A Cumberland County man who has racked up numerous drug charges and been in and out of Cumberland County courtrooms for several years, returned to court late last month to have his July 9, 2018, voluntary plea set aside.
Dane Lee Duckett, 56, changed attorneys several times during the course of his appearance in court through the years, causing delays in several drug cases.
Duckett was facing three counts of felony possession of meth, two counts of possession of drug paraphernalia, theft of property of $10,000 to $60,000, possession of a handgun by a convicted felon, possession of a handgun for the purpose of going armed, simple possession and driving on a revoked license.
Duckett pleaded guilty last year to three counts of possession of less than .5 grams of meth for sale and delivery and received a ten-year sentence. He was fined a total of $6,000. His attorney at the time was Nathan Clouse of Crossville.
During the brief hearing held Aug. 7, Duckett’s latest attorney, Patrick Hayes, asked the court to allow his client to withdraw his guilty plea “because there were certain things he did not know about.”
Duckett also claimed that he had not received copies of evidence against him.
Assistant District Attorney Amanda Worley countered that Duckett was aware of the case against him because he had sat through a preliminary hearing and heard testimony from witnesses.
She added that he was provided documents from the DAs office two months prior to his entering a plea and that Duckett had been represented well.
There was also a question about a fingerprint lifted from a stolen vehicle in Duckett's possession. The DNA returned as belonging to someone other than Duckett. However, Worley said only one such fingerprint was found, and no further testing was conducted by the TBI lab because the charges were considered non-violent and not subject to analysis.
Criminal Court Judge Gary McKenzie agreed, saying there was no proof in front of him that Duckett’s rights were violated or that he had ineffective counsel. The judge added that to set aside Duckett’s plea would open him to more exposure because all his charges would be back on the docket.
Duckett remains in state custody.