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Wright v. State

Court of Criminal Appeals of Tennessee, Jackson

January 16, 2018

DWAYNE WRIGHT
v.
STATE OF TENNESSEE

          Assigned on Briefs May 17, 2017

         Appeal from the Criminal Court for Shelby County No. 11-05627 W. Mark Ward, Judge

         Petitioner, Dwayne Wright, was convicted of one count of aggravated rape and sentenced to twenty-four years in the Department of Correction. On appeal, this court affirmed his conviction and sentence. State v. Dwayne Wright, No. W2013-00433-CCA-R3-CD, 2014 WL 1168579 (Tenn. Crim. App. March 21, 2014). Petitioner filed a timely petition for post-conviction relief. Following a hearing on the petition, the post-conviction court denied relief. On appeal, Petitioner argues that he received ineffective assistance of counsel because trial counsel failed to call Eric Hulbert as a witness at trial. After a thorough review, we affirm the judgment of the post-conviction court.

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

          Eric Mogy, Memphis, Tennessee, for the appellant, Dwayne Wright.

          Herbert H. Slatery III, Attorney General and Reporter; Sophia S. Lee, Senior Counsel; Amy P. Weirich, District Attorney General; and Omar Malik, 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.

          OPINION

          THOMAS T. WOODALL, PRESIDING JUDGE

         Background

         The facts as set forth by this Court on direct appeal are as follows:

The victim testified that on the evening of April 9, 2002, she, her then-boyfriend, now husband, and her friend, Eva Lundahl, had dinner together at the home they shared. The group consumed a couple of bottles of wine with their dinner. At some point during the evening, a friend called Ms. Lundahl, and they made plans to go and sing kar[a]oke at Alfred's on Beale Street. The victim decided to join them, but her boyfriend remained home with the victim's child. The group arrived at Alfred's around 10:00 p.m., with the victim wearing black pants, a black shirt, and ankle boots. Underneath her clothes, she wore a bra and pantyhose, but she did not wear panties.
Upon their arrival, the group sat at a table and ordered several alcoholic beverages. More people they knew joined them, and the group continued to drink and began dancing together. No drugs were taken, and no one was seeking to purchase them. Although she had been drinking alcohol, the victim was not intoxicated to the point that she had trouble walking or slurring her words. Ms. Lundahl eventually got onto the stage to sing kar[a]oke. Around midnight, the victim proceeded toward the women's restroom. In the area near the restrooms at Alfred's "[t]here's a doorway you walk in [and] the women's bathroom is to the right [and] the men's [bathroom is] to the left." The area was dark and there was "a little hallway [with] a cigarette machine . . . between the" restroom doorways.
As the victim approached the area, she stopped because she believed that the defendant, whom she did not know, seemed to be saying something to her. She could not hear what the defendant was saying, so the victim leaned forward to hear. At that point, the defendant grabbed the victim and pushed her through the door of the men's restroom and into a stall inside the room. The victim was approximately five feet tall and weighed around 115 pounds. The defendant was six feet, four inches tall and weighed approximately 295 pounds.
The victim was forced into the handicap stall with her body facing the toilet, with the defendant remaining behind her. The defendant ripped her pants down, ripping the zipper and a hole in her pantyhose. Although the victim was pleading with the defendant to stop, he continued and penetrated her vagina and anus. The victim felt the defendant's hands on the back of her neck and head, and she "felt him inside of her." At some point, the victim heard someone begin to beat upon the stall door. [Defendant] stopped his assault at that point, and he exited the stall. The crying victim pulled her pants up and saw the man who had banged on the door. The man did not speak but "indicat[ed] a sort of shhh sign with [his] mouth." The victim stopped crying, and the man walked her to the restroom door. The victim did not know this man or where he went after she left the restroom. The victim did recall seeing other men in the restroom when she left.
The victim was shocked and scared and did not seek assistance from anyone regarding the rape at that time. She returned to her table and finished her drink. Ms. Lundahl noted a change in the victim's mood upon her return from the restroom. Some time later, the victim asked to leave. At the time the group left Alfred's, the victim had not told anyone that she had been raped.
The group proceeded to a coffee shop called The Map Room. The victim sat with the group, listening to their conversation and drinking coffee. She felt numb, frozen, and did not feel like laughing with her friends. The victim also noted that her rectum was hurting. Ms. Lundahl described the victim during this time as "very blank in the face." The victim and Ms. Lundahl at some point went to the restroom together at The Map Room. The victim urinated, wiped herself, and noticed blood on the tissue, as well as on her clothing. The victim began crying and told Ms. Lundahl what had happened to her at Alfred's. Ms. Lundahl suggested that they call the police or call the victim's boyfriend, but the victim refused to talk to anyone at the time.
Early the next morning, the victim and Ms. Lundahl left The Map Room with Ms. Lundahl's ex-boyfriend and his sister. They returned to the victim's and Ms. Lundahl's residence, arriving at approximately 7:00 a.m. The victim's boyfriend had already gotten her child off to school, and he was not happy that the victim had not called to tell him that she was going to be later than expected in coming home. The victim told her boyfriend nothing about the rape, ...

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