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Williams v. State

Court of Criminal Appeals of Tennessee, Jackson

July 3, 2019

PHILLIP WILLIAMS
v.
STATE OF TENNESSEE

          Assigned on Briefs June 5, 2019

          Appeal from the Circuit Court for Madison County No. C-18-139 Donald H. Allen, Judge

         Petitioner, Phillip Williams, appeals from the denial of his petition for post-conviction relief. Because Petitioner failed to establish that he received ineffective assistance of counsel and/or that his guilty plea was unknowing and involuntary, we affirm the judgment of the post-conviction court.

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

          William. J. Milam, Jackson, Tennessee, for the appellant, Phillip Williams.

          Herbert H. Slatery III, Attorney General and Reporter; Katharine K. Decker, Assistant Attorney General; Jody S. Pickens, District Attorney General; and Shaun A. Brown, Assistant District Attorney General, for the appellee, State of Tennessee.

          Timothy L. Easter, J., delivered the opinion of the court, in which Thomas T. Woodall and Alan E. Glenn, JJ., joined.

          OPINION

          TIMOTHY L. EASTER, JUDGE

         Petitioner pled guilty to one count of second degree murder, three counts of attempted aggravated robbery, and two counts of aggravated kidnapping. At the guilty plea hearing, the State submitted the following as the factual basis for the underlying guilty plea:

[T]his is an incident from July 17th of 2015 which [Petitioner and codefendant] went to an apartment that was occupied by Mr. James Fisher and Mr. Bob Akins. They went in the apartment. [Codefendant] had a semiautomatic weapon and [Petitioner] had a revolver attempting to rob Mr. Fisher and Mr. Akins of money and/or marijuana. . . . They then left that apartment taking Mr. Fisher and Mr. Akins with them at gunpoint. . . . [Petitioner] was in possession of a handgun and took Mr. Fisher and Mr. Akins against their will. Basically it was Mr. Akins and Mr. Fisher trying to make up - - getting out of this apartment saying that they knew of some place that - - I believe Mr. Akins was the one who told them he knew some place they could get drugs. They wandered through several streets and some apartment complexes here in Jackson while finally then randomly coming to Mr. Beau Reid's apartment. This was in the middle of the night in an attempt to then rob Mr. Reid is what [Petitioner] and [codefendant] were doing. They still had their guns. Mr. Reid heard commotion outside of his apartment and came out a back door of his apartment and when he came out of the back door of his apartment, he was shot and killed.

         Petitioner subsequently filed a pro se petition for post-conviction relief in which he alleged that he received ineffective assistance of counsel during the entry of his guilty plea because defense counsel failed to investigate his case. Additionally, Petitioner alleged that the plea was unknowing and involuntary because the State failed to file a notice of intent to seek enhanced punishment, that he was mentally incapable of entering a plea, and that his conviction was obtained in violation of his constitutional rights. The post-conviction court determined that Petitioner stated a colorable claim for relief and appointed counsel.

         At the post-conviction hearing, Petitioner testified that trial counsel filed a motion "for a mental evaluation and a motion to suppress" his statement prior to trial. Petitioner admitted that he had a mental evaluation prior to trial but that he was not made aware of the results of the evaluation. Petitioner admitted that he had a mental evaluation prior to a juvenile transfer hearing during which the trial judge determined the case should be transferred to circuit court.

         Petitioner admitted that he gave a statement after being Mirandized. Petitioner confirmed that his mother was present when he gave his statement to police but claimed that he did not want to give the statement and "kept telling [the] investigators [he] didn't want to talk to them, but they unfortunately made [him] talk." Petitioner was shown his statement and admitted that in the statement he explained that he was "robbing someone when they were killed."

         Petitioner claimed that trial counsel did not review any materials with him prior to the guilty plea and that he only met with trial counsel "about five times over the two year period of time" for about thirty minutes on each occasion. In fact, Petitioner claimed that trial counsel failed to investigate issues involved in the case prior to the entry of the plea. Specifically, Petitioner wanted trial counsel to get his school records because Petitioner had been in special ...


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