STATE OF TENNESSEE v. ROBERT GRISHAM - Articles

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Posted by: Landry Butler on May 5, 2017

Court: TN Court of Criminal Appeals

Attorneys 1:

R. Deno Cole, Knoxville, Tennessee, for the appellant, Robert Grisham.

Attorneys 2:

Herbert H. Slatery III, Attorney General and Reporter; Lacy Wilber, Senior Counsel; Charme P. Allen, District Attorney General; and Ashley D. McDermott, Assistant District Attorney General, for the appellee, State of Tennessee.

Judge(s): THOMAS

Following a jury trial, the Defendant, Robert Grisham, was convicted of observation without consent, unlawful photography, and especially aggravated sexual exploitation of a minor. In this appeal of right, the Defendant challenges the following: (1) the trial court’s denial of his motion to suppress the deleted files retrieved from his cell phone using highly-sophisticated equipment; (2) the sufficiency of the evidence supporting his conviction for especially aggravated sexual exploitation of a minor, arguing that there was insufficient proof of “sexual activity” by “lascivious exhibition” on the video; and (3) the trial court’s enhancement of his sentencing term for especially aggravated sexual exploitation of a minor to nine years by utilizing the abuse of private trust enhancement factor. In light of our supreme court’s recent decision in State v. Whited, 506 S.W.3d 416 (Tenn. 2016), we conclude that the proof was insufficient to support the element of sexual activity and are, therefore, required to reverse and vacate the Defendant’s conviction for especially aggravated sexual exploitation of a minor. However, because the proof is sufficient to support the lesser-included offense of attempted especially aggravated sexual exploitation of a minor, which was charged to the jury, we remand this matter to the trial court for entry of an amended judgment reflecting a conviction for attempt and for resentencing on this modified conviction. The Defendant’s convictions for unlawful photography and observation without consent are affirmed. Accordingly, the trial court’s judgments are affirmed in part and reversed in part, and the case is remanded for a new sentencing hearing.

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