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Posted by: Tanja Trezise on Jul 11, 2014

Head Comment: CORRECTION: The only change to the preceding corrected opinion was as to the trial judge. From "Mary Beth Leibowitz" to "Walter C. Kurtz, Judge."

Court: TN Court of Criminal Appeals

Attorneys 1:

Michael R. Tabler (on appeal); and John E. Eldridge (at post-conviction hearing), Knoxville, Tennessee, for the appellant, Reginald Fowler.

Attorneys 2:

Robert E. Cooper, Jr., Attorney General and Reporter; Kyle Hixson, Assistant Attorney General; Randall Eugene Nichols, District Attorney General; and TaKisha Fitzgerald and Leland Price, Assistant District Attorneys General, for the appellee, State of Tennessee.

Judge(s): PAGE

Petitioner, Reginald Fowler, was convicted of aggravated arson following a bench trial, and he was sentenced to twenty years in the Tennessee Department of Correction. Following an unsuccessful direct appeal, he filed the instant petition for post-conviction relief raising the following issues: (1) whether he was denied a fair trial due to the alleged impairment of the trial judge; (2) whether ineffective assistance of trial counsel rendered his waiver of a jury trial involuntary; and (3) whether trial counsel’s assistance was ineffective by failing to present the testimony of a pharmacologist at trial. After an evidentiary hearing, the postconviction court denied relief. Following our review, we affirm the judgment of the postconviction court.