Court of Criminal Appeals of Tennessee, Knoxville
Assigned on Briefs May 22, 2018
from the Criminal Court for Knox County No. 110905 Bobby R.
Petitioner, Christopher Clifton, appeals the post-conviction
court's dismissal of his petition for post-conviction
relief, wherein the Petitioner argued that he entered an
involuntary and unknowing guilty plea to aggravated assault.
After thorough review of the record and applicable law, we
affirm the dismissal of the petition.
R. App. P. 3 Appeal as of Right; Judgment of the Criminal
Liddell Kirk, Knoxville, Tennessee, for the appellant,
Herbert H. Slatery III, Attorney General and Reporter;
Katherine C. Redding, Assistant Attorney General; Charme
Allen, District Attorney General; and Ta Kisha Fitzgerald,
Assistant District Attorney General, for the appellee, State
Everett Williams, J., delivered the opinion of the court, in
which Thomas T. Woodall, P.J., and Robert W. Wedemeyer, J.,
EVERETT WILLIAMS, JUDGE
AND PROCEDURAL HISTORY
Petitioner entered a guilty plea to aggravated assault and
received a four-year sentence. State v. Christopher
Clifton, No. E2015-02307-CCA-R3-CD, 2017 WL 838666, at
*1 (Tenn. Crim. App. Mar. 3, 2017), no perm. app.
filed. Pursuant to the plea agreement, the Petitioner
was given the opportunity to apply for probation.
Id. Trial counsel withdrew from representation, and
new counsel was appointed. Id. at *2. After a
hearing on the Petitioner's application for probation,
the trial court denied probation and sentenced the Petitioner
to serve the four-year sentence in confinement. Id.
The Petitioner subsequently filed a motion to withdraw his
guilty plea. Id.
motion to withdraw his guilty plea, the Petitioner asserted
that his plea was involuntarily and unknowingly entered
because he had suffered a stroke two years prior to entering
the plea, "had 'never faced a felony charge of this
nature or magnitude, '" and "was on
Supplemental Security Income due to 'persistent seizures,
memory loss, and overall disability following' surgery in
2011." Id. At the motion hearing, trial counsel
testified that "the [Petitioner] had brain trauma,
previously had suffered a stroke, suffered from depression,
had some memory issues, and was unable to 'completely
understand what was going on' at times."
Id. He stated that he did not have the
Petitioner's mental health evaluated but that he did not
believe an evaluation was necessary. Id. at *2-3. He
further testified that he had no reason to believe the
Petitioner did not understand what was occurring when
entering his guilty plea. Id. at *3.
trial court denied the Petitioner's motion, holding that
the Petitioner "failed to present any proof of a mental
defect or disorder that would have rendered his plea
involuntary or unknowing." Id. This court
affirmed the denial of the motion on appeal. Id. at
Petitioner filed a timely pro se petition for post-conviction
relief, in which he alleged his guilty plea was involuntarily
and unknowingly entered. Post-conviction counsel was
subsequently appointed but did not amend the pro se petition.
At the beginning of the post-conviction hearing, the State
made a motion to dismiss the petition alleging that the claim
raised was previously determined. The ...