Court of Criminal Appeals Opinions

Format: 03/30/2015
Format: 03/30/2015
State of Tennessee v. Eddie Joe Whitaker
E2014-01066-CCA-R3-CD
Authoring Judge: Judge D. Kelly Thomas, Jr.
Trial Court Judge: Judge E. Shayne Sexton

The Defendant, Eddie Joe Whitaker, was convicted by a Campbell County jury of retaliation for past action and failure to appear. See Tenn. Code Ann. §§ 39-16-510, -16-609. On appeal, he contends that the evidence is insufficient to support his convictions. Following our review, we conclude that the evidence is sufficient to support the Defendant’s conviction for retaliation for past action but that the evidence is insufficient to sustain the conviction for failure to appear. Therefore, the conviction for retaliation for past action is affirmed, and the conviction for failure to appear is reversed and that charge is dismissed.

Campbell County Court of Criminal Appeals 03/27/15
State of Tennessee v. John D. Bailey
W2014-00705-CCA-R3-CD
Authoring Judge: Judge Roger A. Page
Trial Court Judge: Judge Russell Lee Moore, Jr.

Appellant, John D. Bailey, was convicted by a jury of first degree premeditated murder and sentenced to life imprisonment. On appeal, he argues that the trial court erred by failing to suppress his statement to the police and that the evidence was insufficient to support his conviction. Following our review, we affirm the judgment of the trial court.

Dyer County Court of Criminal Appeals 03/27/15
Frederick Moore v. Mike Parris, Warden
W2014-02128-CCA-R3-HC
Authoring Judge: Judge Camille R. McMullen
Trial Court Judge: Judge R. Lee Moore, Jr.

The Petitioner, Frederick Moore, appeals the Lake County Circuit Court's denial of his pro se petition for writ of habeas corpus. On appeal, he asserts that his indictment is void and illegal and deprives the trial court of jurisdiction because the State illegally amended it and improperly obtained a superseding indictment. He further asserts that he is entitled to habeas corpus relief because he was denied due process when he was not afforded a second preliminary hearing. Upon review, we affirm the the trial court's denial of the petition.

Lake County Court of Criminal Appeals 03/27/15
Curtis Johnson v. State of Tennessee
W2014-01779-CCA-R3-CO
Authoring Judge: Judge Camille R. McMullen
Trial Court Judge: Judge Chris Craft

The Petitioner, Curtis Johnson, appeals the Shelby County Criminal Court's summary dismissal of his motion to correct an illegal sentence pursuant to Tennessee Rule of Criminal Procedure 36.1. On appeal, the Petitioner alleges that he was illegally sentenced under the repealed Tennessee Criminal Sentencing Reform Act of 1982 rather than the Tennessee Criminal Sentencing Reform Act of 1989. Upon review, we affirm the judgment of the criminal court.

Shelby County Court of Criminal Appeals 03/27/15
State of Tennessee v. Jordan Alexander Rodrigues
M2014-01001-CCA-R3-CD
Authoring Judge: Judge Camille R. McMullen
Trial Court Judge: Judge Franklin L. Russell

The Defendant-Appellant, Jordan Alexander Rodrigues, appeals the revocation of his probation by the Marshall County Circuit Court.  He previously entered a guilty plea to burglary for which he received a three-year suspended sentence.  In this appeal, he argues that the trial court abused its discretion by revoking his probation and ordering a sentence of full confinement rather than imposing split confinement.  Upon our review, we affirm the judgment of the trial court.

Marshall County Court of Criminal Appeals 03/27/15
State of Tennessee v. Dennie Louis Price, Jr.
W2014-01331-CCA-R3-CD
Authoring Judge: Judge Alan E. Glenn
Trial Court Judge: Judge Donald H. Allen

The defendant, Dennie Louis Price, Jr., appeals the trial court's revocation of his probation and reinstatement of his sentence of twelve years in the Department of Correction. On appeal, he argues that the trial court erred in revoking his probation. Following our review, we affirm the judgment of the trial court.

Madison County Court of Criminal Appeals 03/27/15
Brian S. Roberson v. State of Tennessee
M2013-02565-CCA-R3-PC
Authoring Judge: Judge Camille R. McMullen
Trial Court Judge: Judge Timothy L. Easter

The Petitioner, Brian S. Roberson, appeals from the denial of post-conviction relief by the Circuit Court for Williamson County.  He was convicted for the sale of .5 grams or more of cocaine and sentenced to thirty years’ imprisonment in the Tennessee Department of Correction.  On appeal, the Petitioner argues that he received ineffective assistance of trial and appellate counsel.  Upon review, we affirm the judgment of the post-conviction court.

