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Hill v. State

Court of Criminal Appeals of Tennessee, Jackson

November 8, 2019

SHAUN ROYAL HILL
v.
STATE OF TENNESSEE

          Assigned on Briefs September 4, 2019

          Appeal from the Circuit Court for Tipton County No. 7697 Joe H. Walker, III, Judge

         Petitioner, Shaun Royal Hill, [1] was convicted by a Tipton County jury of rape. He was sentenced to fifteen years in confinement. Petitioner filed a pro se petition for post-conviction relief and was appointed counsel. The post-conviction court entered an order dismissing the petition after a hearing. On appeal, Petitioner argues that he received ineffective assistance of counsel. After conducting a full review of the record, we affirm the judgment of the post-conviction court.

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

          Bo G. Burk, District Public Defender; and David S. Stockton, Assistant Public Defender, Covington, Tennessee, for the appellant, Shaun Royal Hill.

          Herbert H. Slatery III, Attorney General and Reporter; Brent C. Cherry, Senior Assistant Attorney General; Mark E. Davidson, District Attorney General; and James W. Freeland, Jr., Assistant District Attorney General, for the appellee, State of Tennessee.

          Timothy L. Easter, J., delivered the opinion of the court, in which Alan E. Glenn and Robert L. Holloway, Jr., JJ., joined.

          OPINION

          TIMOTHY L. EASTER, JUDGE.

         Factual and Procedural History

         Petitioner was indicted and convicted of rape after a jury trial. Petitioner appealed, this Court affirmed the conviction on appeal, and the supreme court denied permission to appeal. State v. Shaun Royal Hill, No. W2015-00710-CCA-R3-CD, 2016 WL 3351817, *1 (Tenn. Crim. App. June 9, 2016), perm. app. denied. (Tenn. Sept. 23, 2016). Petitioner filed a pro se petition for post-conviction relief and was appointed counsel. Petitioner's counsel did not amend the petition.

         The post-conviction hearing was held on March 5, 2018. Petitioner testified that he thought trial counsel should have objected to the State's opening statement because the State told the jury about the charges against Petitioner before the jury "even got a chance to even see my side of the story." Petitioner testified that trial counsel should have objected when the victim testified that Petitioner seemed intoxicated. Petitioner conceded that lay witnesses can testify to their opinion and do not need to be experts, but he claimed that trial counsel should have objected anyway. Petitioner then testified that trial counsel did not obtain an expert witness to testify about the side effects of bipolar disorder medications. He felt the victim would be more prone to lying about the events because she was bipolar and took medication. Petitioner testified that trial counsel should have moved for the judge to recuse himself based on the evidence that was admitted at the trial, but Petitioner could not point to any specific behavior or unfavorable ruling that would cause the judge to recuse himself. Petitioner testified that trial counsel was ineffective in picking members of the jury, as women made up the majority of the jury. He stated that he told trial counsel he did not want the women on the jury, but trial counsel told him that majority-women juries were good in this type of case.

         Trial counsel testified that objections to opening statements are very rare and that he did not recall having any reason to object during the State's opening statement. Trial counsel testified that he did not look into bipolar disorder. He had no information that would cause him to know that the victim was on medication for bipolar disorder or that she even had any mental illness. Trial counsel stated that it was a trial tactic to pick a jury made primarily of women based on his conversations with multiple defense attorneys.

         The post-conviction court found that Petitioner failed to show any statements by the prosecutor that were objectionable or subject to a mistrial and that Petitioner failed to show why the victim's testimony about Petitioner's intoxication would be objectionable. The post-conviction court also found that Petitioner failed to show that trial counsel was deficient or that any deficient performance was prejudicial. Post-conviction relief was denied, and the petition dismissed. On March 5, 2018, in the order dismissing the petition, counsel was appointed to represent Petitioner on appeal if he decided to appeal ...


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