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Posted by: Landry Butler on Feb 9, 2018

Head Comment: Correction: "Joshua Hendrick" changed to "Joshua Hedrick."

Court: TN Court of Criminal Appeals

Attorneys 1:

Joshua Hedrick, Knoxville, Tennessee, for the appellant, Maurice Johnson.

Attorneys 2:

Herbert H. Slatery III, Attorney General and Reporter; James E. Gaylord, Senior Counsel; Stephen D. Crump, District Attorney General, for the appellee, State of Tennessee.

Judge(s): HOLLOWAY

Maurice Johnson (“the Petitioner”) appeals the Bradley County Criminal Court’s denial of post-conviction relief from his convictions of three counts of first degree felony murder, for which he was sentenced to life without parole. On appeal, the Petitioner contends that he was denied the effective assistance of counsel based on trial counsel’s failure to: (1) adequately investigate potential witnesses; (2) adequately investigate two witnesses who testified at trial; (3) prepare the Petitioner for testimony; (4) object to irrelevant and prejudicial evidence relating to the Petitioner’s drug dealing and “the Sweetwater fight”; (5) question co-defendant Twanna Blair about her statement to police that the perpetrators were white men; and (6) adequately protect the Petitioner’s appellate rights. The Petitioner asserts that he is entitled to relief based on these claims individually and based on the cumulative effect of these errors. The Petitioner additionally asserts that the post-conviction court erred by denying relief “in the face of structural error.” Following a thorough review, we affirm the judgment of the post- conviction court.