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Posted by: Amelia Ferrell Knisely on Mar 3, 2016

Court: TN Court of Criminal Appeals

Attorneys 1:

Stephen Bush, District Public Defender; and Barry W. Kuhn (on appeal) and A. Benjamin Baker (at trial), Assistant District Public Defenders, for the Appellant, Anthony Bobo.

Attorneys 2:

Herbert H. Slatery III, Attorney General and Reporter; David H. Findley, Senior Counsel; Amy P. Weirich, District Attorney General; and Lora Fowler, Assistant District Attorney General, for the Appellee, State of Tennessee.

Judge(s): WILLIAMS

Prior to his indictment, the defendant entered into a written and signed plea agreement with the State in general sessions court, where he waived his right to a preliminary hearing and presentment to the grand jury and indicated he intended to plead guilty to one count of aggravated burglary. After the matter was transferred to criminal court but before the court could accept the plea agreement, the State indicated that it would refuse to abide by the terms. The defendant was ultimately granted a preliminary hearing and indicted, and he then entered an open guilty plea to one count of aggravated burglary, a Class C felony, one count of vandalism of property valued at $10,000 or more, a Class C felony, and one count of theft of property valued at $1,000 or more, a Class D felony. The trial court sentenced the defendant to serve four years on supervised probation for each conviction, with all the sentences to be served concurrently. In entering his guilty pleas, the defendant reserved a certified question of law asking this court to decide whether a written plea agreement, executed in general sessions court, was binding on the State prior to its acceptance by the criminal court. We conclude that the certified question is not dispositive of the defendant‘s aggravated burglary conviction, and accordingly dismiss the appeal of that offense. We further hold that such an agreement is not enforceable absent detrimental reliance by the defendant, and we conclude that the trial court did not err in remanding for a preliminary hearing and indictment rather than granting the defendant specific performance of the agreement. The judgments of the trial court are affirmed.