Court of Criminal Appeals Opinions

Format: 12/17/2014
Format: 12/17/2014
James Glenn Collins, Jr. v. State of Tennessee
E2013-01940-CCA-R3-PC
Authoring Judge: Judge D. Kelly Thomas, Jr.
Trial Court Judge: Judge Mary Beth Leibowitz

The Petitioner, James Glenn Collins, Jr., appeals as of right from the Knox County Criminal Court’s summary dismissal of his petition for post-conviction relief. The Petitioner contends that the post-conviction court erred by dismissing his petition for having been untimely filed. Discerning no error, we affirm the judgment of the post-conviction court.

Knox County Court of Criminal Appeals 08/14/14
Gene S. Rucker v. State of Tennessee
E2014-00405-CCA-R3-PC
Authoring Judge: Judge Robert W. Wedemeyer
Trial Court Judge: Judge Barry A. Steelman

The Petitioner, Gene S. Rucker, was convicted of aggravated arson and criminally negligent homicide, for which he was sentenced to an effective sentence of twenty-two years. On direct appeal, this Court affirmed his convictions and sentence. State v. Gene Shelton Rucker, Jr., No. E2002-02101-CCA-CCA-R3-CD, 2004 WL 2827004 (Tenn. Crim. App., at Knoxville, Dec. 9, 2004), perm. app. denied (Tenn. March 21, 2005). Subsequently the Petitioner filed a petition for post-conviction relief, which was denied on the grounds that it was time barred. This Court affirmed the post-conviction court’s judgment denying relief. Gene S. Rucker v. State, No. E2007-00380-CCA-R3-PC, 2007 WL 2405133 (Tenn. Crim. App., at Knoxville, Aug. 24, 2007) no Tenn. R. App. P. 11 app. filed. On February 18, 2013, the Petitioner filed a motion to reopen his petition for post-conviction relief. The postconviction court denied the motion to reopen, and the Petitioner appeals that decision. After a thorough review of the record and applicable law, we affirm the judgment of the post-conviction court.

Hamilton County Court of Criminal Appeals 08/14/14
State of Tennessee v. Michael Smith
W2013-01190-CCA-R3-CD
Authoring Judge: Judge Robert W. Wedemeyer
Trial Court Judge: Judge James M. Lammey Jr.

A Shelby County jury found the Defendant, Michael Smith, guilty of aggravated assault and evading arrest. The trial court sentenced the Defendant to ten years for the aggravated assault conviction and eleven months and twenty-nine days for the evading arrest conviction. The trial court ordered the sentences to run consecutively. The Defendant asserts that: (1) the trial court committed plain error by failing to compel an election in count one; (2) the indictment for aggravated assault fails to state an offense; (3) the trial court improperly allowed the victim to testify about the Defendant’s prior bad acts; (4) the trial court improperly denied the Defendant’s request for a mistrial after the State explored the Defendant’s conviction and defense in an unrelated case; (5) the trial court committed plain error when it failed to compel the State to provide the trial court an audio recording of the victim’s statement; (6) the trial court improperly instructed the jury on flight; (7) the trial court improperly ruled that the Defendant’s prior convictions could be used for impeachment purposes should he testify at trial; (8) the evidence is insufficient to sustain his conviction for evading arrest; (9) the trial court abused its discretion when it denied the Defendant’s request to sit at counsel table; and (10) his sentence is excessive. After a thorough review of the record and the applicable law, we affirm the trial court’s judgments.

Shelby County Court of Criminal Appeals 08/13/14
Joe Ross v. State of Tennessee
W2013-02555-CCA-R3-HC
Authoring Judge: Judge Camille R. McMullen
Trial Court Judge: Judge Chris Craft

The Petitioner, Joe Ross, appeals the Shelby County Criminal Court’s denial of his petition for writ of habeas corpus. The Petitioner entered guilty pleas to five counts of aggravated robbery, four counts of especially aggravated kidnapping, and one count of aggravated rape, for which he received an effective sentence of 25 years confinement. On appeal, the Petitioner argues that his sentence is illegal on the face of the judgment because it does not include mandatory supervision for life. Because the Petitioner’s judgment does not reflect the statutory requirement of mandatory lifetime community supervision, we conclude that the judgment for aggravated rape is illegal and void. We vacate the Petitioner’s sentence for aggravated rape and remand to the habeas court for an evidentiary hearing to determine whether the illegal sentence was a bargained-for element of the Petitioner’s plea agreement.

