Court of Criminal Appeals Opinions

Format: 07/28/2014
Format: 07/28/2014
George A. Wylie v. State of Tennessee
W2013-00976-CCA-R3-HC
Authoring Judge: Judge Camille R. McMullen
Trial Court Judge: Judge Lee V. Coffee

The Petitioner, George A. Wylie, appeals the Criminal Court for Shelby County’s denial of his pro se petition for writ of habeas corpus. 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 07/15/14
State of Tennessee v. Wendell Guinn
W2013-01436-CCA-R3-CD
Authoring Judge: Judge D. Kelly Thomas
Trial Court Judge: Judge J. Robert Carter Jr.

The Defendant, Wendell Guinn, was indicted for aggravated kidnapping, a Class B felony; rape, a Class B felony; aggravated burglary, a Class C felony; and domestic assault, a Class A misdemeanor. See Tenn. Code Ann. §§ 39-13-111, -13-304, -13-503, -14-403. The State ultimately dismissed the domestic assault charge, and, following a jury trial, the Defendant was acquitted of the aggravated kidnapping and aggravated burglary charges. The jury convicted the Defendant of rape as charged in the indictment. The trial court imposed a sentence of nine years, with two years to be served in confinement and the remainder on probation. On appeal, the Defendant contends (1) that the evidence was insufficient to sustain his conviction; (2) that the trial court improperly admitted hearsay evidence; and (3) that the trial court erred in providing a supplemental instruction to the jury in response to a question from the jury during deliberations. Following our review, we affirm the judgment of the trial court.

Shelby County Court of Criminal Appeals 07/15/14
State of Tennessee v. Dwight James
M2013-02030-CCA-R3-CD
Authoring Judge: Judge Roger A. Page
Trial Court Judge: Judge Timothy L. Easter

After a jury trial, appellant, Dwight James, was convicted of failing to register as a sex offender.  The trial court sentenced appellant to two years in confinement, suspended to probation after 150 days of incarceration.  On appeal, appellant argues that the trial court erred by denying his motion to vacate his prior guilty plea to two counts of sexual battery in 1989 and that the requirement that he register as a sex offender violates the Ex Post Facto Clause and his procedural due process rights.  Following our review of the parties’ briefs, the record, and the applicable law, we affirm the judgments of the trial court.

Hickman County Court of Criminal Appeals 07/15/14
State of Tennessee v. Curtis W. Hammock
M2013-01382-CCA-R3-CD
Authoring Judge: Judge Roger A. Page
Trial Court Judge: Judge Robert Burch

Appellant, Curtis W. Hammock was indicted for initiating a process intended to result in the manufacture of methamphetamine, being a felon in possession of a handgun, and child neglect.  He pleaded guilty to the first two counts and received a sentence of ten years on the drug charge to be served in community corrections and a concurrent sentence of two years in community corrections for the handgun charge.  The State dismissed the child neglect charge.  As a condition of his guilty plea, appellant, with agreement from the State and the trial court, reserved a certified question of law for our consideration:  “Whether the trial court correctly ruled[,] following a suppression hearing[,] that the Defendant did voluntarily consent to a search of his residence subsequent to the unlawful entry of law enforcement on June 12, 2012?”  Following our review, we affirm the judgments of the trial court.

Dickson County Court of Criminal Appeals 07/15/14
State of Tennessee v. Keith Collins
W2013-01119-CCA-R3-CD
Authoring Judge: Judge Norma McGee Ogle
Trial Court Judge: Judge James C. Beasley Jr.

A Shelby County Criminal Court Jury convicted the appellant, Keith Collins, of conspiracy to possess with intent to sell more than 300 grams of cocaine, a Class A felony, and attempt to possess more than 300 grams of cocaine with intent to sell, a Class B felony. After a sentencing hearing, the trial court sentenced him as a Range II, multiple offender to consecutive sentences of forty and twenty years, respectively. On appeal, the appellant contends that (1) the trial court should have given an accomplice instruction with regard to one of the State’s witnesses; (2) the evidence is insufficient to support the convictions; (3) the trial court improperly allowed a State witness to testify about a bad act pursuant to 404(b), Tennessee Rules of Evidence; (4) he is entitled to a new trial based on a witness’s false testimony; and (5) consecutive sentencing was improper. Based upon the oral arguments, the record, and the parties’ briefs, we affirm the judgments of the trial court.

Shelby County Court of Criminal Appeals 07/14/14
State of Tennessee v. Everett Russ
W2012-00461-CCA-R3-CD
Authoring Judge: Presiding Judge Joseph M. Tipton
Trial Court Judge: Judge Chris Craft

The Tennessee Supreme Court has remanded this case for reconsideration in light of State v. James Allen Pollard, — S.W.3d —, No. M2011-00332-SC-R11-CD (Tenn. Dec. 20, 2013). See State v. Everett Russ, No. M2012-00461-CCA-R3-CD (Tenn. Crim. App. Dec. 9, 2013), perm. app. granted, case remanded (Tenn. May 15, 2014). Relevant to the current remand, this court concluded in the previous appeal that the trial court erred in imposing consecutive sentences when only one of the statutory aggravating factors applied to the Defendant’s two offenses involving the sexual abuse of a minor. See T.C.A. § 40-35-115(b)(5) (2010). Upon further review, we conclude that the aggravating factors were sufficient to support the trial court’s imposition of consecutive sentences. We affirm the judgments of the trial court.

