Court of Criminal Appeals Opinions

Format: 12/15/2018
Format: 12/15/2018
William Farmer v. State of Tennessee
W2017-00729-CCA-R3-PC
Authoring Judge: Presiding Judge John Everett Williams
Trial Court Judge: Judge J. Robert Carter, Jr.

The Petitioner, William Farmer, appeals the post-conviction court’s denial of his petition for post-conviction relief in which he challenged his guilty plea to carjacking and his tenyear sentence. On appeal, the Petitioner contends that he received ineffective assistance of counsel and that his guilty plea was not knowingly entered. After a review of the record and applicable law, we affirm the post-conviction court’s judgment.

Shelby County Court of Criminal Appeals 12/05/18
State of Tennessee v. Ronald Jones
W2017-00754-CCA-R3-CD
Authoring Judge: Judge Alan E. Glenn
Trial Court Judge: Judge James M. Lammey

The Defendant, Ronald Jones, was convicted of the second degree murder of the victim and sentenced to serve 25 years. On appeal, he argues that the evidence was insufficient to support the conviction. We disagree and affirm the judgment of the trial court.

Shelby County Court of Criminal Appeals 12/05/18
State of Tennessee v. Michael Wayne Parsons
W2018-00144-CCA-R3-CD
Authoring Judge: Judge Alan E. Glenn
Trial Court Judge: Judge Joe H. Walker, III

The Defendant, Michael Wayne Parsons, was convicted by a Tipton County jury of felony failure to appear, a Class E felony, and was sentenced by the trial court as a Range II, multiple offender to three years in the Department of Correction. On appeal, he argues: (1) that he is entitled to diplomatic immunity from prosecution because he is an ambassador of the “Tsilhqot’in Nation, Country of Chilcotin” and (2) that the indictment was insufficient to confer jurisdiction over his person because it lists his name in all capital letters, which denotes a corporation rather than a “live man.” Because the notice of appeal was untimely, we dismiss the appeal.

Tipton County Court of Criminal Appeals 12/05/18
State of Tennessee v. John Matthew Cabe
M2017-02340-CCA-R3-CD
Authoring Judge: Judge Timothy L. Easter
Trial Court Judge: Judge Forest A. Durard, Jr.

Defendant, John Matthew Cabe, was indicted for tampering with evidence after selling an item, which was the subject of a theft investigation, from his pawnshop. After a jury trial, Defendant was convicted of attempted tampering with evidence. On appeal, Defendant contends that he was improperly charged with tampering with evidence because the Pawnbrokers Act of 1988 is a specific statute which governs his conduct as a pawnbroker, and he argues that the evidence was insufficient to support his conviction for attempted tampering with evidence. After a thorough review of the record and the applicable statutes, we conclude that the Pawnbrokers Act of 1988 specifically governs the actions of a pawnbroker in his or her official capacity, thereby precluding prosecution for tampering with evidence. Accordingly, the judgment of the trial court is reversed and vacated.

Marshall County Court of Criminal Appeals 12/03/18
State of Tennessee v. Darrell Grant Fisher
M2017-01966-CCA-R3-CD
Authoring Judge: Judge J. Ross Dyer
Trial Court Judge: Judge Steve R. Dozier

The defendant, Darrell Grant Fisher, entered an open plea to four counts of sexual battery by an authority figure. The trial court sentenced the defendant to five years on two counts and four years on the remaining two counts with all sentences to be served consecutively for an effective sentence of eighteen years. On appeal, the defendant claims the trial court erred in imposing consecutive terms. After a thorough review of the record and the applicable law, we affirm the judgments of the trial court.

Davidson County Court of Criminal Appeals 12/03/18
Marvin Christopher Long v. State of Tennessee
M2017-01758-CCA-R3-PC
Authoring Judge: Judge Norma McGee Ogle
Trial Court Judge: Judge Monte D. Watkins

The Petitioner, Marvin Christopher Long, filed for post-conviction relief, alleging that his trial counsel and his appellate counsel were ineffective. The post-conviction court dismissed the petition upon finding that the Petitioner previously filed for post-conviction relief and that he failed to state a claim upon which relief could be granted. On appeal, the Petitioner challenges the dismissal of the petition. Upon review, we affirm the post-conviction court’s dismissal of the Petitioner’s claim regarding the effectiveness of appellate counsel. However, we remand to the post-conviction court for entry of an order ruling on the Petitioner’s claims regarding the effectiveness of trial counsel.