Shelby County Court of Criminal Appeals 08/13/14
State of Tennessee v. David Morrow
W2014-00338-CCA-R3-CO
Authoring Judge: Judge Roger A. Page
Trial Court Judge: Judge Glenn Wright

Appellant pleaded guilty to failure to appear and unlawful possession of a controlled substance with intent to sell or deliver. Appellant later filed a Motion to Correct Illegal Sentences pursuant to Tennessee Rule of Criminal Procedure 36.1, which the trial court summarily dismissed. On appeal, appellant argues that the trial court erred by summarily dismissing his motion without appointing counsel after he had stated a colorable claim for relief. The State concedes that this case should be remanded to the trial court because appellant stated a colorable claim for relief pursuant to Rule 36.1. Following our review of the parties’ briefs, the record, and the applicable law, we reverse the trial court’s judgment and remand for proceedings consistent with this opinion.

Shelby County Court of Criminal Appeals 08/13/14
State of Tennessee v. Rodriquez Jones
W2014-00193-CCA-R3-CD
Authoring Judge: Judge Roger A. Page
Trial Court Judge: Judge J. Robert Carter Jr.

Appellant, Rodriquez Jones, was convicted of aggravated sexual battery and sentenced to ten years in the Tennessee Department of Correction. On appeal, he argues that the evidence was insufficient to support his conviction and that the assistant district attorney general committed prosecutorial misconduct during closing arguments. Following our review, we affirm the judgment of the trial court; however, we must remand this matter to the trial court to correct the judgment form.

Shelby County Court of Criminal Appeals 08/13/14
State of Tennessee v. Phillip Harris
W2013-01028-CCA-R3-CD
Authoring Judge: Judge Camille R. McMullen
Trial Court Judge: Judge Chris B. Craft

The Defendant-Appellant, Phillip Harris, was indicted by a Shelby County Criminal Court Grand Jury for six counts of attempted second degree murder and one count of unlawful employment of a firearm during the attempt to commit a dangerous felony. Following a jury trial, Harris was convicted of one count of attempted second degree murder (count two), five counts of misdemeanor reckless endangerment (counts one, three, four, five, and six), and one count of unlawful employment of a firearm during the attempt to commit a dangerous felony (count seven). The trial court sentenced Harris to twelve years for the attempted second degree murder conviction and to a mandatory consecutive sentence of six years for the unlawful employment of a firearm during the attempt to commit a dangerous felony. The court also imposed sentences of eleven months and twenty-nine days for each of the reckless endangerment convictions and ordered these sentences served concurrently with the sentence for attempted second degree murder. On appeal, Harris argues: (1) the evidence is insufficient to sustain his convictions, and (2) his sentence is excessive. Upon review, we affirm the convictions and remand for resentencing as to the conviction for attempted second degree murder.

Shelby County Court of Criminal Appeals 08/13/14
Charles Orlando Fields v. State of Tennessee
W2013-02516-CCA-R3-PC
Authoring Judge: Judge Alan E. Glenn
Trial Court Judge: Judge William B. Acree Jr.

The pro se petitioner, Charles Orlando Fields, appeals the denial of his motion to reopen his post-conviction petition. Because he failed to comply with the statutory requirements for seeking review of a dismissal of a motion to reopen a post-conviction petition, we dismiss the appeal.

Obion County Court of Criminal Appeals 08/13/14
Milburn L. Edwards v. State of Tennessee
W2013-01886-CCA-R3-PC
Authoring Judge: Judge Camille R. McMullen
Trial Court Judge: Judge Lee V. Coffee

The Petitioner, Milburn L. Edwards, appeals the Shelby County Criminal Court’s summary dismissal of his second pro se petition for post-conviction relief. After reviewing the record in this case, we conclude that the summary dismissal of the petition was proper and that this case meets the criteria for affirmance pursuant to Rule 20 of the Rules of the Court of Criminal Appeals. Accordingly, we affirm the judgment of the post-conviction court.

