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Wilson v. State

Court of Criminal Appeals of Tennessee, Knoxville

September 17, 2019

RONNIE WILSON
v.
STATE OF TENNESSEE

          Assigned on Briefs February 26, 2019

          Appeal from the Circuit Court for Jefferson County No. 12701 O. Duane Slone, Judge

         The Petitioner, Ronnie Wilson, appeals from the Jefferson County Circuit Court's denial of his petition for post-conviction relief. The Petitioner contends that he received ineffective assistance from his trial counsel because trial counsel (1) made no effort to exclude a prior aggravated robbery conviction that the State sought to use as impeachment evidence; (2) failed to explain the concept of criminal responsibility to the Petitioner; and (3) was intoxicated when he met with the Petitioner prior to trial. Discerning no error, we affirm the judgment of the post-conviction court.

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

          Eve Charlesworth, Jefferson City, Tennessee, for the appellant, Ronnie Wilson.

          Herbert H. Slatery III, Attorney General and Reporter; Garrett D. Ward, Assistant Attorney General; James B. Dunn, District Attorney General; and Jeremy D. Ball, Assistant District Attorney General, for the appellee, State of Tennessee.

          D. Kelly Thomas, Jr., J., delivered the opinion of the court, in which James Curwood Witt, Jr., and Norma McGee Ogle, JJ., joined.

          OPINION

          D. KELLY THOMAS, JR., JUDGE

         FACTUAL BACKGROUND

         The Petitioner was convicted by a jury of aggravated robbery and conspiracy to commit aggravated robbery. State v. Ronnie Peter Wilson, III, No. E2013-00576-CCA-R3-CD, 2013 WL 6858273, at *1 (Tenn. Crim. App. Dec. 30, 2013), perm. app. denied (Tenn. June 20, 2014). The trial court imposed a total effective sentence of twenty years to be served at 100 percent. Id. This court affirmed the Petitioner's convictions on direct appeal. Id. On June 20, 2014, our supreme court declined to review this court's decision.

         The evidence at trial established that the Petitioner and three co-defendants developed a plan to steal drugs and money from the victim and her grandson. Wilson, 2013 WL 6858273, at *1-2. The victim testified that the Petitioner entered her home, demanded drugs and money, put a knife to her throat, and took her purse. Id. at *1. The victim's grandson then chased the Petitioner and his co-defendants out of the house with a baseball bat. Id. The victim's grandson struck the Petitioner with the bat and knocked out a gold capped tooth. Id. The Petitioner wrestled the bat away from the victim's grandson and struck him with it before he and his co-defendants fled. Id. Both the victim and her grandson identified the Petitioner at trial. Id.

         All three of the Petitioner's co-defendants testified at trial about his involvement in planning and committing the robbery. Wilson, 2013 WL 6858273, at *2. One of the co-defendants had given a previous statement to police that the Petitioner put a knife to the victim's throat. Id. The Petitioner gave a statement to police admitting his involvement in planning and committing the robbery. Id. He admitted that the gold capped tooth found at the victim's residence was his. Id. He also stated that he saw one of his co-defendants throw a knife out of the car as they fled from the victim's residence. Id. A witness saw "a young black man . . . hanging out the window" of a car and throw a knife. Id. at *1. The witness was able to later help the police locate the knife. Id.

         The Petitioner filed a timely pro se petition for post-conviction relief. Counsel was appointed to represent the Petitioner in this matter and filed three amended petitions for post-conviction relief. As pertinent to our review, the Petitioner alleged that trial counsel was ineffective for making no effort to exclude a prior aggravated robbery conviction that the State sought to use as impeachment evidence, for failing to explain the concept of criminal responsibility to the Petitioner, and for being intoxicated when he met with the Petitioner prior to trial.[1]

         The Petitioner admitted that he met several times with trial counsel prior to trial. The Petitioner also admitted that trial counsel reviewed and explained the evidence provided by the State during discovery. This included the Petitioner's statement to the police and the statements of the witnesses and co-defendants. However, the Petitioner claimed that trial counsel never explained the trial process to him or how the evidence would be used at trial. ...


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