Court of Criminal Appeals Opinions

Format: 09/30/2014
Format: 09/30/2014
State of Tennessee v. Micheal Lynn Horn
M2013-01469-CCA-R3-CD
Authoring Judge: Judge Robert W. Wedemeyer
Trial Court Judge: Judge Leon C. Burns, Jr.

The Defendant, Michael Lynn Horn, was found guilty of attempted second-degree murder, reckless endangerment, and felony evading arrest.  The trial court sentenced the Defendant to serve twenty years for the attempted second-degree murder conviction, four years for the felony evading arrest conviction, and eleven months and twenty-nine days for the reckless endangerment conviction, for a total effective sentence of twenty years in the Tennessee Department of Correction.  The Defendant appeals asserting that: (1) the evidence is insufficient to support his convictions for attempted second degree murder and felony evading arrest; (2) his sentence is excessive; (3) the trial court improperly denied access to Tennessee Bureau of Investigation personnel records for the two victims; and (4) the trial court erred when it denied his motion to have a new attorney appointed for his appeal.  After a thorough review of the record and applicable law, we affirm the trial court’s judgments.    

Putnam County Court of Criminal Appeals 08/13/14
State of Tennessee v. Jeremy Jones Davis
M2013-02668-CCA-R3-CD
Authoring Judge: Judge Joe H. Walker, III
Trial Court Judge: Judge Lee Russell

The defendant appeals a jury verdict of guilty of aggravated burglary and theft, alleging the evidence was insufficient as a matter of law.  The defendant also alleges the trial court imposed an excessive sentence. Finding no error, we affirm the judgment of the trial court.

Marshall County Court of Criminal Appeals 08/12/14
Jamar McField v. State of Tennessee
E2013-02434-CCA-R3-PC
Authoring Judge: Judge James Curwood Witt, Jr.
Trial Court Judge: Judge Don W. Poole

The petitioner, Jamar McField, appeals the denial of his petition for post-conviction relief, which challenged his 2009 Hamilton County Criminal Court jury convictions of felony murder and aggravated child abuse. In this appeal, the petitioner claims that he was deprived of the effective assistance of counsel at trial. Discerning no error, we affirm the denial of post-conviction relief.
 

Hamilton County Court of Criminal Appeals 08/11/14
Michael Brandon Adams v. Eric Qualls, Warden
M2014-00174-CCA-R3-HC
Authoring Judge: Judge Robert W. Wedemeyer
Trial Court Judge: Judge J. Randall Wyatt, Jr.

The Appellant, Michael Brandon Adams, appeals the trial court’s summary dismissal of his petition for habeas corpus relief.  The judgment of the trial court is affirmed.

Davidson County Court of Criminal Appeals 08/11/14
State of Tennessee v. Marvin Harold Dorton, II
E2013-01580-CCA-R3-CD
Authoring Judge: Judge Camille R. McMullen
Trial Court Judge: Judge John F. Dugger, Jr.

The Defendant-Appellant, Marvin Harold Dorton, II, was charged with two counts of sale or delivery of a Schedule II controlled substance (counts 1 and 2), possession of a Schedule IV controlled substance with the intent to sell or deliver (count 3), and possession of a Schedule II controlled substance with the intent to sell or deliver (count 4). A Greene County Criminal Court jury convicted the Defendant-Appellant as charged, and the trial court sentenced him as a Range I, standard offender to concurrent sentences of six years for each of his convictions in counts 1 and 2, four years for his conviction in count 3, and six years for his conviction in count 4, for an effective sentence of six years in confinement. On appeal, the Defendant-Appellant argues: (1) the trial court erred in failing to instruct the jury in all four counts on the inference of casual exchange pursuant to Tennessee Code Annotated section 39-17-419; (2) the trial court erred in failing to instruct the jury in counts 1 and 2 on the lesser included offense of casual exchange pursuant to Code section 39-17-418(a); (3) the evidence is insufficient to sustain his convictions in counts 3 and 4 because the State failed to prove that he possessed the drugs found in a safe; and (4) his sentence is excessive. Upon review, we remand the case for entry of corrected judgments in counts 1, 2, 3, and 4 to reflect that the trial court resentenced the Defendant-Appellant on May 3, 2013, after the presentence investigation report was amended, even though the Defendant-Appellant’s sentence did not change from the original sentence imposed. In all other respects, the judgments of the trial court are affirmed.