Shelby County Court of Criminal Appeals 08/13/14
State of Tennessee v. Quincey Bernard Dotson
W2013-02058-CCA-R3-CD
Authoring Judge: Judge Alan E. Glenn
Trial Court Judge: Judge Roy B. Morgan Jr.

The defendant, Quincey Bernard Dotson, was convicted by a Madison County Criminal Court jury of aggravated assault, a Class C felony, and sentenced to a term of ten years as a Range II offender in the Tennessee Department of Correction. On appeal, he challenges the sufficiency of the evidence and the trial court’s failure to apply any mitigating factors in determining his sentence. After review, we affirm the judgment of the trial court.

Madison County Court of Criminal Appeals 08/13/14
State of Tennessee v. Kevin Cortez Chrystak
W2013-01219-CCA-R3-CD
Authoring Judge: Judge D. Kelly Thomas
Trial Court Judge: Judge Nathan B. Pride

The Defendant, Kevin Cortez Chrystak, appeals from the Madison County Circuit Court’s order affirming his conviction for violation of the implied consent statute. See Tenn. Code Ann. § 55-10-406. In the trial court, the Defendant raised a statutory interpretation argument concerning the mandatory blood draw provision of the implied consent law. On appeal, the Defendant argues that the mandatory provision is unconstitutional, violating his Fourth Amendment Rights, and that he did not violate the implied consent law when he presented for the mandatory blood draw. The Defendant has waived his constitutional argument on appeal. However, pursuant to principles of statutory construction, we agree with the Defendant that he did not violate the implied consent law when his blood was obtained via the mandatory provisions. Following our review, we reverse the order of the trial court upholding the implied consent violation and dismiss the charge.

Madison County Court of Criminal Appeals 08/13/14
State of Tennessee v. Daryl Bobo
W2013-02008-CCA-R3-CD
Authoring Judge: Judge Roger A. Page
Trial Court Judge: Judge Chris Craft

Appellant stands convicted of possession with intent to sell 0.5 grams or more of cocaine in a drug-free school zone, a Class A felony, and possession with intent to sell 0.5 ounce or more of marijuana in a drug-free school zone, a Class D felony. The trial court sentenced appellant as a Range III, persistent offender to sixty years for his cocaine conviction and twelve years for his marijuana conviction, to be served concurrently. On appeal, appellant argues that the evidence at trial was insufficient to support his convictions. Following our review of the briefs, the record, and the applicable law, we affirm the judgments of the trial court.

Shelby County Court of Criminal Appeals 08/13/14
State of Tennessee v. Danny Ray Smith
E2012-02587-CCA-R3-CD
Authoring Judge: Judge Norma McGee Ogle
Trial Court Judge: Judge Leon C. Burns, Jr.

A Cumberland County Criminal Court Jury convicted the appellant, Danny Ray Smith, of one count of rape of a child, and the trial court sentenced him to twenty-five years to be served at 100%. On appeal, the appellant contends that (1) the evidence is insufficient to support the conviction; (2) the trial court erred by refusing to suppress his statement to police; (3) the trial court erred by allowing evidence of other sexual acts; (4) the trial court erred by allowing the State to introduce into evidence drawings made by the victim before trial; (5) the trial court erred by allowing the State to lead the victim on direct examination; (6) the trial court erred by not forcing the State to give the defense a complete copy of the victim’s Department of Children’s Services records; and (7) the prosecutors’ closing arguments were improper. Based upon the oral arguments, the record, and the parties’ briefs, we conclude that the appellant’s conviction must be reversed because the trial court improperly allowed the State to present evidence of other sexual acts, the trial court improperly allowed the State to introduce into evidence drawings made by the victim, and the prosecutors gave improper closing arguments. Therefore, the case is remanded to the trial court for a new trial.

Cumberland County Court of Criminal Appeals 08/13/14
State of Tennessee v. Micheal Lynn Horn
M2013-01469-CCA-R3-CD
Authoring Judge: Judge Robert W. Wedemeyer
Trial Court Judge: Judge Leon C. Burns, Jr.

