Joseph Newton v. State of Tennessee

11/29/2017 IN THE COURT OF CRIMINAL APPEALS OF TENNESSEE AT NASHVILLE September 12, 2017 Session JOSEPH NEWTON v. STATE OF TENNESSEE Appeal from the Criminal Court for Davidson County No. 2010-D-2957 Seth W. Norman, Judge ___________________________________ No. M2016-02240-CCA-R3-PC ___________________________________ A jury convicted the Petitioner, Joseph Newton, of rape, and he was sentenced to serve eight years in prison. In his motion for a new trial, the Petitioner alleged that he was denied his constitutional right to the effective assistance of his trial counsel. The trial court denied the motion, and this court affirmed the Petitioner’s conviction on appeal. The Petitioner filed a timely post-conviction petition, alleging ineffective assistance of counsel at the motion for a new trial and on appeal, and the post-conviction court denied his petition. On appeal, he asserts that his counsel were deficient in bringing claims against trial counsel prematurely, in failing to call witnesses and investigate, and in omitting issues on direct appeal. He contends he is entitled to relief based on cumulative error. After a thorough review of the record, we conclude that the Petitioner did not receive the ineffective assistance of his counsel, and we affirm the post-conviction court’s judgment. Tenn. R. App. P. 3 Appeal as of Right; Judgment of the Criminal Court Affirmed JOHN EVERETT WILLIAMS, J., delivered the opinion of the court, in which ROBERT L. HOLLOWAY, JR., and ROBERT H. MONTGOMERY, JR., JJ., joined. John M. Ballard, Nashville, Tennessee, for the appellant, Joseph Newton. Herbert H. Slatery III, Attorney General and Reporter; Sophia S. Lee, Senior Counsel; Glenn Funk, District Attorney General; and Dan Hamm, Assistant District Attorney General, for the appellee, State of Tennessee. OPINION FACTUAL AND PROCEDURAL HISTORY Trial The Petitioner was tried and convicted of raping the victim after she entered his taxicab seeking a ride home because she was too intoxicated to drive. The Petitioner initially denied having any knowledge of the victim. DNA evidence established that the Petitioner was the rapist. At trial, the victim testified that she was very intoxicated on the evening of the rape, that the employees of a bar where she had been drinking put her into a taxi when the bar closed around 3:00 a.m., and that the driver of the taxi, the Petitioner, drove her to an isolated location and raped her. The victim was able to escape the taxi after the rape, and she fled to a nearby area that was well-lit. She summoned the police and was taken to the hospital, where medical personnel collected physical evidence and treated her for any potential infections that may have been transmitted to her during the rape. Trial counsel cross-examined her regarding a statement she made at the hospital that her attacker was a medium-skinned African American man with a foreign accent and a statement she made a few days later describing him as light-skinned. She agreed that the Petitioner, who was an immigrant from Ghana, was not light-skinned. An employee of the bar where the victim had been drinking ...

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