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State v. Clay

Court of Criminal Appeals of Tennessee, Jackson

April 17, 2018


          Session January 3, 2018

          Appeal from the Circuit Court for Lake County No. 16-CR-10164 R. Lee Moore, Jr., Judge

         The Defendant-Appellant, Tyrone Clay, appeals from the revocation of his community corrections sentence by the Lake County Circuit Court. On appeal, the Defendant argues that the trial court abused its discretion by reinstating a ten-year sentence of full confinement. Upon review, the judgment of the circuit court is affirmed.

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

          James E. Lanier, District Public Defender; H. Tod Taylor, Assistant Public Defender, Dyersburg, Tennessee, for the Defendant-Appellant, Tyrone Clay.

          Herbert H. Slatery III, Attorney General and Reporter; Robert W. Wilson, Assistant Attorney General; Danny Goodman, Jr., District Attorney General; and Phillip C. Bivens, Assistant District Attorney General, for the appellee, State of Tennessee.

          Camille R. McMullen, J., delivered the opinion of the court, in which John Everett Williams and Alan E. Glenn, JJ., joined.



         On August 17, 2016, the Defendant entered a guilty plea to aggravated assault and received a ten-year sentence, to be served on community corrections. The trial court additionally ordered the Defendant to attend family counseling as well as undergo an alcohol and drug evaluation. On October 24, 2016, a community corrections probation violation petition and supporting violation report were filed. The petition alleged that the Defendant violated several rules of community corrections, including failing to remain at home absent certain exceptions, failing to pay court costs and supervision fees, failing to report to his supervising case officer, and failing to report any deviation from his weekly activity schedule. The report specifically alleged that, on August 21, 2016, and October 12, 2016, the Defendant was not at home when surveillance officers attempted to conduct a home visit. In addition, as of October 24, 2016, the Defendant had failed to report to his supervising officer for almost a month. Finally, the Defendant failed to complete court ordered family counseling and the alcohol and drug assessment.

         The record shows that on October 24, 2016, a capias was issued for the Defendant's arrest based upon the above petition and violation report. The capias contained a scheduled hearing date of November 22, 2016. At the November hearing date, a Probation Violation Order Appointing Counsel was filed and another hearing date was scheduled for January 23, 2017. At the January 23 hearing date, the Defendant did not appear in court and another capias was issued for his arrest. Significantly, the next day, January 24, the Defendant appeared in court and was taken into custody based on his failure to appear on January 23. As will be discussed more fully below, the Defendant had an official court document listing his court date as January 24, 2017. Nevertheless, he was taken into custody. While he was being processed in the jail for his failure to appear, the Defendant slung a door "very hard, " causing it to shatter a window. Based on this behavior, the Defendant was additionally charged with and later pleaded guilty to vandalism. A supplement to the violation report including the vandalism conviction was filed on February 24, 2017.

         At the April 25, 2017 probation revocation hearing, Autumn Woods, the community corrections officer assigned to supervise the Defendant, testified that she met with the Defendant shortly after his release from jail, explained the community corrections behavior contract, and had the Defendant sign it. The contract appears to be comprised of the initial community corrections rules, signed by the Defendant on August 18, 2016, and another supplemental contract detailing additional rules, signed only by Officer Woods on October 10, 2016. The supplemental contract contains a handwritten notation beneath the offender line, "did not report back." The supplemental contract required every participant to report twice a week within the first ninety days, which the Defendant failed to do. The Defendant reported once for the intake process and one other time during the ninety-day period. To Officer Woods's knowledge, the Defendant never completed his court ordered family counseling or alcohol and drug assessment.

         On cross-examination, Officer Woods said that some meetings were supposed to be conducted in Union City. She testified that she would have allowed the Defendant to report by phone if he had transportation problems, but he stopped reporting before she could give him that option. She agreed that she had no personal knowledge of the Defendant's failure to complete his alcohol and drug assessment. She testified, over Defendant's objection, based on an October 18, 2016 letter from Tracy J. Mauldin, an employee from Here's Hope Counseling Center. The letter noted that the Defendant was given and appeared at a September 1, 2016 appointment, which had to be rescheduled to September 8, 2016, because of another test. The Defendant failed to appear for the rescheduled appointment and had no further contact with the facility.

         The Defendant testified and identified a document, admitted as exhibit 2, which showed the Defendant's court date was, in fact, set for January 24, 2017. The document is an official court filing of Lake County Circuit Court entitled, "Explanation of Appearance Date." The Defendant explained that he was upset when he was arrested on January 24 because he "knew [his court] date was on the 24th, " as evidenced by exhibit 2. There was no further testimony concerning the discrepancy between the court document showing the January 23 date and exhibit 2. The Defendant said that he had been receiving family counseling from his personal counselor in Dyersburg for the past five years. Although he had requested supporting records for the counseling which were apparently ready to be picked up, he had been unable to do so because of his work schedule. The Defendant conceded that he had not completed his drug assessment but further explained that he had been working and paying child support as required. According to the Defendant, he missed curfew once and only by 10 or 15 minutes, because he was working. He attributed his difficulty meeting with Officer Woods to his revoked driver's license, which required him to rely on others for transportation.

         After reviewing the evidence, the trial court revoked the Defendant's community corrections sentence, finding that there was not a satisfactory explanation for the Defendant's failure to report to his supervising officer, failure to complete the drug and alcohol assessment, and failure to provide proof of family counseling. The order revoking the Defendant's ten-year sentence to Westate Corrections Network and reinstating the remainder of the ...

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