State v. Martin, No. W2013-02013-SC-R11-CD

CourtSupreme Court of Tennessee
Writing for the CourtHOLLY KIRBY, J.
Citation505 S.W.3d 492
Parties STATE of Tennessee v. Rhakim MARTIN
Decision Date14 October 2016
Docket NumberNo. W2013-02013-SC-R11-CD

505 S.W.3d 492

STATE of Tennessee
v.
Rhakim MARTIN

No. W2013-02013-SC-R11-CD

Supreme Court of Tennessee, AT JACKSON.

November 4, 2015 Session
Filed October 14, 2016


Lance R. Chism, Memphis, Tennessee (on appeal), and Paul K. Guibao (at trial), for the appellant, Rhakim Martin.

Herbert H. Slatery III, Attorney General and Reporter; Andrée S. Blumstein, Solicitor General; John H. Bledsoe, Senior Counsel, Criminal Justice Division; Amy P. Weirich, District Attorney General; and

505 S.W.3d 497

Alexia Crump, Assistant District Attorney, for the appellee, State of Tennessee.

HOLLY KIRBY, J., delivered the opinion of the Court, in which JEFFREY S. BIVINS, C.J., and CORNELIA A. CLARK and SHARON G. LEE, JJ., joined.

OPINION

HOLLY KIRBY, J.

A jury convicted the defendant of carjacking and employment of a firearm during the commission of a dangerous felony. The trial court imposed an effective sixteen-year sentence. The Court of Criminal Appeals affirmed. In this Court, the defendant presents the following issues: (1) whether the trial court erred in denying his motion to suppress the victim's identification of him because the victim previously viewed his photograph on a county-operated "mug shot" website; (2) whether the trial court committed plain error in failing to instruct the jury on possession of a firearm during the commission of a dangerous felony as a lesser-included offense of employment of a firearm during the commission of a dangerous felony; (3) whether the failure to name the predicate felony of the firearm offense voids that count of the indictment; (4) whether the defendant's conviction for the firearm offense violates the prohibitions against double jeopardy and the terms of Tennessee Code Annotated section 39–17–1324(c) ; and (5) whether the evidence was insufficient to support the convictions. We hold that the victim's prior viewing of the defendant's booking photograph on the county-operated website did not constitute state action and that the trial court therefore properly denied the defendant's motion to suppress the victim's identification of him. We further hold that the defendant failed to establish that the trial court's failure to instruct the jury on the lesser-included offense of possession of a firearm during the commission of a dangerous felony affected a substantial right, so the defendant is not entitled to plain error relief. Based on our holding in State v. Duncan, No. W2013–02554–CCA–R3–CD, 505 S.W.3d 480, 485–86, 2016 WL 6024007, at *5 (Tenn. 2016), released on the same date as this opinion, we conclude that the failure to name the predicate felony of the firearm offense does not void that count of the indictment. We hold that the defendant's convictions for carjacking and employing a firearm during the commission of a dangerous felony did not violate either double jeopardy or Tennessee Code Annotated section 39–17–1324(c). Finally, we conclude that the evidence was sufficient to support the convictions. Accordingly, we affirm the judgment of the Court of Criminal Appeals.

FACTUAL AND PROCEDURAL BACKGROUND

Around 8:30 p.m. on the evening of May 22, 2011, Christie Currie (hereinafter "victim") pulled her 2011 black Toyota Camry up to the mailbox at her boyfriend's house.1 At the time, it was "getting dark" but not completely dark outside, and there were two street lights nearby, one across the street and another between the houses. As the victim reached into the mailbox, a man on a bicycle appeared from behind, put a gun to her head, and told her to give him everything she had. The man then moved in front of the victim; standing approximately six feet in front of her; he pointed his gun at her face and demanded that she get out of her car.

505 S.W.3d 498

Terrified, the victim left her purse and other belongings in her car and fled to a neighbor's house. As the victim waited for the neighbor to answer the door, she looked back at her car. The door to the car was open and the lights inside the car were on, and the victim saw her assailant sitting in the driver's seat of her car. Another man was loading the bicycle into the back seat of her car. Once the neighbor let the victim into the house, the neighbor called the police to report the carjacking.

