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State v. Jones

Court of Criminal Appeals of Tennessee, Knoxville

January 19, 2018

STATE OF TENNESSEE
v.
CHRISTOPHER JONES

          Assigned on Briefs May 17, 2017

         Appeal from the Criminal Court for Sullivan County No. S64928 James F. Goodwin, Judge

         Defendant, Christopher Jones, appeals the trial court's order requiring him to serve in confinement his effective two-year sentence resulting from his guilty pleas to reckless aggravated assault, reckless endangerment, driving under the influence of an intoxicant (DUI), simple possession of buprenophine (a Schedule III drug), and simple possession of marijuana (a Schedule VI drug). Upon reviewing the applicable law, we affirm the judgments of the trial court.

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

          Ricky A.W. Curtis, Blountville, Tennessee, for the appellant, Christopher Jones.

          Herbert H. Slatery III, Attorney General and Reporter; Clark B. Thornton, Senior Counsel; Barry Staubus, District Attorney General; and Benjamin Rowe, 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

         Guilty Pleas

         At the guilty plea hearing the State and Defendant stipulated that the summary of the facts contained in the presentence report, as taken from the narrative/case notes of Officer K. Frederick of the Bristol Police Department, was accurate and sufficient to provide a factual basis for the offenses of reckless aggravated assault, reckless endangerment, driving under the influence (DUI), simple possession of buprenorphine, a Schedule III drug, simple possession of marijuana, and failure to exercise due care while driving a motor vehicle:

On 9/28/14 at 6:00 p.m. I, Officer Frederick, responded with Officer Joe Newman to Highway 394 at White Top[] Rd. in reference to a traffic accident. Upon arrival, I saw a black Chevrolet pickup truck with the NC registration of BZ2597 on the shoulder of the west bound lane. Underneath the front of the pickup truck was a white Suzuki motorcycle with the TN registration of 63ZK00 belonging to [Defendant]. The driver of the Chevy pickup was identified as Amy Thompson. Her husband, Brandon Lee Thompson, was in the front seat passenger seat while their 12[-] year old son was in the back[] seat on the driver-side of the vehicle. None of the occupants of the Chevy pickup reported having injuries. [Defendant] was standing on the hillside on the other side of the guardrail at the right side passenger door of the pickup smoking a cigarette. A female who later identified herself as Angela Whitaker was on the ground behind and to the right of the vehicle. The fire department was already on the scene and was tending to a female. It was determined that [Defendant] was driving a Suzuki motorcycle while Angela Whitaker was on the back of the motorcycle. There was significant debris from the motorcycle that was scattered at the scene. I tried to speak to [Defendant] but he seemed to be in a daze and was unable to state what happened. He did not express any concern for the female who had been his passenger. It was unknown at that time if his condition was due to the accident or if he was under the influence of alcohol/or drugs. Even the first responders with the fire department believed his behavior was odd and not common with somebody involved in a accident. [Defendant] was transported to BRMC by Rescue 2. Officer Bush responded to the emergency room to follow up with [Defendant] who refused to submit willingly to a blood test. Officers had spoken to [Defendant] when he had responded to the scene of a motorcycle accident at 2010 Weaver Pike the night before to pick up the motorcycle which was involved in that accident (OCAC2014006339). The owner of the motorcycle, Steven Bryant, was found to be in possession of methamphetamine, and a small amount of green plant like substance that had the appearance and smell of marijuana. The family of [Defendant] remained on the scene after he was transported to the hospital and kept asking about getting the motorcycle and his personal belongings. Due to his suspicious circumstances, Sgt. Matthew Cousins then requested that officer Chesney Griffin respond to the scene to have K9 Ruger conduct an open air sniff of the area. At the request of Sgt. Still I transported the driver of the Chevy, Amy Thompson, to the hospital for a voluntary blood draw. The blood was collected and I escorted her back to the scene. When I arrived back on the scene Officer Griffin had already had K9 Ruger conduct an open air sniff of the area. She reported K[]9 Ruger alerted on the back seat of the motorcycle. As well as, the area near where [Defendant] was standing. During a search of the area, Officer Keese located what appeared to be a "Joint" which was a green plant like substance that had the appearance and odor of marijuana rolled up in rolling paper. Officer Griffin also reported that K[]9 Ruger was trying to get into the area between the guardrail and the truck. Upon checking this area, Officer Griffin located a cellophane cigarette wrapper that contained three whole pills and one half of a pill all of which were the same in appearance. The round white pills with inscription 54 411 had the appearance identical with that of Suboxone (Schedule III). These items were collected as evidence and are being sent to the TBI Lab for identification. An accident report was also completed.

         Sentencing Hearing

         Trial counsel indicated that the presentence report had been filed and that he had reviewed it with Defendant. He also stated that Defendant agreed to proceed immediately to sentencing. Trial counsel then entered into evidence two letters from ...


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