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.


GDOL To Help Roper Recruit Manufacturing Workers Friday In Summerville

Roper Corporation, a division of GE, will recruit about 80 manufacturing workers for its LaFayette facility Friday. The recruitment will be held from 10 a.m.-2 p.m. at the Chattooga County Civic Center, 44 Highway 48 in Summerville.  The company, which manufactures kitchen stoves and microwaves, will be hiring production and assembly-line workers. Salaries begin at $12.30 ... (click for more)

Multiple Trial Errors In Memphis Case Result In New Trial For Defendant

The Tennessee Supreme Court has granted a new trial in a Memphis case in which a man was convicted of rape of a child. In 2012, Frederick Herron was sentenced to 25 years in prison for the rape of his ex-wife’s younger sister. The victim, who said she was between the ages of eight and 12 when the rapes occurred, lived with her sister and the defendant at the time they were ... (click for more)

Robber Is Shot By Victim In Attempted Robbery On East 43rd Street

One person was shot during a robbery attempt at 4314 Rossville Blvd. around 1:50 p.m. on Thursday.  The Chattanooga Police Department is investigating the robbery that ended in a shooting near East 43rd St. at Miller Auto Sales.  The robbery victim shot the suspect.  The suspect was taken to the hospital for treatment of injuries. Chattanooga ... (click for more)

Fire On Crutchfield Street Ruled Arson

Chattanooga fire investigators have determined that last Thursday’s fire at 1207 Crutchfield St.  that nearly killed four people was deliberately set. Lt. Henry McElvain with the Fire Investigation Division said he cannot divulge the reason why he thinks it’s arson, but he is asking for help from the public. If anyone has information that can help solve this case, call ... (click for more)

The Problems With Prescription Drug Addiction

In Tennessee today, we have a major problem with prescription drug addiction, particularly when powerful opioid pain relievers are concerned.    For the first time in 2012, Tennesseans abused prescription opioid drugs more than alcohol.  Our young people ages 18-25 abuse prescription opioids at a 30 percent higher rate than the national average.  In just five ... (click for more)

Roy Exum: The Hillman Of Bihar

In the year of our Lord, 1927, there was a very poor child born to a very poor family in a very poor place. His name was Dasrath Manjhi and he was a native of the Musahar community somewhere in India. We know he had no education and, as a member of the lowest Hindu scheduled castes, he didn’t have a cut dog’s chance from the very get go. But after spending considerable time in ... (click for more)