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Posted by: Landry Butler on May 5, 2017

Court: TN Court of Criminal Appeals

Attorneys 1:

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

Attorneys 2:

Herbert H. Slatery III, Attorney General and Reporter; Nicholas W. Spangler, Assistant Attorney General; Charme Allen, District Attorney General; and Ta Kisha Fitzgerald, Assistant District Attorney General, for the appellee, State of Tennessee.

Judge(s): WILLIAMS

The Defendant, Ronald Turner, was convicted of three counts of attempted second degree murder when he fired a single shot through a glass door at his child, the mother of his child, and her roommate. The Defendant was also convicted of three counts of employing a firearm in the commission of a dangerous felony and one count of unlawful possession of a handgun with the intent to go armed in a public place where at least one person is present. The Defendant’s convictions for the three counts of attempted second degree murder and the conviction for possession of a handgun were enhanced after the jury found that the gang enhancement statute applied. The Defendant appeals, challenging the sufficiency of the evidence and the constitutionality of the gang enhancement statute. We conclude that the evidence is insufficient to support two of the convictions for attempted second degree murder, and we reverse these convictions and the weapons offenses predicated on them. The Defendant raised the constitutional argument for the first time in the motion for a new trial, and the State argues that the issue is waived. We conclude that the statute is unconstitutional and that the Defendant is entitled to relief from the gang enhancement applied to his sentences. We affirm the judgments of the trial court in all remaining respects.