Court of Criminal Appeals Opinions

Format: 01/18/2017
Format: 01/18/2017
State of Tennessee v. Timothy John McKnight, Jr.
M2015-02306-CCA-R3-CD
Authoring Judge: Judge Timothy L. Easter
Trial Court Judge: Judge Mark J. Fishburn

Defendant, Timothy John McKnight, Jr., appeals from his conviction of aggravated robbery, arguing that the evidence is insufficient and that the trial court abused its discretion by improperly limiting cross-examination of two witnesses.  After carefully reviewing the record, we affirm the judgment of the trial court.

Davidson County Court of Criminal Appeals 09/19/16
State of Tennessee v. Shenekia M. Parks
M2015-01888-CCA-R3-CD
Authoring Judge: Judge J. Ross Dyer
Trial Court Judge: Judge David M. Bragg

The defendant, Shenekia M. Parks, was sentenced by the trial court to ten years in the Tennessee Department of Correction after pleading guilty to attempted aggravated child neglect. On appeal, the defendant argues that the trial court improperly enhanced her sentence for attempted aggravated child neglect, a Class B felony, from the minimum of eight years to ten years. The defendant argues the trial court failed to properly apply the applicable enhancement and mitigating factors to her sentence. The defendant also contends that the trial court erroneously denied her request for alternative sentencing. Following our review of the briefs, the record, and the applicable law, we affirm the defendant’s ten-year sentence.

Rutherford County Court of Criminal Appeals 09/19/16
State of Tennessee v. Donald Peden
M2015-01252-CCA-R3-CD
Authoring Judge: Judge Camille R. McMullen
Trial Court Judge: Judge Mark J. Fishburn

This case arises from the attempted murder of Latoya Pipkins in September of 2012.  For this offense, the Defendant-Appellant, Donald Peden, was indicted by the Davidson County Grand Jury for attempted first degree murder in count one, especially aggravated robbery in count two, and theft of property valued at more than five hundred dollars, but less than one thousand dollars, in count three.  Prior to trial, Peden filed a motion in limine to exclude evidence recovered from a vehicle that he and the victim jointly owned.  He also asked the court to exclude photographs of his hands as well as clothing that was taken by investigating officers while he was incarcerated.  Following a trial, the State withdrew count three, and the jury convicted Peden of attempted first degree murder in count one and the lesser-included offense of theft of property in count two.  The trial court sentenced Peden to eleven months and twenty nine days’ incarceration on count two, and after a separate sentencing hearing, sentenced Peden as a Range III career offender to sixty years’ incarceration on count one.  On appeal, Peden argues that (1) the evidence is insufficient to support his attempted first degree murder conviction; (2) the trial court erred in denying his motions to suppress evidence seized in violation of his Fourth, Fifth, and Sixth Amendment rights; and (3) improperly sentenced him as a Range III, career offender.  Upon review, we affirm the judgment of the trial court.

Davidson County Court of Criminal Appeals 09/19/16
State of Tennessee v. Robert L. Lyle
M2015-00480-CCA-R3-CD
Authoring Judge: Judge James Curwood Witt, Jr.
Trial Court Judge: Judge David M. Bragg

The defendant, Robert L. Lyle, appeals the revocation of his community corrections sentence, claiming that the trial court erred by ordering that he serve a portion of his total effective sentence in confinement.  Discerning no error, we affirm.

Cannon County Court of Criminal Appeals 09/19/16
Timothy W. Sparrow v. State of Tennessee
M2016-00050-CCA-R3-PC
Authoring Judge: Judge James Curwood Witt, Jr.
Trial Court Judge: Judge Michael W. Binkley

The petitioner, Timothy W. Sparrow, appeals the denial of his petition for post-conviction relief, which petition challenged his 2011 Williamson County Circuit Court jury convictions of second degree murder, attempted first degree murder, and attempted aggravated robbery.  In this appeal, he claims that he was deprived of the effective assistance of counsel at trial.  Discerning no error, we affirm the denial of post-conviction relief.

Williamson County Court of Criminal Appeals 09/19/16
State of Tennessee v. Xavier Tull-Morales
M2015-01368-CCA-R3-CD
Authoring Judge: Judge Camille R. McMullen
Trial Court Judge: Judge J. Randall Wyatt, Jr.

