Court of Criminal Appeals Opinions

Format: 09/23/2014
Format: 09/23/2014
Antwan Yumata Hunter v. State of Tennessee
M2013-01142-CCA-R3-PC
Authoring Judge: Judge John Everett Williams
Trial Court Judge: Judge Monte Watkins

The petitioner, Antwan Yumata Hunter, pled guilty to one count of the sale of less than 0.5 grams of cocaine, a Class C felony.  On appeal, he argues that he received ineffective assistance of counsel that rendered his guilty plea involuntary.  Specifically, he contends that trial counsel were ineffective for failing to advise him of a mandatory fine that accompanied his guilty plea; for failing to file pretrial motions, including a motion to suppress; and for failing to fully investigate his case.  After a thorough review of the record, we affirm the judgment of the post-conviction court.

Davidson County Court of Criminal Appeals 07/08/14
Antwon Cook v. State of Tennessee
E2014-00214-CCA-R3-ECN
Authoring Judge: Judge Joseph M. Tipton
Trial Court Judge: Judge Carroll L. Ross

The Petitioner, Antwon Cook, appeals the Bradley County Criminal Court’s denial of his petition for a writ of error coram nobis regarding his convictions for possession of more than one-half gram of cocaine with the intent to sell and sale of more than one-half gram of cocaine, for which he is serving an effective eight-year sentence. The Petitioner contends that the trial court erred by denying him relief. We affirm the judgment of the trial court.

Bradley County Court of Criminal Appeals 07/08/14
State of Tennessee v. David Wayne Felts
M2013-00939-CCA-R3-CD
Authoring Judge: Judge Robert W. Wedemeyer
Trial Court Judge: Judge Steve R. Dozier

A Davidson County jury convicted the Defendant, David Wayne Felts, of six counts of rape of a child and two counts of aggravated sexual battery.  The trial court sentenced the Defendant as a Range II, multiple offender to a total effective sentence of one hundred and fourteen years to be served in the Tennessee Department of Correction.  On appeal, the Defendant contends: (1) the evidence is insufficient to support his rape of a child conviction in Count 2; (2) the trial court failed to compel the State to elect specific facts sufficient to distinguish Count 6 from Count 5; (3) the trial court erred when it admitted into evidence the victim’s statement to a nurse practitioner as a statement made for the purpose of medical diagnosis and treatment, pursuant to Tennessee Rule of Evidence 803(4); (4) the trial court erred when it admitted into evidence the victim’s statement as a prior consistent statement; and (5) the trial court imposed an excessive sentence.  After a thorough review of the record and applicable law, we affirm the judgments of the trial court.

Davidson County Court of Criminal Appeals 07/08/14
State of Tennessee v. Randy Sherrill
W2013-01306-CCA-R3-CD
Authoring Judge: Judge Robert W. Wedemeyer
Trial Court Judge: Judge Russell Lee Moore Jr.

A Lake County jury convicted the Defendant, Randy Sherrill, of sale of a Schedule II controlled substance in a drug-free zone. The trial court sentenced the Defendant to serve eight years as a multiple offender. On appeal, the Defendant contends that: (1) “Markham Park” is not listed as a “park” by the State of Tennessee, the City of Tiptonville, or the Federal Government; (2) the State committed a Brady violation by not informing defense counsel of its confidential informant’s drug use during the time period of his transactions with the Defendant; (3) the State failed to prove chain of custody; and (4) the trial court, Tiptonville Police Chief England, and the State, engaged in improper conversations with the jury after jury deliberations had begun. After a thorough review of the record and the applicable authorities, we affirm the trial court’s judgment.

Lake County Court of Criminal Appeals 07/07/14
Billy McIllwain v. State of Tennessee
W2013-02306-CCA-R3-PC
Authoring Judge: Presiding Judge Joseph M. Tipton
Trial Court Judge: Judge Clayburn Peeples

The Petitioner, Billy McIllwain, appeals the Gibson County Circuit Court’s denial of his petition for post-conviction relief from his 2009 convictions for first degree murder, two counts of aggravated assault, and possession of a deadly weapon with the intent to employ it in the commission of the offense and his effective sentence of life plus six years. The Petitioner contends that the trial court erred by denying him relief because he received the ineffective assistance of counsel. We affirm the judgment of the trial court.

