State v. Headley, Slip Copy (2009)
October of 2007 in a multi-count indictment for thirty-three drug related charges that arose out of his unlawful acquisition Only the Westlaw citation is currently available.
of prescription medication from a pharmacy in Davidson County while he was wearing his Williamson County uniform and driving a Williamson County law enforcement vehicle.
The cases were consolidated, and Appellant eventually pled guilty to one count of conspiracy to commit official misconduct and four counts of simple possession, all Class A misdemeanors, in exchange for an effective sentence of four years, eleven months, and twenty-five days. Appellant was ordered to serve the sentence on probation, three years of which was to be supervised. At a sentencing hearing, the trial court denied judicial diversion. Appellant appeals this denial. We determine that the trial court considered the factors required for the grant or denial of judicial diversion and did not abuse its discretion in denying judicial diversion to Appellant. Accordingly, the judgment of the trial court is Denied by Supreme Court March 15, 2010.
Appellant was indicted for four counts of official misconduct by the Williamson County Grand Jury. Appellant was also Appeal from the Criminal Court for Williamson County, No.
indicted by the Davidson County Grand Jury for seventeen II-CR10294 & II-CR023199; , Judge.
counts of unlawful distribution of a controlled substance, a Attorneys and Law Firms
of a legend drug, a Class C misdemeanor, in violation Franklin, Tennessee, for the appellant, Ricky Joe Headley.
counts of possession of a controlled substance, a Class A Cameron L. Hyder, Assistant Attorney General; Ron , and one count of possession of a legend drug without a prescription, a Class C misdemeanor, in Assistant District Attorney General, for the appellee, State of A “legend drug” is “any item that federal law prohibits dispensing without a prescription from a licensed doctor, dentist, optometrist or veterinarian.” Appellant filed a motion to transfer venue of the Davidson County cases to Williamson County and join the indictments for a single trial on the matter. The parties filed an agreed order of transfer in which the trial court found it “proper to transfer the indictment[s] pending in [Davidson County] to the Criminal Court of Williamson County.” *1 Appellant, Ricky Joe Headley, was indicted by the
Williamson County Grand Jury in October of 2007 for four On February 13, 2008, Appellant pled guilty in a negotiated counts of official misconduct in violation of plea agreement to conspiracy to commit official misconduct, a Class A misdemeanor, with a recommended sentence of while serving as the Sheriff of Williamson County. Appellant eleven months and twenty-nine days. Appellant also pled was also indicted by the Davidson County Grand Jury in guilty to four counts of simple possession, all Class A 2013 Thomson Reuters. No claim to original U.S. Government Works.
State v. Headley, Slip Copy (2009)
misdemeanors, with an agreed sentence of eleven months and twenty-nine days for each conviction. The sentences On December 20, 2006, Appellant presented a prescription for the four convictions for simple possession were ordered for Lortab and Robaxin. The prescription specified that it was to be served consecutively to the sentence for official not to be filled until January of 2007, but Mr. Brooks provided misconduct, for a total effective sentence of four years, eleven Appellant with # 100 Lortab and placed Soma in a bottle months, and twenty-five days. If the trial court approved On January 3, 2007, Appellant filled the new prescription but was to be suspended, and Appellant was subject to three Mr. Brooks printed the label such that it appeared to be on years of supervised probation followed by unsupervised hold in the computer. Appellant obtained an illegal refill of probation for the balance of the sentence. The plea agreement this prescription on January 5, 2007. Appellant repeated these specified that all other counts of the indictments from both actions on January 9 and 16, 2007, obtaining # 100 Lortab Williamson and Davidson Counties were dismissed with and # 100 Soma in Robaxin bottles each time.
prejudice and that Appellant would: (1) undergo a “Drug and Alcohol Assessment and Treatment Screen;” (2) follow the On January 18, 2007, Appellant presented a new prescription recommendations made as a result of the screen; (3) resign for Lortab and Robaxin. This prescription was filled in from his position as Sheriff of Williamson County; and (4) the same manner. Appellant received # 100 Lortab and # promise to refrain from running for public office or seeking 100 Soma in a Robaxin bottle. Mr. Brooks then provided any politically-appointed positions. The plea agreement Appellant with # 30 Ambien on January 26, 2007, for further specified that “adjudication of the defendant's guilt which he did not have a prescription. Appellant received will be withheld to determine if the defendant shall be the non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drug Cataflam without a When Appellant was present at the pharmacy, he was driving *2 The parties entered a “Stipulation of Facts” which
a vehicle registered to the Williamson County Sheriff's Office stated that had the matter gone to trial, the State's proof would have shown that Appellant was in possession of a prescription from Dr. Winston Griner for # 100 Lortab and Prior to October of 2006, Appellant was diagnosed with a # 100 Soma. The prescription did not provide for refills and thyroid condition that was being treated with prescription was filled by Appellant at Brooks Pharmacy on September medication. Appellant had informed the pharmacy staff that 25, 2006. Between October 2, 2006, and November 21, 2006, the medication was the cause for his “thick tongued” speech.
