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State v. Taylor

Court of Criminal Appeals of Tennessee, Knoxville

December 22, 2017


          Assigned on Briefs May 17, 2017

         Appeal from the Criminal Court for Sullivan County No. S66141 James F. Goodwin, Judge

         Defendant, Trevor H. Taylor, pled guilty to three separate sales of cocaine. Corresponding guilty pleas to delivery of cocaine were merged with the sale of cocaine convictions. The negotiated plea agreement set a sentence of three years for each conviction, to be served concurrently with each other for an effective sentence of three years. The manner of service of the sentence was left to the determination of the trial court at a separate sentencing hearing. The trial court ordered the entire sentence to be served by incarceration. Defendant appeals, arguing that the trial court erred by denying "probation or other appropriate alternative sentencing." After review, we affirm the judgments of the trial court.

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

          Stephen M. Wallace, District Public Defender; and William A. Kennedy, Assistant Public Defender, Blountville, Tennessee, for the appellant, Trevor Howard Taylor.

          Herbert H. Slatery III, Attorney General and Reporter; Renee W. Turner, Senior Counsel; Barry Staubus, District Attorney General; and Kent L. Chitwood, Jr., Assistant District Attorney General, for the appellee, State of Tennessee.

          Thomas T. Woodall, P.J., delivered the opinion of the court, in which John Everett Williams and Robert W. Wedemeyer, JJ., joined.



         The record shows that Defendant sold cocaine to the confidential informant on February 4, 2015, on February 5, 2015, and again on February 11, 2015. The sales were monitored by law enforcement agents.

         Defendant's criminal history included thirteen convictions between 1991 and February 2016. Defendant was indicted by the Sullivan County Grand Jury for the offenses in the case sub judice on February 23, 2016. His sentencing hearing was held September 2, 2016, on the same day his guilty pleas were entered.

         The most recent conviction prior to the sentencing hearing was on February 10, 2016, for the offense of assault committed on January 22, 2016. In that case, Defendant received a sentence of 11 months, 29 days, with all but 90 days suspended. He was also ordered to have "A & D" treatment.

         All of Defendant's prior convictions were misdemeanors. The pre-sentence report shows that his first listed conviction in 1991, for vandalism, resulted in a totally suspended sentence of 11 months, 29 days. His additional convictions and sentences are, in chronological order: 2000, DUI, 11 months, 29 days, all but 10 days suspended; 2001, evading arrest, 11 months, 29 days, all suspended; 2001, driving on revoked license, 6 months, all suspended; 2001, DUI, second offense, 11 months, 29 days, all but 47 days suspended; 2001, vandalism, 11 months, 29 days, all suspended; 2003, assault, 11 months, 29 days, all suspended except 10 days; 2005, in Virginia, "embezzlement [of] business" less than $200.00, 12 months, 5 days, suspended, plus 30 days of supervised probation; 2005, driving without "DL/NO INSURANCE, " fine plus court costs; 2006, assault, 11 months, 29 days, all but 45 days suspended; 2006, an additional conviction for assault, 11 months, 29 days, all but 90 days suspended (the second assault in 2006 was committed 15 days after he was convicted on the first assault in 2006); 2011, fraudulent use of credit card, length of sentence not stated but all of it except 60 days was suspended; 2016, the above described offense of assault.

         Clearly, over the period of 1991 through 2016, Defendant received alternative sentences for each of twelve misdemeanor convictions, and he committed the offenses at ages 22, 31, 32, 34, 35, 36, 37, 42, and 47. It is equally clear that alternative sentencing on twelve occasions over 25 years neither rehabilitated nor deterred Defendant from criminal conduct. With that in mind, we summarize the testimony at the sentencing hearing.

         Defendant testified and agreed that his criminal record set forth in the presentence report was correct. He added that he had been incarcerated for 187 days in lieu of bail, pending disposition of the charges to which he had pled guilty. His entire testimony consisted of one and one-half pages of transcript. In his brief direct examination (there was no cross-examination by the State), Defendant set forth the reasons that he should receive alternative sentencing for his effective 3-year sentence. Defendant stated that he was "through with drugs." He added that while incarcerated he had completed a drug and alcohol class. Defendant expressed his intention to enter Tri-Cities Recovery when released. Defendant testified that the gentleman who taught the drug ...

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