All Content

Posted by: Landry Butler on Apr 13, 2017

Court: TN Court of Criminal Appeals

Attorneys 1:

J. Liddell Kirk (on appeal) and Michael A. Graves (at trial), Knoxville, Tennessee, for the appellant, Ronald Turner.

Attorneys 2:

Herbert H. Slatery III, Attorney General and Reporter; Benjamin A. Ball, Assistant Attorney General, Senior Counsel; Charme P. Allen, District Attorney General; and TaKisha Fitzgerald, Assistant District Attorney General, for the appellee, State of Tennessee.

Judge(s): EASTER

Defendant, Ronald Turner, appeals his convictions stemming from various drug and firearm offenses. He challenges the sufficiency of the evidence and argues that the criminal gang enhancement of some of his offenses pursuant to Tennessee Code Annotated section 40-35-121(b) was unconstitutional in light of State v. Bonds, 502 S.W.3d 118 (Tenn. Crim. App. 2016). Upon review, we determine that the evidence is sufficient to support Defendant’s convictions. However, because Defendant is entitled to retroactive application of the holding in Bonds, we vacate the sentences of the underlying convictions to which the enhancement was applied and remand those convictions for resentencing. Additionally, we conclude that the trial court committed plain error by improperly applying the Drug-Free School Zone Act and remand for resentencing on this basis. We also remand for correction of clerical errors.