Williamson County Court of Criminal Appeals 03/27/15
State of Tennessee v. Eric Williams
W2013-01593-CCA-R3-CD
Authoring Judge: Judge Norma McGee Ogle
Trial Court Judge: Judge James Lammey, Jr.

A Shelby County Criminal Court Jury convicted the appellant, Eric Williams, of first degree premeditated murder, and the trial court sentenced him to life. On appeal, the appellant contends that the evidence is insufficient to support the conviction, that the trial court erred by refusing to allow State witnesses to testify about his statements after the killing, that the trial court erred by allowing the State to use a shotgun for demonstrative purposes when the gun was not involved in the crime, and that the trial court erred by not using the “reasonable effort method” for the jury’s consideration of the charge. Based upon the record and the parties’ briefs, we conclude that the trial court erred by prohibiting the appellant from crossexamining State witnesses about his stating after the shooting that he did not intend to shoot the victim, by allowing the State’s expert to testify about the trigger pull of double-barrel shotguns, and by allowing the jury to handle a shotgun that was not the murder weapon. Moreover, we conclude that the cumulative effect of the errors warrants reversal of the appellant’s conviction. Therefore, the conviction is reversed, and the case is remanded to the trial court for a new trial.

Shelby County Court of Criminal Appeals 03/27/15
State of Tennessee v. Allen Cornelius Bond
W2014-00069-CCA-R3-CD
Authoring Judge: Judge Alan E. Glenn
Trial Court Judge: Judge Roy B. Morgan, Jr.

The defendant, Allen Cornelius Bond, was convicted by a Madison County Criminal Court jury of aggravated sexual battery, a Class B felony, and attempted sexual battery, a Class A misdemeanor, and was sentenced to an effective term of sixteen years in the Tennessee Department of Correction to be served consecutively to a prior sentence. On appeal, he argues that: (1) his right to an impartial jury was violated because one of the jurors knew him; (2) the evidence is insufficient to sustain his convictions; (3) the trial court erred in allowing the nurse examiner to testify as an expert witness; and (4) the trial court erred in not exercising its authority as the thirteenth juror and setting aside his convictions. After review, we affirm the judgments of the trial court.

Madison County Court of Criminal Appeals 03/27/15
State of Tennessee v. Maxwell Monroe Hodge
E2014-01059-CCA-R3-CD
Authoring Judge: Judge James Curwood Witt, Jr.
Trial Court Judge: Judge Robert H. Montgomery, Jr.

Convicted of rape by a Sullivan County Criminal Court jury, the defendant, Maxwell Monroe Hodge, appeals and claims that the evidence is insufficient to support his conviction and that the definition of “sexual penetration” expressed in Tennessee Code Annotated section 39-13-501(7) is impermissibly vague relative to that subsection’s use of the terms “genital or anal openings.” Discerning no error, we affirm the judgment of the criminal court.

Sullivan County Court of Criminal Appeals 03/26/15
State of Tennessee v. Jeremy Danielle McWherter
M2014-00974-CCA-R3-CD
Authoring Judge: Judge Thomas T. Woodall
Trial Court Judge: Judge John H. Gasaway, III

Defendant, Jeremy McWherter, pled guilty in the Montgomery County Criminal Court to the offense of especially aggravated robbery. Defendant received a sentence of eight years to serve one year in confinement followed by seven years of probation. On March 26, 2014, a probation violation warrant was issued. Following a hearing, the trial court revoked probation and ordered Defendant to serve the balance of his sentence by incarceration. Defendant appeals, and does not challenge the revocation of probation, but argues that the trial court erred by ordering the entire sentence to be served by incarceration and not granting him a furlough to enter an alcohol rehabilitation program. We affirm the judgment of the trial court.

Montgomery County Court of Criminal Appeals 03/26/15
Crystal Miranda Kirby v. State of Tennessee
W2014-00679-CCA-R3-HC
Authoring Judge: Judge Alan E. Glenn
Trial Court Judge: Judge J. Robert Carter, Jr.

The petitioner, Crystal Miranda Kirby, appeals the denial of her petition for writ of habeas corpus, arguing that her judgment for first degree murder is void and illegal on its face because of the trial court’s merger of her second degree murder conviction into the first degree murder conviction after separate judgments had already been entered and the jury had been dismissed. Following our review, we affirm the judgment of the habeas court summarily denying the petition.

Shelby County Court of Criminal Appeals 03/26/15
Trutonio Yancey v. State of Tennessee
W2014-00328-CCA-R3-PC
Authoring Judge: Judge Alan E. Glenn
Trial Court Judge: Judge J. Robert Carter, Jr.