Greene County Court of Criminal Appeals 08/11/14
State of Tennessee v. Charles T. Fletcher, Jr.
E2013-01131-CCA-R3-CD
Authoring Judge: Judge Camille R. McMullen
Trial Court Judge: Judge Robert E. Cupp

The Defendant-Appellant, Charles T. Fletcher, Jr., was charged with the offense of aggravated assault, a Class C felony. See T.C.A. § 39-13-102(a)(1)(A)(iii). While in Johnson County General Sessions Court, the Defendant- Appellant executed a waiver of his right to counsel, a waiver of his right to a preliminary hearing, and a waiver of his right to be tried only upon presentment or indictment of a grand jury. In Johnson County Criminal Court, he repeatedly informed the trial court that he had waived his right to counsel, that he had represented himself in a criminal case before, and that he wished to represent himself in this case. On the day of trial, the Defendant-Appellant signed a waiver of his right to be tried only upon presentment or indictment of a grand jury. The same day, the prosecutor and the Defendant-Appellant signed an information charging the Defendant-Appellant with aggravated assault. A Johnson County Criminal Court jury subsequently convicted the Defendant-Appellant as charged, and the trial court imposed a three-year probationary sentence. In this appeal, the Defendant-Appellant argues: (1) he failed to knowingly and voluntarily waive his right to counsel because (a) he was not informed of his charges, potential penalties, and rights and (b) because the trial court never inquired as to his competency to represent himself; (2) he failed to knowingly and voluntarily waive his right to be tried only upon presentment or indictment of a grand jury because he was unable to read the waiver, to have the assistance of counsel, or to have the court explain his right to presentment and indictment; (3) the trial court erred in failing to continue the case or to appoint counsel or advisory counsel when it became obvious that he could not properly represent himself; (4) the trial court erred in denying his motion to set aside the jury verdict; and (5) the cumulative errors caused by the absence of counsel and his inability to represent himself were so prejudicial as to deny his right to a fair trial and due process. Upon review, we reverse the judgment of the trial court, vacate the Defendant-Appellant’s conviction, and remand the matter to the trial court for proceedings consistent with this opinion.

Johnson County Court of Criminal Appeals 08/11/14
State of Tennessee v. Darryl Alan Walker
E2013-01914-CCA-R3-CD
Authoring Judge: Special Judge Jeffrey S. Bivins
Trial Court Judge: Judge John F. Dugger Jr.

Darryl Alan Walker (“the Defendant”) was convicted by a jury of driving under the influence (“DUI”) and unlawfully carrying another person on a motorcycle. Following a sentencing hearing, the Defendant received a total effective sentence of eleven months and twenty-nine days, suspended to supervised probation after the service of sixty days. In this direct appeal, the Defendant asserts that the trial court erred in denying his motion to suppress the results of a warrantless mandatory blood alcohol test, arguing that the mandatory blood withdrawal provision of the implied consent statute is unconstitutional and that the term “injury” within that provision is unconstitutionally vague. The Defendant also asserts that the trial court erred in denying his motion to suppress certain statements he made to police. After a thorough review of the record and the applicable law, we affirm the judgments of the trial court.

Greene County Court of Criminal Appeals 08/08/14
State of Tennessee v. Keyonna Nicole Wooten
M2014-00253-CCA-R3-CD
Authoring Judge: Judge Norma McGee Ogle
Trial Court Judge: Judge Forest A. Durard, Jr.

