Court of Criminal Appeals of Tennessee, Knoxville
Session December 19, 2017
from the Criminal Court for Roane County No. 2012-CR-170
Michael Pemberton, Judge No. E2017-00721-CCA-R3-CD
defendant, Lee Alan Sprague, appeals his Roane County
Criminal Court jury convictions of reckless driving and
driving on a suspended license, claiming that the trial court
erred by denying his motion for a new preliminary hearing.
Discerning no error, we affirm.
R. App. P. 3; Judgments of the Criminal Court
Stephen G. McGrath, Knoxville, Tennessee (on appeal), and
William Wooten, Assistant District Public Defender (at
trial), for the appellant, Lee Alan Sprague.
Herbert H. Slatery III, Attorney General and Reporter;
Katherine C. Redding, Assistant Attorney General; Russell
Johnson, District Attorney General; and Terry Stevens and Joe
Caldwell, Assistant District Attorneys General, for the
appellee, State of Tennessee.
Curwood Witt, Jr., J., delivered the opinion of the court, in
which D. Kelly Thomas, Jr., and Robert H. Montgomery, Jr.,
CURWOOD WITT, JR., JUDGE
14, 2011, the defendant was arrested on a number of
traffic-related offenses, including driving under the
influence ("DUI") and reckless driving. On December
12, 2011, the Roane County General Sessions Court held a
preliminary hearing, at the conclusion of which the
defendant's case was bound over to the grand jury. In
June 2012, the Roane County Grand Jury charged the defendant
with one count each of reckless driving, driving on a
canceled, suspended, or revoked license, and driving under
the influence ("DUI"). The defendant was arraigned
on June 25, 2012.
three years later, on October 5, 2015, the defendant sought a
new preliminary hearing pursuant to Tennessee Rule of
Criminal Procedure 5.1(a)(3). On the following day, just prior
to the commencement of the defendant's jury trial, the
trial court held a hearing on the motion, at which the
defendant claimed that he had requested audio recordings of
the preliminary hearing a "couple of months ago"
but that he had discovered one week prior that the cassette
tape he had received did not contain the recording of the
hearing. The defendant contended that the trial court
"could" order a new preliminary hearing under Rule
5.1(a)(3) even if the request was made more than 60 days
after the defendant's arraignment. The trial court denied
the motion, finding that the defendant had been arraigned
shortly after his June 2012 indictment and that the defendant
was outside the 60-day window provided in Rule 5.1.
trial court conducted a jury trial on October 6, 2015. The
State's proof at trial established that, at approximately
3:00 a.m. on July 14, 2011, Tennessee Highway Patrol Trooper
Matthew Vespie was stationed on an entrance ramp to
Interstate 40 running "stationary radar" when a
yellow pickup truck drove through the radar screen at 92
miles per hour in a 70-mile-per-hour zone. Trooper Vespie
eventually caught up with the pickup truck and stopped the
driver, whom he identified in court as the defendant.
Trooper Vespie asked the defendant to step out of his
vehicle, he noticed that the defendant was unsteady on his
feet and had an odor of an alcoholic beverage emanating from
his person. Trooper Vespie administered field sobriety tests
to the defendant and, based on the defendant's poor
performance on the tests, Trooper Vespie placed the defendant
under arrest for DUI. After arresting the defendant, Trooper
Vespie checked the defendant's driving history and
learned that the defendant's driver's license had
been suspended three months prior. Through Trooper
Vespie's testimony, the State introduced into evidence a
video recording of the traffic stop and the field sobriety
this evidence, the State rested. Following a Momon
colloquy and the trial court's denial of the
defendant's motion for judgments of acquittal, the
defendant elected not to testify and presented no proof.
Based on this evidence, the jury found the defendant not
guilty of DUI but convicted the defendant as charged of
driving on a suspended license and reckless driving. The
trial court sentenced the defendant to a term of six months
unsupervised probation for the conviction of driving on a
suspended license, to be served concurrently to his six-month
sentence for reckless driving, all but 10 days of which were
suspended to unsupervised probation.
the denial of his timely motion for new trial, the defendant
filed a timely notice of appeal. In this appeal, the
defendant contends that the trial court erred by denying his
motion for a new preliminary hearing and by failing to grant
an extension of time to ...