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State v. Bonds

Court of Criminal Appeals of Tennessee, Jackson

March 29, 2018


          Assigned on Briefs June 6, 2017

          Appeal from the Criminal Court for Shelby County No. 15-01703 James M. Lammey, Jr., Judge

         The Appellant, Deandre Bonds, aka Israel El-Elyon, [1] was convicted in the Shelby County Criminal Court of one count of driving on a cancelled, suspended, or revoked license, second offense, and one count of evading arrest, both Class A misdemeanors, for which he received a total effective sentence of six months. On appeal, the Appellant contends that the evidence is not sufficient to support the convictions. Based upon our review, we conclude that the judgments of conviction incorrectly note the convictions are Class B misdemeanors; accordingly, the case is remanded to the trial court only for entry of corrected judgments reflecting that the offenses are Class A misdemeanors. The trial court's judgments are affirmed in all other respects.

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

          Stephen C. Bush and Barry W. Kuhn (on appeal) and Robert Felkner (at trial), Memphis, Tennessee, for the Appellant, Deandre Bonds, aka Israel El-Elyon.

          Herbert H. Slatery III, Attorney General and Reporter; Jonathan H. Wardle, Assistant Attorney General; Amy P. Weirich, District Attorney General; and Bridgett Stigger, Tyler Parks, and Gavin Smith, Assistant District Attorneys General, for the Appellee, State of Tennessee.

          Norma McGee Ogle, J., delivered the opinion of the court, in which Thomas T. Woodall, P.J., and Robert W. Wedemeyer, J., joined.



          I. Factual Background

         In April 2015, the Shelby County Grand Jury returned a multi-count indictment against the Appellant charging him with driving on a cancelled, suspended, or revoked license; driving on a cancelled, suspended, or revoked license, second offense; and evading arrest. At trial, Kendra White, an employee of the Tennessee Department of Safety and Homeland Security's Driver's Services Division, testified that the Appellant's driving records reflected his driver's license was revoked on August 31, 2009, and had not been reinstated at the time of trial.

         On cross-examination, White said the records did not reflect that the Appellant had made any attempts to have his license reinstated. White noted that the Appellant's driver's license was revoked because of an accident.

         Officer Mario Tate with the Memphis Police Department testified that he and his partner, Officer Marcus Stevens, were working the "Bravo shift" from 7:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. on July 14, 2014, and he noticed a man driving a motorcycle without a helmet. The man was identified later as the Appellant's brother, Brandon Jackson. While Officer Tate was watching, Jackson stopped the motorcycle in the parking lot of Windridge Elementary School, got off the motorcycle, and the Appellant got on the motorcycle. As Officer Tate watched, the Appellant, who also was not wearing a helmet, drove the motorcycle from the parking lot of the elementary school, across a public street, and into the parking lot of the Village Green Apartment complex.

         Officer Tate decided to stop Jackson for operating a motorcycle without a helmet.[2]When Officers Tate and Stevens approached Jackson, the Appellant parked the motorcycle and walked back toward the officers. Officer Tate noticed "another group of guys" standing ten or fifteen feet away, just outside the gate of the apartment complex. The officers called for backup because they "were outnumbered. There was two of us and like four or five of them."

         Officer Tate asked Jackson to explain why he was driving the motorcycle without a helmet and to provide the officers with identification. Jackson refused to identify himself. The Appellant "started causing a disturbance" and maintained that "they didn't have to identify themselves" because "they were free men." The Appellant and Jackson then began talking about "sovereign citizenship." At that point, Officers Tate and Stevens attempted to detain Jackson, and "a struggle ensued."

          During the struggle, Officers Tukes and Garrett arrived. Officer Tate told them that the Appellant had driven the motorcycle without a helmet and asked them to detain the Appellant. After Officer Tate asked the backup officers to detain the Appellant, the Appellant "took off running."

         Officer Louie Tukes with the Memphis Police Department[3] testified that he responded to Officer Tate's call for backup. When Officer Tukes arrived at the scene, he saw Officers Tate and Stevens "struggling" to take Jackson into custody. During the struggle, the Appellant was "disorderly, " "talkin[g] loud, " and telling the officers they had no authority to interfere with him. Officer Tukes asked the Appellant to be quiet and not to disturb the scene. Officer Tate told Officer Tukes that the Appellant was a suspect and asked the Appellant to approach the officers, but the Appellant ran into the apartment complex. Officers Tukes and Garrett pursued him. Officer Garrett got close to the Appellant first, and the Appellant "squared up" and "put his knuckles up" to fight Officer Garrett. Officers Tukes and Garrett then had to physically restrain ...

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