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State v. Goodwin

Court of Criminal Appeals of Tennessee, Knoxville

August 29, 2019

STATE OF TENNESSEE
v.
WILLIAM ROBERT GOODWIN

          Assigned on Briefs July 24, 2019

          Appeal from the Criminal Court for Knox County Nos. 106968, 106969, 106970, 107087, 107310, 107311, 107775, 107776 Bobby R. McGee, Judge

         The Defendant-Appellant, William Robert Goodwin, appeals from the order of the Knox County Criminal Court revoking his probation and ordering him to serve the balance of his sentence in confinement. In this appeal, the Defendant concedes that he violated his probation; however, he contends the trial court abused its discretion in ordering confinement because his probation violations were minor, he had established a stable life and work history, and he had compelling family reasons to remain on probation. Upon our review, we affirm the judgment of the trial court.

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

          Mark E. Stephens, District Public Defender; and Jonathan Harwell, Assistant Public Defender, for the Defendant-Appellant, William Robert Goodwin.

          Herbert H. Slatery III, Attorney General and Reporter; Renee W. Turner, Senior Assistant Attorney General; Charme P. Allen, District Attorney General; and TaKisha Fitzgerald, Assistant District Attorney General, for the Appellee, State of Tennessee.

          Camille R. MCMULLEN, J., delivered the opinion of the court, in which Robert L. Holloway, Jr., and Timothy L. Easter, JJ., joined.

          OPINION

          CAMILLE R. McMULLEN, JUDGE

         On March 29, 2017, the Defendant entered guilty pleas to burglary, five counts of theft, violation of driver's license law, attempted theft, and criminal trespass, for which he received an effective sentence of six years. On August 9, 2017, following a sentencing hearing, the trial court placed the Defendant on enhanced probation for four years, which was conditioned upon the Defendant's enrollment in a rehabilitation residential treatment program (halfway house). The record shows that on October 4, 2017, a probation violation warrant was filed, alleging that the Defendant had tested positive for tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) and that he was discharged from the halfway house on October 3, 2017, for non-compliance. On October 17, 2017, the Defendant agreed to the probation violation. On November 7, 2017, he was released from jail on his own recognizance and accepted back into the halfway house. On December 12, 2017, an amended probation violation warrant was issued, alleging that the Defendant subsequently failed to notify his probation officer before changing his residence, that his whereabouts were unknown from December 9 to December 10, 2017, that the Defendant had been drinking alcohol on December 9, 2017, and that he was discharged a second time from the halfway house. On March 15, 2018, the Defendant "submitted" to the violation of probation warrant. The trial court then referred the Defendant to the Community Alternatives to Prison Program (CAPP) and the Day Reporting Center (DRC) for recommendations for treatment.

         On May 11, 2018, the trial court conducted a probation violation hearing. At the top of the hearing, the State explained that the Defendant had agreed to the violations of probation in the amended warrant and that the parties were present to determine the Defendant's sentence. The State offered into evidence reports from CAPP and DRC, both of which recommended that the Defendant be ordered to serve his sentence in confinement because he was not an appropriate candidate for treatment. In support of its position, the State explained as follows:

The State would point out that in this case [the Defendant] was on parole when he picked up these charges that he pled guilty to. He completed his TDOC sentence. He came out from TDOC and resolved these cases in May 2017. His parole ended I believe in June. He applied for Enhanced. Enhanced Probation agreed to take him [, ] but they wanted him to go through in-patient treatment at Jellinek. He went through that. He was released to Enhanced in August. And the file reflects that his probation-he violated his probation in October by having a positive marijuana screen [, ] and he was taken back into-he was living at the halfway house. He was taken back into custody, given another chance. Had to sit for a little while. He goes back to the halfway house [, ] and then he has a positive screen again, this time for alcohol in December. A violation of probation was issued, and he did not show up for probation, did not turn himself in. The warrant gets served on him and he came into custody. He submitted to the VOP.

         In response, defense counsel clarified that the State misunderstood the violation of probation to which the Defendant had agreed. Defense counsel explained that the Defendant conceded to failing to report as directed by his probation officer; however, he denied that he was intoxicated on December 10, 2017, as stated in the amended violation warrant. Although a staff member at the halfway house reported that the Defendant was intoxicated, the Defendant was not given a urine test at that time to confirm his condition. Defense counsel said that the Defendant "voluntarily and on his own submitted himself to a drug screen company that has as a part of it an 80 hour look back for a metabolite of ethanol. The results of those tests were all negative for all substances, including alcohol." Defense counsel stated that the Defendant did not immediately turn himself in on the amended violation of probation warrant because he was "compelled to remain out so that he could be with his child over the holidays." Rather than a sentence of confinement, defense counsel argued for probation because the Defendant maintained a stable job and worked to regain parental rights of his daughter.

         The Defendant's probation officer, Natasha Davis, testified that she had supervised the Defendant since August 2017. In October 2017, she filed a violation of probation report because the Defendant tested positive for marijuana use. The Defendant turned himself in on the violation of probation warrant, served time in prison, and was released back to the halfway house in November 2017. Officer Davis testified that the Defendant reported to her one time upon his release, and he committed another violation of probation in December 2017. Although the Defendant did not turn himself in, he contacted Officer Davis several times via text message before coming into custody on February 23, 2018. Officer Davis testified that she did not believe that the Defendant was an appropriate candidate for probation. She agreed that she was not present at the halfway house on the day that the Defendant was discharged and that she was not aware of which staff member reported the violation. Even though the Defendant reported to her more than once during his supervision, Officer Davis explained that, per the Public Safety Act, a discharge from the halfway house resulted in a violation of probation.

         Another probation officer, Lisa Mooneyham, testified that she worked with Officer Davis and that she spoke to the director of the halfway house on the night that the Defendant was discharged in December 2017. Officer Mooneyham testified that the director told her that the Defendant was discharged because he came in late, "appeared to be drinking," and was arguing with his daughter. Officer Mooneyham also testified that the Defendant left the county without her permission in violation of his probation. Officer Mooneyham confirmed that the director of the halfway house did not personally observe the Defendant on the night that he was discharged. Rather, the house manager reported the incident to the director. Officer Mooneyham also explained that the Defendant left the county while on probation to attend a child support court date in Chattanooga. Although the Defendant received permission from the halfway house to leave the county, he did not get permission from Officer Mooneyham. Officer Mooneyham ...


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