A Cocke County man who last year was ordered to serve a 20-year prison term after he violated his probation was returned to prison on Thursday.
Charles “Chucky” Mason, Jr., 38, Happy Hollow Road, Parrottsville, was ordered to serve the full sentence by Judge Rex Henry Ogle after he was charged with a number of offenses while on probation.
Mason had been given the 20-year probation term in 2016 after he pleaded guilty as a Range II offender to the aggravated assault of three individuals.
In November 2016, officers with the Cocke County Sheriff’s office and the Tennessee Department of Corrections went to the Mason home on reports the defendant was holding a female against her will. The female, however, said she was there voluntarily.
Methamphetamine, bullets and shotgun shells, various pills, and drug paraphernalia were found in the home.
In addition, Probation Officer Darrell Kerr testified Mason had been tampering with his required GPS ankle monitor.
The defendant admitted to using methamphetamine and tested positive for suboxone, he was not wearing a required drug patch, and his GPS battery was dead.
After hearing testimony from Kerr and the defendant, the court detailed the reasons he was going to order the sentence served. When Mason attempted to interrupt, the court grabbed his gavel and told him, “Shut up.”
“I’m going to say some things that people have been afraid to say to you. While you have been on probation you have continued to do the same things that you have always done. You’ve never accepted the fact that rules apply to you,” the court said pointing to a previous incident in which Mason’s probation was revoked after he tried to purchase a weapon.
“He needs to go to the penitentiary just about more than anyone I have ever known. He needs to see that the rules apply to him just like anybody else,” added Ogle.
This month Defense Attorney Troy Bowlin moved to re-open the probation revocation hearing. He asked the sentence be set aside based on a Court of Criminal Appeals ruling which held “a warrantless search provision in a probation agreement does not permit the state to search a probationer’s home without reasonable suspicion justifying the search.”
Bowlin argued the Department of Corrections officers and Cocke County deputies had no search warrant to justify the search, and prosecutors “stipulate that this petition raises (a basis) for relief and agrees to the relief sought.”
As a result, Ogle ruled Mason should be “immediately released” and again placed on probation for the remainder of his sentence.
The defendant is prohibited from the use of any narcotic, opiate or legend drug without the approval of the court, except those currently prescribed and approved by the Department of Corrections.
Charges from the search, possession of schedule II, four counts possession of a legend drug, and tampering with a GPS device, are still pending in Cocke County Sessions Court. Mason is free on a $25,000 bond on those charges.