Court of Criminal Appeals of Tennessee, Nashville
Assigned on Briefs October 15, 2019
from the Circuit Court for Bedford County No. 18546 Forest A.
Durard, Jr., Judge.
Lamari Lottie, III, ("Defendant") pled guilty, as a
Range I standard offender, to one count each of possession of
0.5 grams or more of cocaine with intent to sell and
possession of 0.5 grams or more of cocaine with intent to
deliver and received a ten-year community corrections
sentence. Six months into his sentence, the trial court
issued a violation of community corrections warrant, which
alleged that Defendant had tested positive for cocaine.
Following a hearing, the trial court found that Defendant had
violated the terms of his community corrections sentence. The
trial court revoked Defendant's community corrections
sentence and resentenced Defendant to twelve years to serve
in the Tennessee Department of Correction. On appeal,
Defendant argues that his sentence is excessive and that the
trial court "did not follow the established sentencing
guidelines." Upon review, we affirm the judgment of the
R. App. P. 3 Appeal as of Right; Judgment of the Circuit
E. Parkerson, Murfreesboro, Tennessee, for the appellant,
Wilbert Lamari Lottie, III.
Herbert H. Slatery III, Attorney General and Reporter; David
H. Findley, Senior Assistant Attorney General; Robert J.
Carter, District Attorney General; and Mike Randles,
Assistant District Attorney General, for the appellee, State
L. Holloway, Jr., J., delivered the opinion of the court, in
which James Curwood Witt, Jr., and Robert H. Montgomery, Jr.,
L. HOLLOWAY, JR., JUDGE.
and Procedural Background
April 17, 2017, the Bedford County Grand Jury indicted
Defendant for possession of 0.5 grams or more of cocaine with
intent to sell and possession of 0.5 grams or more of cocaine
with intent to deliver, Class B felonies. On July 24, 2017,
Defendant entered an open guilty plea to the indictment. At a
sentencing hearing conducted November 20, 2017, the trial
court merged his convictions and sentenced Defendant, as a
Range I standard offender, to ten years to serve on community
corrections. In its sentencing order, the trial court
provided the following summary of relevant facts:
On January 14, 2014, [D]efendant was stopped by agents of the
17th Judicial District Drug Task Force. Various articles were
found either on [D]efendant's person or in his vehicle.
These included, among other items, laptops, a Kindle Fire, a
pistol, cash and approximately [five] grams of cocaine. Once
at the jail [D]efendant voluntarily produced slightly less
than [two] grams of marijuana. Immediately before booking
[D]efendant agreed to assist agents with further activities
and investigations involving the drug trade.
sentencing Defendant to community corrections, the trial
court explained that it did so, in part, because it appeared
that Defendant had "turned himself around" in the
three years between his arrest and guilty plea. The trial
court found that Defendant had "a terrible misdemeanor
record back to about 1998[, ]" as well as numerous prior
probation violations. The trial court also noted that
Defendant had "a long history of drug and alcohol abuse
despite being in Cumberland Heights and successfully
completing their course." The trial court considered, as
enhancement factors, that Defendant had "a previous
history of criminal convictions or behavior" and that he
"failed to comply with conditions involving release into
the community." As for mitigating factors, the trial
court found that Defendant's conduct "neither caused
nor threatened serious bodily injury" and that Defendant
had arguably become a "productive citizen" and
"assisted law enforcement with their
investigations." The trial court said that it placed a
"greater emphasis on what [D]efendant ha[d] accomplished
during the interim between his arrest in January, 2014 and
indictment in April, 2017" but noted that "[o]n
paper and based on his prior history alone, [D]efendant is
deserving of a 'to serve' maximum sentence."
19, 2018, Defendant was arrested on a violation of community
corrections warrant. At a subsequent hearing, Amanda Morrow
testified that she was a community corrections case officer
and that she supervised Defendant on community corrections.
Ms. Morrow explained that, on May 7, 2018, Defendant tested
positive for cocaine use during a random drug screen. Ms.
Morrow said that the test was sent to an outside lab for
confirmation, and she provided a lab report and lab affidavit
as an exhibit to her testimony. Ms. Morrow testified that
Defendant had been placed on community corrections on
November 20, 2017, and that he had reported twice weekly and
passed fifteen prior drug screens. Ms. Morrow agreed that
Defendant was working and paying child support. Ms. Morrow
explained that, while on community corrections, Defendant
completed a drug and alcohol assessment. Ms. Morrow said that
the assessment recommended treatment, which was discussed
with Defendant, but that Defendant declined treatment. Ms.
Morrow testified that, in her experience, when an offender
with a history of drug abuse refused drug treatment, he was
"unlikely to be rehabilitated." Ms. Morrow agreed
that Defendant had spinal surgery "several months
testified that he was thirty-eight years old, had four
children, and that he had worked as a maintenance supervisor
while on community corrections. Defendant stated that he was
current on paying his child support. Defendant explained
that, after being placed on community corrections, he had
cervical spine surgery and was prescribed various pain
medications. Defendant testified that he had stopped abusing
drugs for "quite a few years" before his surgery.
However, he relapsed and began using cocaine after he ran out
of his prescription medication following his surgery.
Defendant testified that he used cocaine the night before his
drug screen with Ms. Morrow. He agreed, however, that he told
the trial court at a bond hearing on the violation warrant
that he failed the drug screen because he picked up some
cocaine that a friend left on his table ...