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Posted by: Tanja Trezise on Jan 27, 2015

Court: TN Court of Criminal Appeals

Attorneys 1:

Brittani Wright (on appeal), Murfreesboro, Tennessee, and Chris Coats (at trial), Smyrna, Tennessee, for the appellant, Nicholas Keith Phillips.

Attorneys 2:

Robert E. Cooper, Jr., Attorney General & Reporter; Sophia S. Lee, Senior Counsel; William C. Whitesell, Jr., District Attorney General; and Laural Nutt Hemenway, Assistant District Attorney General, for the appellee, State of Tennessee.

Judge(s): OGLE

A Rutherford County Circuit Court Jury convicted the appellant, Nicholas Keith Phillips, of two counts of rape of a child, a Class A felony, and two counts of aggravated sexual battery, a Class B felony. After a sentencing hearing, he received an effective forty-year sentence to be served at 100%. On appeal, the appellant contends that the evidence is insufficient to support the convictions and that his dual convictions for the offenses violate principles of double jeopardy. Based upon the oral arguments, the record, and the parties’ briefs, we affirm the appellant’s convictions of aggravated sexual battery but conclude that his dual convictions of rape of a child violate double jeopardy principles and must be merged. Moreover, because the trial court improperly sentenced the appellant, the case is remanded to the trial court for resentencing.