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Posted by: Tanja Trezise on Mar 28, 2013

Court: TN Court of Criminal Appeals

Attorneys 1:

Mr. Charles S. Kelly, Jr., Dyersburg, Tennessee, for the appellant, Jeffrey L. Vaughn.

Attorneys 2:

Robert E. Cooper, Jr., Attorney General and Reporter; Rachel Harmon, Assistant Attorney General; Phillip Bivens, District Attorney General; and Karen Burns, Assistant District Attorney General; for the appellee, State of Tennessee.

Judge(s): WILLIAMS

The defendant was convicted of possessing more than 0.5 grams of cocaine with intent to sell or deliver, a Class B felony. The trial court sentenced the defendant to fourteen years as a Range II, multiple offender. On appeal, the defendant claims that the trial court erred by denying his motion to suppress cocaine that was seized by police after they searched his person. We conclude that the defendant waived this argument by failing to include it in his motion for new trial. The defendant also claims that the State violated Batson v. Kentucky, 476 U.S. 79 (1986), by using two of its peremptory strikes to remove two African American potential jurors. We conclude that these potential jurors were removed for legitimate, nondiscriminatory reasons. Finally, the defendant claims that the trial court erred by allowing a felony drug conviction that was more than ten years old into evidence after the defendant denied that he sold drugs on the stand. We agree, but we conclude that the error was harmless. We affirm the judgments of the trial court accordingly.