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Posted by: Tanja Trezise on Jan 16, 2013

Court: TN Court of Criminal Appeals

Attorneys 1:

George Douglas Norton, Jr., Ripley, Tennessee, for the appellant, Ricco R. Williams.

Attorneys 2:

Robert E. Cooper, Jr., Attorney General and Reporter; Sophia S. Lee, Assistant Attorney General; D. Michael Dunavant, District Attorney General; and Joni R. Livingston and Julie K. Pillow, Assistant District Attorneys General, for the appellee, State of Tennessee.

Judge(s): WITT

A Lauderdale County Circuit Court jury convicted the defendant, Ricco R. Williams, of five counts of especially aggravated kidnapping, one count of aggravated burglary, two counts of aggravated robbery, one count of employing a firearm during the commission of a dangerous felony having been previously convicted of a felony, and one count of unlawful possession of a firearm by a convicted felon. The trial court imposed an effective sentence of 72 years’ incarceration. On appeal, the defendant challenges the sufficiency of the convicting evidence and also contends that the jury was exposed to prejudicial information during voir dire and that the imposition of partially consecutive sentences violated his Sixth Amendment right to a trial by jury. Because the trial court committed plain error by failing to require the State to elect a predicate felony for the defendant’s conviction under Code section 39-17-1324 and because 39-17-1324(c) precludes the defendant’s conviction when the underlying dangerous felony is aggravated kidnapping or especially aggravated kidnapping as charged in this case, the defendant’s convictions in counts seven and ten are reversed, and those charges are remanded for a new trial on the offense of employing a firearm during the commission of an aggravated burglary. Because principles of double jeopardy preclude dual convictions for the aggravated robberies of Mr. and Ms. Currie, the defendant’s conviction of the aggravated robbery of Ms. Currie is reversed and modified to a conviction of the lesser included offense of aggravated assault. Because the evidence was insufficient to support the defendant’s conviction of unlawful possession of a firearm by a convicted felon, that conviction is reversed, and the charge is dismissed. The defendant’s convictions of and sentences for especially aggravated kidnapping, aggravated burglary, and the aggravated robbery of Mr. Currie are affirmed.