The Defendant, Michael Lynn Horn, was found guilty of attempted second-degree murder, reckless endangerment, and felony evading arrest.  The trial court sentenced the Defendant to serve twenty years for the attempted second-degree murder conviction, four years for the felony evading arrest conviction, and eleven months and twenty-nine days for the reckless endangerment conviction, for a total effective sentence of twenty years in the Tennessee Department of Correction.  The Defendant appeals asserting that: (1) the evidence is insufficient to support his convictions for attempted second degree murder and felony evading arrest; (2) his sentence is excessive; (3) the trial court improperly denied access to Tennessee Bureau of Investigation personnel records for the two victims; and (4) the trial court erred when it denied his motion to have a new attorney appointed for his appeal.  After a thorough review of the record and applicable law, we affirm the trial court’s judgments.    

Putnam County Court of Criminal Appeals 08/13/14
State of Tennessee v. Jeremy Jones Davis
M2013-02668-CCA-R3-CD
Authoring Judge: Judge Joe H. Walker, III
Trial Court Judge: Judge Lee Russell

The defendant appeals a jury verdict of guilty of aggravated burglary and theft, alleging the evidence was insufficient as a matter of law.  The defendant also alleges the trial court imposed an excessive sentence. Finding no error, we affirm the judgment of the trial court.

Marshall County Court of Criminal Appeals 08/12/14
Jamar McField v. State of Tennessee
E2013-02434-CCA-R3-PC
Authoring Judge: Judge James Curwood Witt, Jr.
Trial Court Judge: Judge Don W. Poole

The petitioner, Jamar McField, appeals the denial of his petition for post-conviction relief, which challenged his 2009 Hamilton County Criminal Court jury convictions of felony murder and aggravated child abuse. In this appeal, the petitioner claims that he was deprived of the effective assistance of counsel at trial. Discerning no error, we affirm the denial of post-conviction relief.
 

Hamilton County Court of Criminal Appeals 08/11/14
Michael Brandon Adams v. Eric Qualls, Warden
M2014-00174-CCA-R3-HC
Authoring Judge: Judge Robert W. Wedemeyer
Trial Court Judge: Judge J. Randall Wyatt, Jr.

The Appellant, Michael Brandon Adams, appeals the trial court’s summary dismissal of his petition for habeas corpus relief.  The judgment of the trial court is affirmed.

Davidson County Court of Criminal Appeals 08/11/14
State of Tennessee v. Marvin Harold Dorton, II
E2013-01580-CCA-R3-CD
Authoring Judge: Judge Camille R. McMullen
Trial Court Judge: Judge John F. Dugger, Jr.

The Defendant-Appellant, Marvin Harold Dorton, II, was charged with two counts of sale or delivery of a Schedule II controlled substance (counts 1 and 2), possession of a Schedule IV controlled substance with the intent to sell or deliver (count 3), and possession of a Schedule II controlled substance with the intent to sell or deliver (count 4). A Greene County Criminal Court jury convicted the Defendant-Appellant as charged, and the trial court sentenced him as a Range I, standard offender to concurrent sentences of six years for each of his convictions in counts 1 and 2, four years for his conviction in count 3, and six years for his conviction in count 4, for an effective sentence of six years in confinement. On appeal, the Defendant-Appellant argues: (1) the trial court erred in failing to instruct the jury in all four counts on the inference of casual exchange pursuant to Tennessee Code Annotated section 39-17-419; (2) the trial court erred in failing to instruct the jury in counts 1 and 2 on the lesser included offense of casual exchange pursuant to Code section 39-17-418(a); (3) the evidence is insufficient to sustain his convictions in counts 3 and 4 because the State failed to prove that he possessed the drugs found in a safe; and (4) his sentence is excessive. Upon review, we remand the case for entry of corrected judgments in counts 1, 2, 3, and 4 to reflect that the trial court resentenced the Defendant-Appellant on May 3, 2013, after the presentence investigation report was amended, even though the Defendant-Appellant’s sentence did not change from the original sentence imposed. In all other respects, the judgments of the trial court are affirmed.

