Court of Criminal Appeals of Tennessee, Nashville
Assigned on Briefs October 18, 2017
from the Circuit Court for Montgomery County No. 41300063
William R. Goodman III, Judge
Joshua Matthew Cline, appeals the denial of his petition for
post-conviction relief from his April 2013 convictions for
two counts of rape of a child. 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.
R. App. P. 3 Appeal as of Right; Judgment of the Circuit
Gregory D. Smith, Clarksville, Tennessee, for the appellant,
Joshua Matthew Cline.
Herbert H. Slatery III, Attorney General and Reporter; Renee
W. Turner, Senior Counsel; John W. Carney, District Attorney
General; and Robert Nash, Assistant District Attorney
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.,
TIMOTHY L. EASTER, JUDGE
and Procedural Background
March 4, 2008, Petitioner raped his adopted daughter, a six
year-old child. State v. Joshua Matthew Cline, No.
M2013-01846-CCA-R3-CD, 2014 WL 1281526, at *1 (Tenn. Crim.
App. Mar. 31, 2014), perm app. denied (Tenn. Aug.
27, 2014). The rape was recorded on video, and Petitioner was
convicted in federal court of production of child pornography
and sentenced to twenty-seven years and three months for that
offense. Id. In state court, Petitioner entered an
open guilty plea to two counts of rape of a child, and the
trial court sentenced him to consecutive terms of twenty-five
years in the Tennessee Department of
Correction. Id. Petitioner challenged the
imposition of consecutive sentencing as an abuse of
discretion by the trial court, but this Court affirmed the
trial court's judgments. Id.
Petitioner's plea hearing, the prosecutor stated that
Petitioner's conviction was based upon a video containing
footage of the victim being raped by Petitioner.
Subsequently, the trial court asked Petitioner if he
understood that he would be pleading to multiple felonies and
that the trial court would make a sentencing determination
independently. Petitioner responded, "Yes, Your
Honor." The trial court informed Petitioner of his right
to a jury trial, his right to confront witnesses, his right
to call witnesses, his right to remain silent, his right to
testify, and his right to an appeal. Each time that the trial
court informed Petitioner of a right, the trial court asked
if Petitioner understood that he would be giving up that
right by pleading guilty. Each time, Petitioner stated,
"Yes, Your Honor." The trial court asked Petitioner
if he committed each rape, and both times Petitioner replied,
"Yes, Your Honor." Then, the trial court found
Petitioner guilty of two counts of rape of a child and
dismissed the other charges brought against him.
sentencing hearing, the Petitioner's ex-wife testified
about the impact that Petitioner's action had on both her
and the victim. With regard to the victim, she stated,
[It has] affected every part of her life as well. She not
only lost her childhood, she's lost her innocence, she
lost her purity, she lost her father[-]figure as well, and
she has no concept of what that's supposed to be really.
She's [a] preteen now and trying to have her understand
what a relationship is supposed to be like is very difficult
and it's a day-to-day struggle with us.
also testified at the sentencing hearing and spoke about his
struggles during childhood and his military service. Trial
counsel asked, "Why did you plead guilty?"
Petitioner responded, "Because I really don't want
my family to go through this. . . . I want them to be able to
move on; I want to move on. . . . I want to do what I can to
help them recover and be able to move on in life." When
asked if he had anything else to say, Petitioner said,
"Nothing coming to mind." After argument by the
State and trial counsel, the trial court sentenced Petitioner
to twenty-five years on each count and ...