Davidson County Court of Criminal Appeals 12/03/18
Leroy Sexton v. State of Tennessee
M2017-00698-CCA-WR-CO
Authoring Judge: Judge Norma McGee Ogle
Trial Court Judge: Judge E. Shayne Sexton

Dr. William Diebold seeks review of the post-conviction court’s denial of his motion to quash a judicial subpoena compelling him to testify at a hearing on behalf of the Petitioner, who is seeking post-conviction relief in an underlying criminal case. Dr. Diebold, a practicing physician, contends that he is exempt from subpoena to the hearing but subject to subpoena to a deposition pursuant to Tennessee Code Annotated section 24-9-101. Based upon the oral arguments, the record, and the parties’ briefs, we agree with Dr. Diebold that he is statutorily exempt from subpoena to the hearing but subject to subpoena to a deposition. Therefore, the post-conviction court erred by failing to grant Dr. Diebold’s motion to quash. Accordingly, the judgment of the post-conviction court is reversed, and the motion to quash is granted.

Fentress County Court of Criminal Appeals 11/30/18
Don Edward Carter v. State of Tennessee
W2018-00285-CCA-R3-PC
Authoring Judge: Judge Robert H. Montgomery, Jr.
Trial Court Judge: Judge J. Weber McCraw

The Petitioner, Don Edward Carter, appeals from the McNairy County Circuit Court’s dismissal of his petition for post-conviction relief from his convictions of two counts of first degree murder, for which he is serving concurrent life sentences. On appeal, he contends that (1) the post-conviction court erred in dismissing his petition as untimely without a hearing to determine whether due process required tolling of the statute of limitations, (2) he received the ineffective assistance of counsel, and (3) prosecutorial misconduct in the conviction proceedings deprived him of his rights to due process and a fair trial. We affirm the judgment of the post-conviction court.

McNairy County Court of Criminal Appeals 11/30/18
State of Tennessee v. Kenneth S. Gourley
W2017-00919-CCA-R3-CD
Authoring Judge: Judge Norma McGee Ogle
Trial Court Judge: Judge R. Lee Moore

The Appellant, Kenneth S. Gourley, appeals the trial court’s order revoking his probationary sentence and ordering him to serve the remainder of his sentence in confinement. Upon review, we affirm the judgment of the trial court.

Dyer County Court of Criminal Appeals 11/30/18
State of Tennessee v. Tracy Arnold
W2018-00307-CCA-R3-CD
Authoring Judge: Judge John Everett Williams
Trial Court Judge: Judge Donald H. Allen

The Defendant, Tracy Arnold, appeals the Henderson County Circuit Court’s revocation of her probation related to her convictions for attempted aggravated child abuse and neglect. After a review of the record and applicable law, we affirm the trial court’s judgment.

Henderson County Court of Criminal Appeals 11/30/18
Albert Jackson v. State of Tennessee
W2017-01589-CCA-R3-PC
Authoring Judge: Judge Robert W. Wedemeyer
Trial Court Judge: Judge W. Mark Ward

A Shelby County jury convicted the Petitioner, Albert Jackson, of attempted voluntary manslaughter, employing a firearm during the commission of a felony, reckless endangerment with a deadly weapon, and being a felon in possession of a handgun, and the trial court sentenced the Petitioner to an effective sentence of twenty-four years of incarceration. State v. Albert Jackson, No. W2014-00050-CCA-R3-CD, 2014 WL 7432000, at *1 (Tenn. Crim. App., at Jackson, Dec. 30, 2014), no Tenn. R. App. P. 11 application filed. This court affirmed the convictions on appeal. Id. The Petitioner filed a petition for post-conviction relief challenging the jury instructions and claiming that his trial counsel was ineffective. Appointed counsel added a request for a delayed Rule 11 application. The post-conviction court denied the petition and a delayed appeal. On appeal, the Petitioner contends that the
post-conviction court erred when it denied his request for a delayed Rule 11 appeal and when it denied his petition for post-conviction relief. After review, we affirm the post-conviction court’s judgment.