Appellant obtained nine illegal refills of the prescription from Pharmacist Glenn Cleo Brooks who reprinted labels from the Appellant appeared at the Sheriff's Office in an impaired September prescription. Appellant's secretary picked up the condition on more than one occasion. He was seen staggering, prescription on at least three occasions. Appellant provided unsteady on his feet, and even ran into a wall.
Mr. Brooks with a new prescription, again specifying no refills, for # 100 Lortab on November 21, 2006. Appellant Appellant was arrested and interviewed by agents from the received this prescription and received an additional # 100 Tennessee Bureau of Investigation. During the interview, Soma on this same date, without presenting a prescription.
Appellant admitted his culpability. Appellant informed On November 27, 2006, Appellant attempted to obtain a refill agents that he got started on the medication because of “bulging discs” and that it was “really about this thing in my lower back.” Appellant explained that he “really” needed the Between November 28 and December 8, 2006, Appellant medication and that he “never really considered that [he] was obtained four illegal prescription refills for # 100 Lortab and violating the law.” Appellant acknowledged that he wanted to # 100 Soma. On December 14, 2006, Appellant's secretary “make sure that [he] accept[ed] responsibilities [sic] for [his] presented the pharmacy with a new prescription and received a refill at the time that Mr. Brooks printed on the old prescription label. Mr. Brooks also filled the new prescription *3 In October of 2006, Appellant ordered a Sheriff's
Detective to undertake a special investigation of a worthless 2013 Thomson Reuters. No claim to original U.S. Government Works.
State v. Headley, Slip Copy (2009)
check for Mr. Brooks. The detective was under the impression Appellant also admitted that “pride” was part of the reason he that Mr. Brooks was a Williamson County resident when, in fact, he was a resident of Davidson County. Williamson County funds were used to investigate the check. During Once Appellant was arrested, he entered an inpatient the course of the investigation, the detective learned that treatment facility in Warrior, Alabama. Appellant remained the Brooks Pharmacy, owned by Mr. Brooks, was under an inpatient for twenty-six days and an outpatient for ten investigation. The detective informed Appellant of the weeks, four days a week. Appellant also informed the trial court that he was attending twelve-step meetings at least five times a week during this period of time. Appellant also After reviewing the stipulated facts and the plea agreement, paid $13,000 in a drug tax that was assessed by the State of the trial court accepted the plea and set a sentencing hearing for a later date. At the sentencing hearing, Appellant introduced his wife and sons to the trial court and explained *4 Appellant remained Sheriff of Williamson County until
that he had been involved in law enforcement since he his plea agreement was entered by the trial court, a little over was sixteen. Appellant worked for the Williamson County one year after his arrest. Appellant was being paid by the Sheriff's Office from 1988 to 1994. He also worked for the county and did not want to resign. Appellant acknowledged Fairview Police Department where he obtained the rank of that the morale of the deputies was affected by his behavior captain. Appellant ran for the office of Sheriff in 2002 in order and subsequent arrest and indictment.
to make a positive impact on the profession. Additionally, Appellant felt that he “had [an] awful lot to offer the position Appellant admitted that each time he illegally obtained medication, he violated his oath of office. Appellant testified that he had learned a lot from treatment, that “addiction is a Appellant explained that he enjoyed singing and had spent lifelong recovery process . that [he] will have to deal with several years putting on concerts to raise money to help the rest of [his] life.” Appellant expressed his remorse and disadvantaged people with medical expenses.
admitted that “addiction is something that is extremely more powerful than-than the individual and that there's absolutely Appellant began experiencing lower back pain for several no way that-that [he] would have jeopardized the situation years before deciding to see a doctor in 2003. Appellant was [he] was in had something not had control of me that I didn't treated with Hydrocodone and received lawful prescriptions have-that I did not have control over, and I realize now why from Dr. Winston Griner at the Franklin Medical Clinic.
