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Posted by: Tanja Trezise on Dec 6, 2013

Court: TN Court of Criminal Appeals

Attorneys 1:

Robert Dalton, Lewisburg, Tennessee, for the appellant, Jonathan Tears.

Attorneys 2:

Robert E. Cooper, Jr., Attorney General and Reporter; Clark B. Thornton, Assistant Attorney General; Robert Carter, District Attorney General; and Weakley E. Barnard, Assistant District Attorney General, for the appellee, the State of Tennessee.

Judge(s): WOODALL

Petitioner, Jonathan Tears, appeals from the trial court’s denial of his petition for postconviction relief following an evidentiary hearing. On appeal, Petitioner contends that the trial court erred in denying the petition because the State violated his constitutional rights by withholding material exculpatory information, and trial counsel rendered ineffective assistance of counsel. More specifically, Petitioner contends that the State (1) failed to disclose a statement made by the victim; (2) failed to disclose the statement of Ashton Davis; (3) failed to disclose the statement of Felice O’Neal; (4) failed to disclose the statement of Tangelia Alexander; and (5) failed to disclose payment from the Criminal Injuries Compensation Fund. Petitioner argues that trial counsel rendered ineffective assistance of counsel by (1) failing to “investigate, interview, subpoena, and call to the stand” Shelby Harris, Darron Little, Alexander Harris, Jarrod Robinson, Zeldra Swaggerty, and Adriana Cross; (2) failing to request Jenck’s material and cross-examine the victim concerning his statement to Detective Oliver; (3) failing to request a ballistics expert to testify at trial; and (4) failing to investigate and assert the defense of self-defense. Petitioner also argues that trial counsel was ineffective on direct appeal for failing to raise Brady issues. Following our review of the record, we reverse the judgment of the trial court denying post-conviction relief and remand this cause for a new trial.