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.

Williams v. State

Court of Criminal Appeals of Tennessee, Jackson

December 5, 2017

RICCO WILLIAMS
v.
STATE OF TENNESSEE

          Assigned on Briefs November 7, 2017

         Appeal from the Circuit Court for Lauderdale County No. 8856 Joe H. Walker, III, Judge

         Ricco Williams, the Petitioner, was convicted of various charges, and on appeal, this court and the Tennessee Supreme Court affirmed three convictions of especially aggravated kidnapping of three minor victims accomplished with a deadly weapon, aggravated burglary, aggravated robbery accomplished with a deadly weapon, and aggravated assault. The Petitioner timely filed a petition for post-conviction relief, which the post-conviction court denied. On appeal, the Petitioner asserts that trial counsel's performance was deficient because he failed to: (1) request fingerprint testing on several items of evidence; (2) file a motion to suppress the introduction of these items at trial; (3) request a mistrial when two potential jurors stated during voir dire that they recognized the Petitioner from his prior incarceration; (4) allow the Petitioner to negotiate directly with the State regarding plea offers; and (5) move to dismiss the indictment "because one count contained an inaccurate conviction." The Petitioner asserts that he was prejudiced by these deficiencies because "[t]he trial evidence circumstantially tied the [Petitioner] to the crime" and "anything trial counsel could do to refute the circumstantial evidence would be crucial for the jury to consider." The Petitioner additionally asserts that, had he "prevailed in a Motion to Suppress or Motion to Dismiss the Indictment[, ] he would have prevailed at trial." After a thorough review of the facts and applicable case law, we affirm.

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

          Christy Cooper Davis, Greenfield, Tennessee, for the appellant, Ricco Williams.

          Herbert H. Slatery III, Attorney General and Reporter; Clark B. Thornton, Senior Counsel; Mark E. Davidson, District Attorney General; and Julie Pillow, Assistant District Attorney General, for the appellee, State of Tennessee.

          Robert L. Holloway, Jr., J., delivered the opinion of the court, in which James Curwood Witt, Jr., and D. Kelly Thomas, Jr., JJ., joined.

          OPINION

          ROBERT L. HOLLOWAY, JR., JUDGE

         I. Factual and Procedural Background

         In State v. Williams, the Tennessee Supreme Court summarized the factual and procedural history of the Petitioner's case as the following:

The [Petitioner], along with two accomplices, broke into a family's home while they were sleeping. Brandishing weapons, the intruders forced the family members to remain in the living room while they ransacked the home. The intruders later fled with money and jewelry. At trial, a [State v. White, 362 S.W.3d 559 (Tenn. 2012)] jury instruction was neither requested nor given. The jury convicted the [Petitioner] of numerous charges, including five counts of especially aggravated kidnapping of the husband, wife, and three children; aggravated burglary of the husband's residence; and two counts of aggravated robbery of the husband and wife. The Court of Criminal Appeals affirmed the convictions for especially aggravated kidnapping, aggravated burglary, and one count of aggravated robbery as to the husband and modified the conviction of aggravated robbery of the wife to aggravated assault. On review, we remanded the case for consideration in light of White. The Court of Criminal Appeals affirmed the convictions of especially aggravated kidnapping as to the three children, but, in light of White and State v. Cecil, 409 S.W.3d 599 (Tenn. 2013), reversed the convictions of especially aggravated kidnapping as to the husband and wife and remanded those charges for a new trial.

468 S.W.3d 510, 511-12 (Tenn. 2015).

         Post-Conviction Proceedings

         The Petitioner filed a timely pro se petition for post-conviction relief. At the post-conviction hearing, the Petitioner testified that he met with trial counsel four or five times prior to trial for thirty to forty-five minutes. He stated that he was with his wife in Decatur, Georgia, at the time of the offenses, but trial counsel informed him that it would not be in his best interest to assert an alibi defense. He also alleged that, during voir dire, two potential jurors stated that they knew the Petitioner from a previous period of incarceration. He explained that he was prejudiced by trial counsel's failure to request a mistrial after the potential jurors' statement because trial counsel selected jurors from the jury pool that heard the potential jurors' statements. The Petitioner also testified that he did not receive discovery from trial counsel and that trial counsel failed to file a motion to suppress or object to the admission of several pieces of evidence, including a wallet, [1] a tire iron, a handkerchief, and a firearm magazine. He explained that these pieces of evidence were moved to different locations before they were photographed and tagged by law enforcement for identification. He also stated that the photographs of the crime scene showed that non-law enforcement individuals were inside the crime scene during the investigation. Additionally, the Petitioner stated that the State introduced a prior booking photograph into evidence to establish that he had previously worn a different hair style. He stated that trial counsel's failure to object to the admission of this photograph prejudiced him because the booking photograph damaged his reputation with the jury.

         Further, the Petitioner testified that trial counsel failed to file a motion to dismiss the indictment because several counts mistakenly listed convictions from Illinois. The post-conviction court noted that count ten of the indictment, possession of a firearm having been previously convicted of a felony, was not read to the jury.[2] The Petitioner asserted that trial counsel failed to request that several pieces of evidence be tested for fingerprints, including the tire iron, the firearm magazine, the wallet, and the handkerchief. He also stated that he requested to negotiate for a plea directly with the State, but trial counsel advised him that he should not speak to the State directly. Lastly, the Petitioner stated that he asked trial counsel for an "evidentiary hearing[, ]" but he never received a hearing.

         On cross-examination, the Petitioner agreed that the State offered a plea offer of twelve years at 100% service while the Public Defender's Office represented him and that he did not accept that plea offer. The Petitioner denied that trial counsel informed him of other plea offers. He agreed that trial counsel filed a notice of alibi that named the Petitioner's wife as a potential alibi witness. The Petitioner denied that his wife testified at a pre-trial hearing that she was not with the Petitioner while the offenses were committed. He agreed that evidence was presented at trial that the wallet that was found at the crime scene could not be tested for fingerprints because it was wet when it was found. The Petitioner asserted that trial counsel did not spend enough time preparing for trial, particularly in preparing to cross-examine law enforcement witnesses about their failure to utilize proper techniques when they secured and investigated the crime scene. He agreed 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.