The Davidson County Grand Jury returned an indictment against the Defendant-Appellant, Xavier Tull-Morales, and his two codefendants, Alberto Conde-Valentino and Rodney Earl Jones, charging them with one count of first degree felony murder and one count of especially aggravated robbery.  Conde-Valentino filed a motion to sever the defendants’ cases, which Tull-Morales joined, and the trial court denied the motion.  Following a jury trial, Tull-Morales, along with his codefendants, were found guilty of the charged offenses of felony murder and especially aggravated robbery, and he received concurrent sentences of life imprisonment and fifteen years, respectively.  On appeal, Tull-Morales argues:  (1) the trial court abused its discretion in denying his motion to sever his case from that of his codefendants; (2) the trial court erred in failing to instruct the jury that accomplice testimony and/or co-conspirator testimony must be corroborated; and (3) the evidence is insufficient to sustain his convictions.  Upon review, we affirm the judgments of the trial court.

Davidson County Court of Criminal Appeals 09/19/16
John Gray v. State of Tennessee
W2015-01921-CCA-R3-PC
Authoring Judge: Judge J. Ross Dyer
Trial Court Judge: Judge James M. Lammey

The petitioner entered pleas of nolo contendere to aggravated robbery, robbery, and fraudulent use of a credit card for which he received an effective sentence of twelve years. He filed the instant post-conviction petition, and following an evidentiary hearing, the post-conviction court denied relief. On appeal, the petitioner contends his guilty plea was not knowingly, intelligently, and voluntarily entered due to ineffective assistance of counsel. Upon review of the record and the applicable law, we affirm the judgment of the post-conviction court.

Shelby County Court of Criminal Appeals 09/16/16
State of Tennessee v. Michael Frazier
W2015-01537-CCA-R3-CD
Authoring Judge: Judge Alan E. Glenn
Trial Court Judge: Judge Lee V. Coffee

The defendant, Michael Frazier, was convicted by a Shelby County Criminal Court jury of especially aggravated kidnapping, a Class A felony; aggravated robbery, a Class B felony; and carrying a weapon with the intent to go armed, a Class A misdemeanor. He was sentenced by the trial court to an effective term of thirty-seven years, eleven months, and twenty-nine days in the Department of Correction. The sole issue he raises on appeal is whether the evidence is sufficient to sustain his especially aggravated kidnapping and aggravated robbery convictions. Following our review, we affirm the judgments of the trial court.

Court of Criminal Appeals 09/16/16
Torriano Floyd v. State of Tennessee
W2015-02341-CCA-R3-PC
Authoring Judge: Judge Alan E. Glenn
Trial Court Judge: Judge W. Mark Ward

The petitioner, Torriano Floyd, appeals the denial of his petition for post-conviction relief, arguing that the post-conviction court erred in finding that he received effective assistance of counsel. Following our review, we affirm the denial of the petition.

Shelby County Court of Criminal Appeals 09/16/16
Desmond Shelton Spann v. State of Tennessee
M2015-00103-CCA-R3-PC
Authoring Judge: Judge Norma McGee Ogle
Trial Court Judge: Judge Monte Watkins

The Petitioner, Desmond Shelton Spann, filed a petition in the Davidson County Criminal Court seeking post-conviction relief from his convictions of possession of 300 grams or more of cocaine with the intent to deliver within 1,000 feet of a school and conspiracy to possess 300 grams or more of cocaine with the intent to deliver within 1,000 feet of a school.  The Petitioner alleged that his counsel was ineffective at trial and on appeal.  The post-conviction court denied the petition, and the Petitioner appeals.  Upon review, we affirm the judgment of the post-conviction court.

Davidson County Court of Criminal Appeals 09/16/16
Willie Andrew Cole v. State of Tennessee
M2015-02087-CCA-R3-PC
Authoring Judge: Presiding Judge Thomas T. Woodall
Trial Court Judge: Judge Steve R. Dozier

Petitioner, Willie Andrew Cole, appeals pro se from the post-conviction court’s summary dismissal of his post-conviction petition for DNA analysis.  Petitioner contends that the trial court erred by denying his request for DNA testing pursuant to the Post-Conviction DNA Analysis Act.  We affirm the judgment of the post-conviction court.

Davidson County Court of Criminal Appeals 09/16/16
State of Tennessee v. Rickey Lee Brown, Jr.
M2015-01730-CCA-R3-CD
Authoring Judge: Judge Norma McGee Ogle
Trial Court Judge: Judge Dee David Gay

The appellant, Rickey Lee Brown, Jr., was convicted in the Sumner County Criminal Court of driving under the influence (DUI); DUI per se; DUI, fourth offense; and driving on a revoked license.  The trial court merged the first three offenses and sentenced the appellant as a Range II, multiple offender to four years for DUI, fourth offense.  The trial court sentenced him to six months in confinement to be served at 75% release eligibility for driving on a revoked license and ordered that the four-year sentence be served consecutively to the six-month sentence.  On appeal, the appellant contends that his four-year sentence is excessive.  Based upon the record and the parties’ briefs, we affirm the judgments of the trial court.

