Court of Criminal Appeals Opinions

Format: 09/18/2014
Format: 09/18/2014
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
State of Tennessee v. Christopher A. Howard
W2014-00099-CCA-R3-CD
Authoring Judge: Judge Alan E. Glenn
Trial Court Judge: Judge R. Lee Moore

The defendant, Christopher A. Howard, was convicted of attempted possession of .5 grams or more of cocaine with the intent to sell and aggravated robbery, for which he was sentenced to six years and twelve years, respectively, to be served concurrently. On appeal, he argues that there was insufficient accomplice testimony corroboration to sustain a conviction on either charge. Following our review, we affirm the judgments of the trial court.

Dyer County Court of Criminal Appeals 07/30/14
Marcus Boales v. State of Tennessee
W2013-02512-CCA-R3-HC
Authoring Judge: Judge D. Kelly Thomas
Trial Court Judge: Judge Roy B. Morgan Jr.

The federally-incarcerated Petitioner, Marcus Boales, filed a petition for writ of habeas corpus in the Henderson County Circuit Court, seeking relief from his two 1996 drug convictions that were used to enhance his federal sentence. The habeas corpus court summarily dismissed the petition, and the Petitioner appeals. Upon review, we affirm the judgment of the habeas corpus court.

Henderson County Court of Criminal Appeals 07/30/14
State of Tennessee v. Jessica Kennedy
E2013-00260-CCA-R3-CD
Authoring Judge: Judge Joseph M. Tipton
Trial Court Judge: Judge Walter C. Kurtz

The Defendant, Jessica Kennedy, was convicted by a Monroe County Criminal Court jury of facilitation of felony murder, a Class A felony, facilitation of aggravated robbery, a Class C felony, facilitation of burning personal property, a Class A misdemeanor, and facilitation of abuse of a corpse, a Class A misdemeanor. See T.C.A. §§ 39-13-202, 39-13-402, 39-14-303, 13-17-312, 39-11-402, 39-11-403 (2010). The trial court sentenced the Defendant as a Range I, standard offender to concurrent sentences of twenty-two years for facilitation of felony murder, five years for facilitation of aggravated robbery, eleven months, twenty-nine days for facilitation of burning personal property, and eleven months, twenty-nine days for facilitation of abuse of a corpse. On appeal, she contends that (1) the evidence is insufficient to support her convictions, (2) the trial court erred by denying her motion for a judgment of acquittal, (3) the trial court erred by denying her motion to suppress, (4) the trial court erred by failing to grant a mistrial related to the testimony of Tennessee Bureau of Investigation (TBI) Special Agent Barry Brakebill, (5) the trial court erred by permitting the State to call witnesses not listed on the indictment, (6) the trial court erred by making improper statements related to her recorded police interview and by failing to grant a mistrial, (7) the trial court erred by limiting the testimony of a psychologist, (8) the trial court erred by denying her ex parte motion for funds to secure an expert, (9) the trial court erred by overruling her motions to dismiss and to disqualify the prosecutor and the district attorney general’s office, and (10) the trial court erred by misapplying mitigating and enhancement factors during sentencing. We affirm the judgments of the trial court.

Monroe County Court of Criminal Appeals 07/30/14
Eugene Mark Hogbin v. State of Tennessee
M2014-00085-CCA-R3-PC
Authoring Judge: Judge Roger A. Page
Trial Court Judge: Judge Robert E. Burch

Petitioner, Eugene Mark Hogbin, was convicted of two counts of aggravated sexual battery and sentenced to an effective sentence of twenty years.  Petitioner filed the instant petition for post-conviction relief, in which he alleged that he received ineffective assistance of counsel.  Following an evidentiary hearing, the post-conviction court denied relief.  On appeal, petitioner argues that he received ineffective assistance of counsel when trial counsel told petitioner that she would win his case at trial.  After our review of the parties’ briefs, the record, and the applicable law, we affirm the judgment of the post-conviction court.

Cheatham County Court of Criminal Appeals 07/30/14
Tiffany Davis v. Brenda Jones, Warden
M2014-00386-CCA-R3-HC
Authoring Judge: Judge James Curwood Witt, Jr.
Trial Court Judge: Judge Forest A. Durard

The petitioner, Tiffany Davis, appeals the Marshall County Circuit Court’s dismissal of her petition for writ of habeas corpus.  In the petition, she challenged her Marshall County drug convictions, which had resulted in an effective sentence of 30 years in the Department of Correction.  Because we agree with the habeas corpus court that the petitioner’s claims of double jeopardy violations and ineffective assistance of counsel do not render her convictions void, we affirm that court’s dismissal of the petition.

Marshall County Court of Criminal Appeals 07/30/14
Cyrus Deville Wilson v. State of Tennessee
M2013-01807-CCA-R3-CO
Authoring Judge: Judge John Everett Williams
Trial Court Judge: Judge Seth Norman

The petitioner, Cyrus Deville Wilson, appeals the denial of his petition for the writ of error coram nobis.  The petitioner is currently serving a life sentence following his conviction for first degree murder.  In his petition, the petitioner contended that he was entitled to relief because of recently recanted testimony by an eyewitness to the murder.  The error coram nobis court concluded that the recantation was not credible and denied relief.  On appeal, the petitioner contends that the court erred in denying relief because it improperly assessed the evidence presented and applied an incorrect legal standard.  After a review of the record, we affirm.

