The Court of Criminal Appeals of Tennessee in Nashville recently heard a case involving the conviction of a man in Rutherford County for the possession of marijuana and cocaine who now faces deportation.
The petitioner, Shawn Blair, appealed the post-conviction court’s dismissal of his petition for post-conviction relief. The petition stems from his two convictions for simple possession of marijuana and resulting consecutive sentences of eleven-months, twenty-nine days in jail in 2006.
Blair was later arrested in 2008 for possession of cocaine. In that case, a Rutherford County Circuit Court jury convicted the petitioner of possessing three hundred grams or more of cocaine with the intent to sell or deliver, a Class A felony, and simple possession of marijuana, a Class A misdemeanor. The trial court imposed an effective eighteen-year sentence. The convictions were appealed and felony charges were returned as misdemeanor charges after one of the officers involved in arresting the petitioner was indicted for tampering with evidence.
As far as the guilty plea to a misdemeanor amount of drugs go, Blair claims his counsel did not tell him that he could face deportation because of the plea prior to the court proceedings. Despite growing up in America and being in Tennessee, even graduating from high school in the states, Blair is a citizen of Guyana.
According to Judge Norma McGhee Ogle, the conclusion of the events in court were that the petitioner was advised of the immigration consequences of his guilty pleas. Accordingly, the courts affirmed the judgment of the post-conviction court.
Blair is now facing deportation to his home country of Guyana.