Court of Criminal Appeals Opinions

Format: 01/17/2018
Format: 01/17/2018
Eric Dewayne Wallace v. State of Tennessee
W2017-00690-CCA-R3-HC
Authoring Judge: Presiding Judge Thomas T. Woodall
Trial Court Judge: Judge R. Lee Moore, Jr.

Eric Dewayne Wallace, Petitioner, filed a petition for writ of habeas corpus claiming that he was being illegally detained because his fifteen-year sentence for attempted first degree murder, which was ordered to be served consecutively to his life sentence for felony murder, has expired. The habeas corpus court summarily dismissed the petition. We affirm.

Lake County Court of Criminal Appeals 12/22/17
State of Tennessee v. Shelton Stone Goss
W2016-01227-CCA-R3-CD
Authoring Judge: Presiding Judge Thomas T. Woodall
Trial Court Judge: Judge Joe H. Walker, III

Defendant, Shelton Stone Goss, was convicted by a Tipton County Jury of attempted  second degree murder, aggravated burglary, five counts of burglary of a vehicle, two counts of theft under $500, one count of theft over $500, one count of theft over $1,000, employment of a firearm during the commission of a dangerous felony to wit: attempted second degree murder of Joshua Halleron, and possession of a firearm during the commission of a dangerous felony: to wit: aggravated burglary of the Halleron residence. He received an effective fourteen-year sentence to be served in confinement. On appeal, Defendant argues that the evidence was insufficient to support his convictions. After a thorough review of the record, we affirm the judgments of the trial court.

Tipton County Court of Criminal Appeals 12/22/17
State of Tennessee v. Trevor H. Taylor
E2016-01920-CCA-R3-CD
Authoring Judge: Judge T. Woodall, Presiding Judge
Trial Court Judge: Judge James F. Goodwin

Defendant, Trevor H. Taylor, pled guilty to three separate sales of cocaine. Corresponding guilty pleas to delivery of cocaine were merged with the sale of cocaine convictions. The negotiated plea agreement set a sentence of three years for each conviction, to be served concurrently with each other for an effective sentence of three years. The manner of service of the sentence was left to the determination of the trial court at a separate sentencing hearing. The trial court ordered the entire sentence to be served by incarceration. Defendant appeals, arguing that the trial court erred by denying “probation or other appropriate alternative sentencing.” After review, we affirm the judgments of the trial court.

Sullivan County Court of Criminal Appeals 12/22/17
State of Tennessee v. Daniel S. Sharp
E207-00614-CCA-R3-CD
Authoring Judge: Judge Robert H. Montgomery, Jr.
Trial Court Judge: Judge Tammy Harrington

The Defendant, Daniel S. Sharp, appeals from the Blount County Circuit Court’s order revoking his community corrections sentence for his convictions for three counts of aggravated assault and one count of robbery. The Defendant contends that the trial court abused its discretion by revoking his community corrections sentence and by ordering him to serve the remainder of his effective ten-year sentence in confinement. We affirm the judgment of the trial court. 

Blount County Court of Criminal Appeals 12/22/17
State of Tennessee v. Torry Holland
W2017-00691-CCA-R3-CD
Authoring Judge: Judge James Curwood Witt, Jr.
Trial Court Judge: Judge Lee V. Coffee

The defendant, Torry Holland, appeals the summary dismissal of his petition, filed pursuant to Tennessee Rule of Criminal Procedure 36.1, to correct what he believes to be an illegal sentence imposed for his convictions of drug and firearms possession. Discerning no error, we affirm the trial court’s order of summary dismissal. Although we affirm the order dismissing the defendant’s motion, we do notice a clerical error in the judgment form for count 3 in case number 12-00532 that requires entry of a corrected judgment in that count.