Sumner County Court of Criminal Appeals 09/16/16
State of Tennessee v. Gregory L. Moody
W2016-00425-CCA-R3-CD
Authoring Judge: Judge John Everett Williams
Trial Court Judge: Judge R. Lee Moore, Jr.

The trial court found that the Defendant, Gregory L. Moody, violated the conditions of his probation when he was arrested and convicted of multiple crimes in North Carolina and failed to appear at his first meeting with his probation officer. The Defendant asserts that his due process rights were violated by the trial court because of a delayed hearing on the violation of probation and lack of appointed counsel, and he asserts he is entitled to sentencing credits. After a thorough review of the record, we affirm the judgment of the trial court.

Dyer County Court of Criminal Appeals 09/15/16
State of Tennessee v. Allen Booker
W2015-02020-CCA-R3-CD
Authoring Judge: Judge Alan E. Glenn
Trial Court Judge: Judge J. Robert Carter, Jr.

The defendant, Allen Booker, was convicted by a Shelby County Criminal Court jury of aggravated robbery, a Class B felony, and was sentenced to ten years in the Department of Correction. On appeal, he argues that the trial court erred in denying his motion to suppress his statement and that the evidence is insufficient to sustain his conviction. After review, we affirm the judgment of the trial court.

Shelby County Court of Criminal Appeals 09/15/16
State of Tennessee v. Thomas Edward Kotewa
E2015-02111-CCA-R3-CD
Authoring Judge: Judge James Curwood Witt, Jr.
Trial Court Judge: Judge Donald R. Elledge

The defendant, Thomas Edward Kotewa, appeals the summary dismissal of his motion, filed pursuant to Tennessee Rule of Criminal Procedure 36.1, to correct what he believes to be an illegal sentence imposed for his 2006 Anderson County Criminal Court guilty-pleaded conviction of second degree murder. Discerning no error, we affirm.

Anderson County Court of Criminal Appeals 09/15/16
State of Tennessee v. Lajuan Harbison
E2015-02170-CCA-R3-CD
Authoring Judge: Judge Robert H. Montgomery, Jr.
Trial Court Judge: Judge Steven W. Sword

The Defendant, Lajuan Harbison, was convicted by a Knox County Criminal Court jury of attempt to commit second degree murder, a Class B felony, and employing a firearm during commission of a dangerous felony, a Class C felony. See T.C.A. §§ 39-13-210(a)(1) (2014) (second degree murder), 39-17-1324 (2014) (employing a firearm during the commission of a dangerous felony), 39-12-101(a) (2014) (criminal attempt). The Defendant received an effective sixteen-year sentence. On appeal, the Defendant contends that (1) the evidence is insufficient to support his convictions, (2) the trial court erred by denying his motion for a judgment of acquittal, and (3) the trial court erred by classifying him as a dangerous offender and ordering consecutive service of his effective sentence with his sentence in a previous case. We affirm the judgments of the trial court.

Knox County Court of Criminal Appeals 09/14/16
State of Tennessee v. Myron Pierre Walton
E2016-00210-CCA-R3-CD
Authoring Judge: Judge Robert H. Montgomery, Jr.
Trial Court Judge: Judge Barry A. Steelman

The Defendant, Myron Pierre Walton, entered guilty pleas in case numbers 232819 and 232878 to two counts of possession of cocaine with intent to sell. The Defendant was sentenced to serve concurrent sentences of eight years on supervised probation. Later, in case number 242679, the Defendant pleaded guilty to aggravated assault. The trial court revoked the Defendant’s probation in cases 232819 and 232878 and sentenced him to serve three years concurrently to the previously-imposed eight-year sentences. On August 21, 2014, the Defendant filed a motion pursuant to Tennessee Criminal Procedure Rule 36.1 requesting that the trial court correct illegal sentences. The trial court summarily denied relief, and the Defendant appealed. This court reversed the judgment of the trial court and remanded the case for further proceedings. On remand, the trial court summarily denied relief because of changes in the controlling law. The Defendant appeals the trial court’s denial of relief. We affirm the judgment of the trial court.