Appellant admitted that he became addicted to Hydrocodone in 2006 and eventually received the medication without a The presentence report that was entered into evidence contained a lengthy statement from Appellant which essentially mirrored his testimony at the sentencing hearing.
When Appellant ran for re-election, he met Mr. Brooks, who offered to help out with Appellant's campaign. Mr.
On cross-examination, Appellant admitted that he had Brooks offered to fill Appellant's prescriptions without a co- previously stated to the media that punishment for a law pay, something he often did for law enforcement personnel.
enforcement officer who commits a crime should be three Appellant started getting his prescriptions filled at Brooks times that of an ordinary citizen. Appellant felt that law Pharmacy and eventually began taking more medicine than enforcement should be treated “more harshly” and that they he was prescribed. He continued to go to the pharmacy to get The trial court also heard testimony of Captain Roddy Appellant acknowledged the stipulated facts that were entered Parker of the Williamson County Sheriff's Office. Captain by the parties in conjunction with the plea agreement.
Parker testified that Appellant remained in office while Appellant informed the trial court that he attempted to kick under indictment and this resulted in low morale among the addiction on his own but that he kept going back to road deputies. Captain Parker explained that officers were the pharmacy to get more pills. Appellant did not go to disappointed by the public ridicule of the situation.
rehabilitation because he was afraid he would know someone.
2013 Thomson Reuters. No claim to original U.S. Government Works.
State v. Headley, Slip Copy (2009)
Brent Sanders, a real estate broker and personal friend of indictment or information, trial, finding of guilty, and Appellant, testified regarding Appellant's commitment to dismissal and discharge’ pursuant to the diversion statute.” civic work. Mr. Sanders explained that using his musical skills Appellant had helped to raise money for people in need. Bobby Bennett also testified regarding Appellant's and dismissal under the diversion statute ‘is to restore the willingness to donate his time and talents to people who are person . to the status the person occupied before such “down on their luck.” Mr. Bennett and Appellant became arrest or indictment or information.’ “ Id. (quoting “great” friends but Mr. Bennett was unaware of Appellant's (b)). A final disposition of the case does not drug problem. Appellant also submitted thirteen letters of occur until either the defendant successfully completes the support from local individuals who supported the grant of diversion program or violates a condition of his At the conclusion of the hearing the trial court made extensive , perm. app. denied, (Tenn. Nov. 4, 2002); findings regarding whether Appellant should be placed on judicial diversion. The court noted the many factors that weighed in favor of the grant of diversion, but in the diversion may be ordered only with the consent of a “qualified end concluded that those factors were outweighed by the circumstances of the offense including Appellant's breach of the public trust as a law enforcement officer.
(a) Is found guilty of or pleads guilty or nolo contendere to the offense for which deferral of further proceedings is Analysis
On appeal, Appellant claims that the standard of review on (b) Is not seeking deferral of further proceedings for a the denial of his application for judicial diversion should be sexual offense or a Class A or Class B felony; and de novo rather than an abuse of discretion. Specifically, in a well-reasoned and interesting argument, Appellant avers (c) Has not previously been convicted of a felony or a Class that judicial diversion “is too important” to be governed by an abuse of discretion standard like pretrial diversion. In the alternative, Appellant argues that the trial court abused its discretion by failing to weigh the relevant factors; improperly assigning controlling weight to the circumstances of the We note, as admitted and acknowledged by Appellant, that offense, the interests to the public and the ends of justice when this Court has previously determined that abuse of discretion all other criteria supported diversion; and by denying judicial is the proper standard upon which to review the denial of diversion after admitting its difficulty in understanding “what meets the ends ofjustice,” a factor considered by the trial court in making its determination. The State responds by arguing that the proper standard of review is an abuse of discretion.
a defendant contends that the trial court committed error Further, the State contends that the trial court properly denied in refusing to grant judicial diversion, we must determine whether the trial court abused its discretion by denying the defendant's request for judicial diversion. *5 Judicial diversion is similar to pretrial diversion.