Shelby County Court of Criminal Appeals 07/14/14
State of Tennessee v. Christina Lee Jones Thomas
E2013-01531-CCA-R3-CD
Authoring Judge: Judge D. Kelly Thomas, Jr.
Trial Court Judge: Judge Robert E. Cupp

The Defendant, Christina Lee Jones Thomas, was convicted by a Washington County jury of especially aggravated robbery and especially aggravated kidnapping. Following a sentencing hearing, the trial court imposed concurrent terms of eighteen years at 100% for these convictions. On appeal, the Defendant claims that she had not abandoned her residence as the trial court determined and that, therefore, it was error to deny her motion to suppress the evidence found inside her home obtained without a search warrant. The Defendant also contends that the evidence adduced at trial is insufficient to support her convictions and that the trial court abused its discretion in enhancing the length of her sentences. After reviewing the record, we conclude that trial court did not err in denying the Defendant’s motion to suppress because the Defendant had abandoned the property, that the evidence produced at trial was sufficient to support the Defendant’s convictions, and that the trial court did not abuse its discretion in setting the length of the Defendant’s sentences. Accordingly, the judgments of the trial court are affirmed.

Washington County Court of Criminal Appeals 07/14/14
Craig L. Beene v. State of Tennessee
M2013-00088-CCA-R3-ECN
Authoring Judge: Judge Roger A. Page
Trial Court Judge: Judge Robert Burch

Petitioner, Craig L. Beene, pleaded guilty to attempted first degree murder, especially aggravated kidnapping, and aggravated assault.  Craig Lamont Beene v. State, No. M2005-01322-CCA-R3-PC, 2006 WL 680919, at *1 (Tenn. Crim. App. Mar. 17, 2006).  Pursuant to the plea agreement, petitioner was sentenced to seventeen years in confinement.  Id. Subsequently, he filed the instant petition for a writ of error coram nobis, claiming that affidavits and two pictures constitute newly discovered evidence.  The coram nobis court denied the petition.  Following our review, we affirm the judgment of the coram nobis court.

Dickson County Court of Criminal Appeals 07/14/14
State of Tennessee v. Cory Meeks
M2013-02379-CCA-R3-CD
Authoring Judge: Judge Thomas T. Woodall
Trial Court Judge: Judge Buddy D. Perry

Defendant, Cory Meeks, appeals the trial court’s revocation of his community corrections sentence and the imposition of a sentence of confinement.  Following our review of the record, we affirm the judgment of the trial court.

Marion County Court of Criminal Appeals 07/14/14
State of Tennessee v. Marvin Roscoe
W2013-01714-CCA-R9-CD
Authoring Judge: Judge Alan E. Glenn
Trial Court Judge: Judge Paula Skahan

This is a Rule 9, Tennessee Rules of Appellate Procedure, interlocutory appeal by the State of Tennessee of the trial court’s granting in part the defendant’s motion to suppress. On March 1, 2012, the Shelby County Grand Jury returned a two-count indictment charging the defendant, Marvin Roscoe, with DUI and DUI over .08%. The defendant filed a motion to suppress any evidence seized or statements made as a result of his stop and arrest. The trial court entered an order denying in part the defendant’s motion to suppress any evidence pertaining to the initial traffic stop and granting in part the  defendant’s motion to suppress any evidence pertaining to the defendant’s subsequent arrest. The State now appeals, arguing that the trial court erred in granting in part the defendant’s motion to suppress the evidence regarding his subsequent arrest. Based upon our review, we reverse the judgment of the trial court and remand for further proceedings consistent with this opinion.

Shelby County Court of Criminal Appeals 07/11/14
State of Tennessee v. Khaliq Ra-El-Concurring
W2013-01130-CCA-R3-CD
Authoring Judge: Judge James Curwood Witt Jr.
Trial Court Judge: Judge W. Mark Ward

I concur in the result reached by the majority. I write separately to respectfully depart from the majority’s undertaking an analysis of the sufficiency of the evidence of passion and provocation. In my view, the reference to passion and provocation in the voluntary manslaughter statue does not denote an essential element of the offense. It describes a dispensation to a defendant who, having intentionally or knowingly killed another, would otherwise be guilty of first degree or second degree murder respectively.

Shelby County Court of Criminal Appeals 07/11/14
State of Tennessee v. Khaliq Ra-El
W2013-01130-CCA-R3-CD
Authoring Judge: Judge Thomas T. Woodall
Trial Court Judge: Judge W. Mark Ward

A Shelby County Jury convicted Defendant, Khaliq Ra-el, of attempted voluntary manslaughter, reckless aggravated assault, and employing a firearm during the commission of a dangerous felony. He received concurrent sentences of three years each for attempted voluntary manslaughter and reckless aggravated assault to be served consecutively to a six-year sentence for employing a firearm during the commission of a dangerous felony. On appeal, Defendant argues that the evidence was insufficient to support his convictions for attempted voluntary manslaughter and employing a firearm during the commission of a dangerous felony. After a thorough review, we affirm the judgments of the trial court.

Shelby County Court of Criminal Appeals 07/11/14
State of Tennessee v. Ladarion Pearson
W2013-01964-CCA-R3-CD
Authoring Judge: Judge Camille R. McMullen
Trial Court Judge: Judge Donald H. Allen

The Defendant, Ladarion Pearson, entered guilty pleas to one count of aggravated criminal trespassing, two counts of assault, one count of aggravated burglary, and one count of robbery. He received an effective sentence of five years to be served in the Department of Correction. On appeal, the Defendant contends that the trial court erred in denying his request for alternative sentencing. Upon review, we affirm the judgments of the trial court.

Madison County Court of Criminal Appeals 07/11/14