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Posted by: Brittany Sims on Dec 26, 2013

Court: TN Court of Criminal Appeals

Attorneys 1:

Lyle A. Jones, Covington, Tennessee, for the appellant, Alejandro Guana.

Attorneys 2:

Robert E. Cooper, Jr., Attorney General and Reporter; J. Ross Dyer, Senior Counsel; Michael Dunavant, District Attorney General; and Jason Poyner, Assistant District Attorney General, for the appellee, State of Tennessee.

Judge(s): THOMAS

The Petitioner, Alejandro Guana,1 appeals the Tipton County Circuit Court’s denial of his petition for post-conviction relief challenging his conviction for first degree murder which resulted in a life sentence. On appeal, the Petitioner contends that the post-conviction court erred in denying relief alleging ineffective assistance of both trial and appellate counsel and trial court errors. Specifically, he submits that trial counsel was ineffective in the following ways: (1) failing to investigate and interview the State’s witnesses, leaving him unprepared for cross-examination; (2) conceding that the Petitioner’s actions were intentional, abandoning any viable defense; (3) failing to call an expert witness on his intoxication at the time of the shooting and failing to present a defense of diminished capacity; (4) failing to preserve his request for a mistrial and offer proof regarding a memorial service for the victim which took place during the sentencing phase of the Petitioner’s trial; and (5) failing to ask for individual voir dire of any particular juror. As for appellate counsel, the Petitioner argues that he received ineffective assistance by counsel’s failure to pursue the memorial service issue and the omission of a jury instruction on accomplice testimony on appeal. Finally, he alleges trial court error regarding the trial court’s failure to give the instruction on accomplice testimony and the failure to declare a mistrial based upon the memorial service. Following our review, we affirm the denial of relief.