Jason Calvert was represented by two lawyers after an indictment in Davidson County on numerous sex offenses. He and his lawyers met at least 6 times. They provided him discovery. They went over the materials with him. After these meetings, he entered a written plea agreement to several offenses, two of which were aggravated sexual battery. Calvert received a sentence of 10 years suspended after he served 9 months in jail. During the plea colloquoy, the Judge believed the sentence was illegal because aggravated sexual battery was non-probatable. After consulting with his lawyers, Calvert changed his plea from two counts of aggravated sexual battery to two counts of rape. Neither his attorney nor the Court advised him that rape carries with it mandatory lifetime supervision.
In revieweing Calvert's post-conviction petition, the Tennessee Supreme Court held that a lawyers failure to advise their clients of such an important and adverse consequence such as mandatory lifetime supervision when the client is considering a plea consitututes ineffective assistance of counsel under the 6th Amendment. The Supreme Court further held that because the Defendant testified that he thought it would have made a difference in his decision, that such deficiency constitutes prejudice.
Practice Note: Slow down attorneys. The Court has made it clear that even if your client is considering a plea that carries lifetime supervision, that you must advise of the possible supervision requirements. In Calvert, This issue got past the Judge and both Defense Attorneys who did not mention it. The one person it did not get past was the District Attorney who checked the box on the Judgment form. However, the DA never announced that condition in the plea colloquoy transcript. Had he announced it on the record, how much time could have been saved avoiding a post-conviction hearing and appeal?