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Haley v. State

Court of Criminal Appeals of Tennessee, Nashville

December 6, 2019


          March 19, 2019 Session

          Appeal from the Circuit Court for Bedford County No. 18180 F. Lee Russell, Judge

         The Petitioner, Roy Anthony Haley, was convicted of theft of property valued at $10, 000 or more but less than $60, 000, and he was sentenced as a Range III, persistent offender to fifteen years in confinement. Subsequently, he filed a petition for post-conviction relief, alleging ineffective assistance of counsel. The post-conviction court denied the petition. The Petitioner appeals, contending that he was denied due process at his post-conviction hearing because he was not afforded the opportunity to call critical witnesses and because the post-conviction court was so biased and prejudiced toward him as to render the hearing unfair. Upon review, we affirm the judgment of the post-conviction court.

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

          Michael Meise, Dickson, Tennessee (on appeal), and M. Wesley Hall, IV, Unionville, Tennessee (at hearing), for the Appellant, Roy Anthony Haley.

          Herbert H. Slatery III, Attorney General and Reporter; Sophia S. Lee, Senior Assistant Attorney General; Robert James Carter, District Attorney General; and Michael David Randles, Assistant District Attorney General, for the Appellee, State of Tennessee.

          Norma McGee Ogle, J., delivered the opinion of the court, in which Robert W. Wedemeyer and J. Ross Dyer, JJ., joined.



         I. Factual Background

         On direct appeal, this court summarized the proof adduced at trial as follows:

Wallace L. Chambers, Jr., a military veteran, testified that he and his wife, Ava Alito Hale Chambers, were both retired. Mr. Chambers stated that his wife suffered from Alzheimer's disease and was bedridden, which necessitated his hiring a fulltime caregiver, Laketia Grizzle, in January 2012. In April 2012, Ms. Grizzle married the [Petitioner] and changed her name to Laketia Haley. Mr. Chambers occasionally hired the [Petitioner] to perform odd jobs on his property, which Mr. Chambers classified as "exclusively outside work." Mr. Chambers testified that the [Petitioner] "had no reason to be in the house except to come in and eat lunch, maybe."
Mr. Chambers owned an extensive coin collection, weighing approximately 72 pounds and worth between $65, 000 and $70, 000, which he had inherited from his father and had added to over the years. Mr. Chambers had planned to pass the collection on to his grandchildren upon his death. Mr. Chambers stored the collection inside a safe which was hidden in the back of a closet in his living room. When questioned about access to the safe, Mr. Chambers stated that he trusted Ms. Haley and that she had opportunities to access the safe unseen by either of her employers. The [Petitioner] also would have had access to the safe when he was inside Mr. Chambers' residence. Mr. Chambers denied that either Ms. Haley or the [Petitioner] had permission to remove any of the coins from his home.
On July 22, 2012, Mr. Chambers received a telephone call from Vickie Bly, a person he had never met or heard of prior to receiving the call. Following the call from Ms. Bly, Mr. Chambers checked the safe and discovered that his entire coin collection was missing. Mr. Chambers immediately contacted the sheriff's department and filed a report. According to Mr. Chambers, the sheriff's department interviewed Ms. Haley, and, following that interview, she and the [Petitioner] fled. The sheriff's department recovered "less than half" of the coins that were stolen.
Laketia Elaine Haley testified that, while she was working for Mr. and Mrs. Chambers, she and the [Petitioner] were both addicted to painkillers, and the [Petitioner] did not have steady employment. In March, Ms. Haley discovered the coin collection inside the Chambers's safe, and she began by stealing "10 to 15 rolls" of coins. She and the [Petitioner] later stole "the majority" of what remained in the collection. Ms. Haley and the [Petitioner] took the coins to local pawn shops and sold them, using the majority of the proceeds to purchase painkillers. When the sheriff's department first contacted Ms. Haley about the stolen coins, Ms. Haley denied any involvement, and when the sheriff's department contacted her to arrange a follow-up interview, Ms. Haley and the [Petitioner] fled to Florida. Ms. Haley and the [Petitioner] were eventually arrested in Florida and returned to Tennessee. Ms. Haley admitted that she had recently pleaded guilty to theft of property valued at $10, 000 or more but less than $60, 000 and that she was awaiting sentencing.
Both Ron Arnold and Michael Bass testified that, between March 5 and July 20, 2012, the [Petitioner] and Ms. Haley patronized their respective pawn shops and sold numerous coins; records of each of those transactions were introduced into evidence by the State. Following the testimony of Mr. Bass, the parties stipulated that the value of the coins at issue was greater than $10, 000 but less than $60, 000.
Detective Scott Jones with the Bedford County Sheriff's Department testified that when he initially interviewed Ms. Haley, she had denied all involvement in the theft of the coins. After Ms. Haley was arrested in Florida and returned to Tennessee, Detective Jones again interviewed her, and on that occasion, she admitted that she had stolen the coins and that she and the [Petitioner] had sold the coins to "fund their drug addictions."

State v. Roy Anthony Haley, No. M2013-02756-CCA-R3-CD, 2014 WL 5698076, at *1-2 (Tenn. Crim. App. at Nashville, Nov. 5, 2014).

         At the conclusion of the proof, the jury convicted the Petitioner of theft of property valued at $10, 000 or more but less than $60, 000. Id. The trial court sentenced the Petitioner as a Range III, persistent offender to fifteen years with release eligibility after serving forty-five percent of the sentence in confinement. Id. On appeal, the Petitioner challenged the length of the sentence imposed. Id. This court affirmed the Petitioner's sentence but remanded for correction of the judgment to reflect that the sentence was to be served consecutively to a previously imposed sentence as ordered by the trial court at the sentencing hearing. Id. at *5.

         Thereafter, on November 4, 2015, the Petitioner filed a pro se petition for post-conviction relief that included multiple allegations of ineffective assistance by the attorneys who represented him at his preliminary hearing, trial, sentencing hearing, and on appeal. The Petitioner also maintained that the indictment against him ...

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