The appellant, Keyonna Nicole Wooten, pled guilty in the Lincoln County Circuit Court to one count of selling one-half gram or more of a Schedule II controlled substance and one count of delivering one-half gram or more of a Schedule II controlled substance.  After a sentencing hearing, the trial court merged the latter conviction into the former and sentenced the appellant as a Range I, standard offender to nine years, six months in confinement.  On appeal, the appellant contends that her sentence is excessive and that the trial court erred by denying her request for alternative sentencing.  Based upon the record and the parties’ briefs, we affirm the judgment of the trial court.

Lincoln County Court of Criminal Appeals 08/08/14
Mark Alan Deakins v. State of Tennessee
M2013-02122-CCA-R3-HC
Authoring Judge: Judge Norma McGee Ogle
Trial Court Judge: Judge Steve R. Dozier

The petitioner, Mark Alan Deakins, filed a petition for a writ of habeas corpus, asserting that he had “flattened” his sentences for his convictions of especially aggravated sexual exploitation of a minor, sexual exploitation of a minor, and statutory rape.  He alleged that the Tennessee Department of Correction improperly calculated his pretrial jail credits and sentencing credits.  The habeas corpus court denied the petition, and the petitioner appeals. Upon review, we affirm the judgment of the habeas corpus court.

Davidson County Court of Criminal Appeals 08/07/14
State of Tennessee v. June Loudermilk
W2013-01613-CCA-R3-CD
Authoring Judge: Special Judge Jeffrey S. Bivins
Trial Court Judge: Judge W. Mark Ward

June Loudermilk (“the Defendant”) was convicted by a jury of driving under the influence (“DUI”), fourth offense. After a hearing, the trial court sentenced the Defendant to two years in the workhouse, suspended to supervised probation after seven months in confinement. In this direct appeal, the Defendant attacks the validity of his indictment and also contends that the trial court’s jury charge was so defective as to entitle him to a reversal of the jury’s determination that he was a multiple DUI offender. Upon our thorough review of the record and applicable law, we modify the trial court’s judgment of conviction and remand this matter for resentencing.

Shelby County Court of Criminal Appeals 08/06/14
State of Tennessee v. Leslie Warren Blevins
M2013-01725-CCA-R3-CD
Authoring Judge: Judge Jerry L. Smith
Trial Court Judge: Judge Shayne Sexton

The Fentress County Grand Jury indicted Appellant, Leslie Warren Blevins, with three counts of aggravated assault.  After a jury trial, Appellant was convicted of one count of aggravated assault and two counts of assault.  As a result, he was sentenced to an effective sentence of five years in confinement.  Appellant appeals, challenging both the sufficiency of the evidence and his sentence.  After a review of the record and the applicable authorities, we determine that the evidence was sufficient to support the conviction and that the trial court did not abuse its discretion in sentencing Appellant.  Accordingly, the judgments of the trial court are affirmed.

Fentress County Court of Criminal Appeals 08/05/14
State of Tennessee v. Michael Kent Walker
M2012-01134-CCA-R3-CD
Authoring Judge: Judge Robert W. Wedemeyer
Trial Court Judge: Judge Leon Burns

Pursuant to a plea agreement, the Defendant, Michael Kent Walker, pleaded guilty to selling Schedule I and Schedule II controlled substances in a drug-free zone.  The plea agreement provided that the Defendant would receive concurrent Range I sentences for one Class B felony and one Class C felony, with the trial court to determine his sentences.  Following a sentencing hearing, the trial court sentenced the Defendant to serve an effective sentence of twelve years of incarceration.  The Defendant asserts that the trial court abused its discretion in ordering an effective twelve-year sentence.  After a thorough review of the record and applicable law, we affirm the trial court’s judgments.