However, judicial diversion follows a determination of guilt, we may not revisit the issue if the record contains any and the decision to grant judicial diversion is initiated by substantial evidence supporting the trial court's decision. Id.; allows a defendant who is judged guilty to, “upon successful The criteria that the trial court must consider in determining completion of a diversion program, receive an expungement whether a qualified defendant should be granted judicial from all ‘official records' any recordation relating to ‘arrest, diversion are similar to those considered by the prosecutor 2013 Thomson Reuters. No claim to original U.S. Government Works.
State v. Headley, Slip Copy (2009)
in determining suitability for pretrial diversion and includes Appellant seems to argue that the trial court improperly the following: “(1) the defendant's amenability to correction; denied diversion by placing too much weight on some of (2) the circumstances of the offense; (3) the defendant's the factors and by not adequately addressing some of the criminal record; (4) the defendant's social history; (5) the factors. After reviewing the evidence presented to the trial defendant's physical and mental health; and (6) the deterrence court at the sentencing hearing, we determine that the trial court considered the necessary factors and that there was “substantial evidence” to support the trial court's denial of consideration is whether judicial diversion will serve the ends of justice, i.e., the interests of the public as well as In its decision, the trial court explained that it placed more weight on some factors than others and found Appellant's position as Sheriff to be influential in that he was less entitled than the ordinary citizen to have his slate wiped clean by judicial diversion. In other words, the egregiousness of the facts led the trial court to weigh the *6 After hearing the evidence, the trial court concluded
interests of the public more heavily than some of the other that the circumstances of the offense weighed heavily against factors. This was adequately explained by the trial court in its the grant of diversion but noted that Appellant's non- existent criminal history weighed in favor of the grant of diversion. The trial court noted that Appellant's amenability Further support for the trial court's denial of diversion to correction was good, considering Appellant's willingness to attend treatment and acknowledgment of his problem.
. In Woodson, this Court upheld the However, the trial court concluded that the need for denial of probation for a city detective who was convicted deterrence was high and that judicial diversion was not of offering to accept a bribe to fix a case that was under an option, in part, due to the fact that Appellant was a public official who damaged the public perception of law We determined that the defendant's position as a public enforcement personnel and violated the public who entrusted official made the circumstances of the offense “not only him to carry out his official duties as Sheriff. Appellant wicked and reprehensible.” Moreover, this Court continued to act as Sheriff after he recognized that he had commented that “public officials, and especially members a drug problem, even asking his secretary to take a county- of the criminal justice system, are called upon to act in owned vehicle to pick up his illegal prescriptions.
accordance with an even higher standard than that applied to the average citizen” and when they commit a crime they not This Court has previously upheld the denial of judicial only violate their oath of office, but breach the “public trust.” diversion where the trial court considered the fact that Id. In conclusion, this Court held that a trial court could weigh the offender was a law enforcement personnel and either this factor in the grant or denial of probation. Id. used their position or abused their position to facilitate *7 While Woodson dealt with the grant of probation,
judicial diversion is a more lenient disposition of a criminal case. Moreover, at least one panel of this Court has denied (Tenn. May 23, 2005) (upholding denial of judicial applied the decision in Woodson to the grant or denial diversion for employee of law enforcement agency who sold marijuana where trial court determined that defendant's status as a law enforcement official was of “marginal concern” in denied, (Tenn. Jan. 29, 2007), this Court, citing Woodson overturned the grant of judicial diversion to a State Trooper who pled guilty to aggravated assault with a deadly weapon diversion where defendant, an employee of a correctional based on the fact that the defendant violated a position of facility, introduced contraband into the penal facility).
is applicable herein. Appellant was most certainly in a position of public trust as the elected sheriff of Williamson 2013 Thomson Reuters. No claim to original U.S. Government Works.
State v. Headley, Slip Copy (2009)
Accordingly, the trial court did not, therefore, abuse its County. While we acknowledge the many factors that favor discretion. This issue is without merit.
the grant of judicial diversion, Appellant took an oath of office in which he agreed to uphold the laws of the State of Tennessee. Despite this pledge, Appellant repeatedly broke the law while in uniform and drove, in a county-owned Conclusion
vehicle to illicitly obtain prescription drugs. In conclusion, we determine that the trial court adequately stated sufficient For the foregoing reasons, the judgment of the trial court is reasons for according more weight to the circumstances of the incident and Appellant's status as a public official.
End of Document
2013 Thomson Reuters. No claim to original U.S. Government Works.
2013 Thomson Reuters. No claim to original U.S. Government Works.

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