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Posted by: Landry Butler on Feb 27, 2017

Court: TN Court of Criminal Appeals

Attorneys 1:

Andre´ C. Wharton and Michael Ryan Working, Memphis, Tennessee, for the appellant, Henri Brooks.

Attorneys 2:

Herbert H. Slatery III, Attorney General and Reporter; Jonathan H. Wardle, Assistant Attorney General; Garry Brown, District Attorney General, pro tem; and Jason Scott and Mark C. Hazlewood, Assistant District Attorneys General, pro tem, for the appellee, State of Tennessee.

Judge(s): WILLIAMS

The Defendant, Henri Brooks, entered a guilty plea to a charge of making a false entry on an election document, a Class D felony. The Defendant, who was completing a term as a County Commissioner for Shelby County at the time of the offense, listed an incorrect address on a document related to her bid for the position of Shelby County Juvenile Court Clerk. The trial court held a sentencing hearing during which the primary contested issue was the Defendant‘s request for judicial diversion. The trial court ultimately denied diversion and instead sentenced the Defendant to two years of probation. On appeal, the Defendant argues that the trial court abused its discretion in denying diversion because it failed to weigh the factors it was required to consider in denying diversion, because it relied on improper evidence in making the decision, and because the denial was in part based on the Defendant‘s exercise of her First Amendment rights. After a thorough review of the record, we conclude that the trial court improperly relied on evidence outside the record in reaching its decision. Accordingly, we reverse the denial of diversion, and we remand for a new sentencing hearing.