Court of Criminal Appeals Opinions

Format: 04/24/2014
Format: 04/24/2014
James Garrett v. State of Tennessee
W2012-01994-CCA-R3-PC
Authoring Judge: Judge Alan E. Glenn
Trial Court Judge: Judge Lee V. Coffee

The petitioner, James Garrett, appeals the post-conviction court’s denial of his petition for post-conviction relief from his carjacking and employing a firearm during the commission of a dangerous felony convictions. He argues that he is entitled to relief because he received ineffective assistance of counsel, rendering his guilty pleas unknowing and involuntary, and his conviction for employing a firearm during a dangerous felony violates the terms of Tennessee Code Annotated section 39-17-1324(c) and the prohibitions against double jeopardy. After review, we affirm the judgment of the post-conviction court.

Shelby County Court of Criminal Appeals 04/10/14
Bernard Frazier v. State of Tennessee
W2013-00187-CCA-R3-PC
Authoring Judge: Judge Alan E. Glenn
Trial Court Judge: Judge J. Robert Carter Jr.

The petitioner, Bernard Frazier, appeals the denial of his petition for post-conviction relief, arguing that he received ineffective assistance of counsel and that his guilty pleas were not knowingly and voluntarily entered. After review, we conclude that the petitioner received effective assistance of counsel but that his guilty pleas were not knowingly and voluntarily entered. As such, we reverse the judgment and remand to the trial court.

Shelby County Court of Criminal Appeals 04/10/14
Elijah Truitt v. State of Tennessee
M2013-01848-CCA-R3-HC
Authoring Judge: Judge Jerry L. Smith
Trial Court Judge: Judge Seth Norman

Petitioner, Elijah Truitt, pled guilty to possession of a firearm by a felon and possession of greater than .5 grams of cocaine with intent to sell in Davidson County. The trial court sentenced Petitioner to eleven years for possession of cocaine and two years for possession of a firearm to be served consecutively. Petitioner was placed on community corrections. Petitioner’s community corrections sentence was eventually revoked and he was ordered to serve his original sentence as imposed. The trial court filed an amended judgment reflecting the revocation and imposition of the sentence. Petitioner filed a petition for writ of habeas corpus arguing that his sentence was illegal. After a thorough review of the record, we conclude that Petitioner’s arguments are meritless. Therefore, we affirm the summary dismissal of the petition.

Davidson County Court of Criminal Appeals 04/10/14
Lakeisha Margaret Watkins v. State of Tennessee
M2013-01381-CCA-R3-PC
Authoring Judge: Judge Roger A. Page
Trial Court Judge: Judge Cheryl Blackburn

Petitioner, Lakeisha Margaret Watkins, was convicted by a jury of four counts of aggravated child abuse, two counts of aggravated child neglect, and one count of attempted child neglect. The trial court sentenced her to an effective sentence of forty years. On appeal, this court reversed and dismissed one of the aggravated child neglect convictions based on insufficient evidence. State v. Lakeisha Margaret Watkins, No. M2009-02607-CCA-R3-CD, 2011 WL 2682173, at *1 (Tenn. Crim. App. July 8, 2011), perm. app. denied (Tenn. 2011). Petitioner’s sentence was unaffected by this court’s decision. In her post-conviction petition, petitioner alleged that she received ineffective assistance of counsel. The post-conviction court denied her petition, and she now appeals from that denial. Specifically, petitioner argues that trial counsel should have moved to suppress petitioner’s statements to police, that he did not ensure she understood the significance of her decision not to testify at trial despite being aware that she had a learning disability, and that he should have called a witness at trial or at the sentencing hearing to testify about her learning disability. Following our review, we affirm the judgment of the post-conviction court.

Davidson County Court of Criminal Appeals 04/10/14
Sedrick Williams v. State of Tennessee
W2013-02401-CCA-R3-HC
Authoring Judge: Judge Norma McGee Ogle
Trial Court Judge: Judge Joseph H. Walker III

The Petitioner, Sedrick Williams, appeals the Lauderdale County Circuit Court’s dismissal of his petition for habeas corpus relief from his conviction of first degree premeditated murder and resulting life sentence. On appeal, the Petitioner contends that his judgment of conviction is facially void because it fails to reflect that he is to serve 100% of the sentence. Following our review, we affirm the judgment of the habeas corpus court.

Lauderdale County Court of Criminal Appeals 04/09/14
Bryan Williams v. State of Tennessee
W2013-00541-CCA-R3-PC
Authoring Judge: Judge James Curwood Witt Jr.
Trial Court Judge: Judge W. Mark Ward

The petitioner, Bryan Williams, appeals the denial of his petition for post-conviction relief from his 2009 Shelby County Criminal Court jury convictions of second degree murder, attempted second degree murder, and reckless endangerment, claiming that he was denied the effective assistance of counsel at trial. Discerning no error, we affirm.

