Court of Criminal Appeals of Tennessee, Nashville
Assigned on Briefs December 13, 2017
from the Circuit Court for Bedford County No. 18461 Franklin
L. Russell, Judge
Jeffrey Carl Shields, pled guilty to one count of burglary
and thirteen counts of forgery in exchange for a total
effective sentence of twelve years as a Range II, multiple
offender. After a sentencing hearing, the trial court denied
alternative sentencing and ordered Defendant to serve his
sentence in incarceration. This appeal followed. After a
review, we determine that the trial court did not abuse its
discretion in denying an alternative sentence where Defendant
was facing additional charges at the time of sentence and
previous attempts at alternative sentencing had failed.
Consequently, the judgments of the trial court are affirmed.
R. App. P. 2 Appeal as of Right; Judgments of the Circuit
Orr Hargrove, District Public Defender, and Michael J.
Collins (on appeal) and Jackson A. Dearing, III (at trial),
Assistant District Public Defenders, for the appellant,
Jeffery Carl Shields.
Herbert H. Slatery III, Attorney General and Reporter; M.
Todd Ridley, Assistant Attorney General; Robert J. Carter,
District Attorney General; and Michael D. Randles, Assistant
District Attorney General, for the appellee, State of
Timothy L. Easter, J., delivered the opinion of the court, in
which Norma McGee Ogle and Camille R. McMullen, JJ., joined.
TIMOTHY L. EASTER, JUDGE
January of 2017, Defendant was indicted for one count of
burglary, one count of theft of property valued under $500,
and twenty-six counts of forgery. At the guilty plea hearing,
the State recounted the factual basis for the pleas as
[B]ack in April of last year, a Mr. James Williams, who I
think is a, on the board or in the leadership of the Church
of the Redeemer here in Bedford County reported that he had
been made aware that a number of checks had been written on
their church bank account that they did not authorize, and
they'd all been cashed at Advance Financial.
An investigation was launched and it was determined that
[Defendant] had been allowed to stay in the sanctuary. He was
homeless, and they were allowing him to stay in the
sanctuary. They also gave him a key that gave access to
another portion of the church, so he could go to the
restroom. [B]ut apparently he had gotten into a portion of
the church he did not have permission to enter into and found
the checkbook. And he took the checkbook or took checks from
the checkbook and began cashing them at Advance Financial. I
believe there's a total of 13 checks, that [ac]counts for
the even number counts of the indictment.
[A]ll the checks were made payable to him. Of course, the
church says they did not authorize those checks to be cashed.
The police department investigated the matter, they
interviewed [Defendant] and he admitted to taking the checks,
filling them out, you know, making them payable to himself
and cashing them at Advance Financial.
to a negotiated plea agreement, Defendant agreed to plead
guilty to one count of burglary and thirteen counts of
forgery in exchange for a sentence of eight years on the
burglary conviction and a sentence of four years on each of
the forgery convictions. The forgery sentences were ordered
to be served concurrently with each other but consecutively
to the burglary sentence, for a total effective sentence of
twelve years at thirty-five percent. The trial court was to
determine the manner of service of the sentence at a
sentencing hearing, the State introduced the presentence
report, detailing Defendant's criminal history, which
started in the early 1990s. Defendant had convictions for
theft of property, possession of prohibited weapons,
accessory after the fact, driving with a suspended license,
evading arrest, casual exchange, violation of the
driver's license law, as well as a pending charge for
possession of marijuana. Defendant admitted that he had
received probation on two prior occasions and violated his
probation. Defendant expressed remorse for having committed
the crimes at issue and apologized to the trial court. At
first, Defendant claimed that he stole the money from the
church to support his family but ultimately admitted that he
committed the crimes as a result of his addiction to drugs
and alcohol. Defendant maintained ...