Shelby County Court of Criminal Appeals 11/29/18
State of Tennessee v. Breyon Bates
W2017-01930-CCA-R3-CD
Authoring Judge: Judge Alan E. Glenn
Trial Court Judge: Judge Roy B. Morgan, Jr.

The Defendant, Breyon Bates, was convicted by a Madison County Circuit Court jury of possession of .5 grams or more of cocaine with the intent to deliver, a Class B felony; simple possession of cocaine, a Class A misdemeanor; and resisting arrest and criminal impersonation, both Class B misdemeanors. The trial court merged the simple possession count into the possession with intent to deliver count and sentenced the Defendant as a Range II, multiple offender to concurrent terms of 18 years for the felony cocaine conviction and six months for each of the misdemeanor convictions, for an effective term of 18 years in the Department of Correction, to be served consecutively to the sentence for an offense for which the Defendant was on probation at the time he committed the instant offenses. On appeal, the Defendant challenges the sufficiency of the evidence in support of his felony conviction and argues that the trial court erred by not charging the jury with casual exchange under Tennessee Code Annotated section 39-17-419. Following our review, we affirm the judgments of the trial court.

Madison County Court of Criminal Appeals 11/29/18
State of Tennessee v. Martrice Thomas
W2017-02489-CCA-R3-CD
Authoring Judge: Judge Alan E. Glenn
Trial Court Judge: Judge Chris Craft

On September 21, 2017, the Defendant, Martrice Thomas, was convicted of first-degree premeditated murder. The trial court sentenced her to life imprisonment in the Department of Correction. The Defendant argues on appeal that the evidence is insufficient to sustain her conviction. After thorough review, we affirm the judgment of the trial court.

Shelby County Court of Criminal Appeals 11/29/18
State of Tennessee v. Merrico Jackson
W2017-01782-CCA-R3-CD
Authoring Judge: Judge Alan E. Glenn
Trial Court Judge: Judge James M. Lammey

The Defendant, Merrico Jackson, was convicted by a Shelby County Criminal Court jury of first degree premeditated murder and sentenced to life imprisonment. On appeal, the Defendant argues that the trial court erred in: (1) denying his request for a continuance; (2) failing to exclude a witness statement written on the back of a photograph array due to a discovery violation; (3) ruling that photographs of text messages and the call log from the Defendant’s phone were properly authenticated; and (4) excluding testimony about alleged witness intimidation by the State. After review, we affirm the judgment of the trial court.

Shelby County Court of Criminal Appeals 11/29/18
State of Tennessee v. Marcus Williams
W2018-00498-CCA-R3-CD
Authoring Judge: Judge Alan E. Glenn
Trial Court Judge: Judge W. Mark Ward

On March 2, 2018, the Defendant, Marcus Williams, was convicted of two counts of identity theft; two counts of theft of property over $500 but less than $1000; one count of fraudulent use of a credit/debit card over $1000 but less than $10,000; and two counts of fraudulent use of a credit/debit card over $500 but less than $1000. He was sentenced as a Range II, multiple offender to a total effective sentence of twenty-four years, to be served consecutively to a prior twenty-year sentence, for a combined total of forty-four years. On appeal, the Defendant asserts that there is insufficient evidence to sustain his convictions and that the trial court abused its discretion in denying his motion to sever the offenses. After thorough review, we dismiss this appeal.

Shelby County Court of Criminal Appeals 11/29/18
State of Tennessee v. Jewel Moses Bess
M2017-01519-CCA-R3-CD
Authoring Judge: Judge J. Ross Dyer
Trial Court Judge: Judge David M. Bragg

A Rutherford County grand jury indicted the defendant, Jewel Moses Bess, with first degree murder for the death of his wife, the victim. Following trial, a jury found the defendant guilty as charged, and the trial court imposed a sentence of life imprisonment. On appeal, the defendant challenges the trial court’s evidentiary rulings allowing testimony of the victim’s intent to end their marriage and the defendant’s prior physical abuse of his son. After reviewing the record and considering the applicable law, we affirm the judgment of the trial court.

