STATE OF TENNESSEE v. KEVIN PATTERSON AKA JOHN O’KEEFE VARNER AKA JOHN O’KEEFE KITCHEN - Articles

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Posted by: Landry Butler on Nov 30, 2017

Court: TN Supreme Court

Attorneys 1:

Herbert H. Slatery III, Attorney General and Reporter; Andre´e S. Blumstein, Solicitor General; Brent C. Cherry, Senior Counsel; and Craig Northcott, District Attorney General, for the appellant, State of Tennessee.

Attorneys 2:

John E. Nicoll, District Public Defender (on appeal); and Daniel Marshall, Nashville, Tennessee (at trial), for the appellee, Kevin Patterson aka John O’Keefe Varner aka John O’Keefe Kitchen.

Judge(s): CLARK

We granted this appeal to determine whether deficiencies in the State’s timely filed notice of intent to sentence the defendant to life imprisonment without the possibility of parole as a repeat violent offender entitle the defendant to relief via the plain error doctrine. We conclude that, although imperfect, the timely filed notice fairly informed the defendant of the State’s intent to seek enhanced sentencing and triggered the defendant’s duty to inquire into the errors and omissions. Furthermore, the defendant has failed to establish that the deficiencies in the notice adversely affected his substantial rights — a necessary criterion for obtaining relief via the plain error doctrine. Accordingly, we reverse in part the Court of Criminal Appeals’ judgment, insofar as it set aside the defendant’s sentence of life without parole and remanded to the trial court for resentencing, and we reinstate the judgment of the trial court in all respects.

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