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State v. Richards

Court of Criminal Appeals of Tennessee, Nashville

November 14, 2017

STATE OF TENNESSEE
v.
RANDY JOE RICHARDS

          Assigned on Briefs October 18, 2017

         Appeal from the Circuit Court for Marshall County No. 2015-CR-50 Forest A. Durard, Jr., Judge

         Defendant, Randy Joe Richards, was convicted of theft of property valued over $10, 000 but less than $60, 000, vandalism less than $500, and driving on a revoked license. As a result, he was sentenced to an effective sentence of fifteen years as a Range III, persistent offender. On appeal, Defendant challenges the sufficiency of the evidence and his sentence. After a review, we determine that the evidence was sufficient to support the convictions and that the trial court did not abuse its discretion in sentencing Defendant to fifteen years in incarceration.

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

          Donna Hargrove, District Public Defender; Michael J. Collins (on appeal and at trial) and James Tucker (at trial), Assistant District Public Defenders, for the appellant, Randy Joe Richards.

          Herbert H. Slatery III, Attorney General and Reporter; Linda D. Kirklen, Assistant Attorney General; Robert J. Carter, District Attorney General; and Weakley E. Barnard and William Bottoms, Assistant District Attorneys General, for the appellee, State of Tennessee.

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

          OPINION

          TIMOTHY L. EASTER, JUDGE

         Defendant was indicted by the Marshall County Grand Jury for theft of property valued at more than $10, 000 but less than $60, 000, vandalism less than $500, and driving on a revoked license. Robert Paul Chumbley, the co-owner of K and R Trucking LLC, reported one of his trucks missing on January 28, 2015. The truck, a red 2005 International tractor trailer, was worth between $12, 500 and $15, 000 at the time it went missing. The truck had been driven by Mr. Chumbley that day. He described it as being in "perfect working condition" when he parked the truck on Old Belfast Road between 4:00 and 5:00 p.m. About an hour after the truck was reported missing, it was spotted traveling on Old Belfast Road toward South Ellington Parkway in Marshall County. Officer Clyde Ragsdale initiated a stop of the truck. Defendant was driving the truck. During the stop, Officer Ragsdale discovered that Defendant's driver's license was revoked. Defendant maintained that he did not steal the truck. Rather, Defendant claimed that he was performing maintenance on the truck for his employer, Steve Bowden.

         Mr. Chumbley came to the scene and identified the truck as the one he reported missing. When he inspected the truck, he noticed smoke coming from the rear of the truck. He was able to ascertain that the smoke was coming from the brake pads and drums and noticed that all four rear tires were flat. The damage was most likely caused by the failure to release the air brakes before driving. Mr. Chumbley estimated the cost of replacing the tires was $800 and the brake pads between $80 and $85. In addition to the cost of the repairs, K and R Trucking LLC lost business during the time that the truck was being repaired.

         At trial, Mr. Bowden, an attorney and retired Marshall County General Sessions Judge, testified that he used to own a trucking company but that he was not operating the business at the time of Defendant's arrest. Additionally, Mr. Bowden testified that Defendant had never performed maintenance on his trucks. There was additional testimony that Old Belfast Road was a route that Defendant could take to get to his residence. Defendant did not testify or present any proof.

         The jury found Defendant guilty as charged in the indictment. After preparation of a presentence report, the trial court held a sentencing hearing. At the hearing, the trial court determined that Defendant had at least five prior felony convictions in the same class or the next two classes lower than the conviction offense, classifying Defendant as a Range III Persistent Offender. The trial court enhanced Defendant's sentence based on a determination that Defendant had criminal convictions in addition to those necessary to establish the range. See T.C.A. § 40-35-114(1). The trial court noted Defendant's lengthy criminal history of at least thirty-four misdemeanors, which included multiple convictions for driving under the influence. In addition, the trial court determined that Defendant had previously failed to comply with conditions of release into the community based in part on the fact that Defendant's parole had been revoked on at least two occasions. See T.C.A. § 40-35-114(8). Finally, the trial court determined that Defendant was on parole at the time of the current offenses. See T.C.A. § 40-35-114(13)(b). The trial court noted that Defendant's criminal conduct did not involve serious bodily injury but concluded that the maximum sentence for a C felony was "the least amount of incarceration to serve the principles of the Sentencing Reform Act." As a result, the trial court sentenced Defendant to concurrent sentences of fifteen years for theft of property, eleven months and twenty-nine days for vandalism, and six month for driving on a revoked license. Defendant filed a timely notice of appeal.

         Analysis

         I. Sufficiency ...


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