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Posted by: Tanja Trezise on Dec 20, 2013

Court: TN Supreme Court

Attorneys 1:

Robert E. Cooper, Jr., Attorney General and Reporter; William E. Young, Solicitor General; Rachel West Harmon, Assistant Attorney General; Victor S. Johnson, III, District Attorney General; and Debbie Housel, Leticia Alexander, and Deshea Dulany Faughn, Assistant District Attorneys General, for the appellant, State of Tennessee.

Attorneys 2:

Richard Lewis Tennent (at trial and on appeal) and Edward J. Gross (at trial), Nashville, Tennessee, for the appellee, James Allen Pollard.

Judge(s): WADE

The defendant was convicted of felony murder, first degree premeditated murder, and especially aggravated robbery. After merging the murder convictions, the trial court imposed consecutive sentences of life for the murder and eighteen years for the especially aggravated robbery. On appeal, the Court of Criminal Appeals affirmed the convictions but remanded to the trial court for a proper determination of whether the sentences should be served consecutively or concurrently. We hold that, when a trial court places findings on the record to support its sentencing decision, the applicable standard of appellate review for a challenge to the imposition of consecutive sentences is abuse of discretion with a presumption of reasonableness. Because, however, the trial court failed to address the factors required to impose consecutive sentences based on the dangerous offender classification, we affirm the judgment of the Court of Criminal Appeals and remand to the trial court for a new sentencing hearing.