Assigned on Briefs August 15, 2017
from the Circuit Court for Lauderdale County No. 9132 Joe H.
Walker, III, Judge
Gregory Nelson, appeals as of right from the denial of
post-conviction relief following an evidentiary hearing.
After a review of the briefs of the parties, the
post-conviction court's order, and the record, we affirm
the judgment of the post-conviction court.
R. App. P. 3 Appeal as of Right; Judgment of the Circuit
T. Armstrong, Covington, Tennessee, for the appellant,
Herbert H. Slatery III, Attorney General and Reporter; David
H. Findley, Senior Counsel; D. Michael Dunavant; District
Attorney General; and Julie K. Pillow, Assistant District
Attorney General, for the appellee, State of Tennessee.
T. Woodall, P.J., delivered the opinion of the court, in
which Camille R. McMullen and Robert L. Holloway, Jr., JJ.,
T. WOODALL, PRESIDING JUDGE
a jury trial, Petitioner and his wife were both convicted of
aggravated child abuse and of first degree felony murder
during the perpetration of aggravated child abuse. The victim
was their two-and-one-half-month-old daughter. This court
affirmed the convictions of Petitioner and his wife.
State v. Gregory Nelson and Tina Nelson, No.
W2014-00494-CCA-R3-CD, 2015 WL 2128598, at *1 (Tenn. Crim.
App. May 5, 2015). The opinion set forth a detailed
description of the evidence introduced at trial. In summary,
direct evidence established the guilt of Petitioner and his
wife beyond a reasonable doubt. Id. at 1-21. The
forensic pathologist who performed the autopsy testified that
the victim's cause of death was a closed head injury from
a "traumatic injury." Id. at 3. Also,
there were healing fractures on six ribs on the left lateral
side, five ribs on the right lateral side, and eight ribs on
the left posterior side. Id. The forensic
pathologist reported that the multiple rib fractures
supported the conclusion that the brain injury of "acute
intracranial hemorrhage" was the result of trauma.
Id. at 4. Testimony, including that of Petitioner,
established that only Petitioner or his wife could have
caused the described injuries "because they were the
only people who took care of the victim."
Raised on Appeal
has presented three issues on appeal, all related to his
contention that he is entitled to post-conviction relief
based upon trial counsel rendering ineffective assistance of
counsel. His arguments are that trial counsel: (1) failed to
consult with Petitioner regarding the evidence and failed to
allow Petitioner to participate in his own defense; (2)
failed to present expert testimony to rebut the testimony of
the forensic pathologist and also offer alternative causes
for the victim's injuries and to present other, unnamed,
experts to "mitigate Petitioner's role" in the
victim's death; and (3) failed to subpoena exculpatory
the first issue, Petitioner testified on direct examination
by his post-conviction counsel that trial counsel met with
Petitioner only "one time for about five minutes before
we done [sic] the trial." Petitioner testified that
trial counsel also never communicated with him by letters or
phone calls. Petitioner testified that one witness who could
challenge the State's proof was not called as a witness
by trial counsel. However, Petitioner candidly admitted that
if the witness had testified, he ...