Shelby County Court of Criminal Appeals 12/21/17
Shaun Tailaferro v. State of Tennessee
W2017-00138-CCA-R3-PC
Authoring Judge: Judge James Curwood Witt, Jr.
Trial Court Judge: Judge Clayburn Peeples

The petitioner, Shaun Taliaferro, appeals the denial of post-conviction relief from his 2013 Haywood County Criminal Court jury convictions of second degree murder and possession of a firearm by a convicted felon, for which he received an effective sentence of 44 years. In this appeal, the petitioner contends that he was denied the effective assistance of counsel at trial. Discerning no error, we affirm.

Haywood County Court of Criminal Appeals 12/21/17
State of Tennessee v. Aaron Jermaine Clark
E2017-00616-CCA-R3-CD
Authoring Judge: Judge Robert L. Holloway, Jr.
Trial Court Judge: Judge Thomas C. Greenholtz

Aaron Jermaine Clark (“the Defendant”) appeals the trial court’s revocation of his probation and imposition of his sentences, claiming that he should have been granted an alternative sentence so that he could continue his course of drug rehabilitation. After a review of the record and applicable law, we conclude that the trial court did not abuse its discretion. The judgment of the trial court is affirmed.

Hamilton County Court of Criminal Appeals 12/21/17
Marlon Duane Kiser v. State of Tennessee
E2016-01644-CCA-R3-PD
Authoring Judge: Judge D. Kelly Thomas, Jr.
Trial Court Judge: Judge Don W. Poole

The Petitioner, Marlon Duane Kiser, appeals the Hamilton County Criminal Court’s denial of his petition for post-conviction relief challenging his 2003 first degree murder conviction and resulting death sentence. On appeal, the Petitioner alleges that the postconviction court should have granted post-conviction relief based upon allegations of the ineffective assistance of counsel during the guilt-innocence phase of the trial, the original trial judge’s failure to recuse himself for an inappropriate relationship with a victimwitness coordinator, the perjured testimony of a witness, and newly-discovered evidence raising doubt as to his guilt. Following our review, we affirm the judgment of the postconviction court.

Hamilton County Court of Criminal Appeals 12/21/17
State of Tennessee v. Kyle J. Dodd
W2017-00733-CCA-R3-CD
Authoring Judge: Judge D. Kelly Thomas
Trial Court Judge: Judge Russell Lee Moore, Jr.

The Defendant, Kyle J. Dodd, was convicted by a jury of driving under the influence (DUI), second offense, a Class A misdemeanor. See Tenn. Code Ann. §§ 55-10-401, - 402(a)(2). The trial court imposed a sentence of eleven months and twenty-nine days with fifty days to be served in confinement and the remainder to be served on supervised probation. On appeal, the Defendant contends that the trial court erred in denying his motion to suppress his statements to the investigating officer and “all evidence derived from” his statements because the officer did not properly inform him of his rights pursuant to Miranda v. Arizona, 384 U.S. 436 (1966). However, our review of the record reveals that the Defendant failed to raise this issue in a timely motion for new trial; thereby, waiving full appellate review. Additionally, we conclude that plain error review of the issue is not warranted. Accordingly, we affirm the judgment of the trial court.

Dyer County Court of Criminal Appeals 12/20/17
James Clark Jr. v. State of Tennessee
W2017-00196-CCA-R3-ECN
Authoring Judge: Judge Robert L. Holloway, Jr.
Trial Court Judge: Judge James M. Lammey

The Petitioner, James Clark, Jr., appeals pro se from the Shelby County Criminal Court’s summary dismissal of his petition for writ of error coram nobis. He contends that the coram nobis court erred in dismissing the petition. Upon review, we affirm the judgment of the coram nobis court.

