Assigned on Briefs September 4, 2019
from the Circuit Court for Tipton County No. 7697 Joe H.
Walker, III, Judge
Shaun Royal Hill,  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.
R. App. 3 Appeal as of Right; Judgment of the Circuit Court
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.
TIMOTHY L. EASTER, JUDGE.
and Procedural History
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.
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.
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.
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 ...