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Turner v. State

Court of Criminal Appeals of Tennessee, Knoxville

July 2, 2019

JOE MICHAEL TURNER
v.
STATE OF TENNESSEE

          Assigned on Briefs May 30, 2019

          Appeal from the Criminal Court for Knox County No. 110114 Bobby Ray McGee, Judge

         A Knox County jury convicted the Petitioner, Joe Michael Turner, of two counts of aggravated rape, one count of especially aggravated kidnapping, three counts of aggravated kidnapping, and one count of aggravated assault, and the trial court imposed an effective sentence of 100 years. In 2017, the Petitioner filed a writ of error coram nobis, claiming newly discovered evidence in the form of a letter from the District Attorney's office notifying him of a police officer's misconduct. The trial court dismissed the petition finding the Petitioner had not presented a colorable claim. The Petitioner appeals, maintaining that he is entitled to relief. After review, we affirm the trial court.

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

          J. Liddell Kirk, Knoxville, Tennessee, for the appellant, Joe Michael Turner.

          Herbert H. Slatery III, Attorney General and Reporter; Courtney N. Orr, Assistant Attorney General; Charme P. Allen, District Attorney General; and Leslie Nassisos, Assistant District Attorney General, for the appellee, State of Tennessee.

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

          OPINION

          ROBERT W. WEDEMEYER, JUDGE

         I. Facts and Procedural History

         A jury convicted the Petitioner of two counts of aggravated rape, one count of especially aggravated kidnapping, three counts of aggravated kidnapping, and one count of aggravated assault, and the trial court imposed an effective sentence of 100 years. The Petitioner appealed the convictions and this court affirmed the convictions but remanded the case for merger of the kidnapping convictions. See State v. Joe Michael Turner, No. E2009-00069-CCA-R3-CD, 2010 WL 3706434, at *1 (Tenn. Crim. App, Knoxville, Feb. 16, 2011), perm. app. denied (Tenn. Aug. 26, 2011). The Petitioner then filed an unsuccessful petition for post-conviction relief alleging ineffective assistance of counsel. Joe Turner v. State, No. E2015-00849-CCA-R3-PC, 2017 WL 928680, *1 (Tenn. Crim. App., at Knoxville, Jan. 21, 2016), perm. app. denied (Tenn. Mar. 8, 2017).

         In 2017, the Petitioner filed the petition for writ of error coram nobis at issue in this appeal. The Petitioner claimed he had newly discovered evidence in the form of a July 10, 2016 letter from the Knox County District Attorney's Office notifying him that, pursuant to Brady v. Maryland, a Knoxville Police Department officer, Joshua Hurst, had been charged with drug distribution, official misconduct, and possession of a firearm during the commission of a dangerous felony committed in 2014. The letter provided the docket numbers for the cases Officer Hurst had been involved with.

         The trial court held a hearing on the petition and the Petitioner's attorney explained that the letter was sent to the Petitioner because of "misdemeanors that were resolved in 2006" and unrelated to the felony convictions in this case. The Petitioner's attorney could find no connection between Officer Hurst and the instant case. The Petitioner's attorney then asked the trial court to make a preliminary finding about whether or not the "Hurst investigation" would have been admissible. The State, in response, asked that the petition be dismissed. The trial court dismissed the petition stating

[I]t's not possible for anything that happened in 2014 to have been, in any way, introduced or part of or have any effect on the [Petitioner]'s trial, which occurred years earlier. For those reasons, the Court does find no [ ] conceivable basis for ...

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