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State v. Hooper

Court of Criminal Appeals of Tennessee, Knoxville

December 13, 2017

STATE OF TENNESSEE
v.
MICHAEL LEE HOOPER

          September 19, 2017 Session

         Appeal from the Circuit Court for Blount County No. C-14211 David R. Duggan, Judge

         The Defendant, Michael Lee Hooper, stipulated that he violated the terms of his probation by being arrested for possession of a Schedule II substance with the intent to sell or deliver it and for maintaining a dwelling for controlled substance use or sales, for stopping payment of his court costs, and for testing positive for cocaine. The trial court found that the Defendant had violated the terms of his probation and ordered that he serve his sentence in confinement. On appeal, the Defendant contends that the trial court erred when it sentenced him to serve his sentence because this was his first violation in thirteen years of probation. After review, we affirm the trial court's judgment.

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

          Robert W. White, Maryville, Tennessee, for the appellant, Michael Lee Hooper.

          Herbert H. Slatery III, Attorney General and Reporter; Katherine C. Redding, Assistant Attorney General; Michael L. Flynn, District Attorney General; and Matthew L. Dunn, Assistant District Attorney General, for the appellee, State of Tennessee.

          Robert W. Wedemeyer, J., delivered the opinion of the Court, in which Norma McGee Ogle and Timothy L. Easter, JJ., joined.

          OPINION

          ROBERT W. WEDEMEYER, JUDGE.

         I. Facts

         This case arises from the Defendant's drug-related convictions in 2003. On June 30, 2003, the Defendant was convicted of possession of a Schedule II controlled with the intent to sell or deliver, possession of a Schedule VI controlled substance with the intent to sell or deliver, possession of a Schedule IV controlled substance with intent to sell or deliver, and possession of drug paraphernalia. The trial court placed the Defendant on probation for two consecutive eight-year terms. The first eight-year term expired on June 30, 2011, and the second eight-year term began. On March 22, 2016, almost thirteen years after his probation began, the Defendant's probation officer filed a probation violation warrant. The warrant alleged that the Defendant had failed to obey the law by being arrested for possession of a Schedule II controlled substance for resale within 1000 feet of a drug-free school zone and for maintaining a dwelling for controlled substance sales or use. The warrant further alleged that the Defendant had tested positive for cocaine on March 11, 2016 and that he had failed to pay court costs totaling $2, 519.00.

         At the hearing on the probation violation, the Defendant stipulated to all of the grounds for a material violation. Nathan Payne, an officer with the Blount County Sheriff's Office, testified that he went to the Defendant's residence and executed a search warrant, a result of which he found 2.6 grams of crack cocaine, a small amount of marijuana, and drug paraphernalia. During the search, officers also found almost $1, 188.00, $1, 000.00 of which was in the Defendant's wallet. In the Defendant's bedroom, officers found digital scales, sandwich bags, copper screening, corner baggies of cocaine, marijuana in a corner baggie, and a metal crack pipe. Officer Payne said that his investigation revealed that the Defendant was unemployed at the time of his arrest. The Defendant also told officers that multiple people came to his home often to use illegal narcotics. Officer Payne said that the Defendant's home was within 1000 feet of a daycare center.

         During cross-examination, Officer Payne testified that he was unsure whether the Defendant was receiving disability benefits at the time of his arrest. He also was unsure whether the Defendant was renting out a room in his house and receiving payments from another individual.

         Robert McGill, the Defendant's probation officer, testified that the Defendant violated his probation by being arrested for possession of a schedule II narcotic for resale within 1, 000 feet of a drug-free zone and for maintaining a residence for controlled substance use or sales. The Defendant further violated his probation by testing positive for cocaine on March 11, 2016, and failing to pay his court costs, totaling $2, 519. Mr. McGill said that the Defendant signed a form admitting to cocaine use after the March 2016 drug screen.

         During cross-examination, Mr. McGill testified that he had not actually met with the Defendant because he had recently gained the Defendant as a supervisee after the Defendant's last probation officer retired. Mr. McGill agreed that his office began supervising the Defendant in August 2007 and that the Defendant had not violated his probation until March 22, 2016. Mr. ...


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