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State v. Crawford

Court of Criminal Appeals of Tennessee, Jackson

November 13, 2017

STATE OF TENNESSEE
v.
RICHARD CRAWFORD

          Session July 11, 2017

         Appeal from the Criminal Court for Shelby County No. 11-02621 James C. Beasley, Jr., Judge

         The Defendant, Richard Crawford, was convicted by a Shelby County jury of especially aggravated robbery, attempted especially aggravated kidnapping, attempted second degree murder, and employing a firearm during the attempted commission of a dangerous felony. On appeal, the Defendant argues that the trial court erred by: (1) determining that alleged prior bad acts of the victim and another witness were inadmissible for impeachment purposes; and (2) preventing the Defendant from subpoenaing the victim to testify a second time about additional prior inconsistent statements. Following our review, we affirm the judgments of the trial court.

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

          Seth M. Seagraves and Michael R. Working, Memphis, Tennessee, for the appellant, Richard Crawford.

          Herbert H. Slatery III, Attorney General and Reporter; Andrew C. Coulam, Assistant Attorney General; Amy P. Weirich, District Attorney General; and Pam Stark, Assistant District Attorney General, for the appellee, State of Tennessee.

          Camille R. McMullen, J., delivered the opinion of the court, in which Norma McGee Ogle and D. Kelly Thomas, Jr., JJ., joined.

          OPINION

          CAMILLE R. McMULLEN, JUDGE

         On April 21, 2011, a Shelby County Grand Jury indicted the Defendant for one count of especially aggravated robbery, two counts of attempted especially aggravated kidnapping, one count of attempted second degree murder, and one count of employing a firearm during the attempted commission of a dangerous felony. The offenses occurred in December 2009 when the victim, Mike Murfik, was attacked at his home.

          The Defendant filed several pretrial motions, including a motion pursuant to Tennessee Rule of Evidence 608(b) requesting the admission of certain prior bad acts of Murfik. In his motion, the Defendant argued that Murfik and his wife, Maria Lopez, owned a night club called "Club Visions" where illegal activity had taken place, including the bribery of three former police officers by Murfik and his brother. The Defendant claimed that this information was "highly probative" of Murfik's truthfulness.

         At an August 21, 2013 hearing on the motion, the Defendant questioned Murfik and Lopez about their participation in the bribes and to determine who owned Club Visions. Murfik testified that he owned the property that Club Visions was located on and that Lopez owned and managed the business. Murfik acknowledged that he had seen police officers receive payments and bribes from someone at Club Visions but denied that he or Lopez paid any of the bribes. Lopez testified similarly and confirmed that she never bribed a police officer. After this testimony, the trial court denied the Defendant's motion because there was no basis to impeach Murfik's or Lopez's credibility since they had denied any responsibility or involvement with the alleged bad acts, and there was no proof presented otherwise.

         The case proceeded to trial on August 27, 2013, and resulted in a mistrial. On September 18, 2014, the Defendant, through new counsel, filed a motion requesting the trial court to reconsider its ruling and to allow the Defendant to again question Murfik and Lopez about the bribes and their ownership of Club Visions. In his motion, the Defendant also requested the admission of "extrinsic evidence through both testimony and legal documentation created by the State proving the perjury and ownership interest of the victims in Club Visions." The trial court again denied the motion by written order, noting that it had previously heard testimony on the issue and that it "did not find by clear and convincing evidence that the victim had committed a crime, a wrong, or a bad act." The court also found that the danger of unfair prejudice outweighed any probative value. The following evidence, as relevant to this appeal, was presented at the Defendant's second trial.

         Trial. Mike Murfik testified that he lived at 4389 Whispering Bend in Memphis and that he was working on the evening of December 7, 2009. Murfik recalled leaving work around 10:00 p.m. and calling his wife before he arrived home. Murfik explained that he always called his wife on his way home because he had been robbed in his driveway before and so his wife "would have the gun ready waiting for [him] to get home . . . [i]n the top window . . . upstairs." After Murfik parked and exited his car, he saw "one person . . . running towards [him] with a gun" and another person coming towards him "from right behind [his] garage." Murfik testified that the first person demanded Murfik's car keys and told the second person to "get the b**** in the car" and "shoot [Murfik]." Murfik said he "let go of the keys" and wrestled with the first attacker for control of the gun. While he was wrestling for the gun, Murfik testified that he heard gunshots and saw his wife shooting. Murfik said that his wife shot the first attacker who "fell down" and then "jumped up and ran."

         Murfik testified that he was shot in the leg and that he did not return to work for "[a]bout six months" due to his leg injury. While he was in the hospital, Murfik identified the Defendant as the first attacker in a photographic lineup. Murfik said that he could identify the Defendant as the first attacker because his "hoodie fell off his head" and because there were ...


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