Putnam County Court of Criminal Appeals 08/05/14
State of Tennessee v. Elmer Herbert Simpson
E2013-02336-CCA-R3-CD
Authoring Judge: Judge James Curwood Witt, Jr.
Trial Court Judge: Judge John F. Dugger

The defendant, Elmer Herbert Simpson, appeals his Hawkins County Criminal Court jury convictions of possession of a Schedule III drug with intent to deliver, see T.C.A. § 39-17- 417(a)(4), (d)(1), and maintaining a dwelling where controlled substances are kept or sold, see id. § 53-11-401(a)(5), both Class D felonies. On appeal, the defendant challenges the sufficiency of the convicting evidence and the propriety of his effective three-year sentence. We affirm the judgments of the trial court.

Hawkins County Court of Criminal Appeals 08/05/14
Anthony Boyland v. State of Tennessee
W2013-01226-CCA-MR3-PC
Authoring Judge: Presiding Judge Joseph M. Tipton
Trial Court Judge: Judge Lee V. Coffee

The Petitioner, Anthony Boyland, appeals the Shelby County Criminal Court’s denial of his petition for post-conviction relief from his convictions for first degree felony murder, aggravated assault, and aggravated burglary and his effective life sentence. The Petitioner contends that he received the ineffective assistance of counsel. We affirm the judgment of the trial court.

Shelby County Court of Criminal Appeals 08/04/14
Mike Settle a/k/a Michael Dewayne Settle v. Jerry Lester, Warden, State of Tennessee
W2013-02609-CCA-R3-HC
Authoring Judge: Judge Robert W. Wedemeyer
Trial Court Judge: Judge Joseph H. Walker, III

The Petitioner, Mike Settle a/k/a Michael Dewayne Settle, appeals the Lauderdale County Circuit Court’s dismissal of his petition seeking a writ of habeas corpus. The Petitioner contends that, because his sentence is illegal because it was ordered to run concurrently with a federal sentence he had received in another case rather than consecutively, the habeas corpus court erred when it dismissed his petition. Upon a review of the record in this case, we are persuaded that the habeas corpus court properly dismissed the petition. Accordingly, the judgment of the habeas corpus court is affirmed.

Lauderdale County Court of Criminal Appeals 08/04/14
State of Tennessee v. Tony Demarcus Williams
E2013-00513-CCA-R3-CD
Authoring Judge: Judge Thomas T. Woodall
Trial Court Judge: Judge Bobby R. McGee

Defendant, Tony Demarcus Williams, was indicted by the Knox County Grand Jury for possession of more than .5 grams of cocaine within a school zone with the intent to sell and possession of more than .5 grams of cocaine within a school zone with intent to deliver. A petit jury convicted Defendant as charged, and the trial court merged the two convictions. The trial court sentenced Defendant to 15 years in confinement. Defendant asserts on appeal that the trial court erred in denying his motion to suppress the search warrant; that accomplice testimony was not sufficiently corroborated; and that the trial court erred by not allowing Defendant to make a proffer of evidence at the hearing on the motion for new trial regarding alleged prosecutorial misconduct. Finding no error, we affirm the judgment of the trial court.

Knox County Court of Criminal Appeals 08/04/14
State of Tennessee v. Travis Wilson
E2013-00371-CCA-R3-CD
Authoring Judge: Judge Norma McGee Ogle
Trial Court Judge: Judge Robert H. Montgomery

A Sullivan County Criminal Court Jury convicted the appellant, Travis Wilson, of driving under the influence (DUI), second offense; unlawful carrying or possession of a weapon; possession of drug paraphernalia; and possession of a handgun while under the influence. After a sentencing hearing, the trial court sentenced the appellant to eleven months and twenty-nine days for each conviction, with release eligibility after service of seventy-five percent of the sentences. The trial court ordered that the appellant serve the DUI sentence in confinement and the remaining sentences on probation. The court further ordered that the sentences for possession of drug paraphernalia and DUI, second offense, be served concurrently with each other but consecutively to the remainder of the sentences. On appeal, the appellant contends that the trial court erred by allowing two Tennessee Bureau of Investigation (TBI) agents to testify as experts about the effects of drugs on human performance; that the trial court erred by failing to exclude his blood test results; that the trial court erred by failing to require the State to refer to “bath salts” by their chemical name; that the evidence is insufficient to support the convictions; and that the trial court erred in sentencing. Based upon the oral arguments, the record, and the parties’ briefs, we affirm the judgments of the trial court.