The petitioner, Trutonio Yancey, was convicted of aggravated robbery, especially aggravated kidnapping, carjacking, and employing a firearm during the commission of a dangerous felony and received an effective sentence of twenty years. On direct appeal, this court affirmed the petitioner’s aggravated robbery and especially aggravated kidnapping convictions but reversed the carjacking and firearm convictions and remanded for a new trial. The Tennessee Supreme Court denied application for permission to appeal. State v. Trutonio Yancey and Bernard McThune, No. W2011-01543-CCA-R3-CD, 2012 WL 4057369, at (Tenn. Crim. App. Sept. 17, 2012), perm. app. denied (Tenn. Jan. 14, 2013). Subsequently, he filed a pro se petition for post-conviction relief, alleging he received the ineffective assistance of counsel at trial. Counsel was appointed and, following an evidentiary hearing, the post-conviction court denied the petition. Based upon our review, we affirm the judgment of the post-conviction court.

Shelby County Court of Criminal Appeals 03/26/15
Corey Alan Bennett v. State of Tennessee
E2015-00143-CCA-R3-PC
Authoring Judge: Judge D. Kelly Thomas, Jr.
Trial Court Judge: Judge Bob R. McGee

The pro se appellant, Corey Alan Bennett, appeals as of right from the Knox County Criminal Court’s order summarily dismissing his petition for post-conviction relief. Because the record reflects that the appellant filed a subsequent petition for post-conviction relief, we affirm the order of the Knox County Criminal Court pursuant to Rule 20 of the Rules of the Tennessee Court of Criminal Appeals.

Knox County Court of Criminal Appeals 03/25/15
Corey Alan Bennett v. State of Tennessee
E2014-02097-CCA-R3-PC
Authoring Judge: Judge D. Kelly Thomas, Jr.
Trial Court Judge: Judge Bob R. McGee

The pro se appellant, Corey Alan Bennett, appeals as of right from the Knox County Criminal Court’s order summarily dismissing his petition for post-conviction relief. Because the record reflects that the appellant filed a subsequent petition for post-conviction relief, we affirm the order of the Knox County Criminal Court pursuant to Rule 20 of the Rules of the Tennessee Court of Criminal Appeals.

Knox County Court of Criminal Appeals 03/25/15
Gary Wayne Bush v. State of Tennessee
M2014-00759-CCA-R3-PC
Authoring Judge: Judge Camille R. McMullen
Trial Court Judge: Judge M. Keith Siskin

The Petitioner, Gary Wayne Bush, appeals the Rutherford County Circuit Court’s denial of post-conviction relief.  He was convicted of first degree murder and sentenced to life imprisonment in the Tennessee Department of Correction.  On appeal, the Petitioner argues that he received ineffective assistance of counsel because trial counsel failed to call the Petitioner to testify in his own defense.  Upon review, we affirm the judgment of the post-conviction court.

Rutherford County Court of Criminal Appeals 03/25/15
Jackie Ewing v. State of Tennessee
W2014-00273-CCA-R3-PC
Authoring Judge: Judge Alan E. Glenn
Trial Court Judge: Judge Donald H. Allen

The petitioner, Jackie Ewing, was convicted of theft of property valued over $1000 and sentenced as a career offender to twelve years. On direct appeal, this court affirmed the petitioner’s conviction, and our supreme court denied permission to appeal. State v. Jackie Ewing, No. W2012-00376-CCA-R3-CD, 2012 WL 6206123, at *1 (Tenn. Crim. App. Dec. 11, 2012), perm. app. denied (Tenn. Apr. 9, 2013). Subsequently, he filed a pro se petition for post-conviction relief, alleging he received the ineffective assistance of counsel at trial. Counsel was appointed and, following an evidentiary hearing, the post-conviction court denied the petition. Based upon our review, we affirm the judgment of the post-conviction court.

Madison County Court of Criminal Appeals 03/24/15
State of Tennessee v. Christopher Lee Cunningham and James Cleo Hardin
W2014-00230-CCA-R3-CD
Authoring Judge: Judge Camille R. McMullen
Trial Court Judge: Judge Donald H. Allen

The Defendant-Appellants, Christopher Lee Cunningham and James Cleo Hardin, were jointly convicted by a Madison County jury of one count of aggravated burglary and two counts of aggravated robbery. The trial court sentenced each defendant to an effective sentence of 22 years’ confinement. On appeal, the Defendants argue that (1) the evidence is insufficient to sustain their convictions for aggravated burglary and aggravated robbery, and (2) the trial court abused its discretion by imposing consecutive sentences. Upon review, we affirm the judgments of the trial court.

Madison County Court of Criminal Appeals 03/24/15
Brannon Blake Black v. State of Tennessee
W2014-01264-CCA-R3-PC
Authoring Judge: Judge Camille R. McMullen
Trial Court Judge: Judge William B. Acree

The Petitioner, Brannon Blake Black, appeals the post-conviction court's denial of relief from his conviction for rape, a Class B felony. On appeal, he argues that he received ineffective assistance of counsel in connection with his guilty plea. Upon review, we affirm the judgment of the post-conviction court.