Shelby County Court of Criminal Appeals 12/19/17
Travis Steed v. State of Tennessee
W2017-00156-CCA-R3-PC
Authoring Judge: Judge Robert L. Holloway, Jr.
Trial Court Judge: Judge Donald H. Allen

Travis Steed (“the Petitioner”) petitioned for post-conviction relief from his convictions of first degree felony murder, second degree murder, felony reckless endangerment, convicted felon in possession of a handgun, and attempted second degree murder. Following a hearing, the post-conviction court denied relief. On appeal, the Petitioner claims that he was denied effective assistance of counsel as a result of trial counsel’s failure to interview and call certain witnesses that the Petitioner contends were critical to his defense. After a thorough review of the appellate record and applicable law, we affirm the judgment of the post-conviction court.

Madison County Court of Criminal Appeals 12/19/17
State of Tennessee v. Jeffrey Glynn McCoy
W2016-01619-CCA-R3-CD
Authoring Judge: Judge James Curwood Witt, Jr.
Trial Court Judge: Judge Clayburn Peeples

The defendant, Jeffrey Glynn McCoy, appeals the total effective sentence of 12 years imposed for his Gibson County guilty-pleaded convictions of burglary and theft of property valued at $10,000 or more but less than $60,000, arguing that the trial court erred by imposing terms of 12 years and by ordering that he serve the effective sentence consecutively to a sentence previously imposed in South Carolina. Discerning no error, we affirm.

Gibson County Court of Criminal Appeals 12/19/17
State of Tennessee v. Guy Len Biggs
W2016-01781-CCA-R3-CD
Authoring Judge: Judge J. Ross Dyer
Trial Court Judge: Judge Donald E. Parish

The defendant, Guy Len Biggs, pled guilty to aggravated perjury and fabrication of evidence in violation of Tennessee Code Annotated sections 39-16-703 and 39-16-503. For his respective crimes, the trial court imposed concurrent sentences of four and five years in the Tennessee Department of Correction. The trial court ordered the effective five-year sentence to run consecutively to a prior, twelve-year sentence for attempted second degree murder. On appeal, the defendant argues the trial court abused its discretion by ordering his present sentences to run consecutively to his prior sentence. The defendant also vaguely challenges the length and manner of service of his sentences for aggravated perjury and fabrication of evidence. Following our review of the briefs, the record, and the applicable law, we affirm the defendant’s four and five-year sentences to be served in confinement, consecutively to the twelve-year sentence for attempted second degree murder.

Henry County Court of Criminal Appeals 12/19/17
State of Tennessee v. Kevin Turner
W2016-02599-CCA-R3-CD
Authoring Judge: Judge Alan E. Glenn
Trial Court Judge: Judge Carolyn W. Blackett

The Defendant, Kevin Turner, was convicted by a Shelby County Criminal Court jury of aggravated robbery, a Class B felony, and was sentenced to eight years in the Tennessee Department of Correction. On appeal, he challenges the sufficiency of the convicting evidence. After review, we affirm the judgment of the trial court.

Shelby County Court of Criminal Appeals 12/19/17
J.W. Causey v. State of Tennessee
W2017-00470-CCA-R3-PC
Authoring Judge: Judge James Curwood Witt, Jr
Trial Court Judge: Judge Chris Craft

The petitioner, J.W. Causey, appeals the denial of post-conviction relief from his 2013 Shelby County Criminal Court jury conviction of first degree murder, for which he received a sentence of life imprisonment. In this appeal, the petitioner contends only that he was denied the effective assistance of counsel at trial. Discerning no error, we affirm.

Shelby County Court of Criminal Appeals 12/19/17
State of Tennessee v. Michael Nelson Hurt
E2016-02507-CCA-R3-CD
Authoring Judge: Judge Timothy L. Easter
Trial Court Judge: Judge Alex E. Pearson

Defendant, Michael Nelson Hurt, pled guilty to official misconduct and theft of property valued over $1000 and accepted an out-of-range sentence of six years’ probation. Defendant applied to the trial court for judicial diversion, which the trial court denied. On appeal, Defendant argues that the trial court erred in failing to consider all of the common law factors in determining Defendant’s suitability for diversion, resulting in a sentence that is disproportionately punitive. Upon our review of the record, we affirm the judgments of the trial court but remand the case for the entry of judgment forms on each charge that was disposed of by way of the plea agreement.

