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State v. Slappey

Court of Criminal Appeals of Tennessee, Knoxville

June 6, 2019

STATE OF TENNESSEE
v.
TAIRON SLAPPEY

          Assigned on Briefs May 30, 2019

          Appeal from the Criminal Court for Knox County No. 113201 G. Scott Green, Judge

         Tairon Slappey, Defendant, pled guilty to one count of aggravated assault and one count of domestic assault with a recommendation from the State that he receive concurrent sentences of three years as a Range I offender for aggravated assault and eleven months and twenty-nine days for domestic assault. The manner and method of service were to be determined by the trial court. Following a sentencing hearing, the trial court ordered Defendant to serve three years in the Tennessee Department of Correction. After a thorough review of the record, we affirm the judgments of the trial court.

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

          Mark E. Stephens, District Public Defender; and Michael R. Tabler, Assistant Public Defender, for the appellant, Tairon Slappey.

          Herbert H. Slatery III, Attorney General and Reporter; Jeffrey D. Zentner, Assistant Attorney General; Charme Allen, District Attorney General; and Molly Martin, Assistant District Attorney General, for the appellee, State of Tennessee.

          Robert L. Holloway, Jr., J., delivered the opinion of the court, in which John Everett Williams, P.J., and Robert W. Wedemeyer, J., joined.

          OPINION

          ROBERT L. HOLLOWAY, JR., JUDGE

         Defendant was charged with one count of aggravated assault involving strangulation for allegedly choking his wife and one count of domestic assault for striking his stepdaughter with his fist when she attempted to intervene on behalf of her mother. At the Plea Submission Hearing, the parties announced that Defendant would plead guilty as charged with a recommendation from the State that he be sentenced to three years as a Range I offender for aggravated assault and to a concurrent eleven months and twenty-nine days for domestic assault, with the manner and method of service to be determined following a sentencing hearing. After advising and questioning Defendant concerning his rights and establishing a factual basis, the trial court accepted the plea and set the sentencing hearing for July 20, 2018.

         At the sentencing hearing, the State introduced the Investigation Report from the Tennessee Department of Correction ("the presentence report"), a report from the Knoxville Sheriff's Office Community Alternative to Prison Program ("the CAPP report"), and an "Appropriate for Enhanced Probation" report as collective exhibit 1. Defendant introduced a letter from "Helen Ross McNabb" "outlining [Defendant]'s treatment while in jail as well as any release plans they have" as exhibit 2. Neither the State nor Defendant called a witness, but the trial court allowed Defendant to make an unsworn statement.

         Counsel for Defendant argued that enhanced probation would be appropriate because Defendant had been on his medications for bipolar depression during his four months in jail and that he was "compliant" when properly medicated. Counsel said Defendant was "engaging with Helen Ross McNabb for medication management, anger management, as well as an intensive outpatient program" and that Defendant "was eager to take advantage of these opportunities[.]" Counsel said Defendant had a place to stay separate from his wife and stepdaughter and had a job opportunity.

         Included as part of collective exhibit 1, was the CAPP report of the "Day Reporting Center." The report noted that Defendant admitted to "a substance abuse history beginning at age 23 including alcohol, cocaine, MDMA[ecstasy] and his drug of choice, cannabinoids." The Day Reporting Center Director's "concerns/recommendations" were:

It is NOT recommended that [Defendant] be instructed and court-ordered to complete the TDOC Day Reporting Center program. During the assessment, [Defendant] shared that he does not believe he has a drug addiction and "don't need it [drugs]." He also stated that his motivation for wanting to participate in the program is that he would be able to return home. He did express interest in receiving counseling, but this could be accomplished through outpatient services.
The State argued that Defendant would likely not "be successful on probation."

         The trial court asked Defendant, "[I]s there anything you wish to say before the Court pronounces judgment in your case?" Defendant stated:

Yeah. I mean, I was off my medicine when things like that happened. It's no excuse, you know what I mean, wrong was wrong. You know, I apologize and stuff, but, you know, but the last few months I've had time to reflect, you know what I mean. But saying I can't be with my wife, that's - that's an understatement because you're seeing one thing. That's not me. I didn't have my medicine. No insurance. You know what I mean. I was just going through something in that time, but, you know, the past four months I had time to reflect and, you know, regain things and start kind of putting stuff back where it needed to be at. You know, seek treatment, after that, you know, go to AA and stuff like that. You know, I can't stand here and ...

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