Obion County Court of Criminal Appeals 03/23/15
State of Tennessee v. Kenneth Moses
E2014-01013-CCA-R3-CD
Authoring Judge: Judge Thomas T. Woodall
Trial Court Judge: Judge Robert H. Montgomery, Jr.

Defendant, Kenneth Moses, was charged by presentment for one count of rape of a child and one count of incest. A  jury found Defendant guilty as charged. The trial court sentenced Defendant to consecutive sentences of 25 years for rape of a child and six years for incest. In this appeal as of right, Defendant contends that the evidence was insufficient to support his convictions and that the trial court abused its discretion by ordering his sentences to run consecutively. After a thorough review of the record, we affirm the judgments of the trial court.

Sullivan County Court of Criminal Appeals 03/20/15
State of Tennessee v. Billy Ray Allen
E2014-00967-CCA-R3-CD
Authoring Judge: Judge Robert H. Montgomery. Jr.
Trial Court Judge: Judge R. Jerry Beck

The Defendant, Billy Ray Allen, was convicted by a Sullivan County Criminal Court jury of facilitation of possession with the intent to sell or to deliver twenty-six grams or more of cocaine, a Class C felony. See T.C.A. §§ 39-17-417(a) 4) (2010) (amended 2012, 2014) (possession with intent to sell and to deliver); 39-11-403(a) (2014) (facilitation). The trial court sentenced the Defendant as a Range II, multiple offender to six years’ confinement. In this delayed appeal, the Defendant contends that the evidence is insufficient to support his conviction. We affirm the judgment of the trial court.

Sullivan County Court of Criminal Appeals 03/20/15
Doyle Haney v. State of Tennessee
E2014-00462-CCA-R3-PC
Authoring Judge: Judge Robert H. Montgomery, Jr.
Trial Court Judge: Judge Ben W. Hooper, II

The Petitioner, Doyle Haney, appeals the Cocke County Circuit Court’s denial of his two petitions for post-conviction relief. In case number 3457, the Defendant was convicted of the sale of 0.5 grams or more of cocaine and received a thirty-year sentence. In case number 4924, he was convicted of delivering 0.5 grams or more of cocaine and received a thirty-year sentence. The sentences were ordered to be served concurrently. On appeal, the Petitioner contends that the trial court erred by denying post-conviction relief because he received the ineffective assistance of counsel. We affirm the judgment of the post-conviction court.

Cocke County Court of Criminal Appeals 03/20/15
Derrick Richardson v. State of Tennessee
E2014-01554-CCA-R3-PC
Authoring Judge: Judge Robert H. Montgomery, Jr.
Trial Court Judge: Judge Barry A. Steelman

The Petitioner, Derrick Richardson, appeals the Hamilton County Criminal Court’s denial of his two motions to reopen his post-conviction proceedings relative to his first degree felony murder conviction and resulting life sentence. The Petitioner contends that the post-conviction court erred by denying his motions. We dismiss the appeal for lack of jurisdiction because the Petitioner failed to comply with the statutory requirements governing an appeal from the denial of a motion to reopen post-conviction proceedings.

Hamilton County Court of Criminal Appeals 03/20/15
Thomas Edward Kotewa v. Brenda Jones, Warden
W2014-01290-CCA-R3-HC
Authoring Judge: Judge Camille R. McMullen
Trial Court Judge: Judge Joe H. Walker, III

Pro se petitioner, Thomas Edward Kotewa, appeals the summary dismissal of his petition for habeas corpus relief by the Lauderdale County Circuit Court. In this appeal, the Petitioner argues that the habeas corpus court erred in denying his petition because the trial court lacked subject matter jurisdiction to accept his plea of guilty. Upon our review, we affirm the judgment of the habeas court.

Lauderdale County Court of Criminal Appeals 03/19/15
State of Tennessee v. James Pennock
W2013-02526-CCA-R3-CD
Authoring Judge: Judge Camille R. McMullen
Trial Court Judge: Judge R. Lee Moore Jr.

The Defendant-Appellant, James Pennock, was convicted by a Dyer County jury of three counts of sale of a Schedule II controlled substance. On appeal, the Defendant argues that (1) the evidence is insufficient to establish the Defendant's identity as the person who committed the offenses; (2) the trial court erred in instructing the jury regarding eyewitness identification testimony; and (3) the trial court erred in allowing the co-defendant, Nora Gibson, to testify without proper notice provided to the Defendant. Upon our review, we affirm the judgments of the trial court.

Dyer County Court of Criminal Appeals 03/19/15