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Posted by: Suzanne Craig Robertson on Jun 6, 2017

Court: TN Court of Criminal Appeals

Attorneys 1:

Wesley Hall, Unionville, Tennessee, for the appellant, John Willie Stone.

Attorneys 2:

Herbert H. Slatery III, Attorney General and Reporter; Zachary T. Hinkle, Assistant Attorney General; Robert J. Carter, District Attorney General; and Michael D. Randles, Assistant District Attorney General, for the appellee, State of Tennessee.

Judge(s): WITT

A Bedford County Circuit Court jury convicted the defendant, John Willie Stone, of burglary of an automobile, theft of property valued at $500 or less, and aggravated assault, and the trial court imposed a total effective sentence of 21 years’ incarceration. Shortly after the conclusion of his trial and prior to the entry of his judgments or his sentencing hearing, the defendant filed a pro se motion seeking new counsel, which the trial court interpreted as a petition for post-conviction relief on the basis of ineffective assistance of counsel. Following a combined hearing on the defendant’s motion for new trial and his purported petition for post-conviction relief, the trial court denied all claims. In this appeal, the defendant challenges both the sufficiency of the convicting evidence and the length of his sentence in addition to the ineffectiveness of his trial counsel. Because the trial court erroneously treated the defendant’s motion for new counsel as a petition for post-conviction relief, we vacate the portion of the trial court’s judgment which denied post-conviction relief to the defendant. In all other respects, we affirm the judgment of the trial court.