All Content

Posted by: Tanja Trezise on Dec 6, 2012

Court: TN Court of Criminal Appeals

Attorneys 1:

Robert Thomas Vaughn (at trial) and Jon J. Tucci (on appeal), Nashville, Tennessee, for the appellant, Anthony S. Harding.

Attorneys 2:

Robert E. Cooper, Jr., Attorney General and Reporter; Nicholas W. Spangler, Assistant Attorney General; Lawrence Ray Whitley, District Attorney General; and Sallie Wade Brown, Assistant District Attorney General, for the appellee, State of Tennessee.

Judge(s): THOMAS

The Defendant, Anthony S. Harding, was convicted by a Sumner County jury of six counts of aggravated statutory rape and one count of attempted aggravated statutory rape. The trial court later dismissed the attempt conviction. Following a sentencing hearing, the trial court ordered the Defendant to serve four years on each count of aggravated statutory rape, with all of these counts to run consecutively, resulting in an effective twenty-four-year sentence. On appeal, the Defendant raises the following issues for our review: (1) whether the indictment was insufficient for failing to provide specific dates for the offenses; (2) whether the evidence was sufficient to sustain the convictions; (3) whether the trial court erred by excluding testimony from an alibi witness; and (4) whether the trial court imposed an excessive sentence. Following our review, we determine that plain error relief is warranted due to the trial court’s exclusion of testimony from an alibi witness. The Defendant’s six convictions for aggravated statutory rape are reversed and vacated. We also remand for the entry of a corrected judgment form to reflect dismissal of Count Seven, the attempt conviction. The case is remanded to the trial court for a new trial on the six remaining counts of aggravated statutory rape.