Rutherford County Court of Criminal Appeals 11/29/18
State of Tennessee v. Matthew Reynolds, Alphonso Richardson, Cynthia Dianne Skipper, and Derek Vicchitto
M2017-00169-CCA-R3-CD
Authoring Judge: Judge J. Ross Dyer
Trial Court Judge: Judge Jill Bartee Ayers

For their involvement in the death of the victim, Shirley Beck, the defendants, Matthew Reynolds, Alphonso Richardson, Cynthia Dianne Skipper, and Derek Vicchitto, were charged with one count of first degree murder (count one), one count of felony murder (count two), three counts of aggravated sexual battery (counts three, four, and five), and one count of especially aggravated kidnapping (count six). The trial court dismissed the three aggravated sexual battery counts against all four defendants before a jury convicted them of especially aggravated kidnapping. Additionally, in counts one and two, Defendants Reynolds and Richardson were convicted of first degree murder and felony murder as charged, Defendant Skipper was convicted of two counts of the lesser-included offense of criminally negligent homicide, and Defendant Vicchitto was convicted of two counts of the lesser-included offense of facilitation of second degree murder. The trial court merged each of the defendants’ convictions in counts one and two and imposed various sentences to each defendant. For Richardson’s convictions, the trial court imposed a life sentence plus twenty-five years which he challenges as excessive on appeal. Richardson, Reynolds, and Skipper challenge the sufficiency of the evidence supporting their convictions, both Richardson and Reynolds argue the trial court erred in instructing the jury, and Vicchitto challenges the trial court’s evidentiary ruling denying character evidence offered from his mother at trial. After our review, we affirm the evidence was sufficient to support the defendants’ convictions, conclude the trial court properly sentenced Richardson, and determine the trial court did not err in instructing the jury or in denying character evidence on behalf of Vicchitto. However, in merging each of the defendants’ convictions in counts one and two, the trial court failed to impose a sentence for the merged conviction. Therefore, we remand the case to the trial court for sentencing and the entry of completed judgment forms as to counts one and two for each defendant.

Montgomery County Court of Criminal Appeals 11/28/18
Randall Turner v. State of Tennessee
E2018-00520-CCA-R3-PC
Authoring Judge: Judge James Curwood Witt, Jr.
Trial Court Judge: Judge Don W. Poole

The petitioner, Randall Turner, appeals the denial of his petition for post-conviction relief, which petition challenged his 2001 guilty-pleaded convictions of first degree murder, aggravated kidnapping, and aggravated robbery. Discerning no error, we affirm.

Hamilton County Court of Criminal Appeals 11/28/18
Jared S. Aguilar v. State of Tennessee
M2017-01763-CCA-R3-PC
Authoring Judge: Judge Thomas T. Woodall
Trial Court Judge: Judge William R. Goodman, III

Petitioner, Jared S. Aguilar, appeals from the summary dismissal of his second petition for post-conviction relief. Petitioner was convicted of six counts of sexual exploitation of a minor and received an effective ten-year sentence. Petitioner claims that his grounds for relief in his original post-conviction petition were not resolved on the merits and that he did not receive a full and fair hearing. The State contends that the post-conviction court properly dismissed Petitioner’s second post-conviction petition. Upon review, we affirm the judgment of the post-conviction court.

Montgomery County Court of Criminal Appeals 11/27/18
Larry Jereller Alston v. State of Tennessee
E2017-02528-CCA-R3-PC
Authoring Judge: Judge James Curwood Witt, Jr.
Trial Court Judge: Judge Scott Green

The petitioner, Larry Jereller Alston, appeals the denial of his petition for post-conviction relief, which petition challenged his Knox County Criminal Court jury convictions of especially aggravated kidnapping, aggravated burglary, and aggravated robbery. In this appeal, the petitioner contends that the “all or nothing” plea offer extended by the State to the petitioner and his co-defendants was illegal, that the prosecutor’s subsequent withdrawal of that offer based upon personal animus toward his co-defendant’s counsel entitles him to post-conviction relief, and that the behavior of his co-defendant’s counsel during plea negotiations equates to a deprivation of the effective assistance of counsel sufficient to warrant post-conviction relief. Because the petitioner has failed to establish that he is entitled to post-conviction relief, we affirm.