Hamblen County Court of Criminal Appeals 12/18/17
State of Tennessee v. Steven David Catalano
M2016-02272-CCA-R3-CD
Authoring Judge: Judge Norma McGee Ogle
Trial Court Judge: Judge Joseph Woodruff

The Appellant, Steven David Catalano, entered a plea of nolo contendere to driving under the influence (DUI), reserving a certified question of law challenging whether a be-on-the-lookout report (BOLO) issued by a Brentwood police officer provided sufficient probable cause or reasonable suspicion to justify a Franklin police officer’s traffic stop of the Appellant’s vehicle. The State contends that the question presented is not dispositive; therefore, this court is without jurisdiction to consider the appeal. Upon review of the record and the parties’ briefs, we agree with the State and conclude that the appeal must be dismissed.

Williamson County Court of Criminal Appeals 12/18/17
State of Tennessee v. Katherine Hart Collier
M2017-00511-CCA-R3-CD
Authoring Judge: Judge Robert H. Montgomery, Jr.
Trial Court Judge: Judge Stella Hargrove

The State of Tennessee appeals the Maury County Circuit Court’s orders suppressing evidence and dismissing the indictment, which charged the Defendant with driving under the influence (DUI), DUI per se, violating the implied consent law, failure to maintain a motor vehicle within a lane of traffic, and violating the open container law. On appeal, the State contends that the trial court erred by granting the Defendant’s motion to suppress the blood alcohol concentration (BAC) evidence and by dismissing the indictment. We conclude that the trial court did not err by suppressing the evidence but that the court erred by dismissing the indictment in its entirety. Although we affirm the dismissal of the indictment count charging DUI per se, we remand the case to the trial court for reinstatement of the remaining charges in the indictment and for further proceedings.

Maury County Court of Criminal Appeals 12/15/17
State of Tennessee v. Milvern Hoss, Jr.
M2016-01927-CCA-R3-CD
Authoring Judge: Judge J. Ross Dyer
Trial Court Judge: Judge David M. Bragg

Following a bench trial, the trial court found the defendant, Milvern Hoss, Jr., guilty of violating the requirements of the sexual offender registry due to his failure to report monthly, for which he received a sentence of four years of incarceration. On appeal, the defendant asserts the Tennessee Sexual Offender and Violent Sexual Offender Registration, Verification, and Tracking Act of 2004 is unconstitutional in its application to him, and the trial court lacked sufficient evidence to sustain the conviction. Following our review of the record and pertinent authorities, we affirm the judgment of the trial court.

Rutherford County Court of Criminal Appeals 12/15/17
State of Tennessee v. Jerry Dixon
M2016-01517-CCA-R3-CD
Authoring Judge: Judge Robert H. Montgomery, Jr.
Trial Court Judge: Judge Louis W. Oliver, III

The Defendant, Jerry Dixon, was convicted by a Sumner County Criminal Court jury of reckless endangerment, a Class A misdemeanor, for which he received a sentence of eleven months, twenty-nine days, with sixty days to be served in jail, 180 days to be served on house arrest, and the balance to be served on probation. See T.C.A. § 39-13-103 (2014). On appeal, he contends that the evidence is insufficient to support his conviction and that the trial court erred in excluding evidence of a witness’s prior inconsistent statement. We affirm the judgment of the trial court.

Sumner County Court of Criminal Appeals 12/15/17
State of Tennessee v. Andrew Bernard Beverly
E2017-00056-CCA-R3-CD
Authoring Judge: Judge J. Ross Dyer
Trial Court Judge: Judge Paul G. Summers

After a jury trial, the defendant, Andrew Bernard Beverly, was convicted of first-degree premeditated murder, first-degree felony murder, attempted first-degree murder, and possession of a firearm during the commission of a dangerous felony. On appeal, the defendant asserts the evidence was insufficient to support his convictions for premeditated murder, felony murder, and attempted murder, arguing the State failed to prove the appropriate mens rea for the offenses. The defendant also claims the trial court erred in denying his motion to suppress three statements made after his arrest claiming his Miranda waiver prior to the initial interview did not pass constitutional muster. Following our review, we affirm the judgments of the trial court.