Sullivan County Court of Criminal Appeals 08/04/14
State of Tennessee v. Kwaku Aryel Okraku
M2013-01379-CCA-R3-CD
Authoring Judge: Judge John Everett Williams
Trial Court Judge: Judge Steve R. Dozier

The defendant, Kwaku Aryel Okraku, was convicted of one count of aggravated child neglect where the neglect caused serious bodily injury to the child, a Class A felony, one count of aggravated child neglect where a controlled substance was used to accomplish the neglect, a Class A felony, and one count of reckless homicide, a Class D felony.  He received a sentence of sixty years for each conviction of aggravated child neglect and a twelve-year sentence for reckless homicide, all to be served concurrently, for an effective sentence of sixty years.  On appeal, the defendant argues that the trial court erred in denying his motion for judgment of acquittal because the evidence is insufficient to support his convictions; the trial court erred in permitting the jury to hear testimony regarding a prior incident involving drugs; and the trial court erred in permitting testimony about the defendant’s statements about selling cocaine.  After reviewing the record, we affirm the judgments of the trial court but remand the case for entry of a corrected judgment sheet that reflects the merger of the aggravated child neglect convictions, with aggravated child neglect through the use of a controlled substance remaining as the sole conviction for aggravated child neglect.      

Davidson County Court of Criminal Appeals 08/01/14
State of Tennessee v. Coy J. Cotham, Jr., also known as Cory J. Cotham
M2012-01150-CCA-R3-CD
Authoring Judge: Judge Alan E. Glenn
Trial Court Judge: Judge Cheryl A. Blackburn

Following a jury trial, the defendant, Coy J. Cotham, Jr., also known as Cory J. Cotham, was convicted of first degree premeditated murder and especially aggravated robbery and sentenced to life without parole and twenty-five years, to be served consecutively.  On appeal, he argues that the trial court erred in:  (1) denying his motion to suppress evidence seized pursuant to search warrants; (2)  denying his motion to suppress Wi-Fi evidence; (3) denying his motion to recuse; (4) concluding that the evidence was sufficient to sustain the convictions; (5) allowing evidence of statements to the police by the victim’s husband; (6) allowing evidence of threats made by the defendant; (7) allowing proof as to the affidavit of indigency; (8) instructing the jury regarding parole; and (9) setting the defendant’s sentences and determining that they would be served consecutively.  We have carefully reviewed the record and conclude that the defendant’s assignments of error are without merit.  Accordingly, the judgments are affirmed.

Davidson County Court of Criminal Appeals 07/31/14
State of Tennessee v. Calvin Jones
W2013-00881-CCA-R3-CD
Authoring Judge: Judge Camille R. McMullen
Trial Court Judge: Judge Carolyn W. Blackett

The Defendant, Calvin Jones, was convicted by a Shelby County jury of aggravated child abuse and first degree felony murder, for which he received concurrent sentences of 20 years and life imprisonment. In this appeal, the Defendant argues that the evidence is insufficient to sustain his convictions. Additionally, he argues that the trial court erred in permitting Dr. Karen Lakin to testify as an expert witness and erred in admitting autopsy photographs of the victim. Upon our review, we affirm the judgments of the trial court.

