Court of Criminal Appeals of Tennessee, Nashville
Assigned on Briefs February 12, 2019
from the Criminal Court for Davidson County No. 2009-C-2680
Steve R. Dozier, Judge.
Trenell Lamar Copeland, appeals from his convictions of four
counts of aggravated sexual battery of a child. Defendant was
found guilty following a jury trial in 2010. On appeal,
Defendant argues that (1) the evidence at trial was
insufficient to support the convictions, (2) the trial court
erred in its instructions to the jury, and (3) the trial
court erred by allowing the victim's prior consistent
statements to be admitted into evidence. After review of the
record and the parties' briefs, we affirm the judgments
of the trial court.
R. App. P. 3 Appeal as of Right; Judgments of the Criminal
R. Wilson, Nashville, Tennessee (on appeal); and Dana Nero,
Nashville, Tennessee (at trial) for the appellant, Trenell
Herbert H. Slatery III, Attorney General and Reporter; Ruth
Anne Thompson, Senior Assistant Attorney General; Glenn R.
Funk, District Attorney General; and Tammy Meade and Kristen
Menke, Assistant District Attorneys General, for the
appellee, State of Tennessee.
T. Woodall, J., delivered the opinion of the court, in which
Robert W. Wedemeyer and Timothy L. Easter, JJ., joined.
T. WOODALL, JUDGE.
case has a long and tortuous history leading to its current
status. At the conclusion of a jury trial in the Davidson
County Criminal Court on September 15, 2010, the jury found
Defendant guilty of four counts of aggravated sexual battery
related to four separate incidents involving the same victim.
Defendant was sentenced on October 29, 2010, and the record
shows judgments were entered that day. Defendant received an
effective sentence of 22 years' incarceration. From the
record it appears that trial counsel, who was retained by
Defendant, did nothing in the case after the sentencing
hearing, and there is no order allowing trial counsel to
August 6, 2012, Defendant's present attorney filed an
untimely petition for post-conviction relief on behalf of
Defendant. Despite the fact that the petition failed to
allege any facts to justify tolling the one-year statute of
limitations for post-conviction cases, the State did not file
a motion to dismiss. Instead, an agreed order was entered on
August 8, 2012, wherein the trial court ordered, "[t]hat
the appeal in this case will be delayed, pending the
Post[-]Conviction Motion [sic] to be filed by Counsel for
Defendant [sic] and it being heard before this Honorable
Court." T.C.A. § 40-30-113 allows for the granting
of a delayed appeal when a post-conviction court
"conducting a hearing pursuant to [the Post-Conviction
Procedure Act] finds that the petitioner was denied the right
to an appeal from the original conviction" due to
violation of either the United States or Tennessee
April 29, 2013, an amended petition for post-conviction
relief was filed on behalf of Defendant by present counsel.
The amended petition alleged ineffective assistance of trial
counsel, including the total failure to appeal the
convictions and the failure to move to withdraw as counsel.
Again, nothing was alleged to justify tolling the statute of
limitations. More than a year later, on July 1, 2014, present
counsel filed a second amended petition for post-conviction
relief. This amended petition was identical to the first
amended petition except that it added one ground of
ineffective assistance of counsel - that trial counsel failed
to timely file a motion for new trial. For the third time, no
allegations were made to justify tolling the statute of
11, 2014, the post-conviction court held an evidentiary
hearing on the petition for post-conviction relief, as
amended. Despite the fact that the post-conviction court
stated in an order that trial counsel testified at the
hearing, the transcript abruptly ends in mid-sentence of
comments by the prosecutor during Defendant's testimony.
There is no testimony of trial counsel in the transcript.
Furthermore, the transcript is replete with errors by the
court reporter. Numerous misspellings occur throughout the
transcript. More egregious are unintelligible words or
collection of letters, i.e., "I told you when I talked
to you about the /TKPWOS see, the /TKPWHROS see eyes;"
"getting your bond red doesed;" "I think her
last name is play mate, " "Are sail ya play
mate;" "even three of your girlfriend /ORS baby
mama;" "those people that testified at the /PWOBD
hearing;" "I wasn't Nevada Venn thinking about
going to trial, just "plead" employed guilty;"
"I just "plead" employed guilty." As
noted above, the transcript abruptly ended on page 19 with
the following remarks by the prosecutors:
Q. All right. And the DCS worker that was on the jury,
I'm going to have to say that I don't are [sic] any
recollection of a DCS worker, but I do know that we asked far
[sic] lot of ...