Knox County Court of Criminal Appeals 11/27/18
State of Tennessee v. Jamie Lynn Moore
M2017-01877-CCA-R3-CD
Authoring Judge: Judge Camille R. McMullen
Trial Court Judge: Judge Steve R. Dozier

The Defendant-Appellant, Jamie Lynn Moore, was convicted by a Davidson County jury of aggravated kidnapping and violation of an order of protection, see T.C.A. §§ 39-13-304, -113, for which he received an effective sentence of nine years in confinement. The sole issue presented in this appeal is whether the evidence is sufficient to support his conviction for aggravated kidnapping. Specifically, the Defendant claims that the State failed to prove that he substantially interfered with the victim’s liberty. After review, we affirm the judgments of the trial court.

Davidson County Court of Criminal Appeals 11/26/18
State of Tennessee v. Sherry Anastasia Dodson
E2017-02480-CCA-WR-CO
Authoring Judge: Judge James Curwood Witt, Jr.
Trial Court Judge: Judge Bob McGee

On petition for writ of certiorari from the Knox County Criminal Court, the State challenges the order of that court denying its petition to have the appellee, Sherry Anastasia Dodson, declared a Motor Vehicle Habitual Offender (“MVHO”). The trial court erred by concluding that the State was required to proceed via Code section 55-10- 618 to have the appellee declared an MVHO in this case and that the State had waived the right to proceed at all by failing to follow the requirements of that section. Accordingly, the judgment of the trial court denying the State’s petition to have the appellee declared an MVHO is reversed, and the case is remanded for proceedings on the merit of the State’s petition.

Knox County Court of Criminal Appeals 11/26/18
State of Tennessee v. Cameron Wayne Caraker
M2017-02277-CCA-R3-CD
Authoring Judge: Judge Timothy L. Easter
Trial Court Judge: Judge Mark J. Fishburn

Defendant, Cameron Wayne Caraker, appeals the trial court’s decision to revoke his probation and order Defendant to serve 120 days in custody before being restarted on probation. Defendant argues the trial court abused its discretion because there was insufficient evidence to prove he knowingly violated an order of protection. Upon review of the record, we affirm the judgment of the trial court.

Davidson County Court of Criminal Appeals 11/26/18
State of Tennessee v. Carl Thomas Grosse
M2017-02202-CCA-R3-CD
Authoring Judge: Judge Norma McGee Ogle
Trial Court Judge: Judge Gary McKenzie

Pursuant to a plea agreement, the Appellant, Carl Thomas Grosse, pled guilty to two counts of aggravated burglary and received consecutive sentences of eight years and three years with the manner of service to be determined by the trial court. After a sentencing hearing, the trial court ordered the Appellant to serve his sentences in confinement. In this delayed appeal, the Appellant challenges the trial court’s denial of alternative sentencing. Upon review, we affirm the judgments of the trial court.

Putnam County Court of Criminal Appeals 11/26/18
State of Tennessee v. James Allen Jenkins - concurring in part, dissenting in part
E2017-01983-CCA-R3-CD
Authoring Judge: Judge Robert H. Montgomery, Jr.
Trial Court Judge: Judge James F. Goodwin

I agree with the majority’s conclusion that the Defendant-Appellant is not entitled to relief from his convictions. However, I write separately to address the admission of evidence during Tennessee Bureau of Investigation (TBI) Agent Michael Turbyville’s testimony related to CODIS and DNA profiles contained in CODIS. I conclude that the evidence was not hearsay because it was not offered to establish the presence of the Defendant-Appellant’s DNA on the cigarette butt found at the scene. Agent Turbyville’s testimony, in addition to other witness testimony, regarding CODIS and DNA profiles was offered to explain why the investigating officers obtained a sample of the Defendant- Appellant’s DNA, which, upon analysis by Agent Turbyville, matched the DNA profile on the cigarette butt.

Sullivan County Court of Criminal Appeals 11/20/18