Gibson County Court of Criminal Appeals 07/07/14
State of Tennessee v. Kenneth Hamm
W2013-01125-CCA-R3-CD
Authoring Judge: Presiding Judge Joseph M. Tipton
Trial Court Judge: Judge W. Mark Ward

The Defendant, Kenneth Hamm, was convicted by a Shelby County Criminal Court jury of attempt to commit rape of a child, a Class B felony. See T.C.A. §§ 39-13-522 (2010) (rape of a child), 39-12-101 (criminal attempt), 39-12-107 (criminal attempt classification). The trial court sentenced him as a Range I, standard offender to ten years and one month in confinement. On appeal, he contends that (1) the evidence is insufficient to support his conviction; (2) the trial court erred in admitting into evidence his uncorroborated statements to Officer Diffee; (3) the court erred in excluding evidence of the victim’s previous allegations of sexual abuse by others; and (4) the court erred by applying insufficient weight to the mitigating factors during sentencing. We affirm the judgment of the trial court.

Shelby County Court of Criminal Appeals 07/07/14
State of Tennessee v. Deon Lamont Cartmell
M2012-01925-CCA-R3-CD
Authoring Judge: Presiding Judge Joseph M. Tipton
Trial Court Judge: Judge J. Randall Wyatt

The Defendant, Deon Lamont Cartmell, was convicted by a Davidson County Criminal Court jury of second degree murder, a Class A felony, and received an eighteen-year sentence.  See T.C.A. § 39-13-210 (2010).  On appeal, the Defendant contends that the trial court erred (1) in admitting the victim’s statements into evidence, (2) in admitting evidence that the victim’s wedding ring was missing, (3) in admitting evidence that Megan Prisco had a flirtatious relationship with him before the victim’s death, (4) in admitting evidence that he boasted about his treating his wife poorly to Metro Police Field Training Officer Mackovis Peebles, (5) in admitting evidence that he carelessly left weapons around his house and used profanity when Antoya Brandon confronted him about it, (6) in admitting evidence of his conversation with Metro Police Chaplain James Duke, (7) in admitting proof of his relationships with other women after the victim’s death, (8) in allowing the State to question him about his contact with Paige Merriweather, (9) in allowing the State to question him about an incident three years before the victim’s death when he confronted her about having sex with other men, (10) in ordering redaction of a portion of the defense expert’s report, and (11) in enhancing his sentence.  We affirm the judgment of the trial court.

Davidson County Court of Criminal Appeals 07/07/14
State of Tennessee v. Walter George Glenn
E2013-01852-CCA-R3-CD
Authoring Judge: Judge Robert W. Wedemeyer
Trial Court Judge: Judge Rebecca J. Stern

A Hamilton County jury convicted the Defendant, Walter George Glenn, of second degree murder, and the trial court imposed a Range II sentence of thirty-five years of incarceration. On appeal, the Defendant contends that: (1) the evidence is insufficient to support his conviction; (2) the trial court erred in allowing a medical examiner to testify as to the cause of the death in violation of his right to confrontation; and (3) the trial court erred when it sentenced him by improperly applying enhancement factors and failing to apply mitigating factors. After a thorough review of the record and applicable law, we affirm the judgment of the trial court.

