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State v. Labrecque

Court of Criminal Appeals of Tennessee, Nashville

October 22, 2019

STATE OF TENNESSEE
v.
NATHANIEL DAVID LABRECQUE

          Session May 15, 2019

          Appeal from the Criminal Court for Davidson County No. 2017-B-1443 Amanda McClendon, Judge

         The Defendant, Nathaniel David Labrecque, pleaded guilty to two counts of failure to yield the right of way causing serious bodily injury. See T.C.A. §§ 55-8-129, 55-8-197(a)(3) (2018). He received an effective sentence of six months' incarceration, and the trial court ordered the Defendant to pay restitution in the amount of $500, 000. On appeal, the Defendant contends that the trial court erred by (1) ordering restitution without assessing his ability to pay and (2) ordering restitution when there was no evidence substantiating the victims' losses. We affirm the Defendant's convictions, but we reverse the trial court's restitution order and remand for entry of amended judgments.

         Tenn. R. App. P. 3 Appeal as of Right; Judgment of the Criminal Court Reversed; Case Remanded for Entry of Amended Judgments

          Ryan C. Davis, Nashville, Tennessee, for the appellant, Nathaniel David Labrecque.

          Herbert H. Slatery III, Attorney General and Reporter; Andrew C. Coulam, Senior Assistant Attorney General; Glenn R. Funk, District Attorney General; and Ross M. Boudreaux, Assistant District Attorney General, for the appellee, State of Tennessee.

          Robert H. Montgomery, Jr., J., delivered the opinion of the court, in which Camille R. McMullen, J., joined.

          OPINION

          ROBERT H. MONTGOMERY, JR., JUDGE.

         This case arose following a motor vehicle collision involving the Defendant and the victims, Lovell and Jacqueline Conner. The Davidson County grand jury indicted the Defendant for two counts of failure to yield the right of way resulting in serious bodily injury, one count for each victim, and one count of driving on a revoked license. On June 21, 2018, the Defendant pleaded guilty to the two counts of failure to yield, and the State dismissed the driving on a revoked license charge. Following a sentencing hearing on August 9, 2018, the Defendant received an effective sentence of six months' incarceration and was ordered to pay $500, 000 in restitution. Additionally, his driving privileges were revoked for six months.

         During the Defendant's guilty plea hearing, the prosecutor stated that the proof would have established that on July 28, 2016, the Defendant was involved in a motor vehicle collision with Mr. and Ms. Conner. Ms. Conner was driving, and Mr. Conner was seated in the front passenger seat. The Defendant made a left turn and drove into the Conners' car, which had the right of way. Ms. Conner "hit the brakes" of her car but was unable to prevent the Defendant's car from colliding with hers. The Defendant's driver's license was revoked at the time. The Conners suffered serious injuries as a result of the collision.

         At the sentencing hearing, Officer Jessie Meadows testified that on July 28, 2016, he responded to a motor vehicle collision involving two cars: one driven by the Defendant and one driven by Ms. Conner. Officer Meadows said that the Defendant had turned left without seeing the victims' car and hit the victims' car at an angle. Officer Meadows explained that the victims were conscious but that both were injured. Officer Meadows determined that the Defendant did not have a valid driver's license. Officer Meadows stated that the Defendant was not intoxicated and was not cited for reckless driving. Officer Meadows said that the collision was the Defendant's fault.

         Lovell Conner testified that on July 28, 2016, he was a passenger in his wife's car. He said that he was age seventy-two and that, before the collision, he had enjoyed an active lifestyle with no pain or physical limitations. Mr. Conner said that they were going home from lunch when he saw the Defendant's car coming from the opposite direction in the left turn lane. Mr. Conner explained that the Defendant's car swerved out of the turn lane and collided with the victims' car. Mr. Conner did not believe that the Defendant intentionally drove into the Conners' car but said the Defendant was reckless. Mr. Conner said that he had head injuries and suffered two broken legs, which required multiple surgeries. Mr. Conner was hospitalized and later spent 100 days in rehabilitation, where he relearned to walk. Mr. Conner stated that one of his sons quit his job and moved in with the Conners to help them while they recovered from their injuries and that he paid his son's bills throughout the duration of his stay. Mr. Conner explained that he was retired and lived on a fixed income and that he and his wife had incurred at least $170, 000 in medical bills. He said that he was not sure if there was any outstanding debt because Ms. Conner was responsible for their finances. He said that he would need help with physical tasks for the rest of his life and that his condition would not improve over time.

         Jacqueline Conner testified that she was age sixty-eight. She said that on July 28, 2016, she was injured in a motor vehicle collision involving the Defendant. Ms. Conner explained that before the collision, she and Mr. Conner were healthy and enjoyed an active lifestyle. Ms. Conner explained that she was driving home when the Defendant's car hit her car. Ms. Conner said that she was treated for fractured vertebrae and abrasions to her chest. Ms. Conner said that she and Mr. Conner suffered financial stress because of the collision and stated that her husband's medical bills were in excess of $500, 000.

         The Defendant testified that he was involved in the motor vehicle collision with the Conners. He conceded that he failed to yield to oncoming traffic, causing the collision. The Defendant explained that he was not intoxicated at the time. He said that he was in a ...


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