State of Tennessee v. Kevin Patterson AKA John O'Keefe Varner AKA John O'Keefe Kitchen

State of Tennessee v. Kevin Patterson AKA John O'Keefe Varner AKA John O'Keefe Kitchen
M2015-02375-SC-R11-CD

We granted this appeal to determine whether deficiencies in the State’s timely filed notice of intent to sentence the defendant to life imprisonment without the possibility of parole as a repeat violent offender entitle the defendant to relief via the plain error doctrine. We conclude that, although imperfect, the timely filed notice fairly informed the defendant of the State’s intent to seek enhanced sentencing and triggered the defendant’s duty to inquire into the errors and omissions. Furthermore, the defendant has failed to establish that the deficiencies in the notice adversely affected his substantial rights—a necessary criterion for obtaining relief via the plain error doctrine. Accordingly, we reverse in part the Court of Criminal Appeals’ judgment, insofar as it set aside the defendant’s sentence of life without parole and remanded to the trial court for resentencing, and we reinstate the judgment of the trial court in all respects.

Authoring Judge: 
Justice Cornelia A. Clark
Originating Judge: 
Special Judge Walter C. Kurtz
Date Filed: 
Thursday, November 30, 2017