Court of Criminal Appeals of Tennessee, Nashville
Assigned on Briefs Date: April 3, 2018 at Jackson
from the Criminal Court for Davidson County No. 2011-A-825
Mark J. Fishburn, Judge
Petitioner, Tarrants Yvelt Chandler, appeals from the
Davidson County Criminal Court's denial of his petition
for post-conviction relief. The Petitioner contends that he
is entitled to post-conviction relief due to (1) numerous
instances of ineffective assistance of his trial counsel; and
(2) the State's failure to disclose "exculpatory
evidence prior to trial." Discerning no error, we affirm
the judgment of the post-conviction court.
R. App. P. 3 Appeal as of Right; Judgment of the Criminal
M. Hopkins, Murfreesboro, Tennessee, for the appellant,
Tarrants Yvelt Chandler.
Herbert H. Slatery III, Attorney General and Reporter;
Jeffrey D. Zentner, Assistant Attorney General; Glenn R.
Funk, District Attorney General; and Tammy Haggard Meade,
Assistant District Attorney General, for the appellee, State
Kelly Thomas, Jr., J., delivered the opinion of the court, in
which Robert L. Holloway, Jr., and J. Ross Dyer., JJ.,
KELLY THOMAS, JR., JUDGE
Petitioner was convicted of eight counts of rape by coercion
and one count of criminal exposure to HIV. State v.
Tarrants Chandler, No. M2013-00279-CCA-R3-CD, 2014 WL
3055972, at *1 (Tenn. Crim. App. July 7, 2014), perm.
app. denied (Tenn. Nov. 20, 2014). The trial court
imposed a total effective sentence of fifty years.
Id. This court affirmed the Petitioner's
convictions and sentences on direct appeal. Id. Our
supreme court declined to review this court's opinion on
November 20, 2014. Id.
28, 2015, the Petitioner filed a timely pro se petition for
post-conviction relief. An attorney was appointed to
represent the Petitioner in this matter and an amended
petition was filed. After an abortive evidentiary hearing,
the post-conviction court granted the Petitioner's pro se
motion "for appointment of substitute counsel." A
new attorney was appointed to represent the Petitioner, and a
second amended petition was filed on April 18, 2017.
second amended petition alleged that trial counsel was
ineffective (1) for failing to request a bill of particulars;
(2) for failing to call certain witnesses at trial; (3)
"by not obtaining cell phone records and . . .
presenting them at trial"; (4) for failing to advise the
Petitioner of the nature of the charges and potential
penalties that he faced; (5) for failing "to adequately
cross-examine" the victim; and (6) for "failing to
request an accomplice charge" in the jury
instructions. The second amended petition also alleged
that the State failed to disclose "exculpatory evidence
prior to trial that the  victim had made numerous changes
in her statements to law enforcement."
post-conviction court held a full evidentiary hearing on May
24, 2017, at which the Petitioner, the Petitioner's
mother, Zula Robinson, and trial counsel testified. The
post-conviction court took the matter under advisement at the
conclusion of the evidentiary hearing. On July 31, 2017, the
post-conviction court issued a written order denying
post-conviction relief. This appeal followed.
evidence at trial established that the Petitioner had a
lengthy off and on relationship with the victim's mother,
Chandler, 2014 WL 3055972, at *1. In November 2008,
the Petitioner moved into D.D.'s Gallatin Road apartment.
Id. In 2009, D.D. noticed that the Petitioner
"began to spend a great deal of time alone with the
victim, " D.D.'s oldest child. Id. at *2.
The Petitioner moved out of the Gallatin Road apartment
sometime in July 2009 after an incident when the Petitioner
"grabbed D.D. by her neck and began choking her and
threw her against a wall." Id.
stayed in contact with the Petitioner "after he moved
out of the Gallatin Road apartment because he still wished to
see her daughters." Chandler, 2014 WL 3055972,
at *3. D.D. suspected that the Petitioner "still
communicated with the victim via text message."
Id. On one occasion, D.D. saw the Petitioner's
car in a nearby alley and suspected that he was there to pick
up the victim. Id. D.D. eventually allowed the
Petitioner "to see her daughters near the end of
September  under the conditions that the visits occur
in public places and only between the hours of 12:00 p.m. and
4:00 p.m. on Sundays." Id. Nonetheless, the
Petitioner "was alone with the children during these
August 2009, D.D. and her children moved into a new residence
on Sarver Avenue." Chandler, 2014 WL 3055972,
at *3. The Petitioner and D.D. "rekindle[d] their
relationship in October" 2009. Id. By November
2009, the Petitioner "was spending several nights a week
at the Sarver Avenue house." Id. D.D. testified
that she saw a text message on the victim's phone that
she suspected the Petitioner had sent one night in December
2009 and that this caused her to question the
Petitioner's relationship with the victim. Id.
at *4. However, the Petitioner was arrested on an unrelated
matter and went to jail on December 19, 2009. Id.