Davidson County Court of Criminal Appeals 07/30/14
State of Tennessee v. Demontre Chavez Brown
M2013-02091-CCA-R3-CD
Authoring Judge: Judge D. Kelly Thomas, Jr.
Trial Court Judge: Judge Lee Russell

In this appeal, the Defendant, Demontre Chavez Brown, challenges his conviction for aggravated robbery, a Class B felony, and subsequent sentence of twelve years’ incarceration. Specifically, he alleges that (1) the evidence was insufficient to support his conviction because the witnesses’ testimonies had material inconsistencies and his co-defendant’s testimony was inadequately corroborated; (2) the trial court improperly allowed his co-defendant to testify because the State did not provide him with sufficient notice of such; and (3) the trial court’s imposition of the maximum sentence was excessive because the Defendant’s record contained mostly petty juvenile offenses. Upon consideration of the record and relevant case law, we affirm the judgment of the trial court.

Bedford County Court of Criminal Appeals 07/30/14
Milton L. Kirk Jr. v. State of Tennessee
W2013-00544-CCA-R3-PC
Authoring Judge: Special Judge Jeffrey S. Bivins
Trial Court Judge: Senior Judge Don R. Ash

Milton L. Kirk, Jr., (“the Petitioner”) was convicted by a jury of sale of .5 grams or more of cocaine. The Petitioner then pleaded guilty to tampering with evidence and possession with intent to sell or deliver cocaine. The trial court sentenced the Petitioner to an effective sentence of sixteen years’ incarceration. The Petitioner subsequently filed for postconviction relief, which the post-conviction court denied following an evidentiary hearing. The Petitioner now appeals, arguing that he received ineffective assistance of counsel at trial and that his guilty plea was constitutionally invalid. Upon our thorough review of the record and the applicable law, we affirm the judgment of the post-conviction court.

Dyer County Court of Criminal Appeals 07/29/14
Christopher Scott Chapman v. Henry Steward, Warden
W2013-02361-CCA-R3-HC
Authoring Judge: Judge D. Kelly Thomas
Trial Court Judge: Judge R. Lee Moore Jr.

The Petitioner, Christopher Scott Chapman, appeals as of right from the Lake County Circuit Court’s dismissal of his petition for a writ of habeas corpus. The Petitioner contends that he was denied pretrial jail credits. Discerning no error, we affirm the judgment of the habeas corpus court.

Lake County Court of Criminal Appeals 07/29/14
State of Tennessee v. Michael Jarrod Brady
W2013-02784-CCA-R3-CD
Authoring Judge: Judge John Everett Williams
Trial Court Judge: Judge Roy B. Morgan Jr.

A jury convicted the defendant, Michael Jarrod Brady, of aggravated robbery, a Class B felony. The defendant’s sole issue on appeal is a challenge to the sufficiency of the evidence. Because we find that the evidence is sufficient to sustain the verdict, we affirm the judgment of the trial court.

Madison County Court of Criminal Appeals 07/29/14
State of Tennessee v. Bobby Charles Farley Jr.
W2013-02055-CCA-R3-CD
Authoring Judge: Special Judge Jeffrey S. Bivins
Trial Court Judge: Judge Donald H. Allen

A jury convicted the Defendant, Bobby Charles Farley, Jr., of driving under the influence (“DUI”); unlawful carrying of a weapon; violating the financial responsibility law; and violating the seatbelt law. After a hearing, the trial court imposed an effective sentence of eleven months, twenty-nine days, to be served in the county jail. In this direct appeal, the Defendant challenges the sufficiency of the evidence underlying his DUI offense and the trial court’s instructions to the jury. Upon our thorough review of the record and applicable law, we affirm the trial court’s judgments.

Madison County Court of Criminal Appeals 07/29/14
State of Tennessee v. Burton W. Webb
E2013-02107-CCA-R3-CD
Authoring Judge: Judge Joseph M. Tipton
Trial Court Judge: Judge Rebecca J. Stern

The Defendant, Burton W. Webb, pleaded guilty to three counts of reckless aggravated assault, Class D felonies, two counts of vehicular assault, Class D felonies, and driving under the influence (DUI) second offense, a Class A misdemeanor. See T.C.A. §§ 39-13-102, 39-13-106, 55-10-401 (2010). The trial court merged the DUI conviction with the vehicular assault convictions and sentenced the Defendant as a Range I, standard offender to two years for each reckless aggravated assault conviction and to three years for each vehicular assault conviction. The court ordered consecutive service of the vehicular assault convictions, for an effective six-year sentence. On appeal, the Defendant contends that the trial court erred (1) by applying certain enhancement factors to the vehicular assault convictions, (2) by denying alternative sentencing, and (3) by ordering consecutive sentences. Although we conclude that the trial court erroneously applied two enhancement factors, the lengths and the manner of service of the sentences are proper. We also conclude that the trial court erred by failing to state its factual findings underlying its conclusion that consecutive sentences were warranted pursuant to State v. Wilkerson, 905 S.W.2d 933, 938 (Tenn. 1995). We remand the case in order for the court to state its factual findings on the record.

Hamilton County Court of Criminal Appeals 07/29/14