Shelby County Court of Criminal Appeals 07/31/14
Ricardo Davidson v. State of Tennessee
M2013-01645-CCA-R3-PC
Authoring Judge: Judge John Everett Williams
Trial Court Judge: Judge Stella Hargrove

The petitioner, Ricardo Davidson, appeals the denial of his petition for post-conviction relief.  The petitioner was convicted by a jury of possession with intent to sell 300 grams or more of cocaine within a Drug Free School Zone, conspiracy to possess with intent to sell or deliver over 300 grams or more of cocaine within a Drug Free School Zone, possession with intent to sell or deliver ten pounds or more of marijuana within a Drug Free School Zone, conspiracy to possess with intent to sell or deliver over ten pounds of marijuana in a Drug Free School Zone, and possession of unlawful drug paraphernalia.  He was subsequently sentenced to an effective term of fifteen years in the Department of Correction.  Following the denial of his direct appeal, the petitioner filed a petition for post-conviction relief alleging that he was denied his right to the effective assistance of counsel.  On appeal, he specifically contends that trial counsel was ineffective by: (1) failing to adequately argue the motion to suppress; (2) failing to argue the issue of the racial makeup of the jury on the Motion for Acquittal or New Trial; and (3) failing to make an argument for and request a jury instruction under the natural and probable consequence rule.  The petitioner further alleges that both trial and appellate counsel were ineffective in failing to adequately communicate with him during their respective representations.  Following review of the record, we affirm the denial of post-conviction relief.

Maury County Court of Criminal Appeals 07/31/14
State of Tennessee v. Kevin R. Beasley
M2013-01424-CCA-R3-CD
Authoring Judge: Judge Robert W. Wedemeyer
Trial Court Judge: Judge Monte Watkins

A Davidson County grand jury indicted the Defendant, Kevin R. Beasley, for attempted first degree premeditated murder.  The trial court ordered that the Defendant undergo a forensic evaluation, after which it found the Defendant was competent to stand trial.  The Defendant filed a motion to suppress his statement to police, which the trial court granted.  The case was dismissed, and the State filed a notice of appeal.  After a thorough review of the record and applicable authorities, we conclude that the trial court abused its discretion when it granted the Defendant’s motion to suppress.  As such, we reverse the trial court’s judgment and remand this case for proceedings consistent with this opinion.

Davidson County Court of Criminal Appeals 07/31/14
State of Tennessee v. Aliscia Caldwell - RE: Jenkins Bonding Company
M2013-01368-CCA-R3-CD
Authoring Judge: Judge Robert W. Wedemeyer
Trial Court Judge: Judge Monte Watkins

Jenkins Bonding Company executed as a surety an appearance bond for the Defendant, Aliscia Caldwell, on several cases as detailed below.  The Defendant failed to appear, and the general sessions court forfeited the bond and issued a scire facias and a capias for the Defendant’s arrest.  The bonding company physically surrendered the Defendant to the trial court and rquested that it be relieved as surety.  The trial court denied the surrender and released the Defendant on the same bond.  Subsequently, the Defendant failed to appear at another court hearing.  The trial court entered a final forfeiture judgment against the bonding company.  The bonding company filed a motion to alter or amend the forfeiture judgment against it, saying that it should be exonerated of the bond because it lawfully surrendered the Defendant.  The trial court denied the motion.  On appeal, the bonding company argues that the trial court did not have the authority to deny the surrender and release the Defendant over the surety’s objection.  After a thorough review of the record and applicable authorities, we reverse the trial court’s judgment, and we remand the case for entry of an order releasing Jenkins Bonding as surety in this case.

Davidson County Court of Criminal Appeals 07/31/14
Eric Vislosky v. State of Tennessee
E2013-01117-CCA-R3-PC
Authoring Judge: Judge Alan E. Glenn
Trial Court Judge: Judge Amy A. Reedy

The petitioner, Eric Vislosky, appeals the denial of his petition for post-conviction relief, arguing that he received ineffective assistance of trial counsel and that his guilty plea to Class B sexual exploitation of a minor was therefore unknowing and involuntary. Following our review, we affirm the denial of the petition.

Bradley County Court of Criminal Appeals 07/31/14