tennessee, for the Defendant-Appellant, Stephen Alexander Lyczkowski.

          Herbert H. Slatery III, Attorney General and Reporter; Clark B. Thornton, Senior Counsel; Brent A. Cooper, District Attorney General; and Dan J. Runde, 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., JJ., joined.

          OPINION

          CAMILLE R. McMULLEN, JUDGE

         On September 22, 2016, the Defendant entered a guilty plea as a Range II, multiple offender to domestic aggravated assault for stabbing the victim, his then-girlfriend, Melissa Malone, in the ear with a pair of scissors. The terms of his plea agreement required the Defendant to serve his sentence in confinement but reserved the length of the sentence to be determined by the trial court after a hearing. The State also agreed to run the Defendant's five-year sentence in an unrelated case concurrently with the sentence imposed in the instant case.[1]

         At the November 4, 2016 sentencing hearing, Officer Alicia Helton, an employee of the Tennessee Department of Correction, testified that she prepared the Defendant's presentence report, which was admitted as an exhibit. The presentence report reflects the Defendant's criminal history in Tennessee as follows: aggravated assault, false imprisonment, two misdemeanor drug possessions, and two misdemeanor domestic assaults. It further showed that the Defendant's probation had been previously revoked and that he was on probation at the time of the instant offense. Officer Helton testified that she also confirmed several Florida convictions referenced by the State in their notice of intent to seek enhanced punishment. The Florida convictions were as follows: possession of a controlled substance, felony battery, resisting arrest, sale of a controlled substance, multiple convictions for possession of marijuana, and aggravated assault.

         Documents confirming that the Defendant attended and completed various education classes in Florida were also included and referenced in the presentence report. Defense counsel conceded that the Defendant was on probation for aggravated assault at the time of the instant offense; however, defense counsel objected to the trial court's reliance on any other convictions submitted by the State because they were not provided with certified copies of the convictions. The trial court sustained the Defendant's objection regarding the Florida convictions but overruled the objection with respect to the Defendant's Tennessee convictions. On cross-examination, Officer Helton confirmed that the Defendant had received his general equivalency diploma and completed several vocational classes.

         The victim's mother testified that on October 10, 2015, she took her daughter to the emergency room because the victim was having trouble breathing. The victim suffered from a partially collapsed lung, bruising on her face from a prior altercation with the Defendant, and blood was coming out of her left ear. A nurse suspected that the victim had been beaten and called the police. The victim was later transferred to another hospital where she remained for five days. Shortly after being released from the hospital, the victim was readmitted to another hospital and eventually placed on life support due to "bleeding on [her] brain." Several photographs taken of the victim in the hospital were admitted into evidence.

         Asked what affect, if any, that this offense has had on her, the victim, and the victim's children, the victim's mother replied,

Well, [the victim] is always asking me why did God keep me alive. And I think part of the reason, and my belief is, so that she can make sure this doesn't happen to another woman. ...

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