All Content

Posted by: Landry Butler on Dec 15, 2016

Court: TN Court of Criminal Appeals

Attorneys 1:

Mark S. McDaniel, Memphis, Tennessee, and Kevin G. Patterson, Germantown, Tennessee for the appellant, Sherry Ann Claffey.

Attorneys 2:

Herbert H. Slatery III, Attorney General and Reporter; Zachary T. Hinkle, Assistant Attorney General; Mike Dunavant, District Attorney General; and James Walter Freeland, Jr., Assistant District Attorney General, for the appellee, State of Tennessee.

Judge(s): HOLLOWAY

Sherry Ann Claffey (“the Defendant”) entered a no contest plea to two counts of vehicular homicide as a result of reckless conduct. Following a hearing, the trial court denied judicial diversion, sentenced the Defendant to concurrent terms of five years on each count, and ordered the Defendant to serve 200 days in confinement and to serve the balance of her sentence on probation. On appeal, the Defendant argues that because the trial court failed to properly consider the factors applicable to judicial diversion, no presumption of reasonableness should apply to the trial court's denial of judicial diversion, and this court should conduct a de novo review of the record and grant judicial diversion. After a review of the record and applicable law, we conclude that because the trial court unduly considered irrelevant facts concerning the death of victims and facts not supported by the proof concerning the Defendant's prescription drug usage to support the three factors on which it relied to deny judicial diversion, no presumption of reasonableness applies. After reviewing the record de novo, we hold that judicial diversion should be granted to the Defendant and reverse the judgments of the trial court.