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State v. Wilson

Court of Criminal Appeals of Tennessee, Nashville

June 21, 2018


          Assigned on Briefs June 20, 2018

          Appeal from the Circuit Court for Robertson County No. 74CC4-2016-CR-107 Jill Bartee Ayers, Judge

         Lorenzoe Wilson ("the Defendant") appeals the trial court's revocation of his community corrections sentence and the imposition of his sentence of confinement, claiming that the trial court abused its discretion in finding that he violated the terms of alternative sentencing and that he should have been reinstated to community corrections. After a review of the record and applicable law, we conclude that the trial court did not abuse its discretion. The judgment of the trial court is affirmed.

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

          Roger Nell, District Public Defender, and Rosemary Sprague, Assistant District Public Defender, for the appellant, Lorenzoe Wilson.

          Herbert H. Slatery III, Attorney General and Reporter; Alexander C. Vey, Assistant Attorney General; John W. Carey, District Attorney General; and Burney Dent Morris, Assistant District Attorney General, for the appellee, State of Tennessee.

          Robert L. Holloway, Jr., J., delivered the opinion of the court, in which D. Kelly Thomas, Jr., and Timothy L. Easter, JJ., joined.



         I. Factual and Procedural Background

         On April 28, 2017, the Defendant pleaded guilty to a charge of aggravated assault that occurred in November 2015, in Montgomery County case number 74CC4-2016-CR-107. Pursuant to the terms of his plea agreement, the trial court sentenced him to six years to be served on community corrections. As part of his sentence conditions, the trial court required the Defendant to complete 180 hours of public service work, to attend and complete anger management classes, to submit to monthly drug and alcohol testing, to make arrangements with a physician or pharmacist to have access to medication, and to complete and graduate from the drug rehabilitation program at Safe Harbor Nashville, complying with all their rules and regulations. On May 18, 2017, the Defendant was discharged from Safe Harbor for failing to comply with the program rules. The trial court issued a violation of community corrections warrant on May 19, 2017, and issued an absconder warrant on July 21, 2017. Following an evidentiary hearing on September 15, 2017, the trial court found the Defendant to be in violation of the terms of his community corrections sentence and ordered the Defendant to serve the remainder of his six-year sentence in the Tennessee Department of Correction (TDOC), with a thirty percent release eligibility.

         At the revocation hearing, the Robertson County Detention Facility Jail Administrator, Major Tony Crawford, testified that he requested the Defendant be moved out of the Robertson County jail and into TDOC because of the Defendant's misconduct in the jail. The trial court granted Major Crawford's request, but TDOC was unable to find a bed for the Defendant. Major Crawford stated that the Defendant's misconduct continued in the Robertson County jail following Major Crawford's request for transfer and that the Defendant "does not need to be in [the Robertson County] jail. He needs to be in a T.D.O.C. institution."

         The Defendant's community corrections case manager, Brian Hawkins, testified that on May 18, 2017, Safe Harbor Nashville discharged the Defendant for possessing a prohibited cell phone while in the program. The Defendant reported to community corrections on May 19, 2017, where Mr. Hawkins reviewed with the Defendant the terms of his community corrections, including reporting twice per week. Mr. Hawkins testified that the Defendant failed to report to community corrections after his first appearance on May 19, and the trial court issued an absconder warrant approximately two months later. Mr. Hawkins testified that the Defendant had also been serving a previous community corrections sentence in Montgomery County related to convictions for theft and aggravated assault. When the trial court sentenced the Defendant for the November 2015 aggravated assault, Montgomery County community corrections transferred the Defendant's file to Robertson County because the Defendant's address was in Robertson County. Mr. Hawkins and Anita Vogt managed the Defendant's community corrections cases in Robertson County.

         The Defendant testified that Safe Harbor discharged him from their program because he possessed a prohibited cell phone. He stated that he had the phone to stay in contact with the Department of Children's Services ("D.C.S.") and the Department of Health and Human Services ("D.H.S.") about a paternity dispute. However, the Defendant admitted that he called several people other than D.C.S. and D.H.S. on the prohibited cell phone while at Safe Harbor. The Defendant stated that he willingly reported to Mr. Hawkins on May 19, 2017, but that he did not know whether he was supposed to continue reporting to Robertson County or Montgomery County. The Defendant testified that he stayed in contact by phone with Ms. Vogt. The Defendant agreed that having the prohibited cell phone and failing to physically report to Ms. Vogt or Mr. Hawkins were both violations of the terms of his community corrections.

         The Defendant stated that he did not need drug rehabilitation and that, if the trial court would reinstate his community corrections without a rehabilitation requirement, he was "pretty sure that [he] could follow the rules enough to stay out of trouble." The Defendant also stated that his misconduct in the Robertson County jail, as reported by Major Crawford, was due to "people that d[id] things to [him]" and situations "in [his] life that [he's] going through that make[] [him] act the way that [he] act[s.]" On cross-examination, the Defendant admitted that he had threatened to kill the woman involved in the paternity dispute.[1] The Defendant recalled that, in ...

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