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Bauer v. State

Court of Criminal Appeals of Tennessee, Nashville

April 19, 2018

JULIE BAUER
v.
STATE OF TENNESSEE

          Assigned on Briefs February 14, 2018

          Appeal from the Circuit Court for Maury County No. 20369 Robert L. Jones, Judge No. M2017-00120-CCA-R3-PC

         In 2013, the Petitioner, Julie Bauer, pleaded guilty to attempted murder with an agreed sentence of twenty-nine years of incarceration. Subsequently, the Petitioner filed a petition for post-conviction relief, which the post-conviction court denied after a hearing. On appeal, the Petitioner contends that the post-conviction court erred when it denied her petition because she received the ineffective assistance of counsel. After review, we affirm the post-conviction court's judgment.

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

          Ronald G. Freemon, Columbia, Tennessee, for the appellant, Julie Bauer.

          Herbert H. Slatery III, Attorney General and Reporter; Sophia S. Lee, Senior Counsel; Brent A. Cooper, District Attorney General; and Daniel J. Runde, Assistant District Attorney General, for the appellee, State of Tennessee.

          Robert W. Wedemeyer, J., delivered the opinion of the Court, in which Thomas T. Woodall, P.J., and Robert L. Holloway, Jr., J., joined.

          OPINION

          ROBERT W. WEDEMEYER, JUDGE

         I. Facts and Background

         This case originates from the Petitioner poisoning her mother and father with a mercury compound used for making ecstasy, resulting in the death of her mother and the hospitalization of her father. Based on this incident, a Maury County grand jury indicted the Petitioner for first degree premeditated murder and conspiracy to commit first degree premeditated murder as to her mother, and attempted first degree premeditated murder and conspiracy to commit first degree premeditated murder as to her father.

         A. Guilty Plea

         By agreement of the parties, the Petitioner entered a best interest plea to attempted first degree premeditated murder with an agreed-upon sentence of twenty-nine years; the remaining counts in the indictment were dismissed. At the guilty plea hearing, the trial court questioned the Petitioner about whether she wanted to give up her right to a trial, her right to appeal, her right to testify, and if her decision to plead guilty was made knowingly and voluntarily. The Petitioner informed the trial court that she understood her rights and that it was strictly her decision to plead guilty. The Petitioner agreed that she had told her attorney everything about the incident related to the charges against her. She stated that she was well-pleased with her attorney's representation and could not have asked for better representation. The Petitioner stated that she "felt comfortable" with her attorney's efforts on her case.

         The Petitioner admitted to the factual basis for the plea, which, although somewhat unclear, was summarized by the trial court as circumstances where the Petitioner admitted that she and/or her son had access to a "particular mercury containing chemical that is used in the Ecstasy making process" and that, following a disagreement about money with the victims, the Petitioner had a motive to commit the crime.

         B. Post-Conviction Proceedings

         The Petitioner filed a petition for post-conviction relief, pro se. The post-conviction court appointed an attorney, and the attorney filed an amended petition, alleging that the Petitioner had received the ineffective assistance of counsel when counsel failed to assist the Petitioner in reserving a certified question of law, pursuant to Tennessee Rule of Criminal Procedure 37, with respect to alleged violations of her right to a speedy trial and her rights pursuant to the Interstate Agreement on Detainers (hereinafter "IAD"). The Petitioner alleged that she had "several conversations" with her attorney about pursuing her IAD and right to a speedy trial claims, which she alleged he never pursued. The post-conviction court subsequently held a hearing, during which the following evidence was presented: The Petitioner testified that she was indicted in this Maury County case in December 2010 while she was housed in a federal prison in Bryan, Texas, on unrelated charges. Thereafter, she was moved to a facility in Houston, Texas where she remained until August 2011. The Petitioner stated that, because of her indictment in Tennessee, she lost privileges in the federal prison and was placed in a different custody level. She began inquiring about the IAD and eventually filled out the "paperwork" to begin the process of being brought back to Tennessee to adjudicate the present matter and get her charges in Tennessee resolved as quickly as possible. The Petitioner spoke to her counselor at the federal prison, requesting repeatedly that she receive an update about her IAD filing. She understood the IAD to require Tennessee to retrieve her from the Texas facility and transport her to Tennessee within 180 days of her Maury County indictment. The Petitioner eventually filed a Freedom of Information Act request with the Department of Justice, asking for copies of her forms requesting an IAD transfer. She received back one ...


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