Court of Criminal Appeals of Tennessee, Nashville
SANTERIAUS D. LAVENDER
STATE OF TENNESSEE
Assigned on Briefs August 27, 2019
from the Criminal Court for Davidson County No. 2013-B-1428
Mark J. Fishburn, Judge.
Santeriaus D. Lavender,  pled guilty to second degree murder in
exchange for a sentence of thirty years to be served at 100
percent. Petitioner subsequently filed a petition for
post-conviction relief, alleging that he received the
ineffective assistance of counsel and that his guilty plea
was not knowing and voluntary. The post-conviction court
denied relief, and upon our review of the record, we affirm
the judgment of the post-conviction court.
R. App. P. 3 Appeal as of Right; Judgment of the Criminal
C. Caldwell, Nashville, Tennessee, for the appellant,
Santeriaus D. Lavender.
Herbert H. Slatery III, Attorney General and Reporter; Sophia
S. Lee, Senior Assistant Attorney General; Glenn Funk,
District Attorney General; and Janice Norman, Assistant
District Attorney General, for the appellee, State of
Timothy L. Easter, J., delivered the opinion of the court, in
which Camille R. McMullen and J. Ross Dyer., JJ., joined.
TIMOTHY L. EASTER, JUDGE.
and Procedural History
21, 2013, Petitioner was indicted on four counts; one count
of first-degree murder, one count of felony murder, one count
of especially aggravated robbery, and one count of aggravated
robbery. On December 15, 2016, Petitioner pled guilty to the
reduced charge of second degree murder in exchange for a
sentence of thirty years to be served at a 100 percent.
following is a summary of the factual basis for
Petitioner's guilty plea: Petitioner's Co-Defendant,
Bersha Edens, placed a phone call to Richard Farrar to tell
him she had Xanax bars for sale. Petitioner and Co-Defendant
Edens planned to rob Mr. Farrar when he arrived to purchase
the Xanax. Mr. Farrar arrived at the meeting place driving a
vehicle, and his friend Mr. Chad Daniel was with him. Mr.
Daniel stayed in the vehicle while Mr. Farrar went to meet
Co-Defendant Edens. Co-Defendant Edens handed Mr. Farrar four
Xanax bars, and Mr. Farrar handed her twenty dollars.
Co-Defendant Edens then called Petitioner, and Petitioner
immediately entered the area, armed with a semi-automatic
handgun, and robbed Mr. Farrar. Mr. Farrar ran back to his
vehicle where Mr. Daniel was counting his money. As Mr.
Farrar was backing up the vehicle, Petitioner approached the
vehicle and demanded Mr. Daniel's money. Mr. Farrar began
to drive away, and Petitioner fired multiple shots at the
car, hitting Mr. Daniel in the chest. Mr. Daniel died a short
plea hearing, Petitioner testified that he understood the
petition to enter the guilty plea and that trial counsel
satisfactorily answered his questions with regard to the
plea. The trial court thoroughly examined Petitioner in order
to ascertain that Petitioner discussed the plea with trial
counsel and that Petitioner understood the plea. Petitioner
responded affirmatively. The trial court asked if Petitioner
had any complaints about trial counsel. Petitioner responded
"no." Petitioner stated that he could read and
write and that he had completed high school. Petitioner
affirmed that he was not on medication, drugs, or other
intoxicants, nor was he suffering from any condition that
would not enable him to fully understand the proceedings.
Petitioner affirmed that he understood the original charges,
the possible corresponding punishments, and what the State
would have to show for a jury to convict and that he had
discussed the issues with his attorney.
trial court stated, "You're pleading guilty to
Second-Degree Murder in Count [One]. You're going to be
sentenced to thirty years at a hundred percent under
State v. Hicks and . . . the other count will be
dismissed. Is that what your understanding, sure of what
you're to plead to as well as actual punishment being
imposed[?]" Petitioner responded "yeah." The
trial court went on to explain that the punishment under the
plea agreement was greater than the maximum sentence the
trial court could impose if Petitioner were found guilty by a
jury on the same charge of second degree murder. The trial
court asked if Petitioner discussed this sentence in detail
with trial counsel and understood everything. Petitioner
responded that he understood and had no further questions
about his plea or the punishment being imposed.
trial court then explained all the rights Petitioner had as a
criminal defendant and asked questions about Petitioner's
understanding of each. The trial court asked Petitioner if
anyone had threatened or promised anything in order to get
Petitioner to enter the plea. Petitioner responded
"no." The facts of the case were then read in to
the record, and the trial court asked Petitioner if ...