Court of Criminal Appeals of Tennessee, Nashville
Assigned on Briefs May 7, 2019 at Jackson
from the Circuit Court for Giles County No. CR-13140 Stella
L. Hargrove, Judge
petitioner, Maurice McAllister, appeals the denial of his
petition for post-conviction relief, which petition
challenged his 2013 conviction of rape, alleging that he was
deprived of the effective assistance of counsel. Discerning
no error, we affirm the denial of post-conviction relief.
R. App. P. 3; Judgment of the Circuit Court Affirmed
L. Odeneal, Lawrenceburg, Tennessee, for the appellant,
Herbert H. Slatery III, Attorney General and Reporter; Sophia
S. Lee, Assistant Attorney General; Brent Cooper, District
Attorney General; and Victoria Haywood, Assistant District
Attorney General, for the appellee, State of Tennessee.
Curwood Witt, Jr., J., delivered the opinion of the court, in
which Thomas T. Woodall, and D. Kelly Thomas, Jr., JJ.,
CURWOOD WITT, JR., JUDGE.
2012, the Giles County Grand Jury charged the petitioner with
13 counts of rape and one count of aggravated rape arising
from accusations made "by a group of young Amish
people." State v. Maurice McAllister, No.
M2014-02022-CCA-R3-CD, slip op. at 1 (Tenn. Crim. App.,
Nashville, Dec. 16, 2015), perm. app. denied (Tenn.
Apr. 6, 2016). The aggravated rape charge was severed from
the other charges, and the petitioner proceeded to trial on
the aggravated rape charge. Id., slip op. at 1-2.
The State's evidence at trial established that the victim
and other Amish girls worked for the petitioner and his wife
helping with "weeding, painting, raking leaves, and
working in the flower beds." Id., slip op. at
7. On the victim's sixteenth birthday, the petitioner
approached her in the "wash-house" at her home and
"reached on [her] breast," "masturbate[ed] in
front of her," and "put his finger in her
vagina." Id., slip op. at 7-8 (first alteration
in original). The petitioner had previously shown the victim
a pistol, and, during the incident in the wash-house, he
"threatened to shoot her with it" if she told
anyone of his conduct. Id., slip op. at 8. In a
separate incident, the petitioner instructed the victim to
"cut some of her pubic hair and give to him."
Id., slip op. at 8. During a recorded interview with
law enforcement officers, the petitioner admitted to touching
the victim's breasts and placing his finger in her vagina
but repeatedly denied having threatened her. Id.,
slip op. at 6.
jury convicted the petitioner of the lesser included offense
of rape, and the trial court imposed a sentence of 12
years' incarceration. Id., slip op. at 9. This
court affirmed the petitioner's conviction and sentence
on direct appeal. Id., slip op. at 16-17.
petitioner filed a timely pro se petition for post-conviction
relief and, after the appointment of counsel, filed an
amended petition, alleging the ineffective assistance of the
petitioner's trial counsel. In his pro se petition, the
petitioner alleged that trial counsel performed deficiently
by failing to preserve certain issues for appeal, failing to
pursue a plea agreement, failing to argue mitigating
evidence, failing to object to the jury instructions, failing
to request the dismissal of certain jurors for cause, failing
to seek a change in venue, failing to object to certain
enhancement factors at sentencing, and failing to ensure that
the trial court made explicit findings in sentencing the
petitioner. In his amended petition, however, the petitioner
makes only a general claim of his trial counsel's
deficient performance and does not allege any specific facts
supporting his claim.
July 13, 2018 evidentiary hearing, the petitioner testified
that he hoped to "get some relief" from the
post-conviction court; specifically, he wanted "[s]ome
time off of [his] sentence." He cited his good behavior
during incarceration as a reason for his deserving
post-conviction relief. He stated that he did not think
"that anything went wrong with the trial at all,"
and he repeatedly stated that trial counsel provided proper
representation. He also stated that his post-conviction
counsel did not provide "proper representation,"
which complaint stemmed primarily from a lack of
correspondence. When asked whether trial counsel "did
exactly what he was supposed to do," the petitioner
cross-examination, the petitioner identified his signature on
the post-conviction petition and acknowledged filing it. He
acknowledged that he did not raise any claims as to
post-conviction counsel's representation in his pro se
petition. Upon questioning by the court, the petitioner
stated that he did not know why he was in court that day and
that he was not notified of the scheduled hearing until he
was awoken that day at 5:30 a.m. and told to get ready for
close of the petitioner's evidence, the State moved to
dismiss the post-conviction petition for lack of evidence of
trial counsel's deficient performance, which motion the
post-conviction court granted. In its written order denying
relief, the post-conviction court found that the petitioner
"repeatedly denied that he had any issues with [trial
counsel's] representation" and that the petitioner
believed that trial counsel had provided "proper
representation." The court found that the petitioner was
physically and mentally sound at the evidentiary hearing and
"merely wanted to complain about the two attorneys
appointed to assist him with a [post-conviction] petition
that obviously someone at the penitentiary prepared for
him." The court also found that the petitioner's pro
se and amended petitions for ...