Hamilton County Court of Criminal Appeals 07/07/14
State of Tennessee v. Tarrants Chandler
M2013-00279-CCA-R3-CD
Authoring Judge: Judge John Everett Williams
Trial Court Judge: Judge Mark J. Fishburn

The defendant, Tarrants Chandler, was indicted by a grand jury for ten counts of rape by coercion, Class B felonies, and two counts of criminal exposure to HIV, Class C felonies.  After a trial, the jury convicted the defendant of nine counts of rape by coercion and one count of criminal exposure to HIV.  The trial court declared a mistrial as to Count 2, rape by coercion, and Count 12, criminal exposure to HIV.  The conviction in Count 1 was dismissed by the trial court after the motion for a new trial.  The defendant now appeals the remaining convictions, arguing that the evidence was not sufficient to find the defendant guilty of eight counts of rape by coercion, that the trial court erred by ruling that consent was not a defense to rape by coercion, that the trial court erred by failing to find prosecutorial misconduct based on aspects of the State’s closing argument, and that the trial court erred by imposing an effective fifty-year sentence on the defendant.  After a thorough review of the record, we affirm the judgments of the trial court but remand for: (1) entry of corrected judgments that reflect the dismissal of Count 1; and (2) to correct clerical errors in the judgments on both Count 6, because the judgment in Count 6 orders the sentence to be served concurrently  with the sentence from Count 2, which was declared a mistrial, and the judgment in Count 8, which states that the sentence is to be served concurrently, rather than consecutively to the sentence in Count 11.

Davidson County Court of Criminal Appeals 07/07/14
Gary Carr v. State of Tennessee
W2014-00579-CCA-R3-HC
Authoring Judge: Judge Roger A. Page
Trial Court Judge: Judge Joe H. Walker III

The Petitioner, Gary Carr, appeals the Circuit Court for Lauderdale 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.

Lauderdale County Court of Criminal Appeals 07/03/14
State of Tennessee v. Robert King Vaughn, Jr.
M2013-02099-CCA-R3-CD
Authoring Judge: Judge Jerry L. Smith
Trial Court Judge: Judge David Bragg

Appellant, Robert King Vaughn, Jr., pled guilty to aggravated burglary and theft in case number F-64238 and aggravated burglary in case number F-68086 in Rutherford County Circuit Court.  As a result, in case number F-64238, Appellant was ordered to serve 90 days in incarceration and the remainder of a four-year sentence on probation.  In case number F-68086, Appellant was sentenced to thirteen years.  The sentence was suspended and Appellant was ordered to serve the term on Community Corrections.  A warrant was filed against Appellant for a violation of the terms of the Community Corrections sentence and probation.  After a hearing, the trial court ordered Appellant to serve the remainder of the four-year sentence and thirteen-year sentence in incarceration.  Appellant appeals.  After a review of the record and applicable authorities, we affirm the judgments of the trial court but remand the matter to the trial court for correction of the order revoking Appellant’s Community Corrections sentence in case number F-68086 to reflect a violation of Community Corrections rather than probation.

Rutherford County Court of Criminal Appeals 07/03/14
State of Tennessee v. Kenneth Moore
M2013-02022-CCA-R3-CD
Authoring Judge: Judge James Curwood Witt, Jr.
Trial Court Judge: Judge Leon C. Burns, Jr.

The defendant, Kenneth Moore, appeals his DeKalb County Criminal Court jury conviction of aggravated sexual battery, claiming that the trial court erred by denying his motions to introduce certain evidence, including evidence offered pursuant to Tennessee Rule of Evidence 412, and that the evidence was insufficient to support his conviction.  Discerning no error, we affirm the judgment of the trial court.

DeKalb County Court of Criminal Appeals 07/02/14
State of Tennessee v. Aaron Guilliams
E2013-01405-CCA-R3-CD
Authoring Judge: Judge Jeffrey S. Bivins
Trial Court Judge: Judge Donald Ray Elledge

Aaron Guilliams (“the Defendant”) pleaded guilty to one count of attempted aggravated assault. Pursuant to a plea agreement, the Defendant was sentenced to two years, suspended to supervised probation, and reserved the right to have a hearing to determine his eligibility for judicial diversion. After a hearing, the trial court denied the Defendant’s request for judicial diversion. The Defendant timely appealed the trial court’s ruling. After a thorough review of the record and applicable law, we affirm the trial court’s judgment.

Anderson County Court of Criminal Appeals 07/02/14