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State v. Ray

Court of Criminal Appeals of Tennessee, Knoxville

March 2, 2018


          Session Date: October 10, 2017

         Appeal from the Criminal Court for Knox County No. 108994 Bobby R. McGee, Judge

         Pursuant to a plea agreement, the Defendant, Sidney B. Ray, entered a guilty plea to ten felonies and one misdemeanor and received an effective sentence of fourteen years, with the manner of service to be determined by the trial court. Following a sentencing hearing, the trial court denied the Defendant's request for an alternative sentence and ordered his sentence to be served in confinement. In this appeal, the Defendant contends that the trial court erred in determining the manner of service of his sentence. Upon review, we affirm the judgments of the trial court.

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

          Forrest L. Wallace, Knoxville, Tennessee, for the Defendant, Sidney Brian Ray.

          Herbert H. Slatery III, Attorney General and Reporter; Katherine C. Redding, Assistant Attorney General; Charme P. Allen, District Attorney General; and Nate Ogle, Assistant District Attorney General, for the Appellee, State of Tennessee.

          Camille R. McMullen, J., delivered the opinion of the court, in which James Curwood Witt, Jr., and Robert L. Holloway, Jr., JJ., joined.



         Between April 19 and May 25, 2016, the Defendant engaged in a crime spree involving the following offenses: aggravated burglary by entering Jennifer Ray Gregg's residence and taking property valued over $20, 000 (count one); theft by entering his parents' residence and taking property valued over $11, 000 (count two); theft by having his father pawn a previously rented Stihl leaf blower and Stihl chainsaw (count three); burglary of a vehicle by taking Janice Edwards's wallet while she was pumping gas (count four); theft by pawning to Payday Express Pawn $230 worth of items purchased on a closed bank account (count five); forgery by writing his father's name on a check from a closed bank account to purchase a ring, valued at $4, 895, from Rick Terry Jewelry Design (count six); theft by taking Christine Cotton's purse, valued at $690, from her shopping cart at Kroger (count seven); identity theft by using Cotton's credit cards to make purchases, valued at $773.09, at various locations (count eight); and evading arrest and reckless endangerment by refusing to comply with an officer's command to exit his car and fleeing at high speed through a crowded parking lot (counts nine and ten). Count 11 was a misdemeanor, for which the State did not offer any supporting facts.

         In his December 30, 2016 Sentencing Memorandum, the Defendant requested probation "with any additional conditions the Court[ ] deems necessary for [him] to be supervised in the community." Further, the Defendant asserted that "a sentence on probation coupled with a halfway house and continued treatment, would provide the least severe measure necessary to comport with the Sentencing Act." No mitigating or enhancement factors were identified by Defendant's counsel or the State.

         A sentencing hearing was conducted on January 20, 2017, at which time the State introduced a presentence investigation report ("presentence report"), a report from the Board of Probation and Parole regarding the Defendant's suitability for Enhanced Probation with Conditions ("Enhanced Report"), and a Community Alternatives to Prison Program ("CAPP") Report. Significantly, all of the alternative sentencing agencies had declined to accept the Defendant as an appropriate candidate for their programs. The presentence report showed that the Defendant had a criminal history consisting of multiple thefts, forgery, multiple assaults, and reckless driving. He had been previously placed on probation which was twice revoked. The Defendant had also previously entered two different drug treatment programs and failed to complete them. Finally, the Defendant completed a local drug court program.

         Cynthia Turner Ray, the Defendant's mother, testified that the Defendant began to use marijuana in the sixth grade and progressed to OxyContin and codeine. She wanted to have social contact with the Defendant but did not want him in her home. She confirmed that the Defendant was receiving treatment for Attention Deficit Disorder ("ADD") and depression in jail. However, she did not think prison programs were very helpful to drug addicts because they were too short and did not provide addicts the help they needed. She said that an outpatient or inpatient program would be more beneficial for the Defendant to integrate back into society. Ray acknowledged that the Defendant's prior probation had been revoked. She was not aware of the ten-month substance abuse program in which he participated while in prison or that he failed to complete some treatment programs. She also acknowledged that the Defendant had relapsed after receiving drug treatment.

          The State recognized that, since June, the Defendant had completed the Intensive Treatment Program ("ITP") provided by the sheriff's office, and the ITP completion certificate was introduced as exhibit 4. Defense counsel argued that the Defendant committed these crimes over the course of sixty days due to addiction, debt, depression, and anxiety. Additionally, defense counsel noted that since the Defendant was receiving medication at the detention facility, his mental health issues had "sort of righted." Defense counsel acknowledged that the Defendant's probation had been revoked previously but nevertheless requested the court to sentence the Defendant to a year of split confinement or to allow him to stay in custody and transfer to a halfway house at a later time.

         The State argued against probation or split confinement due to the nature and circumstances of the offenses and the Defendant's extensive criminal history. At the conclusion of the hearing and following the arguments of counsel, the trial court ...

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