All Content

Posted by: Landry Butler on May 4, 2017

Court: TN Court of Criminal Appeals

Attorneys 1:

Ashley Morris Bentley, Maryville, Tennessee, for the Defendant-Appellant, Michael Dewayne Hall.

Attorneys 2:

Herbert H. Slatery III, Attorney General and Reporter; Robert W. Wilson, Senior Counsel; Michael W. Flynn, District Attorney General; and Matthew L. Dunn, Assistant District Attorney General, for the Appellee, State of Tennessee.

Judge(s): MCMULLEN

The Defendant, Michael Dewayne Hall, was convicted by a Blount County Jury of sale or delivery of cocaine under 0.5 grams in the drug-free zone of a public park, a Class C felony, and sale or delivery of cocaine over 0.5 grams in the drug-free zone of a public park, a Class B felony. As a career offender, he received an effective sentence of thirty years in the Tennessee Department of Correction. On appeal, the Defendant claims: (1) the trial court improperly admitted a map into evidence at trial; (2) the trial court improperly denied his motion to dismiss the indictment; (3) the evidence is insufficient to sustain his convictions; and (4) the trial court improperly acted as thirteenth juror to approve the jury’s verdict. We conclude that the trial court properly admitted the map, denied the motion to dismiss, and acted as thirteenth juror, and that the evidence is sufficient to sustain the Defendant’s convictions. However, after a plain error review, the duplicitous nature of the Defendant’s convictions for “sale or delivery” of cocaine constitutes reversible error and violates the Defendant’s fundamental and substantial right to a unanimous jury verdict. Accordingly, we reverse, vacate, and dismiss the Defendant’s convictions.