Court of Criminal Appeals of Tennessee, Nashville
Session December 12, 2017
from the Circuit Court for Warren County No. 14-CR-372 Larry
B. Stanley, Jr., Judge
Warren County Circuit Court Jury convicted the Appellant,
Bobby Ray Graves, Jr., of failure to appear, a Class E
felony, and the trial court sentenced him to six years in
confinement. On appeal, the Appellant contends that the
evidence is insufficient to support the conviction because
the State failed to prove that he "went into hiding to
avoid prosecution" and that the State committed
prosecutorial misconduct during closing arguments. Based upon
the oral arguments, the record, and the parties' briefs,
we affirm the judgment of the trial court.
R. App. P. 3 Appeal as of Right; Judgment of the Criminal
Scott Luna (on appeal), Murfreesboro, Tennessee, and Rick
Stacy (at trial), McMinville, Tennessee, for the appellant,
Bobby Ray Graves, Jr.
Herbert H. Slatery III, Attorney General and Reporter; M.
Todd Ridley, Assistant Attorney General; Lisa Zavogiannis,
District Attorney General; and Thomas J. Miner, Assistant
District Attorney General, for the appellee, State of
McGee Ogle, J., delivered the opinion of the court, in which
Camille R. McMullen and Timothy L. Easter, JJ., joined.
MCGEE OGLE, JUDGE.
trial, Jonathan Crouch, a correction officer with the Warren
County Sheriff's Department (WCSD), acknowledged that on
September 13, 2013, he appeared before the Warren County
Grand Jury and asked for an indictment against the Appellant
for introducing contraband into a penal institution, a
felony. In September 2014, Crouch received a subpoena to
appear and testify at the Appellant's trial for the
offense, which was set for October 7, 2014. Crouch, other
witnesses, and the Appellant's attorney were present for
trial on October 7. However, the Appellant was not present,
so the trial did not go forward. On cross-examination, Crouch
testified that he did not know why the Appellant did not
appear and acknowledged that the Appellant's case for
introducing contraband into a penal institution still had not
gone to trial.
Julian Moore testified that he represented the Appellant in
the case for introducing contraband into a penal institution.
Moore appeared with the Appellant at the Appellant's
arraignment, and the trial court set a trial date. The
Appellant was out on bond while awaiting trial, and he and
Moore maintained contact. The State asked Moore what
information he obtained from the Appellant in order to stay
in contact with him, and Moore answered, "Well, his
whereabouts, telephone numbers. You know, we would also
typically get email addresses. [The Appellant] did not have
an email address to my understanding."
testified that the Appellant's trial initially was set
for May 20, 2014, but had to be continued to July 2, 2014.
Moore spoke with the Appellant by telephone and met with him
in person to make him aware of the date change. At some
point, the Appellant's trial was reset for October 7,
2014. On June 27, 2014, Moore contacted the Appellant by
telephone to discuss the new trial date. On July 10, 2014,
Moore and the Appellant met in Moore's office, and Moore
"reaffirmed" to the Appellant that October 7 was
the date for trial. On September 26, 2014, the Appellant and
Moore met in Moore's office to discuss trial strategy.
testified that as October 7 approached, he began to worry
that the Appellant might not show up for trial because the
Appellant's bondsman, Len Murray, was having
"trouble" locating the Appellant. Moore began
trying to contact the Appellant and used five different
telephone numbers to try to reach him but was unsuccessful.
Moore did not try to contact the Appellant by mail. The
Appellant's brother, Brandon Graves, lived in Knoxville,
and Moore received a telephone call from Graves the day
before trial. On October 7, 2014, the Appellant's
witnesses appeared for trial, but the Appellant did not
appear. Moore said he did not remember if he tried to contact
the Appellant after October 7.
cross-examination, Moore testified that the Appellant was
having "some marital difficulties" before trial. He
said that he did not know if the Appellant owned a car and
that he did not know why the Appellant did not appear for
Murray testified that he retired from the Rutherford County
Sheriff's Department in 2007, went into the bail bonding
business, and was a licensed bail bondsman. The
Appellant's bail for introducing contraband into a penal
institution was set at $2, 500, and Murray signed the
Appellant's bail bond on June 4, 2014. At that time, the
Appellant's trial date was July 2, 2014. However, the
trial was later reset for October 7, and Murray advised the
Appellant of the new date.
testified that when he signed the Appellant's bond, the
Appellant was required to provide him with addresses and
telephone numbers so that he could stay in contact with the
Appellant. While the Appellant remained on bond, the
Appellant was required to report to Murray every Tuesday by
telephone so that Murray could "verify phone numbers,
addresses, where [he] is staying, is he working
anywhere." Murray said the Appellant complied with ...