Supreme Court Denies Relief To Defendant Seeking Third Appeal

Wednesday, May 21, 2014

The Tennessee Supreme Court has denied a request by a defendant seeking a third appeal of his sentence in a drunk driving case in which two people were killed in Knoxville in 2000. Guadalupe Arroyo petitioned the court for post-conviction relief, contending his trial attorney was ineffective by depriving him of his right to appeal a third sentencing order.

Mr. Arroyo pleaded guilty in 2002 to two counts of vehicular homicide after he drove drunk and killed two people in an automobile accident in Knoxville. The trial judge sentenced him to two consecutive 12-year terms for an effective sentence of 24 years. Mr. Arroyo’s trial counsel twice appealed Mr. Arroyo’s sentence to the Tennessee Court of Criminal Appeals, which each time sent the case back to the trial court to provide reasons for the consecutive sentencing. However, Mr. Arroyo’s trial counsel did not file a third appeal.

Mr. Arroyo filed a petition under the Tennessee Post-Conviction Procedure Act, asserting his trial counsel was ineffective and never filed a written waiver of appeal as required under the Tennessee Rules of Criminal Procedure, and did not consult with him about a third appeal. However, trial counsel testified at the post-conviction hearing that he spoke to Mr. Arroyo about the futility of filing a third appeal, and Mr. Arroyo did not object. The trial court found trial counsel more credible than Mr. Arroyo and denied post-conviction relief. The Court of Criminal Appeals agreed.

The Tennessee Supreme Court also denied Mr. Arroyo post-conviction relief. Justice Sharon G. Lee explained in the majority opinion that Mr. Arroyo’s trial counsel should have filed a written waiver of appeal, but that the failure to file a written waiver is not by itself deficient performance. Justice Lee determined that Mr. Arroyo failed to prove by clear and convincing evidence that he did not know of his right to appeal or otherwise did not waive that right.

Chief Justice Gary R. Wade wrote a dissenting opinion, finding that Tennessee Rule of Criminal Procedure 37(d)(2) required Mr. Arroyo’s trial counsel to file a written waiver of appeal. Chief Justice Wade further determined that trial counsel’s statement that Mr. Arroyo “pretty much” or “more or less” agreed to waive an appeal did not qualify as “clear and unambiguous evidence” of waiver. Chief Justice Wade would have granted Mr. Arroyo a delayed appeal under the Post-Conviction Procedure Act.


New Hamilton County Businesses

Here are the new business licenses from the County Clerk's office: AMERICAN AUCTION TRANSPORTERS SERVICE 1815 E 23RD ST CHATTANOOGA, TN 37404 AMERICAN TOWING 3515 CLIO AVENUE CHATTANOOGA, TN 37407 BEFORE AND AFTER AUTO DETAILING 14514 DAYTON PIKE SALE CREEK, TN 37373 CCC SERVICES 8428 W CRABTREE RD HIXSON, TN 37343 CHATTANOOGA RETAIL 8346 ... (click for more)

Association Of Fundraising Professionals' Southeastern Chapter To Hold Membership Meeting May 27

The Southeastern Chapter of the Association of Fundraising Professionals (AFP) will hold its monthly membership meeting on  Wednesday, May 27  at the Mountain City Club, located at 729 Chestnut Street, from 11:30 a.m.-1:30 p.m .   This month’s guest speaker is Lynne Wester, Founder and Principal of Donor Relations Guru. Ms. Wester is a frequent conference ... (click for more)

Unexpected Amount East Ridge Owes On Fire Hall Property Rises To $603,000; City To Apply For Reimbursement

The unexpected amount the city of East Ridge will owe the state on the fire hall property in connection with the Bass Pro development has risen to $603,000. Earlier, East Ridge officials said the payment would be $428,000. City Manager Andrew Hyatt said Monday, "The Tennessee Department of Transportation notified the city of East Ridge that an appraisal of the city’s former ... (click for more)

Fire Breaks Out At House Off Highway 58

A fire broke out on Memorial Day afternoon at a house off Highway 58. A 911 call was made at 12:10 p.m. reporting a house fire at 6019 Hillcrest Dr. The Highway 58 Volunteer Fire Department responded and found fire showing on an addition to the house. Firefighters worked quickly entering the addition to extinguish the fire from spreading to the main level of the house. ... (click for more)

A Memorial Day Reflection

I wish I could find that combination of words that would capture an inclusive meaning of Memorial Day.  I have attended many Memorial Day programs at the Chattanooga National Cemetery, so many that now they have merged into one memory.  But what stands out is that each year there are more friends and veterans to visit.  Some gave their all many years ago.  And ... (click for more)

Roy Exum: Keep Your ‘Dirty’ Feed

Mark Twain once observed the difference in a cat and a lie is that a cat only has nine lives. You might remember that when you hear that a group of Tennessee Walking Horse trainers just donated two tons of horse feed “to aid and assist in the rehabilitation” of 55 horses that were rescued from deplorable conditions at a West Tennessee farm. The truth is that the horses were taken ... (click for more)