In her recounting to the police of the carjacking, the victim indicated that she had clearly seen the face of the man who pointed the gun at her. She described him as having dark skin, long hair, and no facial hair, and she emphasized that he had distinctive "beady eyes." She said he was wearing a black shirt and dark pants, and estimated his age as between seventeen and twenty years old.

Soon after the incident, the victim began checking a website called "Shelby County Who's In Jail?" to see if it might include a photograph of her carjacker. The website, operated by the Shelby County Sheriff, contained photographs of persons recently processed into the Shelby County jail. The website showed each person's booking photograph, name and birthdate, as well as the booking number, date and time, but it did not include the reason why the person was booked into the jail or any charges pending against him.2

About three weeks later, a Memphis police officer out on patrol saw a black Toyota Camry, later identified as the victim's stolen car, speed past him on the wrong side of the road. Not long afterward, the officer located the car, wrecked and abandoned, outside of an apartment complex. Using the Vehicle Identification Number, the officer learned that it was a carjacked vehicle. He found two traffic tickets inside it; both were issued to appellant Rhakim Martin (hereinafter "defendant") after the date of the carjacking. The officer ran the driver's license listed on the tickets and viewed the defendant's driver's license photograph.

A short while later, the same police officer saw a vehicle leaving the apartment complex where the victim's wrecked Camry was found. The vehicle had an expired license plate, so the officer stopped it. The officer recognized the defendant, who was driving the vehicle, as the same person in the driver's license photograph for the traffic tickets that he had found in the victim's stolen car. The defendant admitted to the officer that he had been driving the abandoned black Camry; he claimed that he got the vehicle from his cousin. The defendant was taken into custody.

After the defendant was jailed, a police officer with the City of Bartlett Police Department contacted the victim. The officer told the victim that her car had been recovered and asked her to come to the station to view a photographic array of possible suspects. She was not told whether anyone had been arrested in connection with the recovery of her car.

Meanwhile, the victim had been regularly checking the "Who's In Jail?" website to see if it included a photograph of her assailant. Before she went to the police

505 S.W.3d 499

station to view the photographic array, she looked again at the website to see if it included a photograph of her assailant. She initially looked at the photographs from the top of the list but then narrowed her search by date of birth to correlate with the age range she perceived her assailant to be. After clicking on five to seven photographs, the victim came upon the defendant's photograph and recognized him as her carjacker. As with the other photographs on the website, the defendant's photograph listed his name and birthdate but not the basis for his arrest or any charges against him.

At the Bartlett police station, the victim met with Detective Phillip Gooch. Before the victim viewed the photographic array, she told Detective Gooch that she had looked online at the "Who's In Jail?" website and had recognized a photograph of the man who carjacked her vehicle.3 Detective Gooch later testified that he did not suggest to the victim that she look at the "Who's In Jail?" website and was not with her when she viewed it. He confirmed that the photograph in the array shown to the victim was the same booking photograph that was on the "Who's In Jail?" website.

Before showing the victim the photographic array, Detective Gooch gave her a set of instructions that included a caution that the perpetrator may or may not be in the array. He then showed the victim the array without giving her any hints or suggestions about whom she should pick.

Upon viewing the photographic array, the victim "immediately" identified the defendant as the perpetrator. She circled the defendant's photograph and wrote, "This is the guy that carjack[ed] me on 5/22/11 at gunpoint." The victim later said of her identification of the defendant's photograph: "I was sure of it."

In August 2011, the Shelby County Grand Jury returned a two-count indictment against the defendant. The first count of the indictment alleged that, on May 22, 2011, the defendant committed carjacking,4 a Class B felony. The second count of the indictment alleged that, on May 22, 2011, the defendant committed the offense of employment of a firearm during the commission of a dangerous felony,5 a Class C felony. The second count of the indictment referenced Tennessee Code Annotated section 39–17–1324(i)(1), which defines the term "dangerous felony," but it did...

