Court of Criminal Appeals of Tennessee, Knoxville
RANDY B. DALTON
STATE OF TENNESSEE
Assigned on Briefs September 25, 2019
from the Circuit Court for Grainger County Nos. 5641, 5782-83
James L. Gass, Judge.
2016, the Petitioner, Randy B. Dalton, pleaded guilty to
offenses contained in three indictments: aggravated robbery,
theft of a vehicle valued at more than $1, 000, escape from a
penal institution, harvesting ginseng out of season, and
harvesting ginseng out of season with less than three prongs.
Pursuant to a plea agreement, the trial court imposed partial
consecutive sentencing with a total effective sentence of
eighteen years of confinement. In 2017, the Petitioner filed
a petition for post-conviction relief, alleging that he had
received the ineffective assistance of counsel. Following a
hearing, the post-conviction court denied the petition. After
review, we affirm the post-conviction court's judgment.
R. App. P. 3 Appeal as of Right; Judgment of the Circuit
M Burts, Rutledge, Tennessee, for the appellant, Randy B.
Herbert H. Slatery III, Attorney General and Reporter; Andrew
C. Coulman, Senior Assistant Attorney General; James B. Dunn,
District Attorney General; and George C. Ioannides, Assistant
District Attorney General, for the appellee, State of
W. Wedemeyer, J., delivered the opinion of the Court, in
which Thomas T. Woodall and Robert H. Montgomery, Jr., JJ.,
W. WEDEMEYER, JUDGE.
Facts and Background
case originates from the Petitioner's robbing a
drugstore, from which he stole prescription narcotics after
telling the store clerk that he had a bomb. For these
offenses, the Petitioner was indicted in case no. 5641 with
aggravated robbery and possession of a hoax device. While on
work release, the Petitioner escaped custody and stole a
vehicle belonging to the Grainger County Board of Education.
For these offenses, the Petitioner was indicted in case no.
5782 for theft of property valued at more than $1, 000 and
felony escape from a penal institution. Following his escape,
the Petitioner was found to be in possession of wild ginseng
outside of harvesting season, to which he admitted he had
harvested with "less than three prongs." For these
offenses, the Petitioner was indicted in case no. 5783 with
harvesting ginseng in closed season and harvesting ginseng
with less than three prongs. In July of 2016, in case no.
5641, the Petitioner pleaded guilty to aggravated robbery
with a sentence of twelve years of confinement to be served
at 85%; the possession of a hoax device charge was dismissed
by the State; in case no. 5782, the Petitioner pleaded guilty
to theft of property valued at more than $1, 000 with a
sentence of six years of confinement to be served at 35% and
to escape from a penal institution with a sentence of four
years of confinement to be served at 35%; and in case no.
5783, the Petitioner pleaded guilty to one count of
harvesting ginseng out of season and one count of harvesting
ginseng with less than three prongs with sentences of eleven
months and twenty-nine days of confinement for each of these
convictions. The total effective sentence to serve was
the imposition of his sentences, the Petitioner filed a
motion to reconsider his sentence. The Petitioner requested
that the trial court order his sentence in case no. 5782
(theft and escape) to be served on probation in light of his
family members' medical conditions and minor daughter.
The trial court denied the motion.
Petitioner filed a petition for post-conviction relief,
pro se, in which he alleged that he had received the
ineffective assistance of counsel because trial counsel
failed to investigate the monetary value of the stolen truck,
which he contended was an issue of utmost importance to his
case. An attorney was appointed for the Petitioner, and a
hearing was held, during which the following evidence was
presented: Trial counsel ("Counsel") testified that
she was employed as an assistant public defender and
represented the Petitioner in these three indictments.
Counsel testified that she visited the Petitioner in jail,
once accompanied by an investigator, and exchanged letters
with the Petitioner. Counsel testified that she took the
District Public Defender with her to a meeting with the
Petitioner, hoping to communicate to the Petitioner the
seriousness of his charges. Counsel and the Petitioner shared
legal research and "look[ed] into the value of the