Court of Criminal Appeals of Tennessee, Knoxville
Assigned on Briefs February 27, 2018
from the Criminal Court for Knox County No. 105704 Scott
the denial of her application for pretrial diversion, the
defendant, Lisa Edwards, petitioned the Knox County Criminal
Court for a writ of certiorari. The trial court denied the
petition for writ of certiorari but granted the
defendant's request for an interlocutory appeal pursuant
to Rule 9 of the Tennessee Rules of Appellate Procedure.
Because we find no abuse of discretion, we affirm the denial
of pretrial diversion in this case.
R. App. P. 9; Judgment of the Criminal Court
Garza and Keith Lowe, Knoxville, Tennessee, for the
appellant, Lisa Edwards.
Herbert H. Slatery III, Attorney General and Reporter;
Courtney N. Orr, Assistant Attorney General; Charme P. Allen,
District Attorney General; and Ashley McDermott and Nathaniel
Ogle, Assistant District Attorneys General, for the appellee,
State of Tennessee.
Curwood Witt, Jr., J., delivered the opinion of the court, in
which D. Kelly Thomas, Jr., and Robert H. Montgomery, Jr.,
CURWOOD WITT, JR., JUDGE
Knox County Grand Jury charged the defendant with two counts
of child abuse relating to abuse she allegedly committed
against her twelve-year-old daughter, K.M.,  in April 2015.
The defendant submitted an application for pretrial diversion
to the Knox County District Attorney General on May 26, 2016.
November 4, 2016, the district attorney's office filed
its letter denying the defendant's application for
pretrial diversion. The district attorney indicated in her
recitation of the facts that the defendant had been charged
with two counts of child abuse for physical abuse inflicted
on the victim on April 4, 2015, and between April 6 and April
10, 2015. The district attorney indicated that she gleaned
the facts of the incidents from interviews conducted on April
12 and 13 and the victim's testimony at an April 11, 2016
hearing. On April 4, 2015, the defendant yelled at and struck
the victim after the defendant and the victim's father
argued about the victim's wanting to go live with her
father. The defendant called the police while the
victim's father was at her residence, and while the
police were speaking to the defendant, the victim telephoned
9-1-1 to report that the defendant had abused her. The victim
"told the operator that she did not want to tell the
officer what her mother had done in front of her mother
because she did not know what [the defendant] would do to
her." The defendant refused to allow the victim to speak
to the officer alone, and the victim eventually told the
officer that the defendant had not done "anything
this incident, the defendant "was physically violent
toward" the victim and "screamed at her and waived
her hands around." The defendant "tried to hit her
and grab her face" and told the victim "that she
wished that she were never born." The defendant also
grabbed the victim's arms and scratched her. When the
victim returned to her father's house the following week,
she reported the abuse to him, and he insisted that she
report the abuse to the police. The victim agreed, and she
provided a report to the police that coincided with injuries
she had on her body.
district attorney also noted that the victim had been
subjected to physical abuse by the defendant from the time
"she was seven or eight years old and that the abuse got
worse as she got older." The victim reported that the
defendant had blamed the victim for the breakup of her second
marriage and "that when her stepfather left, [the
defendant] hit her, screamed at her, and f[o]ught her
an interview at the ChildHelp USA center, the victim related
that the defendant "'has anger problems'"
and that she "said 'really mean stuff'" to
the victim and "hit her." On at least one previous
occasion, the defendant had threatened to kill the victim.
The victim indicated that the abuse that resulted in the
charges in this case came about because the victim had asked
that she be allowed to live with her father.
to the district attorney, the victim's testimony at an
April 11, 2016 evidentiary hearing mirrored her accounts of
abuse at the hands of the defendant that she had previously
provided to the police and to ChildHelp USA. The victim added
that she thought her grandmother had confronted the defendant
about the abuse after her grandmother witnessed the defendant
behaving violently toward the victim at a restaurant. The