Assigned on Briefs November 7, 2017
from the Criminal Court for Shelby County No. 12-02286 Paula
Petitioner, Allen Craft, appeals from the Shelby County
Criminal Court's denial of his petition for
post-conviction relief. The Petitioner contends that trial
counsel was ineffective (1) for not filing a motion to sever
his case from his codefendant; and (2) for failing "to
introduce expert testimony which would tend to negate the
requisite mental state required for the offense."
Discerning no error, we affirm the judgment of the
R. App. P. 3 Appeal as of Right; Judgment of the Criminal
A. Timmerman, Bartlett, Tennessee, for the appellant, Allen
Herbert H. Slatery III, Attorney General and Reporter; David
H. Findley, Senior Counsel; Amy P. Weirich, District Attorney
General; and Pamela Stark, Assistant District Attorney
General, for the appellee, State of Tennessee.
Kelly Thomas, Jr., J., delivered the opinion of the court, in
which James Curwood Witt, Jr., and Robert L. Holloway, Jr.,
KELLY THOMAS, JR., JUDGE
Petitioner and his codefendant, Cedric Mims, were both
"convicted of first degree felony murder, especially
aggravated robbery, [and] attempted voluntary
manslaughter." State v. Allen Craft & Cedric
Mims, No. W2013-01822-CCA-R3-CD, 2014 WL 5107036, at *1
(Tenn. Crim. App. Oct. 10, 2014). Each received a total
effective sentence of life imprisonment. Id. Upon
affirming their convictions on direct appeal, this court
described "[t]he proof against both defendants [as]
abundant." Id. at *5. No permission to appeal
to our supreme court was sought.
Petitioner and Mr. Mims, both armed with handguns, approached
two men sitting in an SUV parked in front of a grocery store
on Vance Avenue in Memphis. Craft, 2014 WL 5107036,
at *1. The Petitioner and Mr. Mims demanded money and forced
the men out of the SUV. Id. After taking
approximately forty dollars, the Petitioner and Mr. Mims shot
both of the men. Id. They also shot a third man who
attempted to assist the victims. Id. One of the
victims, Ronald Ellington, died from a gunshot wound to the
chest. Id. at *1, 4.
the Petitioner nor Mr. Mims denied committing the robbery.
Craft, 2014 WL 5107036, at *2-4. Both men claimed in
statements to the police that they were forced to commit the
robbery by a gang leader, Melvin Bridgewater. Id.
The only difference in their statements was that each blamed
the other for fatally shooting Mr. Ellington. Id. at
*3. Mr. Mims also told the police that prior to the robbery,
the Petitioner had "put a bullet in his chamber"
and told Mr. Mims, "'I got your back.'"
Id. Mr. Mims testified at trial, but the Petitioner
did not. Id. at *4.
December 12, 2014, the Petitioner filed a pro se petition for
post-conviction relief. An attorney was appointed to
represent the Petitioner in this matter, and two amended
petitions were subsequently filed. As pertinent to our
review, the Petitioner alleged that trial counsel was
ineffective for failing to seek a severance from his
codefendant and for failing to present expert testimony about
his mental state at the time of the offense.
evidentiary hearing, the Petitioner claimed that he never
spoke to trial counsel about what their defense would be at
trial. The Petitioner also claimed that trial counsel did not
review with him the discovery materials provided by the
State. Rather, she "just gave it to" him. The
Petitioner further claimed that he had been in "Special
Ed" classes in ...