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Bishop v. State

Court of Criminal Appeals of Tennessee, Jackson

May 15, 2018

SCOTT L. BISHOP
v.
STATE OF TENNESSEE

          Assigned on Briefs February 6, 2018

          Appeal from the Circuit Court for Madison County No. C-16-71 Donald H. Allen, Judge

         The Petitioner, Scott L. Bishop, was convicted of four counts of aggravated sexual battery and sentenced to serve eleven years in prison. The Petitioner filed a post-conviction petition asserting that his trial counsel did not provide effective assistance, and the post-conviction court denied the petition after a hearing. On appeal, the Petitioner asserts that trial counsel was deficient in failing to present character witnesses, failing to object to leading questions asked by the prosecutor, and preventing him from viewing the victim's recorded forensic interview. After a thorough review of the record, we conclude that the Petitioner is not entitled to relief, and we affirm the post-conviction court's judgment.

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

          George Morton Googe, District Public Defender, and Gregory D. Gookin, Assistant District Public Defender, for the appellant, Scott L. Bishop.

          Herbert H. Slatery III, Attorney General and Reporter; Renee W. Turner, Senior Counsel; Jody Pickens, District Attorney General; and Al Earls, Assistant District Attorney General, for the appellee, State of Tennessee.

          John Everett Williams, J., delivered the opinion of the court, in which Camille R. McMullen and J. Ross Dyer, JJ., joined.

          OPINION

          JOHN EVERETT WILLIAMS, JUDGE

         FACTUAL AND PROCEDURAL HISTORY

         Trial

         At trial, the nine-year-old victim of the crimes testified that the Petitioner "'touched [her] privates, '" which she specified was the area between her legs, on four consecutive nights in December 2011. State v. Scott L. Bishop, No. W2014-01540-CCA-R3-CD, 2015 WL 6859780, at *1 (Tenn. Crim. App. Nov. 6, 2015), no perm. app. filed. The Petitioner was in a romantic relationship with the victim's mother, and he had been living with the victim and her mother for a number of months. Id. The victim testified that on the fourth night the Petitioner assaulted her, her mother walked into the room, and the Petitioner then left the home. Id. at *2.

         The victim's mother confirmed that on December 15, 2011, the victim and the Petitioner were lying under a blanket in the living room watching television, and when the victim's mother looked in the room, she "observed the Defendant jerk his arm away from the area of [the victim]'s vagina 'like he'd touched fire.'" Id. The victim's mother made the Petitioner leave the home but did not report the crimes. Id. The victim's grandmother took the Petitioner's belongings to his work the next day without knowing why the victim's mother wanted him to move out. Id. The victim's grandmother became aware of the offenses shortly thereafter, but she did not report the crimes at the time she became aware of them. Id. The offenses came to light when the victim's mother sought financial assistance with her bills due to the abrupt decline in income brought about by the Petitioner's departure from the home. Id. at *2-3. The victim's grandmother revealed the abuse to relief ministry personnel in frustration after the victim's mother was told she would probably be denied assistance. Id. The victim's grandmother also testified that in March 2012, she went to the place where the Petitioner was employed as a mechanic, waited for him to get under her car, and then "'stomped his privates.'" Id. at *3.

         The Petitioner attempted to show that the victim had been coached to testify against him. The victim acknowledged that she had practiced her testimony, but she indicated that she meant only that she had spoken about the abuse with different people. Id. at *2. The victim's grandmother likewise acknowledged that she took the victim to Mr. Jessee Whitnall, a teaching assistant at the victim's school, and asked the victim to tell him about the abuse. Id. at *3. Mr. Whitnall testified that the victim's grandmother told the victim to tell about the abuse as they had "'rehearsed.'" Id. Mr. Whitnall said that the victim's grandmother then told him that the victim needed "'to practice on somebody else.'" Id.

         The Petitioner testified at trial that he did not touch the victim inappropriately. Id. at *4. He asserted that the victim's mother was angry because the Petitioner was addicted to pain medication and was spending his money on pills. Id. He did not know that he was accused of touching the victim until March 2012, when he was interviewed by police. Id. The Petitioner said that the victim and her mother came to his new residence with some of his personal property approximately two weeks after he moved out. Id. He also testified that the victim's grandmother came to his work in ...


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