TERESA DEION SMITH HARRIS v. STATE OF TENNESSEE - Articles

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Posted by: Amelia Ferrell Knisely on Mar 31, 2016

Court: TN Court of Criminal Appeals

Attorneys 1:

Teresa Deion Smith Harris, Nashville, Tennessee, pro se.

Attorneys 2:

Herbert H. Slatery III, Attorney General and Reporter; Benjamin A. Ball, Senior Counsel; Matthew Stowe, District Attorney General; and Beth Hall, Assistant District Attorney General, for the appellee, State of Tennessee.

Judge(s): WEDEMEYER

In 1994, a Henry County jury convicted the Petitioner, Teresa Deion Smith Harris, of first degree felony murder, and she was sentenced to life in prison without the possibility of parole. The Petitioner appealed, and this Court affirmed the Petitioner?s conviction and sentence. State v. Teresa Deion Smith Harris, No W2012-00540-CCA-R3-CD, 1996 WL 654335, at *1 (Tenn. Crim. App., at Jackson, Nov. 12, 1996), perm. app. granted (Tenn. June 8, 1998). The Tennessee Supreme Court affirmed the Petitioner?s conviction and sentence but found that there existed some harmless error in sentencing. State v. Harris, 989 S.W.2d 301, 316 (Tenn. 1999). The Petitioner filed a petition for post- conviction relief and two previous petitions for writ of error coram nobis. All of these petitions were denied, the Petitioner appealed, and this Court affirmed their denial. In this, her third, petition for writ of error coram nobis, the Petitioner alleged that she had received newly discovered evidence in the form of an affidavit from a doctor who said that her attorney was cavalier about the charges the Petitioner faced and seemed to not want to talk to the doctor about the Petitioner?s case. The coram nobis court summarily dismissed the petition, finding it was filed outside the statute of limitations and that the evidence presented by the Petitioner was not newly discovered and was available to her before her 1994 trial. On appeal, the Petitioner, proceeding pro se, contends that the coram nobis court erred when it dismissed her petition without conducting an evidentiary hearing. After a thorough review, we affirm the coram nobis court?s judgment.