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Posted by: Chandra Williams on Jun 3, 2016

Court: TN Court of Criminal Appeals

Attorneys 1:

Casey Daganhardt, Clinton, Tennessee (at post-conviction hearing) and Ralph Byrd Cooper, Jr., Mountain City, Tennessee, Pro Se (on appeal), for the appellant, Ralph Byrd Cooper, Jr.

Attorneys 2:

Herbert E. Slatery III, Attorney General and Reporter; Jeffrey D. Zentner, Assistant Attorney General; Dave Clark, District Attorney General, Anthony Craighead, Assistant District Attorney General, for the appellee, State of Tennessee.


An Anderson County jury found the Petitioner, Ralph Byrd Cooper, Jr., guilty of aggravated rape. The trial court sentenced the Petitioner as a violent offender to life in prison without the possibility of parole. The Petitioner?s conviction was affirmed by this Court and our Supreme Court affirmed his convictions but remanded the case for resentencing. State v. Ralph Byrd Cooper, Jr., 321 S.W.3d 501, 507-08 (Tenn. 2010). On remand, the trial court sentenced the Petitioner as a career offender to sixty years of incarceration, and this Court affirmed his sentence on appeal. State v. Ralph Byrd Cooper, Jr., No. E2012-01023-CCA-R3-CD, 2013 WL 3833412, at *1 (Tenn. Crim. App, at Knoxville, July 22, 2013), perm. app. denied (Tenn. Nov. 14, 2013). The Petitioner filed a petition for post-conviction relief, which the post-conviction court denied after a hearing. On appeal, the Petitioner contends that the post-conviction court erred when it denied his petition. He asserts that the post-conviction court erred: (1) when it denied his request for a continuance to allow him to locate material witnesses and to allow him to obtain new post-conviction counsel; and (2) when it determined that he received the effective assistance of counsel at trial. After a thorough review of the record and applicable law, we affirm the post-conviction court?s judgment.