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State v. Driver

Court of Criminal Appeals of Tennessee, Jackson

August 27, 2019

STATE OF TENNESSEE
v.
RICKEY DRIVER

          Assigned on Briefs July 9, 2019

          Appeal from the Circuit Court for Fayette County No. 2017-CR-198 J. Weber McCraw, Judge

         A Fayette County jury convicted the defendant, Rickey Driver, of violating the requirements of the sexual offender registry due to his failure to report during 2016. The trial court imposed a six-year sentence which was suspended after 120 days of service. On appeal, the defendant challenges the sufficiency of the evidence supporting his conviction. Following our review of the record and pertinent authorities, we affirm the judgment of the trial court.

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

          Matthew C. Edwards, Bolivar, Tennessee, for the appellant, Rickey Driver.

          Herbert H. Slatery III, Attorney General and Reporter; Katharine K. Dekcer, Assistant Attorney General; Mark E. Davidson, District Attorney General; and Falen Chandler, Assistant District Attorney General, for the appellee, State of Tennessee.

          J. Ross Dyer, J., delivered the opinion of the court, in which James Curwood Witt, Jr. and Robert W. Wedemeyer, JJ., joined.

          OPINION

          J. ROSS DYER, JUDGE.

         Facts and Procedural History

         In November 2017, the defendant was indicted for failing to comply with the requirements of the Tennessee Sexual Offender and Violent Sexual Offender Registration, Verification, and Tracking Act of 2004 ("the Act") due to his failure to report in 2016.[1] Initially, the defendant wanted to proceed pro se. However, during a pre-trial hearing, the defendant requested the trial court appoint an attorney to represent him. After the appointment of counsel, the defendant proceeded to trial on April 30, 2017. The State presented the following facts to the jury.

         On May 20, 1983, the defendant pled guilty to assault with the intent to commit rape in the criminal court of Shelby County, Tennessee. He received a three-year sentence which expired on January 18, 1986.[2] The defendant remained a resident of Tennessee and as such, was required to register as a sexual offender after the enactment of the Act. The defendant first registered with Tennessee's sexual offender registry ("SOR") on August 30, 2012. In doing so, he signed an instruction form which detailed the reporting requirements and an acknowledgment indicating he read and understood the federal and state registration, verification, and tracking requirements. The instruction form specifically noted sexual offenders "shall report once a year within 7 days before and 7 days after the offender's birthday." After his initial registration, the defendant subsequently signed the instruction form and acknowledgment on September 13, 2012, [3]April 3, 2014, April 7, 2016, and August 8, 2017.

         Carrie Thigpen, the Fayette County sex offender registry officer, detailed the defendant's SOR records at trial. Officer Thigpen testified the defendant is classified as a sexual offender who is required to report to the Fayette County Sheriff's Office each year between May 8 and May 22, as the defendant was born on May 15, 1959.[4] In 2016, Ms. Thigpen personally explained the reporting requirements to the defendant and witnessed him sign the instruction form and acknowledgment. After doing so, however, the defendant failed to report in May 2016, a capias was issued, and the defendant was arrested for his present charge on July 4, 2016.

         After the State rested its case, the defendant did not present any proof, and the jury convicted him of violating the sex offender registry due to his failure to report in May 2016. The trial court imposed a suspended sentence of six years after 120 days of service in the Tennessee Department of Correction. The defendant filed a ...


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