BRANDON MOBLEY v. STATE OF TENNESSEE - Articles

All Content


Posted by: Tanja Trezise on Feb 21, 2013

Court: TN Supreme Court

Attorneys 1:

Robert E. Cooper, Jr., Attorney General and Reporter; William E. Young, Solicitor General; Leslie E. Price, Assistant Attorney General; Randall E. Nichols, District Attorney General; and TaKisha Fitzgerald, Assistant District Attorney General, for the appellant, State of Tennessee.

Attorneys 2:

Wade V. Davies, Knoxville, Tennessee, for the appellee, Brandon Mobley.

Judge(s): KOCH

This appeal involves a petition for post-conviction relief based on multiple ineffective assistance of counsel claims. The petitioner was convicted in the Criminal Court for Knox County of two counts of premeditated first degree murder, one count of especially aggravated robbery, and one count of setting fire to personal property. His convictions were affirmed and his sentences were modified on direct appeal. State v. Mobley, No. E2006-00469-CCAR3- CD, 2007 WL 1670195 (Tenn. Crim. App. June 11, 2007), perm. app. denied (Tenn. Sept. 24, 2007). Thereafter, the petitioner filed a petition for post-conviction relief based on numerous instances of his trial counsel’s alleged ineffective assistance and on several instances of alleged trial court errors. Following a two-day hearing, the post-conviction court dismissed the petition. On appeal, the Court of Criminal Appeals reversed the petitioner’s convictions and remanded the case for a new trial after determining that the petitioner’s trial counsel had been ineffective with regard to limitations placed on the ability of a defense expert to testify that the petitioner’s mental condition rendered him unable to premeditate. Mobley v. State, No. E2010-00379-CCA-R3-PC, 2011 WL 3652535 (Tenn. Crim. App. Aug. 18, 2011). We granted the State’s Tenn. R. App. P. 11 application for permission to appeal. We have determined that the petitioner is not entitled to post-conviction relief based on the manner in which his trial counsel dealt with the limitations placed on the defense’s expert witness. However, we have also determined that the record does not permit the reviewing courts to determine whether the performance of the petitioner’s trial counsel was deficient with regard to the requirement that the petitioner wear a stun belt during the trial. Accordingly, we affirm the judgments of the lower courts denying post-conviction relief based on the alleged errors of the trial court and on all the ineffective assistance of counsel claims except the claims based on the testimony of the defense’s mental health expert and the use of the stun belt during the trial. We reverse the judgment of the Court of Criminal Appeals and affirm the judgment of the post-conviction court with regard to the ineffective assistance of counsel claim based on trial counsel’s failure to elicit a specific opinion from the defense’s mental health expert. We also reverse the judgment of the lower courts denying the ineffective assistance of counsel claim relating to trial counsel’s failure to object to the use of a stun belt during the trial and remand that issue alone to the post-conviction court for a new hearing.

Attachments: