Court of Criminal Appeals Opinions

Format: 06/20/2018
Format: 06/20/2018
Jeffrey Scott v. State of Tennessee
W2017-00392-CCA-R3-PC
Authoring Judge: Judge John Everett Williams
Trial Court Judge: Judge James M. Lammey

The Petitioner, Jeffrey Scott, appeals the post-conviction court’s denial of his petition for post-conviction relief, in which he challenged his conviction for second degree murder and resulting twenty-five-year sentence. The Petitioner maintains that he received ineffective assistance of counsel at trial. Upon reviewing the record and the applicable law, we affirm the judgment of the post-conviction court.

Shelby County Court of Criminal Appeals 04/27/18
State of Tennessee v. Michael James Amble
E2016-02495-CCA-R3-CD
Authoring Judge: Judge Thomas T. Woodall
Trial Court Judge: Judge Michael Pemberton

Defendant, Michael James Amble, was indicted by the Loudon County Grand Jury on one count each of DUI; DUI, multiple offenses; refusal of implied consent; driving while license cancelled, suspended, or revoked; possession of drug paraphernalia; speeding; and registration violation. Following a jury trial, Defendant was found guilty of DUI and driving on a suspended license, and the jury found him not guilty of possession of drug paraphernalia. Following a bifurcated hearing, the jury found Defendant guilty of second offense DUI. The trial court found that Defendant violated the implied consent law, and the remaining offenses were dismissed on motion of the State. Following a sentencing hearing, Defendant was sentenced to 11 months and 29 days with all but 45 days suspended. In this appeal as of right, Defendant contends that: 1) the trial court erred by not granting his motion for judgment of acquittal with respect to the charge of possession of drug paraphernalia; and 2) that the evidence at trial was insufficient to sustain his conviction for DUI. Having reviewed the entire record and the briefs of the parties, we affirm the judgment of the trial court.

Loudon County Court of Criminal Appeals 04/27/18
State of Tennessee v. William Lewis Reynolds
M2017-01857-CCA-R3-CD
Authoring Judge: Judge John Everett Williams
Trial Court Judge: Judge Russell Parkes

The Defendant, William Lewis Reynolds, appeals the trial court’s denial of his motion to correct an illegal sentence pursuant to Tennessee Rule of Criminal Procedure 36.1 in which he challenged his guilty-pled conviction for the sale of cocaine and resulting sentence of twelve years as a Range III, persistent offender, at 60%. Upon reviewing the record and the applicable law, we affirm the judgment of the trial court. However, we remand the judgment to the trial court for entry of a corrected judgment reflecting the convicted offense of sale of less than .5 grams of cocaine.

Giles County Court of Criminal Appeals 04/27/18
State of Tennessee v. Jonathan Davis
M2017-01499-CCA-R3-CD
Authoring Judge: Judge Norma McGee Ogle
Trial Court Judge: Judge Robert L. Jones

The Appellant, Jonathan Davis, filed a motion to correct an illegal sentence pursuant to Tennessee Rule of Criminal Procedure 36.1, and the Maury County Circuit Court summarily denied the motion. On appeal, the Appellant contends that his sentences for his first degree felony murder convictions are illegal because the trial court ordered consecutive sentencing after the judgments of conviction became final and that the sentences for all of his convictions are illegal because the trial court failed to award pretrial jail credits. Based upon the record and the parties’ briefs, we affirm the Maury County Circuit Court’s denial of the motion.

Maury County Court of Criminal Appeals 04/27/18
Miguel Saenz v. State of Tennessee
W2016-02590-CCA-R3-ECN
Authoring Judge: Judge John Everett Williams
Trial Court Judge: Judge James M. Lammey

The Appellant, Miguel Saenz, appeals from the trial court’s denial of his petition for writ of error coram nobis seeking relief from his previously entered guilty plea. The State has filed a motion requesting that this Court affirm the trial court’s judgment pursuant to Rule 20 of the Rules of the Court of Criminal Appeals. Following our review, and upon application of the ruling of our Supreme Court in Frazier v. State, 495 S.W.3d 246 (Tenn. 2016), we grant the State’s motion and affirm the judgment of the trial court.

Shelby County Court of Criminal Appeals 04/26/18
State of Tennessee v. Andre Anthony
W2016-02347-CCA-R3-CD
Authoring Judge: Judge J. Ross Dyer
Trial Court Judge: Judge Glenn Ivy Wright

The Appellant, Andre Anthony, appeals from the trial court’s denial of his motion to correct an illegal sentence pursuant to Rule 36.1 of the Tennessee Rules of Criminal Procedure. The State has filed a motion requesting that this Court affirm the trial court’s judgment pursuant to Rule 20 of the Rules of the Court of Criminal Appeals. Following our review, we grant the State’s motion and affirm the judgment of the trial court.

Shelby County Court of Criminal Appeals 04/26/18
Marquez Williams v. State of Tennessee
W2017-01175-CCA-R3-PC
Authoring Judge: Judge J. Ross Dyer
Trial Court Judge: Judge James M. Lammey

The petitioner, Marquez Williams, appeals the denial of his post-conviction petition, arguing the post-conviction court erred in finding he received effective assistance of counsel at trial. Following our review, we affirm the denial of the petition.

Shelby County Court of Criminal Appeals 04/26/18
State of Tennessee v. Rickey Williams
W2017-01889-CCA-R3-CD
Authoring Judge: Judge J. Ross Dyer
Trial Court Judge: Judge Chris Craft

The petitioner, Rickey Williams, appeals the Shelby County Criminal Court’s denial of his “Ex Parte Injunction and/or Show Cause Order.” On appeal, the petitioner contends the trial court erred in summarily dismissing his motion “because his conviction is voidable.” The State contends the petitioner’s appeal is not properly before this Court and, despite the lack of jurisdiction, the petitioner is not entitled to relief on the merits of his claim. Upon review of the record and the parties’ briefs, we affirm the judgment of the trial court.

Shelby County Court of Criminal Appeals 04/26/18
Kedrick Carwell v. State of Tennessee
W2017-01899-CCA-R3-PC
Authoring Judge: Judge J. Ross Dyer
Trial Court Judge: Judge James C. Beasley, Jr.

The petitioner, Kedrick Carwell, appeals the denial of his post-conviction petition, arguing the post-conviction court erred in finding he received effective assistance of counsel at trial. Within the context of his post-conviction claims, the petitioner attempts to challenge the jury instructions recited at trial, claiming the instructions led to a nonunanimous verdict. Following our review, we affirm the denial of the petition and conclude the petitioner has waived any challenge to the jury instructions or verdict.

Shelby County Court of Criminal Appeals 04/26/18
Claude Francis Garrett v. State of Tennessee
M2017-01076-CCA-R3-ECN
Authoring Judge: Judge Robert W. Wedemeyer
Trial Court Judge: Judge Seth Norman

In 2003, a Davidson County jury convicted the Petitioner, Claude Francis Garrett, of first degree felony murder. On direct appeal, this court affirmed the Petitioner’s convictions. See State v. Claude Francis Garrett, No. M2004-02089-CCA-R3-CD, 2005 WL 3262933, at *1 (Tenn. Crim. App., at Nashville, Dec. 1, 2005), perm. app. denied (Tenn. May 1, 2006). This court denied the Petitioner’s subsequent petition for post-conviction relief, Claude F. Garrett v. State, No. M2011-00333-CCA-R3-PC, 2012 WL 3834898, at *1 (Tenn. Crim. App., at Nashville, Sept. 5, 2012), perm. app. denied (Tenn. Feb. 25, 2013), following which he filed a petition for a writ of error coram nobis that is the subject of this appeal. The trial court issued an order summarily dismissing the petition. We affirm the trial court’s judgment.

Davidson County Court of Criminal Appeals 04/26/18
State of Tennessee v. James Larry Williams
M2017-01830-CCA-R3-CD
Authoring Judge: Judge D. Kelly Thomas, Jr.
Trial Court Judge: Judge James G. Martin, III

The Defendant, James Larry Williams, entered a guilty plea to driving under the influence (DUI), reserving a certified question of law challenging whether there existed sufficient probable cause that a violation of Tennessee Code Annotated section 55-8-123(1) had occurred or reasonable suspicion based upon the totality of the circumstances to justify a traffic stop of the Defendant’s vehicle. Following our review, we affirm the judgment of the trial court.

Williamson County Court of Criminal Appeals 04/26/18
State of Tennessee v. Deandrey Peterson
W2017-00308-CCA-R3-CD
Authoring Judge: Judge James Curwood Witt, Jr.
Trial Court Judge: Judge Paula Skahan

The defendant, Deandrey Peterson, appeals his Shelby County Criminal Court jury convictions of aggravated rape, aggravated robbery, aggravated burglary, and possessing a firearm with the intent to go armed during the commission of a dangerous felony, claiming that the trial court erred by admitting certain evidence and that the evidence was insufficient to establish his identity as the perpetrator. Because the trial court erred by admitting evidence that the defendant had committed crimes other than those for which he was on trial and because the error cannot be classified as harmless, we reverse the defendant’s convictions and remand the case for a new trial.

Shelby County Court of Criminal Appeals 04/25/18
DeVaughn Edwards v. State of Tennessee
W2016-02203-CCA-R3-PC
Authoring Judge: Judge Norma McGee Ogle
Trial Court Judge: Judge J. Robert Carter, Jr.

The Petitioner, Devaughn Edwards, filed for post-conviction relief from his convictions of facilitation of kidnapping, facilitation of robbery, and facilitation of aggravated burglary, alleging that his trial counsel was ineffective. The post-conviction court denied the petition, and the Petitioner appeals. Upon review, we affirm the judgment of the postconviction court.

Shelby County Court of Criminal Appeals 04/25/18
State of Tennessee v. Gerald Carter
W2017-01555-CCA-R3-CD
Authoring Judge: Judge Camille R. McMullen
Trial Court Judge: Judge Roy B. Morgan, Jr.

The Appellant, Gerald Carter, appeals from the trial court’s denial of his motion to correct an illegal sentence pursuant to Rule 36.1 of the Tennessee Rules of Criminal Procedure. The State has filed a motion requesting that this court affirm the trial court’s judgment pursuant to Rule 20 of the Rules of the Court of Criminal Appeals. Following our review, we grant the State’s motion and affirm the judgment of the trial court.

Madison County Court of Criminal Appeals 04/25/18
Malik Jones-Smith v. State of Tennessee
W2017-01041-CCA-R3-PC
Authoring Judge: Judge D. Kelly Thomas, Jr.
Trial Court Judge: Judge Lee V. Coffee

The Petitioner, Malik Jones-Smith, appeals from the Shelby County Criminal Court’s denial of his petition for post-conviction relief. The Petitioner contends that his guilty pleas were not knowingly and voluntarily entered due to the ineffective assistance of his trial counsel. Following our review, we affirm the judgment of the post-conviction court. However, we remand the case to the post-conviction court for entry of a corrected judgment form with respect to one of the Petitioner’s convictions.

Shelby County Court of Criminal Appeals 04/25/18
John Armstrong v. State of Tennessee
W2017-01825-CCA-R3-PC
Authoring Judge: Judge D. Kelly Thomas, Jr.
Trial Court Judge: Judge Carolyn Wade Blackett

The Petitioner, John Armstrong, appeals from the Shelby County Criminal Court’s dismissal of his petition for post-conviction relief. The Petitioner contends (1) that the post-conviction court erred in dismissing his petition for being untimely filed; and (2) that his guilty pleas were not knowingly and voluntarily entered due to the ineffective assistance of his trial counsel. Following our review, we affirm the judgment of the post-conviction court.

Shelby County Court of Criminal Appeals 04/25/18
Michael Presson v. State of Tennessee
W2016-01237-CCA-R3-PC
Authoring Judge: Judge D. Kelly Thomas, Jr.
Trial Court Judge: Judge Roy B. Morgan, Jr.

The Petitioner, Michael Presson, appeals from the Madison County Circuit Court’s denial of his petition for post-conviction relief. The Petitioner contends (1) that trial counsel was ineffective for failing to present an “economic motive” defense and failing to call witnesses at trial to support that defense; (2) that trial counsel was ineffective by failing to request a severance for charges that involved two separate victims; (3) that trial counsel was ineffective in failing to challenge certain jurors during voir dire; (4) that trial counsel was ineffective by failing “to call” the Petitioner as a witness at trial; (5) that trial counsel was ineffective for failing to object to the State’s references to the term “pedophile” and to pornography during its closing argument; (6) that the trial court erred by failing to instruct the jury on certain lesser-included offenses and that trial counsel was ineffective in failing to request such instructions; (7) that trial counsel “was ineffective for failing to request that the trial court require the State to make an election of offenses” and “by failing to object to the trial court judge’s election of offenses”; and (8) that post-conviction relief is warranted due to cumulative error. Following our review, we affirm the judgment of the post-conviction court.

Madison County Court of Criminal Appeals 04/25/18
Eric Bledsoe v. State of Tennessee
W2017-01399-CCA-R3-PC
Authoring Judge: Judge D. Kelly Thomas, Jr.
Trial Court Judge: Judge Chris Craft

The Petitioner, Eric Bledsoe, appeals as of right from the dismissal of his petition for post-conviction relief, wherein he requested DNA analysis pursuant to Tennessee Code Annotated section 40-30-303. On appeal, the Petitioner contends that the post-conviction court erred in dismissing his petition for post-conviction DNA analysis because the evidence was already tested. Following our review, we affirm the judgment of the postconviction court.

Shelby County Court of Criminal Appeals 04/25/18
State of Tennessee v. Robert Landon Webster
E2016-02127-CCA-R3-CD
Authoring Judge: Judge Norma McGee Ogle
Trial Court Judge: Judge Lisa Rice

A Carter County Criminal Court Jury found the Appellant, Robert Landon Webster, guilty of three counts of selling .5 grams or more of cocaine, one of which was within a school zone. The trial court sentenced the Appellant to a total effective sentence of fifteen years. On appeal, the Appellant contends that his right to confrontation was violated because the State failed to call a confidential informant as a witness at trial and that the evidence was not sufficient to sustain his convictions. Upon review, we affirm the judgments of the trial court.

Carter County Court of Criminal Appeals 04/25/18
State of Tennessee v. Julie Christine Ottmer
E2017-01309-CCA-R3-CD
Authoring Judge: Judge D. Kelly Thomas, Jr.
Trial Court Judge: Judge Stacy L. Street

The Defendant, Julie Christine Ottmer, pled nolo contendere to simple possession of marijuana, a Class A misdemeanor, and received an agreed upon sentence of eleven months and twenty-nine days to be served on probation. See Tenn. Code Ann. § 39-17-418. Thereafter, the Defendant filed a motion to withdraw her nolo contendere plea. The trial court denied the motion, finding that there was no manifest injustice to support withdrawal of the plea. On appeal, the Defendant contends that the trial court abused its discretion in denying her motion because she “misunderstood the terms of her plea.” Discerning no error, we affirm the judgment of the trial court.

Unicoi County Court of Criminal Appeals 04/24/18
State of Tennessee v. Christopher Joel Hartwell
E2017-00633-CCA-R3-CD
Authoring Judge: Judge Robert H. Montgomery, Jr.
Trial Court Judge: Judge Tammy Harrington

The Defendant, Christopher Joel Hartwell, pleaded guilty in the Blount County Circuit Court pursuant to a negotiated plea agreement in case number C22683 to conspiracy to commit money laundering, a Class C felony, maintaining a dwelling where controlled substances are used, a Class D felony, two counts of possession with the intent to deliver a controlled substance in a drug-free zone, a Class D felony, two counts of possession with the intent to manufacture a controlled substance in a drug-free zone, a Class D felony, and possession of a firearm during the commission of a non-dangerous felony, a Class E felony. See T.C.A. §§ 39-14-903 (Supp. 2013) (amended 2014), 53-11-401 (2008) (amended 2010), 39-17-417 (Supp. 2013) (amended 2014), 39-17-1307 (Supp. 2013) (amended 2014). The Defendant also pleaded guilty in case number C22684 to the sale or delivery of a controlled substance in a drug-free zone, a Class D felony. See id. § 39-17-417 (Supp. 2013) (amended 2014). The Defendant pleaded guilty in case number C22685 to the sale or delivery of a controlled substance in a drug-free zone, a Class D felony. See id. § 39-17-417 (Supp. 2013) (amended 2014). Finally, the Defendant pleaded guilty in case number C23659 to two counts of the delivery of a controlled substance in a drug-free school zone, a Class C felony. See id. § 39-17-417 (Supp. 2013) (amended 2014). After the appropriate merger of the offenses, the trial court sentenced the Defendant as a Range I, standard offender to an effective five-year sentence of which three years were to be served at 100%. On appeal, the Defendant contends that the trial court erred by (1) denying judicial diversion, (2) allowing confidential informants to testify at the sentencing hearing, and (3) not requiring the State to produce discovery materials related to the confidential informants. We affirm the judgments of the trial court.

Blount County Court of Criminal Appeals 04/24/18
James Robert Oliphant v. State of Tennessee
E2017-02147-CCA-R3-HC
Authoring Judge: Judge James Curwood Witt, Jr.
Trial Court Judge: Judge Lisa N. Rice

The petitioner, James Robert Oliphant, appeals the summary dismissal of his petition for writ of habeas corpus, which challenged his 1983 Washington County Criminal Court conviction of assault with intent to commit second degree murder. Discerning no error, we affirm.

Johnson County Court of Criminal Appeals 04/23/18
State of Tennessee v. Mack Mandrell Loyde, AKA Mandrel Loyde, AKA Michael Loyde
M2017-01002-CCA-R3-CD
Authoring Judge: Judge J. Ross Dyer
Trial Court Judge: Judge Seth W. Norman

The defendant, Mack Mandrell Loyde, was convicted of aggravated burglary, aggravated robbery, and employing a firearm during the commission of a dangerous felony. The trial court sentenced the defendant as a career offender for the aggravated burglary and employing a firearm convictions, and imposed fifteen-year sentences for each. For the aggravated robbery conviction, the trial court sentenced the defendant as a repeat violent offender to life without parole. On appeal, the defendant argues the evidence was insufficient to support his convictions. The defendant also challenges the trial court’s sentencing as to his status as a repeat violent offender and resulting life sentence without the possibility of parole. Following our review, we affirm the trial court’s application of the repeat violent offender statute to the defendant’s aggravated robbery conviction and the trial court’s determination as to the sufficiency of the evidence for the three convictions, but remand the case to the trial court for a hearing on the matter of sentencing as to Counts 1 and 3.

Davidson County Court of Criminal Appeals 04/23/18
State of Tennessee v. Anthony Penny
M2017-01151-CCA-R3-CD
Authoring Judge: Judge J. Ross Dyer
Trial Court Judge: Judge Jill Bartee Ayers

The defendant, Anthony Penny, pled guilty to three counts of aggravated sexual battery. The plea agreement provided for the defendant to be sentenced by the trial court with an agreement his sentences would be served concurrently. Following a sentencing hearing, the trial court imposed a sentence of ten years for each count to be served in confinement. On appeal, the defendant contends the trial court abused its discretion by failing to properly consider the purposes and principles of sentencing, by applying enhancement factor four, and by failing to properly consider certain mitigating factors under the “catch-all” provision of the statute. Following our review, we affirm the judgments of the trial court.

Montgomery County Court of Criminal Appeals 04/23/18
Roy Len Rogers v. State of Tennessee
E2017-00445-CCA-R3-PC
Authoring Judge: Judge James Curwood Witt, Jr.
Trial Court Judge: Judge J. Curtis Smith

The petitioner, Roy Len Rogers, appeals the denial of post-conviction relief from his 2010 Rhea County Criminal Court jury convictions of first degree premeditated murder, second degree murder, and reckless endangerment, for which he received a sentence of life imprisonment. In this appeal, the petitioner contends only that he was denied the effective assistance of counsel at trial. Discerning no error, we affirm.

Rhea County Court of Criminal Appeals 04/23/18