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Steed v. State

Court of Criminal Appeals of Tennessee, Jackson

December 19, 2017

TRAVIS STEED
v.
STATE OF TENNESSEE

          Assigned on Briefs November 7, 2017

         Appeal from the Circuit Court for Madison County No. C-15-206 Donald H. Allen, Judge

         Travis Steed ("the Petitioner") petitioned for post-conviction relief from his convictions of first degree felony murder, second degree murder, felony reckless endangerment, convicted felon in possession of a handgun, and attempted second degree murder. Following a hearing, the post-conviction court denied relief. On appeal, the Petitioner claims that he was denied effective assistance of counsel as a result of trial counsel's failure to interview and call certain witnesses that the Petitioner contends were critical to his defense. After a thorough review of the appellate record and applicable law, we affirm the judgment of the post-conviction court.

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

          Colin Morris, Jackson, Tennessee, for the appellant, Travis Steed.

          Herbert H. Slatery III, Attorney General and Reporter; Robert W. Wilson, Assistant Attorney General; Jody Pickens, District Attorney General; and Shaun A. Brown, 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.

         Factual and Procedural Background

         On the night of February 26, 2012, a party at the Karma Lounge in downtown Jackson ended in gunfire, leaving over a dozen people injured and one man, LeCarlos Todd, dead. State v. Travis Lamonte Steed, No. W2014-00146-CCA-R3-CD, 2015 WL 2258405, at *1 (Tenn. Crim. App. May 14, 2015). The Petitioner was indicted by the Madison County Grand Jury for the premeditated first degree murder of Mr. Todd; the first degree felony murder of Mr. Todd in perpetration of the attempted first degree premeditated murder of Triveno Freeman; the attempted first degree premeditated murder of Mr. Freeman; the aggravated assault of Jarvis Rockamore, the aggravated assault of Solomon Robinson; and being a felon in possession of a handgun. Id. Following a jury trial, the Petitioner was convicted of first degree felony murder; second degree murder; felony reckless endangerment; convicted felon in possession of a handgun; and attempted second degree murder. Id. The court sentenced the Petitioner to serve an effective life sentence plus twenty-four years. Id.

         The Petitioner timely filed a pro se "Petition for Post-Conviction Relief, " claiming numerous grounds, most of which involved issues which were raised or could have been raised on direct appeal. Counsel was appointed, but no amended petition was filed. At the post-conviction hearing and on appeal, the Petitioner argued only one ground-that he was denied the effective assistance of counsel because trial counsel failed to interview certain witnesses and to call those witnesses during the trial. The Petitioner claims that the witnesses were critical to his defense.

         Post-Conviction Hearing

         The Petitioner's trial counsel was the only witness called by the Petitioner at the post-conviction hearing. The State called no witnesses.

         Trial counsel testified that he was appointed to represent the Petitioner a few months after the Petitioner was indicted. He filed a motion for discovery and as far as he knew was provided all of the information the State had concerning the case. Either trial counsel or his co-counsel visited the Petitioner about six times while he ...


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