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Reyes v. State

Court of Criminal Appeals of Tennessee, Nashville

October 18, 2019


          Assigned on Briefs April 23, 2019

          Appeal from the Criminal Court for DeKalb County No. 2013-CR-99 David A. Patterson, Judge

         Petitioner, Juan Jose Reyes, was convicted by a jury for the offense of rape of a child and received a sentence of thirty-two years. He appeals the denial of his petition for post-conviction relief in which he alleged ineffective assistance of counsel at trial. After a thorough review of the record, we conclude that Petitioner has failed to show that his trial counsel rendered ineffective assistance of counsel, and we accordingly affirm the judgment of the post-conviction court.

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

          Brandon J. Cox, Smithville, Tennessee, for the appellant, Juan Jose Reyes.

          Herbert H. Slatery III, Attorney General and Reporter; Sophia S. Lee, Senior Assistant Attorney General; Bryant C. Dunaway, District Attorney General; and Stephanie Johnson, Assistant District Attorney General, for the appellee, State of Tennessee.

          Thomas T. Woodall, J., delivered the opinion of the court, in which Robert W. Wedemeyer and Robert H. Montgomery, Jr., JJ., joined.




The facts of this case as set forth by this court on direct appeal are as follows:
[Petitioner] was convicted of raping the victim, who was 10 years old at the time of the trial and had been spending the night with [Petitioner] when the offense occurred.
The victim's grandmother testified as the first witness, saying that she had a close relationship with him and would "spoil him every chance [she] got." In November 2012, he was living alternately with her and with his mother, as well as with "friends." Once or twice a month, as well as on weekends, he would stay with a "long-time family friend," from whom [Petitioner] rented a room. In March 2013, [Petitioner] moved from the friend's residence, apparently to live with some of his friends in a trailer and, later, to a house next to it.
She said that the victim and [Petitioner] were "good friends," and the victim continued to spend several nights per week, as well as weekends, at [Petitioner's] new residence. Following a conversation she had with the victim, she became "very upset" and "confronted" [Petitioner]. She said that she does not speak Spanish and, thus, questioned him in English regarding what the victim had told her. He "denied it and he cried and he begged and said he would never hurt him. And I told him but you did." The following day, the victim's mother took him to the sheriff's department and met with Detective Mike Billings, who began investigating the matter.
On cross-examination, the victim's grandmother said that the victim had been staying with [Petitioner], in this fashion, for several months and seemed to be happy.
The victim testified that presently he was 10 years old. From November 2012 through March 2013, he was staying, alternately, at his grandmother's house and at that of his aunt, where [Petitioner] also lived. He said that he spoke "[a] little" Spanish, conversed with [Petitioner] in English, and was understood by [Petitioner]. He said that when he was with [Petitioner] in [Petitioner]'s bedroom, [Petitioner] "[s]tuck his privates in my butt." The victim said that [Petitioner] touched him "skin to skin" and did not touch him anywhere else. This happened around the first of 2013, and he told his grandmother, although not right after it had happened. The victim explained that he was referring to [Petitioner's] penis when he talked about his "privates."
On cross-examination, the victim said that, although he had not bled after the incident, he had a "really bad pain." He said he did not return to stay with [Petitioner] after this happened and had not seen him since then.
Sheriff Patrick Ray, of the DeKalb County Sheriff's Office, testified that [Petitioner] was being housed in the county jail. When he spoke with [Petitioner], he did so in English; Sheriff Ray said he could not speak Spanish.
Detective Mike Billings said he had worked in law enforcement for approximately 20 years and had formerly worked for Sheriff Ray. He said that the victim and his mother had come to the Sheriff's office on March 6, 2013, where he met with them. He called the Department of Children's Services, and, along with one of its representatives, met with the victim and his mother. Later that day, he went to [Petitioner's] residence, where [Petitioner] answered the door, saying to him, "I know why you're here, you're here because of [the victim]." [Petitioner] told Detective Billings that he knew there were "some allegations made against him that he had raped [the victim]." [Petitioner] gave permission for his residence to be searched and, afterwards, Detective Billings took him to the sheriff's office for an interview. He spoke English to [Petitioner], who responded in English. He said that the sheriff's department could summon interpreters to talk with non-English speakers, but he did not need one in speaking with [Petitioner] because each understood the other. He advised [Petitioner] of his Miranda rights, and [Petitioner] waived them in writing. Detective Billings asked if [Petitioner] wanted to write out his statement, and he responded that he would rather have Detective Billings do so. Detective Billings then proceeded to write exactly what [Petitioner] told him, and, after finishing, read the statement to [Petitioner] and asked if there were any additions or deletions to be made. [Petitioner] responded that there were not and signed the statement. As read aloud by Detective Billings, [Petitioner] had told him:
I have lived in DeKalb County for about seven years and about four months ago I met [the victim]. And he would want to come to my house and stay all night with me on the weekends [the victim] had stayed at my house about twenty times and sometimes he would sleep with me and most of the time we both slept in our boxers. There was two times he would try to get in the bed naked and I told that is not right and sometimes he would put them on and sometimes he would just jump under the covers naked.
Sometimes I could smell him and I would make him take a shower and I would stand by the door and he would try and spray water on me at my face, but it wouldn't make me mad.
It has been a month since I had sex and it was with a girl from the bar I met. I do know Tina Young was over there at my house one night or two and we had sex. I don't remember if [the victim] saw us or not. Sometimes when we was driving down the road, [the victim] would say stuff like my penis is hard and I would tell him to shut up and sometimes he would ask if I would take him to the strip club, but I told him he could not go.
One time I was in the living room watching TV and (sic) came out of my room and he said come look and he had a hard on. And I said what, what the hell are you doing and he said he played Grand Theft Auto game and it was giving him a hard on.
I never raped [the victim], but one time I was high that day and he wanted me to do it. I told him a thousand times not to, but he kept on asking and saying please get frisky. I told him it's not right. He promised if I did this he wouldn't let anyone else try it. We was lying down and I put a condom on, but I didn't stick it all the way in, just rubbed it on him twice. I wish I didn't do it, I was ...

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