Sevier County Court of Criminal Appeals 12/14/17
State of Tennessee v. Sandra Darlene Wood
M2016-01225-CCA-R3-CD
Authoring Judge: Presiding Judge Thomas T. Woodall
Trial Court Judge: Judge Forest A. Durard, Jr.

Defendant, Sandra Darlene Wood, was convicted following a jury trial in Marshall County Circuit Court of one count of cruelty to animals. Following a sentencing hearing, the trial court sentenced Defendant to 11 months, 29 days suspended on probation after 45 days’ incarceration and ordered Defendant to pay $4,134 in restitution to Volunteer Equine Advocates. Defendant raises three issues on appeal: (1) whether the evidence is sufficient to sustain her conviction for cruelty to animals; (2) whether the sentence imposed is excessive and contrary to the law; and (3) whether the trial court properly admitted testimony regarding a prior visit by a Sheriff’s Department Detective to her farm in June, 2014. After a careful review of the record and the briefs of the parties, we affirm the judgment of the trial court.

Marshall County Court of Criminal Appeals 12/14/17
State of Tennessee v. Antonio Durham
W2016-02194-CCA-R3-CD
Authoring Judge: Judge Norma McGee Ogle
Trial Court Judge: Judge James M. Lammey

A Shelby County Criminal Court Jury convicted the Appellant, Antonio Durham, of attempted rape, a Class C felony, and sexual battery, a Class E felony. After a sentencing hearing, the trial court merged the convictions and sentenced the Appellant to ten years in confinement. On appeal, the Appellant contends that the evidence is insufficient to support the convictions and that the trial court erred by failing to instruct the jury on Class B misdemeanor assault as a lesser-included offense of attempted rape. The State claims that the trial court erred by merging the convictions. Based upon the oral arguments, the record, and the parties’ briefs, we conclude that the trial court committed plain error by merging the Appellant’s convictions and remand the case to the trial court for resentencing.

Shelby County Court of Criminal Appeals 12/14/17
State of Tennessee v. Michael Lee Hooper
E2016-02538-CCA-R3-CD
Authoring Judge: Judge Robert W. Wedemeyer
Trial Court Judge: Judge David R. Duggan

The Defendant, Michael Lee Hooper, stipulated that he violated the terms of his probation by being arrested for possession of a Schedule II substance with the intent to sell or deliver it and for maintaining a dwelling for controlled substance use or sales, for stopping payment of his court costs, and for testing positive for cocaine. The trial court found that the Defendant had violated the terms of his probation and ordered that he serve his sentence in confinement. On appeal, the Defendant contends that the trial court erred when it sentenced him to serve his sentence because this was his first violation in thirteen years of probation. After review, we affirm the trial court’s judgment.

Blount County Court of Criminal Appeals 12/13/17
Michael Barnes v. State of Tennessee
E2017-00048-CCA-R3-PC
Authoring Judge: Judge Robert L. Holloway, Jr.
Trial Court Judge: Judge Lisa Rice

The Petitioner, Michael Barnes, appeals the denial of post-conviction relief from his 2013 Johnson County Criminal Court conviction of possession of contraband in a penal institution, for which he received a sentence of fifteen years. In this appeal, the Petitioner contends that he was denied the effective assistance of counsel because trial counsel failed to: (1) “object with regard to the chain of custody”; (2) “object with regard to the entry of exhibits into evidence”; (3) explain to the Petitioner the maximum sentence that he faced; and (4) address the issue of “selective prosecution.” Discerning no error, we affirm the denial of post-conviction relief.

Johnson County Court of Criminal Appeals 12/13/17