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Hayes v. State

Court of Criminal Appeals of Tennessee, Jackson

July 19, 2019

PAUL HAYES
v.
STATE OF TENNESSEE

          Assigned on Briefs June 5, 2019

          Appeal from the Criminal Court for Shelby County No. 99-01385 Chris Craft, Judge

         Petitioner, Paul Hayes, filed a petition for writ of error coram nobis based on a victim recanting her identification of him as one of the perpetrators of a home invasion that took place over two decades ago. The petition was denied by the trial court both for having been untimely filed and because the new evidence was neither credible nor was likely to have changed the outcome of the trial. On appeal, we affirm the judgment of the trial court that the petition should be denied on the merits.

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

          Melody M. Dougherty (on appeal) and Lauren Fuchs (at hearing), Memphis, Tennessee, for the appellant, Paul Hayes.

          Herbert H. Slatery III, Attorney General and Reporter; David H. Findley, Senior Assistant Attorney General; Amy Weirich, District Attorney General; and Leslie Byrd, 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 was convicted by a jury of one count of aggravated burglary and two counts of aggravated robbery and received an effective sentence of seventy-five years. On direct appeal, this Court summarized the proof presented at trial:

On October 26, 1998, the victims, Saeed Zarshenas and his guest, Jacquelyn Scruggs, were dining at Zarshenas' home in Germantown. After Zarshenas finished eating, he went to the backyard to smoke a cigarette. While Zarshenas was smoking, Brian Kimbrough jumped over the backyard fence, yelling, "D.E.A.," and asking where the guns and drugs were located. Kimbrough ordered Zarshenas back inside the home at gunpoint, forced him to the kitchen floor, and handcuffed him. [Petitioner] followed Kimbrough into the house, grabbed Scruggs from behind, and held a gun to her head. [Petitioner] removed her ring and necklace and took $200 from her purse. Scruggs was then forced to the floor, handcuffed, gagged, and a hood was placed over her head. Two other accomplices, Dexter Futrell and "Shorty," had also entered the house.
The four men began to search the home looking for drugs and money. Zarshenas was blindfolded, gagged, and his feet were tied together. The men kept asking, "Where is the safe?" Zarshenas responded that he did not have a safe, which only angered the men. Zarshenas and Scruggs were "just dragged around and pushed and punched," and Zarshenas was stabbed several times in the buttocks and burned multiple times with a cigarette lighter. Also, sexual advances were made towards Scruggs. One of the men located a briefcase containing $5, 000 in Zarshenas' car. The men also took a camcorder, leather jacket, collector's knife, jewelry, and $1, 500 found inside a suitcase. The men left through the back door, which sounded the home invasion alarm. After [Zarshenas] was certain the men had exited the residence, he freed himself from his restraints, called 911 and, then, helped Scruggs free herself from her restraints.
A Shelby County grand jury indicted [Petitioner], Futrell, and Kimbrough for aggravated burglary and two counts of aggravated robbery. The identity of "Shorty" was never determined. Futrell and Kimbrough pled guilty and received eight-year sentences.

State v. Paul Hayes, No. W2001-02637-CCA-R3-CD, 2002 WL 31746693, at *1 (Tenn. Crim. App. Dec. 6, 2002), perm. app. denied (Tenn. May 27, 2003). This Court held that the evidence was sufficient to sustain Petitioner's convictions because both victims identified Petitioner as one of the perpetrators, corroborating Codefendant Futrell's testimony that Petitioner was involved, even though Petitioner presented the testimony of two alibi witnesses and Codefendant Kimbrough testified that Petitioner was not involved. Id. at *7. Petitioner subsequently sought post-conviction relief, the denial of which was affirmed on appeal. Paul Hayes v. State, No. W2006-02344-CCA-R3-PC, 2008 WL 199839, at *1 (Tenn. Crim. App. Jan. 23, 2008) (holding that Petitioner was not entitled to relief due to an inadequate appellate brief), no perm. app. filed.

         On June 1, 2016, Petitioner filed a petition for writ of error coram nobis on the basis that one of the victims had recanted her identification of Petitioner. He attached to the petition an affidavit executed by Jacquelyn Scruggs on May 19, 2016. A bifurcated evidentiary hearing was held on April 13 and May 18, 2018, at which ...


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