The indictment alleged that all of the offenses against the
victim occurred between May 1 and December 19, 2009.
"continued her attempts to reconcile with" the
Petitioner while he was in jail. Chandler, 2014 WL
3055972, at *4. The Petitioner "moved back into the
Sarver Avenue residence in February  after he was
released from jail." Id. However, the
Petitioner moved out after "a disagreement" with
D.D. over whether the victim would be allowed to visit the
Petitioner's mother's house alone with the
Petitioner. Id. D.D. testified that the Petitioner
again turned violent, "destroying items in the house,
" pushing her "down the staircase, " and
striking "her head against the ground."
Id. at *4-5. D.D. "took out an order of
protection for herself and her children against" the
Petitioner the day after this attack. Id. at *5.
months" after this incident, D.D. "discovered that
the victim was having sexual intercourse with her
boyfriend." Chandler, 2014 WL 3055972, at *5.
When D.D. confronted the victim about this, the victim
"revealed to D.D. that she had a sexual relationship
with" the Petitioner. Id. D.D. then contacted
the police and began looking "for items in her house
that indicated a sexual relationship between the victim
and" the Petitioner. Id. "The victim
showed D.D. thong underwear that the [Petitioner] had
purchased for the victim and a bottle of douche that the
[Petitioner] had given to the victim." Id. It
was only after contacting the police that D.D. learned that
the Petitioner was HIV positive. Id. "D.D. was
tested for HIV, and the test was negative." Id.
victim testified that she started using drugs with the
Petitioner in December 2008. Chandler, 2014 WL
3055972, at *6. As she spent more time alone with the
Petitioner, the victim "started to view the [Petitioner]
as a boyfriend and believed that he wanted her to be his
girlfriend." Id. The victim testified that the
Petitioner told her "that once she turned eighteen years
old they would live 'a perfect life together' and
that she was going to be the mother of his little boy and
stepmother to his daughter." Id. The victim
further testified that she began having sex with the
Petitioner when she was fourteen years old. Id.
victim gave differing timeframes for when her first sexual
encounter with the Petitioner occurred. Chandler,
2014 WL 3055972, at *6. In various pretrial statements, the
victim stated that it occurred in May, June, or July 2009.
Id. However, at trial, the victim testified that it
occurred in January 2009, outside the timeframe listed in the
indictment. Id. The victim testified about two
incidents that occurred at the Gallatin Road apartment.
Id. at *7. The first occurred in the kitchen when
the Petitioner "had her stand on the kitchen table"
and then "performed oral sex on her for about fifteen
minutes." Id. The second occurred on "a
pallet on the floor" when the Petitioner "performed
oral sex on her and inserted his fingers into both her vagina
and her rectum." Id.
victim testified that the Petitioner continued to see her
after he moved out of the Gallatin Road apartment.
Chandler, 2014 WL 3055972, at *7-8. The victim
recalled "an incident where she went with the
[Petitioner] to his mother's house, " and the
Petitioner "performed oral sex on her" and
"had sexual intercourse with her." Id. at
*7. The victim also testified that there was an incident when
the Petitioner "performed oral sex on her in the
den" of the Sarver Avenue house. Id. at *8. The
victim further testified that the Petitioner "performed
oral sex on her in her bedroom at the Sarver Avenue
house" on December 19, 2009. Id. at *9. This
was the only incident that the victim provided a date for.
Id. at *7-9.
victim testified that the Petitioner "referred to her
vagina as 'Chicken'" and "used the term
'Becky' to describe oral sex."
Chandler, 2014 WL 3055972, at *9. The victim wrote
the Petitioner letters while he was in jail and received
letters from the Petitioner. Id. In one letter, the
Petitioner "asked the victim if she missed 'Becky,
' and he wrote that he missed 'chicken like a mutha
[sic] um um I can't wait.'" Id.
(alteration in original). In another letter, the Petitioner
wrote that "'I wana [sic] eat some chicken bad ass
hell u know dats my s--t [sic]'" and referred to the
victim as "FSM." Id. ...