Shelby County Court of Criminal Appeals 04/09/14
Shadeed Rasta aka Robert Williams v. Michael Donahue, Warden
W2013-02100-CCA-R3-HC
Authoring Judge: Judge James Curwood Witt Jr.
Trial Court Judge: Judge Joseph Walker III

The petitioner, Shadeed Rasta, also known as Robert Williams, appeals from the denial of his petition for writ of habeas corpus, which challenged his 2009 conviction of felony murder. Discerning no error, we affirm.

Hardeman County Court of Criminal Appeals 04/09/14
Richard Herrera v. State of Tennessee
W2013-02064-CCA-R3-PC
Authoring Judge: Judge James Curwood Witt Jr.
Trial Court Judge: Judge William B. Acree Jr.

The petitioner, Richard Herrera, appeals from the second summary dismissal of his petition for post-conviction relief, alleging that the post-conviction court erred by summarily dismissing the petition after this court remanded the case for an evidentiary hearing. Because the post-conviction court erred by summarily dismissing the petition, we reverse the judgment of the post-conviction court and remand the case to the post-conviction court for the appointment of counsel and an evidentiary hearing on the petitioner’s claim of ineffective assistance of counsel.

Obion County Court of Criminal Appeals 04/09/14
Christopher H. Martin v. State of Tennessee
E2013-02343-CCA-R3-PC
Authoring Judge: Judge Roger A. Page
Trial Court Judge: Judge Don W. Poole

Petitioner, Christopher H. Martin, pleaded guilty to two counts of rape of a child on May 21, 1997. He filed a petition for post- conviction relief on July 25, 2013. He now appeals from the summary dismissal of his post-conviction petition. On appeal, he contends that the State breached a condition of his plea agreement, that the breach occurred outside of the statute of limitations for post-conviction proceedings, and that due process should preclude the strict application of the statute of limitations in his case. Following our review, we affirm the judgment of the post-conviction court.

Hamilton County Court of Criminal Appeals 04/09/14
State of Tennessee v. Kristopher Blake Kincer
E2013-01740-CCA-R3-CD
Authoring Judge: Presiding Judge Joseph M. Tipton
Trial Court Judge: Judge R. Jerry Beck

The Defendant, Kristopher Blake Kincer, pleaded guilty as a Range I offender to theft of property valued at $1000 or more but less than $10,000, a Class D felony. See T.C.A. § 39-14-103 (Supp. 2013) (theft of property); 39-14-105(a)(3) (2010) (amended 2012) (grading of theft). The plea agreement called for a two-year sentence, and the trial court ordered that the sentence be served in confinement. On appeal, the Defendant contends that the trial court erred in denying alternative sentencing. We reverse the judgment of the trial court and remand the case for the Defendant to be sentenced to community corrections.

Sullivan County Court of Criminal Appeals 04/09/14
Ronald E. Boykin v. Jerry Lester, Warden
W2013-01699-CCA-R3-HC
Authoring Judge: Judge Alan E. Glenn
Trial Court Judge: Judge Joseph H. Walker III

The petitioner, Ronald E. Boykin, appeals the Lauderdale County Circuit Court’s denial of his petition for writ of habeas corpus, arguing that his judgments for sexual battery by an authority figure are void because he never agreed to a hybrid plea and was not informed that he would be subject to community supervision for life. He further argues that the condition of lifetime community supervision is in direct contravention of a statute and is, therefore, illegal. Following our review, we affirm the judgment of the habeas court denying the petition.

Lauderdale County Court of Criminal Appeals 04/08/14
Floyd Lee Perry Jr. v. State of Tennessee
W2013-00901-CCA-R3-PC
Authoring Judge: Judge John Everett Williams
Trial Court Judge: Judge William B. Acree Jr.

The petitioner, Floyd Lee Perry, Jr., appeals the dismissal of his motion to re-open his original petition for post-conviction relief. The petitioner is currently serving a sentence of life with the possibility of parole for a murder he committed as a juvenile. On appeal, he claims that he is entitled to relief pursuant to the new precedent established in Miller v. Alabama, 132 S. Ct. 2455 (2012), which held that it violated the Eighth Amendment prohibition against cruel and inhuman punishment to sentence a juvenile to life imprisonment without the possibility of parole without individual consideration of mitigating circumstances. Following review of the applicable law and the record before us, we conclude that the motion was properly denied and affirm the judgment of the post-conviction court.

Obion County Court of Criminal Appeals 04/07/14
John E. Lane v. State of Tennessee
E2013-01788-CCA-R3-PC
Authoring Judge: Judge Roger A. Page
Trial Court Judge: Judge O. Duane Slone

Petitioner, John E. Lane, stands convicted of one count of first degree murder. The trial court imposed an effective sentence of life imprisonment in the Tennessee Department of Correction. On appeal, petitioner argues that he received ineffective assistance of counsel when trial counsel failed to object to two pictures of the deceased victim’s body and wounds that were displayed on a projector during the trial. Following our review of the parties’ arguments, the record, and the applicable law, we affirm the judgment of the post-conviction court.

Grainger County Court of Criminal Appeals 04/07/14