Lee Davis: Tennessee Court Of Criminal Appeals Affirms Positive Drug Test Means Incarceration

Sunday, May 27, 2012 - by Attorney Lee Davis
Lee Davis
Lee Davis
Terry Thomas appeals the revocation of his community corrections sentence in a recent case before the Tennessee Court of Criminal Appeals, claiming that the trial court erred by ordering him back to confinement for a twenty year sentence after a failed drug test. The Court here found no issue with the trial court’s ruling and affirmed it. 

Thomas was charged with possession of more than .5 grams of cocaine in a school zone, intent to sell, possession of drug paraphernalia, carrying a knife with a blade longer than four inches and driving on a suspended license. He pled guilty and was given a 20-year sentence to be served on community corrections.
 

In April 2011 a violation warrant was issued for Thomas after he tested positive for additional cocaine use. At the revocation hearing the community corrections officer, April Story, discussed how Thomas tested positive during a drug screen earlier that month. Thomas never asked for a second, confirmation test and Ms. Story admitted that besides the one positive test and occasional spotty attendance at drug treatment classes, Thomas had been in compliance with the rest of the terms of his sentence. 

Thomas claims to have been shocked by the positive test, denying he used cocaine. He said he had been working as an apprentice for an electrician and attended HVAC classes at night. He said friends had used the drug at his home recently but he had not shared in the experience. Thomas did admit to not living with his father as he had said he would and to not attending Bible college as promised. He further admitted to spotty drug treatment attendance but blamed his rigorous work schedule. 

The trial court considered the matter carefully and ultimately decided to revoke his community corrections placement, ordering that he serve the balance of his time in confinement. The court deemed the defendant’s testimony at the revocation hearing “not credible” and said it had to act to protect the health and safety of the citizens of Tennessee. 

The defendant believes the lower court abused its discretion by ordering him back to confinement and turned to the Court of Criminal Appeals for help. The Court mentioned that despite Thomas’ shock at his positive test he never took the next step of asking for a retest or even contesting the result. The Court held that the record supports the trial court’s decision and, as Thomas had been shown plenty of leniency by the judicial system, the Court was not inclined to give Thomas relief. 

To read the full opinion, click here.

(Lee Davis is a Chattanooga attorney who can be reached at lee@davis-hoss.com or at 266-0605.)

 


Food Mart Expands Reach With U-Haul Partnership

U-Haul Company of Tennessee is pleased to announce that Food Mart 3 has signed on as a U-Haul neighborhood dealer to serve the Cleveland community.  Food Mart at 3218 Harrison Pike will offer U-Haul trucks, towing equipment, support rental items and in-store pick-up for boxes.  Hours of operation for U-Haul rentals are 8 a.m.-5 p.m. Monday-Friday and 8 a.m.-noon ... (click for more)

Chief Justice Lee Shares Accomplishments Of Supreme Court With Chief Justices

Chief Justice Sharon Lee presented the Tennessee Supreme Court’s initiatives to Chief Justices from supreme courts across the country at the National Conference of Chief Justices during their annual meeting in Jackson Hole, Wy. The gathering was a joint conference with the Conference of State Court Administrators, which Administrative Office of the Court Director Deborah Taylor ... (click for more)

Avocet Hospitality Group Acquires The Read House; Multi-Million-Dollar Renovation Planned For The Historic Chattanooga Property

Historic Read House Associates, LLC, a subsidiary of Avocet Hospitality Group (AHG), on Wednesday announced the acquisition of The Read House in downtown Chattanooga. The seller, Read House Investors, LP , has owned the property since 1994 and entered a sale agreement with AHG in May. Hodges Ward Elliott represented and advised the seller in the transaction. The 242-room ... (click for more)

Judge Says Dyer, Brennan Can Obtain Loans From Friends And Families After Affidavits Are Filed

Federal Judge Travis McDonough ruled Wednesday that two Chattanooga men who were charged by the Securities and Exchange Commission with defrauding a large number of investors can obtain loans from friends and family to pay attorneys and for living expenses. However, he said details of the loans must be spelled out in affidavits that he and the SEC must approve. The loans to Doug ... (click for more)

Colin Kaepernick Is The Epitome Of American Patriotism - And Response (2)

As the mother, mother-in-law, sister, aunt, and former wife of present active duty and veterans several times over, it isn't the patriotism of NFL player Colin Kaepernick I question, but the patriotism of those who are attacking him. Kaepernick is the epitome of all things this country is suppose to stand for and challenge. If he's attacked for taking a stand then everything this ... (click for more)

Roy Exum: How Tenure Destroys Kids

When the California Supreme Court announced last week that it would not hear a landmark case (Vergara v. California) you didn’t hear much about it, but when Hamilton County employs almost 30 percent of teachers that are deemed to be “the least effective” by any measure, it’s time for somebody outside our classrooms to start paying very close attention. I was amazed that last ... (click for more)