State Court Rules Completed Judicial Diversion Not A Conviction

Friday, April 4, 2014

In a unanimous opinion, the Tennessee Supreme Court has ruled that a guilty plea expunged after successful completion of judicial diversion is not considered a conviction and would not be subject to review in post-conviction proceedings.

The case involves Jose Rodriguez, a Mexican citizen who in 2007 entered a guilty plea for patronizing a prostitute in the Nashville area and was placed on judicial diversion.  Mr. Rodriguez completed his diversion, and his criminal record was expunged in January 2010.

Later that year, the United States Supreme Court held that the Constitution requires an attorney to inform non-citizen clients of the potential immigration consequences of a guilty plea.  In 2011, Mr. Rodriguez filed a post-conviction petition, alleging he would not have pleadwd guilty had he known that there may be immigration consequences to his plea.

A trial court ruled that Mr. Rodriguez waited more than the one year allowed by law to file his post-conviction petition and, on appeal, the Court of Criminal Appeals held that a petitioner whose records have been expunged may not seek post-conviction relief.

The Tennessee Supreme Court recognized that the Post-Conviction Act, which provides an avenue of relief to a defendant whose conviction was obtained in violation of a state or federal constitutional right, does not define the term “conviction.” The Act, however, requires the entry of a “judgment of conviction,” which includes a guilty plea, a formal adjudication by the trial court, and the imposition of a sentence. When a person completes judicial diversion, a judgment of conviction is never entered.  The Court therefore concluded that “a guilty plea expunged following successful completion of judicial diversion is not a conviction within the meaning of the Post-Conviction Act.” Because Mr. Rodriguez did not have a conviction, he is not entitled to post-conviction relief.

To read the opinion in Jose Rodriguez v. Tennessee authored by Justice Janice M. Holder, visit the Opinions section of TNCourts.gov.

 


Walker County Arrest Report For May 22-28

Here is the Walker County arrest report for May 22-28: BARKER        JEREMY        LEE     W/M    36        Officer RAMEY         DUI, FTML GUARTEREZ MARIANO    ... (click for more)

Latest Hamilton County Jail Booking Report

Here is the latest jail booking report from Hamilton County: BEACH, MATTASIA ANDRENE  1704 14TH ST CHATTANOOGA, 37404  Age at Arrest: 20 years old Arresting Agency: Chattanooga THEFT OF PROPERTY --- BELVIN, CHARLENE JOYCE  10271 VIRLEY LANE OOLTEWAH, 37415  Age at Arrest: 46 years old Arresting Agency: Collegedale Booked for Previous Charges ... (click for more)

What We Owe Our Veterans

As our church, Warren Chapel AME Church  paid honors to the veterans and my viewing of the PBS feature,  Sunday , evening, I began to feel and think differently than before. Each year to sort of "go all out" celebrating Veteran's Day.  WE provide flags, certificates, notes of appreciation and acknowledgements.  My  brother, father and grandfather were ... (click for more)

Roy Exum: Memorial Day In Just Six Seconds

John Kelly, who is now our Secretary of the Department of Homeland Security, was among the greatest of all generals in United States history as a leader in the Marine Corps. In 2010 he was speaking to the Marine Corps’ Semper Fi Society in St. Louis when – towards the end of his talk – he offered what I believe is the most brilliant explanation of what Memorial Day is that I have ... (click for more)

Payne, Marlier Win Chattanooga Chase 8K Titles

(Updated with photos.) It looked sort of like the good old days at Riverview Park Monday morning. It was the 50 th running of the Chattanooga Chasen and while Monday’s number of participants didn’t surpass the numbers posted back in the mid-80s during the running boom, they were close. A total of 796 runners crossed the finish line in the 8K main event and the one-mile race ... (click for more)

Notre Dame To Host Tennessee-Georgia All-Star Hoop Games

Notre Dame High School will again host the Tennessee-Georgia All-Star basketball games at Phifer Gym on Tuesday, June 6. The girls’ game is slated for a 6 p.m. tipoff and a 3-point contest will be held at halftime. A dunk contest will take place between the girls’ and boys’ games with the boys’ tipoff being at 8 p.m. The boys’ 3-point contest will be held at halftime. ... (click for more)