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Jones v. State

Court of Criminal Appeals of Tennessee, Jackson

May 17, 2018

CHRIS JONES
v.
STATE OF TENNESSEE

          Assigned on Briefs January 4, 2018

          Appeal from the Criminal Court for Shelby County No. 08-05720 Chris Craft, Judge

         Pro se Petitioner, Chris Jones, appeals the Shelby County Criminal Court's dismissal of his petition for writ of error coram nobis. The Petitioner concedes that his petition was filed nearly seven years beyond the one-year statute of limitations and argues that due process consideration warrants tolling of the limitations period. Upon review, we affirm the dismissal of the petition.

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

          Chris Jones, pro se, Nashville, Tennessee.

          Herbert H. Slatery III, Attorney General and Reporter; Ronald L. Coleman, Assistant Attorney General; Amy P. Weirich, District Attorney General; and Karen Cook, 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.

          OPINION

          CAMILLE R. McMULLEN, JUDGE

         In the early morning hours of March 14, 2008, the Petitioner was involved in an altercation at a bar in Memphis, which led to him shooting two bar patrons and the death of Donald Munsey. The facts, as fully outlined in this court's direct appeal opinion, stem from a parking dispute.

Justin Smith testified that he was sitting in his truck when the [Petitioner's] truck "[j]ust came flying in around the corner ... [and] almost hit [his] truck in parking." Mr. Smith further testified that he felt he would not be able to get his truck out of the parking spot because of the way the [Petitioner] had parked his truck. However, Mr. Smith waited until the [Petitioner] had gone inside the bar to speak to him about his truck. Once inside, the [Petitioner] sat down with Ms. Lampley and Mary at a table near the front door and ordered a beer. Mr. Smith then approached the [Petitioner] to discuss how the two trucks were parked. The testimony at trial presented several conflicting versions of exactly what was said during this conversation.
Kimberly Guest, the waitress working at Windjammer that night, testified that Mr. Smith asked the [Petitioner] if it was his truck outside and "if he could possibly move it because ... the trucks were close and [he] didn't want to hit his truck." Ms. Guest testified that "there was no indication that there was any kind of problem, " there was no physical contact between the two men, and she did not hear any "threatening language." Stephanie Ravinuthala, a patron at the bar that night, testified that Mr. Smith asked the [Petitioner] if he drove a gray truck and told the [Petitioner] that he was "parked like three inches from [Mr. Smith's] bumper and [Mr. Smith could not] get out." Ms. Ravinuthala also testified that Mr. Smith did not appear to be belligerent and that she did not recall Mr. Smith cursing at the [Petitioner].

Mr. Smith testified that when he asked the [Petitioner] to move his truck, the [Petitioner] responded by saying "f-k you . . . I'm not moving it." On cross-examination, Mr. Smith repeatedly denied threatening or being aggressive with the [Petitioner] but admitted that after the [Petitioner] told him "f-k you, " he was "rude" toward the [Petitioner]. However, Ms. Lampley testified that Mr. Smith approached the [Petitioner] intoxicated, "very loud, very arrogant" before asking the [Petitioner] "if that was his f g truck outside." Ms. Lampley testified that the [Petitioner] was very calm during this exchange and told Mr. Smith he would move his truck when Mr. Smith was ready to leave.

At some point after their conversation, both Mr. Smith and the Defendant went outside. Gary Miller was working at the front door, checking IDs, that night and testified that he overheard the two men "discussing the way the [trucks] were parked." Mr. Miller also testified that at some point two or three other men joined the conversation. According to Mr. Miller, the [Petitioner] asked the men "did they not realize that he was a police officer by the tag that was on the truck." Mr. Miller further testified that there was no physical contact between the [Petitioner] and any of the three or four people with him. Mr. Smith testified that he went outside with the [Petitioner] because the [Petitioner] "wanted to show me his license plate." The [Petitioner] told Mr. Smith that "he was a cop and he had the tag on his truck." Mr. Smith testified that after their conversation outside, he did not speak to the [Petitioner] again that evening.
Mr. Smith's friend, William Bobbitt, testified that he was near the front door when Mr. Smith and the [Petitioner] went to look at the trucks. On their way back to the front door, Mr. Bobbitt overheard the [Petitioner] say that he was not going to move his truck and that Mr. Smith should look at his license plate. Someone asked the [Petitioner] what he meant by this, and he replied that he was a police officer. Mr. Bobbitt testified that the [Petitioner] spoke with an aggressive tone but that there was no physical contact between the [Petitioner] and anyone outside. Mr. Bobbitt further testified that everyone went back inside after Mr. Munsey stepped outside and told them to come in.
Ms. Lampley testified that before the [Petitioner] and Mr. Smith went outside, Mr. Smith made a phone call and a short time later "[a]bout [ten] guys around the age of 21 to 25 showed up" and were looking at the [Petitioner]. Ms. Lampley testified that the [Petitioner] looked scared when he came back inside. Ms. Lampley testified that she felt threatened because this group of men continued to stare at the [Petitioner] and her. However, on cross[-]examination Ms. Lampley admitted that she was ...

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