Court of Criminal Appeals of Tennessee, Nashville
GABRIEL C. TORRES
STATE OF TENNESSEE
Session: May 14, 2019
from the Circuit Court for Robertson County No.
74CC2-2011-CR-659 William R. Goodman III, Judge
Petitioner, Gabriel C. Torres, appeals from the Robertson
County Circuit Court's denial of his petition for
post-conviction relief from his rape of a child conviction,
for which he is serving a twenty-five-year sentence. On
appeal, he contends that the post-conviction court erred in
denying his claim that trial counsel provided ineffective
relative to the communication of guilty plea offers. We
affirm the judgment of the post-conviction court.
R. App. P. 3 Appeal as of Right; Judgment of the Circuit
Garth Click, Springfield, Tennessee, for the Appellant,
Gabriel C. Torres.
Herbert H. Slatery III, Attorney General and Reporter;
Zachary T. Hinkle, Assistant Attorney General; John W.
Carney, Jr.., District Attorney General; Lee Willoughby,
Assistant District Attorney General, for the appellee, State
H. Montgomery, Jr., J., delivered the opinion of the court,
in which Norma McGee Ogle and Camille R. McMullen, JJ.,
H. MONTGOMERY, JR., JUDGE
Petitioner was convicted at a jury trial related to his
sexual abuse of a child relative. Following the trial, the
Petitioner's trial counsel filed an untimely motion for a
new trial. The trial court dismissed the motion on the basis
that it lacked jurisdiction to consider an untimely motion.
Counsel also filed an untimely notice of appeal and a motion
to waive the timely filing of the notice of appeal, and this
court granted the motion. This court held that, due to the
untimeliness of the motion for a new trial, the
Petitioner's issue was waived regarding whether the trial
court had failed to act as the thirteenth juror. This court
considered the Petitioner's challenge to the sufficiency
of the evidence on the merits and held that the evidence was
sufficient to support the conviction. See State v.
Gabriel Torres, No. M2013-00765-CCA-R3-CD, 2014 WL
4113112 (Tenn. Crim. App. Aug. 21, 2014).
Petitioner filed a pro se petition for post-conviction
relief, in which he alleged that (1) he received the
ineffective assistance of trial counsel, (2) the evidence was
insufficient to support his conviction, and (3) the trial
court failed to act as thirteenth juror. After counsel was
appointed, the Petitioner filed an amended petition which
alleged that trial counsel had failed to advise him regarding
possible plea agreements. See Torres v. State, 543
S.W.3d 141, 142 (Tenn. Crim. App. 2017).
post-conviction court conducted a hearing. Previously, this
court summarized the hearing's evidence:
Petitioner testified that he was an "illegal" who
had been in the United States for about sixteen years prior
to his indictment. Petitioner had no formal education and
claimed he could not read or write. Additionally, Petitioner
claimed that he did not speak English and that there was an
interpreter present each time he met with trial counsel.
Petitioner insisted that the State "never made [him] any
[plea] offers when [he] was in jail." Petitioner also
testified that trial counsel never discussed settlement
offers with him prior to trial. In fact, Petitioner stated
that "it was actually right before the trial, the same
day as the trial, when they offered me those four years and
one month." Petitioner claimed that if he "had seen
[plea offers], he would've accepted them."
Petitioner was "ready" to enter a plea but that did
Petitioner recalled trial counsel's telling him about the
appeal process but that trial counsel never came to
"talk to [him] at all" about the appeal. Petitioner
relied on other prisoners who told him about the thirty-day
time limit for filing an appeal. Petitioner even had someone
call the ...