Hamilton County Court of Criminal Appeals 09/14/16
State of Tennessee v. Kenneth A. Jones
M2015-02045-CCA-R3-CD
Authoring Judge: Judge Timothy L. Easter
Trial Court Judge: Judge Mark J. Fishburn

Defendant, Kenneth A. Jones, was convicted of one count of robbery and sentenced to fifteen years.  On appeal, Defendant argues that the trial court erred by failing to grant a mistrial after a State’s witness made reference to other crimes of which Defendant was suspected.  Upon our review of the record, we affirm the judgment of the trial court.

Davidson County Court of Criminal Appeals 09/12/16
Jerome Sidney Barrett v. State of Tennessee
M2015-01143-CCA-R3-PC
Authoring Judge: Judge Camille R. McMullen
Trial Court Judge: Judge Steve R. Dozier

The Petitioner, Jerome Sidney Barrett, appeals from the post-conviction court’s denial of relief from his conviction for first degree premeditated murder. In this appeal, the Petitioner argues that he received ineffective assistance of counsel and that the post-conviction court erred in denying his request for independent DNA testing.  Upon review, we are compelled to reverse the judgment of the post-conviction court and remand for new hearings to determine whether the Petitioner is entitled to post-conviction relief and independent DNA testing...

Davidson County Court of Criminal Appeals 09/12/16
State of Tennessee v. Antonio Champion
W2016-00675-CCA-R3-CD
Authoring Judge: Judge J. Ross Dyer
Trial Court Judge: Judge Kyle Atkins

The defendant, Antonio Champion, appeals the trial court’s denial of his motion to correct an illegal sentence pursuant to Rule 36.1 of the Tennessee Rules of Criminal Procedure. Because the challenged sentences are expired, the defendant is not entitled relief. Accordingly, we affirm the judgment of the trial court.

Madison County Court of Criminal Appeals 09/09/16
Danny R. Mays v. State of Tennessee
W2015-02237-CCA-R3-PC
Authoring Judge: Judge J. Ross Dyer
Trial Court Judge: Judge Donald H. Allen

The petitioner, Danny R. Mays, appeals the denial of his post-conviction petition, arguing the post-conviction court erred in finding he received effective assistance of counsel at trial and on direct appeal. After our review of the record, briefs, and applicable law, we affirm the denial of the petition.

Madison County Court of Criminal Appeals 09/09/16
Antonio Bonds v. State of Tennessee
W2015-02393-CCA-R3-PC
Authoring Judge: Judge J. Ross Dyer
Trial Court Judge: Judge John Wheeler Campbell

The petitioner, Antonio Bonds, appeals the Shelby County Criminal Court’s preliminary order dismissing his third petition for post-conviction relief. The petitioner claims the post-conviction court erred in dismissing his petition as time-barred. Upon review, we affirm the post-conviction court’s preliminary order dismissing the petition.

Shelby County Court of Criminal Appeals 09/09/16
State of Tennessee v. Joe Willis
W2015-01839-CCA-R3-CD
Authoring Judge: Judge Camille R. McMullen
Trial Court Judge: Judge John Wheeler Campbell

The Defendant-Appellant, Joe Willis, was convicted by a Shelby County jury as charged of two counts of aggravated assault, one count of aggravated burglary, one count of theft of property valued at $500 or less, and one count of evading arrest, and the trial court imposed an effective ten-year sentence. In his sole issue on appeal, Willis challenges the sufficiency of the evidence supporting his convictions. We affirm the judgments of the trial court.

Shelby County Court of Criminal Appeals 09/09/16
State of Tennessee v. Bakary Kassama
W2016-00084-CCA-R3-CD
Authoring Judge: Judge Alan E. Glenn
Trial Court Judge: Judge John W. Campbell

The defendant, Bakary Kassama, appeals the trial court’s summary dismissal of his Tennessee Rule of Criminal Procedure 36.1 motion to correct an illegal sentence. Because the defendant failed to state a colorable claim for Rule 36.1 relief, we affirm the summary dismissal of the motion pursuant to Rule 20, Rules of the Court of Criminal Appeals.

Shelby County Court of Criminal Appeals 09/09/16
Johnny Parker v. State of Tennessee
W2015-01383-CCA-R3-PC
Authoring Judge: Judge Alan E. Glenn
Trial Court Judge: Judge R. Lee Moore, Jr.

The petitioner, Johnny Parker, acting pro se, appeals the post-conviction court's denial of his petitions for post-conviction relief, which, at his request, this court consolidated for the purposes of appeal. On appeal, as we understand, he argues as to both that his post-conviction counsel was ineffective. After review, we affirm the denial of the petitions.

Lake County Court of Criminal Appeals 09/09/16