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77 practice notes
  • State v. Minor, No. W2016-00348-SC-R11-CD
    • United States
    • Supreme Court of Tennessee
    • April 11, 2018
    ...tactical reasons; and (5) consideration of the error is necessary to do substantial justice. Tenn. R. App. P. 36(b) ; State v. Martin, 505 S.W.3d 492, 504 (Tenn. 2016) ; State v. Hester, 324 S.W.3d 1, 56 (Tenn. 2010) ; State v. Gomez, 239 S.W.3d 733, 737 (Tenn. 2007) (" Gomez II"). If a def......
  • State v. Clayton, No. W2015-00158-SC-DDT-DD
    • United States
    • Supreme Court of Tennessee
    • June 1, 2017
    ...have to [be] especially egregious in nature, striking at the very heart of the fairness of the judicial proceeding." State v. Martin , 505 S.W.3d 492, 504 (Tenn. 2016) (alterations in original) (quoting State v. Banks , 271 S.W.3d 90, 127 (Tenn. 2008) ).In Tennessee, an appellate court will......
  • State v. Rimmer, No. W2017-00504-SC-DDT-DD
    • United States
    • Supreme Court of Tennessee
    • April 16, 2021
    ...for 623 S.W.3d 256 tactical reasons; and (5) consideration of the error is necessary to achieve substantial justice. State v. Martin , 505 S.W.3d 492, 504 (Tenn. 2016). Here, the retrial of the Defendant did not violate a clear and unequivocal rule of law. Double jeopardy does not preclude ......
  • State v. Cannon, M2019-01629-CCA-R3-CD
    • United States
    • Court of Appeals of Tennessee. Court of Criminal Appeals of Tennessee
    • August 16, 2021
    ..., 432 U.S. 98, 107-09, 97 S.Ct. 2243, 53 L.Ed.2d 140 (1977), and Biggers , 409 U.S. at 198, 93 S.Ct. 375 ).In State v. Martin , 505 S.W.3d 492, 500-01 (Tenn. 2016), our supreme court addressed a similar issue and held:Trial judges are not required "to prescreen eyewitness evidence for relia......
  • Request a trial to view additional results
77 cases
  • State v. Minor, No. W2016-00348-SC-R11-CD
    • United States
    • Supreme Court of Tennessee
    • April 11, 2018
    ...tactical reasons; and (5) consideration of the error is necessary to do substantial justice. Tenn. R. App. P. 36(b) ; State v. Martin, 505 S.W.3d 492, 504 (Tenn. 2016) ; State v. Hester, 324 S.W.3d 1, 56 (Tenn. 2010) ; State v. Gomez, 239 S.W.3d 733, 737 (Tenn. 2007) (" Gomez II"). If a def......
  • State v. Clayton, No. W2015-00158-SC-DDT-DD
    • United States
    • Supreme Court of Tennessee
    • June 1, 2017
    ...have to [be] especially egregious in nature, striking at the very heart of the fairness of the judicial proceeding." State v. Martin , 505 S.W.3d 492, 504 (Tenn. 2016) (alterations in original) (quoting State v. Banks , 271 S.W.3d 90, 127 (Tenn. 2008) ).In Tennessee, an appellate court will......
  • State v. Rimmer, No. W2017-00504-SC-DDT-DD
    • United States
    • Supreme Court of Tennessee
    • April 16, 2021
    ...for 623 S.W.3d 256 tactical reasons; and (5) consideration of the error is necessary to achieve substantial justice. State v. Martin , 505 S.W.3d 492, 504 (Tenn. 2016). Here, the retrial of the Defendant did not violate a clear and unequivocal rule of law. Double jeopardy does not preclude ......
  • State v. Cannon, M2019-01629-CCA-R3-CD
    • United States
    • Court of Appeals of Tennessee. Court of Criminal Appeals of Tennessee
    • August 16, 2021
    ..., 432 U.S. 98, 107-09, 97 S.Ct. 2243, 53 L.Ed.2d 140 (1977), and Biggers , 409 U.S. at 198, 93 S.Ct. 375 ).In State v. Martin , 505 S.W.3d 492, 500-01 (Tenn. 2016), our supreme court addressed a similar issue and held:Trial judges are not required "to prescreen eyewitness evidence for relia......
  • Request a trial to view additional results

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