Searching over 5,500,000 cases.


searching
Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.

Terrell v. State

Court of Criminal Appeals of Oklahoma

June 28, 2018

DARREN THOMAS TERRELL, Appellant
v.
THE STATE OF OKLAHOMA, Appellee.

          AN APPEAL FROM THE DISTRICT COURT OF BECKHAM COUNTY THE HONORABLE F. DOUGLAS HAUGHT, ASSOCIATE DISTRICT JUDGE

          APPEARANCES AT TRIAL RYAN DON RECKER RECKER & RECKER COUNSEL FOR DEFENDANT.

          APPEARANCES ON APPEAL ROBERT W. JACKSON APPELLATE DEFENSE COUNSEL COUNSEL FOR APPELLANT.

          MICHAEL A. ABEL LYNN LAWRENCE ASSISTANT DISTRICT ATTORNEYS COUNSEL FOF THE STATE.

          MIKE HUNTER ATTORNEY GENERAL OF OKLA. TESSA. L. HENRY ASSISTANT ATTORNEY GENERAL COUNSEL FOR THE STATE.

          OPINION

          LUMPKIN, PRESIDING JUDGE.

         ¶1 Appellant, Darren Thomas Terrell, was tried by jury and convicted of Unlawful Distribution of a Controlled Dangerous Substance Within 2, 000 Feet of a Park or School (Methamphetamine) (Count 1) (63 O.S.Supp.2012, § 2-401 (F)) and Conspiracy to Deliver a Controlled Dangerous Substance (Methamphetamine) (Count 2) (63 O.S.2011, § 2-408) After Former Conviction of Two or More Felonies in the District Court of Beckham County, Case Number CF-2016-30. The jury recommended as punishment imprisonment for eighteen (18) years in each count. The trial court sentenced accordingly, granted Appellant credit for time served, ordered the sentences to run concurrently, and imposed a period of post-imprisonment supervision. It is from these judgments and sentences that Appellant appeals.

         FACTS

         ¶2 Appellant conspired with Brian Maher to deliver Methamphetamine to a confidential informant working for the District 2 Drug Task Force. On October 13, 2015, Appellant delivered Methamphetamine to the confidential informant during a controlled-buy wherein the informant wore an audio/video recording device.

         DISCUSSION

         ¶3 In his sole proposition of error, Appellant contends that the jury was improperly exposed to evidence and argument telling the jurors that Appellant had previously received suspended sentences. He concedes that he waived appellate review of his claim for all but plain error when he failed to challenge the evidence and argument below. Therefore, we review Appellant's claim pursuant to the test set forth in Simpson v. State, 1994 OK CR 40, 876 P.2d 690. See Harney v. State, 2011 OK CR 10, ¶ 23, 256 P.3d 1002, 1007. Under this test, an appellant must show an actual error, which is plain or obvious, and which affects his substantial rights. Baird v. State, 2017 OK CR 16, ¶ 25, 400 P.3d 875, 883. This Court will only correct plain error if the error seriously affects the fairness, integrity or public reputation of the judicial proceedings or otherwise represents a miscarriage of justice. Id.

         ¶4 The record shows that during the second stage of the trial, the prosecutor introduced an exhibit detailing Appellant's six prior felony convictions. This exhibit showed that several of Appellant's prior sentences had been suspended in whole or in part, and in some instances, revoked for violations of the terms of suspension. Then in closing argument the prosecutor referenced Appellant's prior convictions and sentences, specifically mentioned the suspended sentences, and argued "He's been given chance after chance after chance."

         ¶5 Appellant claims that the references to suspended sentences in the exhibit and the prosecutor's argument violated the holding in Hunter v. State, 2009 OK CR 17, 208 P.3d 931. Prior to Hunter, this Court had recognized that jurors were not to speculate on pardon or parole, thus, the parties were prohibited from making an unmistakable comment on pardon or parole. See Martin v. State, 1983 OK CR 168, ¶ 22, 674 P.2d 37, 41--42; Starr v. State, 1979 OK CR 126, ¶¶ 12-13, 602 P.2d 1046, 1049; Satterlee v. State, 1976 OK CR 88, ¶ 26, 549 P.2d 104, 111; Bell v. State, 1962 OK CR 160, ¶ 18, 381 P.2d 167, 173. Without discussion or analysis, Hunter expanded this rule to prohibit both the introduction of judgment and sentence documents reflecting receipt of a suspended sentence and explicit references to probation in opening or closing argument. Hunter, 2009 OK CR 17, ¶ 10, 208 P.3d at 933-34. However, the introduction of the judgment and sentence is a proper part of the proof of a former felony conviction. Camp v. State, 1983 OK CR 74, ¶¶ 2--3, 664 P.2d 1052, 1053--54. Thus, we were forced in Stewart v. State, 2016 OK CR 9, ¶ 17, 372 P.3d 508, 512, to draw a distinction between unmistakable comments upon probation or parole and the instance where the judgment and sentence documents simply reflect receipt of a deferred or suspended sentence.

         ¶6 Today, we recognize that the rule announced in Hunter is simply unworkable. Jurors are free to consider the relevant proof of a prior conviction including any evidence that a defendant previously received probation, suspension, or deferral of a sentence and any acceleration or revocation of such a sentence. See Honeycutt v. State, 1967 OK CR 154, ¶¶ 18--20, 432 P.2d 124, 128 (finding proof of suspension of sentence by trial court proper proof of former felony conviction). The receipt of a probationary term ...


Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.