Tennessee Supreme Court Holds Defendant Who Enters No Contest Plea Not Entitled To Notice

Tuesday, December 11, 2018

The Tennessee Supreme Court affirmed the trial court’s revocation of judicial diversion for Westley A. Albright, who entered a no contest guilty plea to one count of solicitation of a minor, for which he was placed on judicial diversion and received a one-year probationary term.  As a condition of his probation, Albright was required to register as a sex offender and undergo sex offender treatment.  

The trial court revoked Albright’s judicial diversion after he was discharged from his sex offender treatment program for noncompliance.  Specifically, Albright had failed to take responsibility for the conduct underlying his conviction during his treatment program.  The trial court, however, allowed Albright to remain on probation, but required that he serve an additional six months on probation and complete sex offender therapy.  Albright appealed the decision of the trial court, and the Court of Criminal Appeals affirmed the trial court’s decision. 

The Tennessee Supreme Court granted permission to appeal in this case to determine whether due process requires that a sex offender be informed in conjunction with the offender’s plea that judicial diversion and probation could be revoked if the offender is discharged from sex offender treatment due to refusal to admit guilt during the treatment.  The defendant argued that the “hidden” requirement that he admit his intent to solicit a minor as part of his sex offender treatment was inconsistent with his no contest guilty plea. 

In its decision, the Court refused to distinguish among the different methods by which a defendant ultimately is convicted of a crime in terms of what notice the trial court must provide regarding probation.  According to the Court, the particular fact that Albright entered a no contest guilty plea was of no consequence to the due process inquiry. Regarding the due process issue, the Court held that the trial court was not required to provide the defendant with actual notice that his sex offender treatment would require certain admissions.  In so doing, the Court overturned a case from the Tennessee Court of Criminal Appeals holding otherwise.  Accordingly, the Court affirmed the judgment of the trial court and the Court of Criminal Appeals in Albright’s case. 

Justice Sharon G. Lee dissented, concluding that the revocation of Albright’s diversion violated his due process rights. In her view, requiring Albright to admit responsibility for his underlying conduct during treatment is fundamentally inconsistent with a no contest plea that the trial court accepted without requiring an admission of guilt. Further, Albright had no notice that admitting criminal intent in sex offender treatment was a condition of his diversion, and he had otherwise complied with all stated conditions of his probation. 

To read the Supreme Court’s opinion in State of Tennessee v. Westley A. Albright, authored by Chief Justice Jeff Bivins, and the dissenting opinion authored by Justice Sharon G. Lee, go to the opinions section of TNCourts.gov.


Local Veteran Brings TruBlue To Chattanooga

New Hamilton County Businesses

Dalton Food City Set to Open On Wednesday


Local veteran and entrepreneur Brian Winton is launching his new house care business, TruBlue of Chattanooga. TruBlue is a full-service company that provides handyman, house cleaning, emergency ... (click for more)

Here are the new business licenses from the County Clerk's office: ANOINTED INSPIRATION WORD DAPHNE WILLIAMS 3 INSPIRATIONAL LIFE COACH RETAIL SALES 1075 GREENWOOD RD CHATTANOOGA TN 37414 ... (click for more)

Shelves are stocked in preparation for the opening of the new Dalton Food City on Wednesday. The 48,600+ square foot supermarket is on West Walnut Avenue and will serve as the area’s second ... (click for more)


Business

Local Veteran Brings TruBlue To Chattanooga

Local veteran and entrepreneur Brian Winton is launching his new house care business, TruBlue of Chattanooga. TruBlue is a full-service company that provides handyman, house cleaning, emergency repairs, yard/lawn care and seasonal services for busy families, seniors and anyone who want the comforts of their own home without worrying about critical property maintenance. TruBlue ... (click for more)

New Hamilton County Businesses

Here are the new business licenses from the County Clerk's office: ANOINTED INSPIRATION WORD DAPHNE WILLIAMS 3 INSPIRATIONAL LIFE COACH RETAIL SALES 1075 GREENWOOD RD CHATTANOOGA TN 37414 ASHLEY'S TAN AND BOUTIQUE ASHLEY SULLIVAN 3 SPRAY TAN AND BOUTIQUE CLOTHING 1635 STARBOARD DR HIXSON TN 37343 BARKS AND BUBBLES AMY L JOLLAY 3 DOG GROOMING 9131 DALLAS BAY RD SODDY ... (click for more)

Breaking News

Angry City Council Wants Answers On Incident Caught On Video Of Man Being Beaten By City Police Officer; Asks DA For Independent Probe

Angry City Council members said they want answers on an incident caught on camera of a Chattanooga Police officer shown beating a man after a traffic stop. The council on Tuesday night voted to ask District Attorney Neal Pinkston to carry out an independent investigation of the incident from last March. Councilman Russell Gilbert said, "I want to see a change in our ... (click for more)

"Financial Predator" Gets 43-Year Prison Sentence In Dalton

Superior Court Judge Cindy Morris on Tuesday sentenced Cara Ann Williams (also known as Kaesarea Williams) to serve a total of 43 years without the possibility of parole on 16 total counts including aggravated identity fraud, forgery, financial transaction card theft and false statements. The sentence will run concurrent with a five-year no parole sentenced ordered by Judge ... (click for more)

Opinion

Fake News Strikes Again And Again

Two major stories exploded across the headlines this past week which confirm my opinion that the mainstream media (MSM) is biased, incompetent, and can seldom be trusted to impart the news fairly and accurately. The first instance was the BuzzFeed story regarding Michael Cohen and how he allegedly lied on President Trump's behalf to Congress. Virtually all of the big media outlets ... (click for more)

Roy Exum: Walmart vs 535 Morons

There is an anonymous paper on the Internet that tells how Walmart could do a better job running America instead of the pompous flops and duds we send to Washington. Please try to connect the dots on Walmart’s 1.6 million employees and the obscene profits that they make versus our 535 members of Congress who blow through money while “WallyWorld” churns out an average of $20-thousand ... (click for more)