Court of Criminal Appeals of Tennessee, Knoxville
Assigned on Briefs April 24, 2018
from the Criminal Court for Hamilton County No. 295465 Tom
Greenholtz, Judge No. E2017-01086-CCA-R3-CD
Defendant, Elijajuan Smith, appeals the Hamilton County
Criminal Court's order revoking his probation for his
burglary of a business and vandalism convictions and ordering
him to serve his effective four-year sentence in confinement.
The Defendant contends that the trial court abused its
discretion by revoking his probation. W e affirm the judgment
of the trial court.
R. App. P. 3 Appeal as of Right; Judgment of the Criminal
Moya, Chattanooga, Tennessee, for the appellant, Elijajuan
Herbert H. Slatery III, Attorney General and Reporter; Renee
W. Turner, Senior Counsel; Neal Pinkston, District Attorney
General; and Bates Bryan, Jr., Assistant District Attorney
General, for the appellee, State of Tennessee.
H. Montgomery, Jr., J., delivered the opinion of the court,
in which Alan E. Glenn and Timothy L. Easter, JJ., joined.
H. MONTGOMERY, JR., JUDGE.
August 25, 2015, the Defendant pleaded guilty to burglary of
a business and to vandalism, and the trial court sentenced
the Defendant to an effective four years' probation. The
court ordered this sentence be served consecutively to a
ten-year probationary sentence for an aggravated burglary
conviction in an unrelated case. On August 23, 2016, a
probation violation report was filed with the trial court,
alleging that the Defendant had committed technical
violations, including failure to show proof of employment,
failure to report to his probation officer, and failure to
pay court costs, supervision fees, and restitution. An
amended probation report was filed with the court on August
25, 2016, alleging that on March 10, 2016, the Defendant had
been arrested for criminal trespass, that he failed to report
his arrest to his probation officer, that he failed to
provide proof of employment, that he failed to report to his
probation officer, and that he failed to pay court costs,
supervision fees, and restitution. On August 26, 2016, a
probation violation warrant was issued.
revocation hearing, probation officer Alex Finlay testified
that although the Defendant's probation expired in case
number 272276 on September 30, 2015, the Defendant's
supervision involved probation revocations. Ms. Finlay said
that the Defendant was placed on supervised probation, that
the probation was revoked on November 5, 2012, that the
Defendant was confined in the jail until February 1, 2013,
and that the Defendant was released to supervised probation.
Ms. Finlay said that on September 10, 2013, the
Defendant's probation was revoked and that the court
placed him on community corrections. Ms. Finlay said that on
July 9, 2014, the Defendant was removed from community
corrections and placed on unsupervised probation, which was
later revoked on August 25, 2015. Ms. Finlay said, though,
that the Defendant was placed on enhanced probation until the
expiration of the ten-year sentence.
Finlay testified that the Defendant's probation at the
time of the revocation hearing applied only to case number
295465 and that the Defendant had violated the conditions of
his release. Ms. Finlay said that on March 10, 2016, the
Defendant was arrested for criminal trespass and that the
Defendant did not report the arrest. Ms. Finlay said that the
Defendant failed to provide employment verification for July
and August 2016 and had failed to report to the probation
office since April 14, 2016. Ms. Finlay noted that although
the Defendant appeared at the probation office on June 30,
2016, the Defendant submitted his employment verification and
left without speaking to her. Ms. Finlay said that June 30,
2016, was her last contact with the Defendant. Ms. Finlay
said that the arrest warrant was issued on August 26, 2016,
and that the Defendant was arrested on February 15, 2017. Ms.
Finlay said that the Defendant had failed to pay toward court
costs and supervision fees and that on December 28, 2015, the
Defendant submitted his only payment for $18.75 toward
restitution, leaving a balance of $781.25.
Finlay testified that she last spoke with the Defendant on
April 14, 2016, that she attempted to contact the Defendant
to schedule meetings, and that the Defendant reported having
transportation issues. Ms. Finlay said that the Defendant
reported to her for his initial orientation, three days after
orientation, and one additional time to discuss a positive
drug screen and to obtain drug treatment. Ms. Finlay said
that between January and June 2016, she was on leave, that
the Defendant had another probation officer during that time,
and that the officer conducted home visits and attempted to
schedule meetings at the probation office. Ms. Finlay said
that the Defendant met with this probation officer on April
15, 2016, and that the Defendant should have reported to this
officer until June 2016, when Ms. Finlay returned to work.
Ms. Finlay said that June 2016 was the last time the
Defendant came to the probation office, although she
unsuccessfully attempted to contact the Defendant by
telephone and in person at the Defendant's home.
cross-examination, Ms. Finlay testified that the
Defendant's primary problem was the failure to report to
the probation office and that the Defendant's failure to
report prevented her from placing the Defendant into a drug
treatment program to bring him into compliance with the rules
of probation. Ms. Finlay agreed that she did not plan to file
a probation violation report simply because the Defendant did
not report but said that she planned to file the violation
report if the Defendant did not comply with the rules of
probation. Ms. Finlay said that she never immediately filed a
violation report because she wanted to do what she could to
"keep him compliant." Ms. Finlay did not have any
drug screen reports or documentation of her attempts to
contact the Defendant.
Black, the Defendant's grandmother, testified for the
defense that the Defendant had three young children. Ms.
Black said that the Defendant had been without transportation
for a while and that the Defendant had used the bus. She said
that she had driven the Defendant to find employment
"plenty of times." She thought the Defendant was
"waiting to go back to the chicken house, "
although she did not know if management was holding a
position for the Defendant until the resolution of the
revocation hearing. Ms. Black said that she had retired in
January 2017 and that she would ensure the Defendant
maintained his appointments with his probation officer. On
cross-examination, Ms. Black testified that the ...