Court of Criminal Appeals of Tennessee, Nashville
Assigned on Briefs November 14, 2017
from the Circuit Court for Robertson County No.
74CC4-2016-CR-194 William R. Goodman III, Judge
Defendant, Joseph D. Sexton, entered an open guilty plea to
one count of attempted aggravated sexual battery. The trial
court held a sentencing hearing and sentenced the Defendant
to five years of incarceration. The Defendant appeals,
arguing that the trial court erred in calculating the length
of the sentence based on the enhancing and mitigating factors
presented and that the trial court erred in denying
alternative sentencing. After a thorough review of the
record, we determine that there was no abuse of discretion,
and we affirm the trial court's judgment.
R. App. P. 3 Appeal as of Right; Judgment of the Circuit
Garth Click, Springfield, Tennessee, for the appellant,
Joseph Daniel Sexton.
Herbert H. Slatery III, Attorney General and Reporter; Ruth
Anne Thompson, Senior Counsel; John W. Carney, District
Attorney General; and Jason White, Assistant District
Attorney General, for the appellee, State of Tennessee.
Everett Williams, J., delivered the opinion of the court, in
which Norma McGee Ogle and Alan E. Glenn, JJ., joined.
EVERETT WILLIAMS, JUDGE.
AND PROCEDURAL HISTORY
Defendant was charged with three counts of aggravated sexual
battery for crimes committed against his eleven-year-old
daughter. The State entered into a plea agreement with the
Defendant in which the State agreed to dismiss two of the
counts in exchange for the Defendant's guilty plea to one
count of the lesser included offense of attempted aggravated
sexual battery. The parties agreed that the sentence would be
determined by the trial court and that the Defendant should
be sentenced as a standard, Range I offender, with a release
eligibility of thirty percent.
hearing on the guilty plea, the prosecutor recited the
factual basis of the plea: that the Defendant had touched the
victim's vaginal area while she was under thirteen years
of age. He asserted that the Defendant had acknowledged his
crime to the victim's mother. The Defendant agreed that
he was guilty of the crime.
sentencing hearing, the victim testified to the details of
the crime. The Defendant and his wife adopted the victim and
her older brother when the victim was three years old, and
the victim knew them as her parents. When the victim was
eleven, she woke up in the middle of the night and became
aware that the Defendant had undone her bra and was touching
her breasts. The Defendant then began to touch her vaginal
area, and she "prayed and … told him to
victim testified that her brother found out about the abuse
and was very angry with the Defendant. The victim's
brother began to sleep next to her bed every night in an
effort to protect her. One day, the victim came home from
school to discover that the Defendant had sent her brother
away to live with the children's biological aunt, who had
remained in frequent contact with them despite the adoption.
year after the events that were the basis of the guilty plea,
the victim's mother sent her to work with the Defendant,
who was a handyman, as a punishment. The Defendant
"asked [her] to do something, " and she refused.
The Defendant confessed this incident to his wife before the
victim had a chance to tell her. Although the ...