Tuesday, April 19, 2011

CCA Affirms Second Degree Murder Conviction

Michael Deshawn Smith, pleaded guilty to second degree murder and was sentenced to twenty-three years’ in prison. On appeal, he contends that the trial court imposed an excessive sentence. The Court of Criminal Appeals at Jackson affirms.  This is another case where counsel for the defendant did not make the guilty plea transcript part of the record on appeal.  Governing authority is T.R.A.P. 24(b) and State v. Ballard, 855 S.W.2d 557, 560 (Tenn. 1993).  Without the transcript, the court will not conduct a de novo hearing but presumes the trial court got it right.

"This court considers the guilty plea hearing transcript to be vital to a de novo review and potential resentencing by this court as required by law."

The court points out that where a defendant fails to provide the court with a complete record on appeal, the defendant should file a motion to supplement the record. See T.R.A.P. 24(e).


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