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Posted by: Landry Butler on Jan 11, 2018

Head Comment: With concurring and dissenting opinion by EASTER.

Court: TN Court of Criminal Appeals

Attorneys 1:

Drew Justice, Murfreesboro, Tennessee, for the appellant, Matthew Glen Howell.

Attorneys 2:

Herbert H. Slatery III, Attorney General and Reporter; Sophia S. Lee, Assistant Attorney General; Glenn R. Funk, District Attorney General; and Derry Harper, Assistant District Attorney General, for the appellee, State of Tennessee.

Judge(s): WITT

The defendant, Matthew Glen Howell, who was originally charged with aggravated assault, appeals his 2016 Davidson County Criminal Court conviction of simple assault, which was imposed by the trial court after the jury found the defendant guilty of the inapplicable lesser included offense of reckless aggravated assault. The defendant argues that, because the jury acquitted him of the crime of intentional or knowing aggravated assault and instead found him guilty of reckless aggravated assault, the trial court erred by amending the conviction offense to one that required an intentional or knowing mens rea. The defendant also challenges several of the trial court’s evidentiary rulings. Because the jury found the defendant guilty of a crime that did not exist under the facts of the case and because double jeopardy and collateral estoppel principles precluded the trial court from imposing a conviction that required an element of which the defendant had already been acquitted, the defendant’s conviction of simple assault is vacated, and the case is dismissed.