Searching over 5,500,000 cases.


searching
Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.

McWilliams v. State

Court of Criminal Appeals of Tennessee, Knoxville

November 2, 2017

PHILLIP ALEXANDER MCWILLIAMS
v.
STATE OF TENNESSEE

          Assigned on Briefs September 19, 2017

         Appeal from the Circuit Court for Sevier County No. 19209II Walter C Kurtz, Judge

         Petitioner, Phillip Alexander McWilliams, appeals the denial of his petition for post-conviction relief from his convictions for aggravated domestic assault and reckless endangerment with a deadly weapon. Petitioner argues that he received ineffective assistance of counsel. After a review of the record and the briefs of the parties, we determine Petitioner has failed to establish that he received ineffective assistance of counsel. Accordingly, the judgment of the post-conviction court is affirmed.

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

          William L. Wheatley, Sevierville, Tennessee, for the appellant, Phillip Alexander McWilliams.

          Herbert H. Slatery III, Attorney General and Reporter; Caitlin Smith, Assistant Attorney General; James B. Dunn, District Attorney General; and Rolfe Straussfogel, Assistant District Attorney General, for the appellee, State of Tennessee.

          Timothy L. Easter, J., delivered the opinion of the court, in which Robert W. Wedemeyer, J., joined. Norma McGee Ogle, J., not participating.

          OPINION

          TIMOTHY L. EASTER, JUDGE

         Factual and Procedural Background

         Petitioner was indicted by a Sevier County grand jury for aggravated domestic assault, reckless endangerment with a deadly weapon, and possession of drug paraphernalia. The State alleged that Petitioner pointed a firearm at the victim and discharged the firearm in another direction while Petitioner, the victim, and a child were inside the house. On April 28, 2014, Petitioner entered a guilty plea to aggravated domestic assault and reckless endangerment with a deadly weapon and received an effective sentence of ten years to be suspended after serving one year in incarceration. In exchange for the plea, the possession of drug paraphernalia charge was dismissed.

         On April 27, 2015, Petitioner filed a timely pro se petition for post-conviction relief. Counsel was appointed, and on September 12, 2016, petitioner amended his petition for post-conviction relief, alleging that he received ineffective assistance of trial counsel. An evidentiary hearing was held on January 10, 2017.

         According to Petitioner, trial counsel met with him multiple times prior to the entry of the plea. First, Petitioner and trial counsel met in a parking lot and discussed Petitioner's case for approximately thirty minutes. Later, Petitioner and trial counsel met for a second time in a parking lot, and Petitioner retained trial counsel during that meeting. Petitioner claims that, other than one phone call from trial counsel seeking payment of a retainer fee, Petitioner had no contact with trial counsel between the date of the second meeting and the scheduled date for a preliminary hearing. Trial counsel claimed that he "probably" talked to Petitioner on the phone. However, Petitioner maintains that he attempted to contact trial counsel "dozens" of times, but to no avail.

         Trial counsel testified that he told the general sessions court at a bond revocation hearing that Petitioner's actions-pointing the firearm at the victim and firing a shot in another direction-were a result of Petitioner's emotional reaction to walking into his house and finding his wife with another man. According to trial counsel, he did this to illustrate to the court that Petitioner was in a situation that caused him to experience intense distress. While speaking about the bond revocation hearing, trial counsel said, "There wasn't a question of guilt or innocence. He had discharged a firearm, a shotgun, inside the house. The only issue was what his punishment was going to be, and I was trying to get him probation." Despite trial counsel's efforts, the general sessions court revoked Petitioner's bond and held him without bond. According to Petitioner's assertions, trial counsel advised the Petitioner to waive his preliminary hearing because he would not get as good of a deal if he burdened the court with a preliminary hearing. On January 31, 2014, Petitioner waived his preliminary hearing.

         Petitioner claims that he spoke with trial counsel at his arraignment in circuit court. During that conversation, Petitioner told trial counsel about his need to see a doctor, false information provided by Petitioner's wife, and coaching provided to Petitioner's wife by the police. Petitioner said that ...


Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.