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Hughes-Mabry v. Lee

Court of Criminal Appeals of Tennessee, Knoxville

March 23, 2018

STEVEN O. HUGHES-MABRY
v.
RANDY LEE, WARDEN and STATE OF TENNESSEE

          Assigned on Briefs February 27, 2018

          Appeal from the Criminal Court for Sullivan County No. S54, 919 William K. Rogers, Judge

         The Petitioner, appeals from the Sullivan County Criminal Court's summary dismissal of his petition for a writ of error coram nobis. The Petitioner contends that the coram nobis court erred by summarily dismissing his petition as having been untimely filed and for failing to state a cognizable claim for relief. Following our review, we agree with the coram nobis court that the Petitioner is attempting to relitigate the denial of his pretrial suppression motion. Accordingly, we affirm the judgment of the coram nobis court.

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

          Steven O. Hughes-Mabry, Mountain City, Tennessee, Pro Se.

          Herbert H. Slatery III, Attorney General and Reporter; M. Todd Ridley, Assistant Attorney General; and Barry P. Staubus, District Attorney General, for the appellee, State of Tennessee.

          D. Kelly Thomas, Jr., J., delivered the opinion of the court, in which James Curwood Witt, Jr., and Robert H. Montgomery, Jr., JJ., joined.

          OPINION

          D. KELLY THOMAS, JR., JUDGE

         FACTUAL BACKGROUND

         This case arises from two undercover officers' conducting surveillance at a gas station in Kingsport on October 30, 2007. Thereafter, the Petitioner was convicted of possession of 0.5 grams or more of cocaine with the intent to sell or deliver within 1000 feet of a school zone, introduction of contraband into a penal institution, and driving on a suspended license. See Tenn. Code Ann. §§ 39-16-201, 39-17-417, 39-17-432 & 55-50-504. He was sentenced to concurrent terms of fifteen years, three years, and six months, respectively. A full recitation of the underlying facts can be found in this court's opinion on direct appeal. See State v. Steven O. Hughes-Mabry, No. E2011-02255-CCA-R3-CD, 2013 WL 4046466, at *1-3 (Tenn. Crim. App. May 16, 2013), perm. app. denied (Tenn. Oct. 16, 2013).

         Prior to trial, the Petitioner filed a motion to suppress "all evidence obtained, arising from, and incident to the stop, arrest and search conducted by agents of the Kingsport Police Department and/or the Sullivan County Sheriff's Department." Hughes-Mabry, 2013 WL 4046466, at *1. As grounds for suppression, the Petitioner contended that he "did not engage in a consensual encounter with law enforcement officials, nor was there a reasonable basis or probable cause for an investigatory stop or probable cause for a seizure." The trial court denied the motion.

         The Petitioner raised this issue, among others, on direct appeal. He argued that his suppression motion was improperly denied, specifically that the evidence "was obtained without a reasonable suspicion for an investigatory stop and therefore without probable cause for a search" in violation of his Fourth Amendment rights. Hughes-Mabry, 2013 WL 4046466, at *4. He additionally framed the issue as follows: "The trial court erred in denying the [Petitioner's] motion to suppress because the officers['] actions were not within a community caretaker function and there was not a consensual conversation. The officers lacked a sufficient basis for an investigatory stop of the [Petitioner]." Id. This court affirmed, concluding,

In [State v.] Butler, we held that "an officer may legitimately approach a vehicle parked in a public place and make a request for identification of the driver." 795 S.W.2d [680, ] 685 [(Tenn. Crim. App. 1990)]. In this case, the officers had actually seen the [Petitioner's] driving the vehicle before walking up to him in a public place and requesting identification. The [Petitioner] consented to speak with Sgt. Crawford, and upon questioning, he could not provide a valid driver's license. As relied upon by the State in their argument, Tennessee Code Annotated section 55-50-351(a) provides, in pertinent part, as follows:
Every licensee shall have such licensee's license in immediate possession at all times when operating a motor vehicle and shall display it upon demand of any officer or agent of the department or any police officer of the state, county or municipality . . . . [A]ny other law enforcement officer . . . has the right to demand the exhibition of the license of any operator of a motor-driven cycle as described ...

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