Greene County Court of Criminal Appeals 08/11/14
State of Tennessee v. Charles T. Fletcher, Jr.
E2013-01131-CCA-R3-CD
Authoring Judge: Judge Camille R. McMullen
Trial Court Judge: Judge Robert E. Cupp

The Defendant-Appellant, Charles T. Fletcher, Jr., was charged with the offense of aggravated assault, a Class C felony. See T.C.A. § 39-13-102(a)(1)(A)(iii). While in Johnson County General Sessions Court, the Defendant- Appellant executed a waiver of his right to counsel, a waiver of his right to a preliminary hearing, and a waiver of his right to be tried only upon presentment or indictment of a grand jury. In Johnson County Criminal Court, he repeatedly informed the trial court that he had waived his right to counsel, that he had represented himself in a criminal case before, and that he wished to represent himself in this case. On the day of trial, the Defendant-Appellant signed a waiver of his right to be tried only upon presentment or indictment of a grand jury. The same day, the prosecutor and the Defendant-Appellant signed an information charging the Defendant-Appellant with aggravated assault. A Johnson County Criminal Court jury subsequently convicted the Defendant-Appellant as charged, and the trial court imposed a three-year probationary sentence. In this appeal, the Defendant-Appellant argues: (1) he failed to knowingly and voluntarily waive his right to counsel because (a) he was not informed of his charges, potential penalties, and rights and (b) because the trial court never inquired as to his competency to represent himself; (2) he failed to knowingly and voluntarily waive his right to be tried only upon presentment or indictment of a grand jury because he was unable to read the waiver, to have the assistance of counsel, or to have the court explain his right to presentment and indictment; (3) the trial court erred in failing to continue the case or to appoint counsel or advisory counsel when it became obvious that he could not properly represent himself; (4) the trial court erred in denying his motion to set aside the jury verdict; and (5) the cumulative errors caused by the absence of counsel and his inability to represent himself were so prejudicial as to deny his right to a fair trial and due process. Upon review, we reverse the judgment of the trial court, vacate the Defendant-Appellant’s conviction, and remand the matter to the trial court for proceedings consistent with this opinion.

Johnson County Court of Criminal Appeals 08/11/14
State of Tennessee v. Darryl Alan Walker
E2013-01914-CCA-R3-CD
Authoring Judge: Special Judge Jeffrey S. Bivins
Trial Court Judge: Judge John F. Dugger Jr.

Darryl Alan Walker (“the Defendant”) was convicted by a jury of driving under the influence (“DUI”) and unlawfully carrying another person on a motorcycle. Following a sentencing hearing, the Defendant received a total effective sentence of eleven months and twenty-nine days, suspended to supervised probation after the service of sixty days. In this direct appeal, the Defendant asserts that the trial court erred in denying his motion to suppress the results of a warrantless mandatory blood alcohol test, arguing that the mandatory blood withdrawal provision of the implied consent statute is unconstitutional and that the term “injury” within that provision is unconstitutionally vague. The Defendant also asserts that the trial court erred in denying his motion to suppress certain statements he made to police. After a thorough review of the record and the applicable law, we affirm the judgments of the trial court.

Greene County Court of Criminal Appeals 08/08/14
State of Tennessee v. Keyonna Nicole Wooten
M2014-00253-CCA-R3-CD
Authoring Judge: Judge Norma McGee Ogle
Trial Court Judge: Judge Forest A. Durard, Jr.

The appellant, Keyonna Nicole Wooten, pled guilty in the Lincoln County Circuit Court to one count of selling one-half gram or more of a Schedule II controlled substance and one count of delivering one-half gram or more of a Schedule II controlled substance.  After a sentencing hearing, the trial court merged the latter conviction into the former and sentenced the appellant as a Range I, standard offender to nine years, six months in confinement.  On appeal, the appellant contends that her sentence is excessive and that the trial court erred by denying her request for alternative sentencing.  Based upon the record and the parties’ briefs, we affirm the judgment of the trial court.

Lincoln County Court of Criminal Appeals 08/08/14
Mark Alan Deakins v. State of Tennessee
M2013-02122-CCA-R3-HC
Authoring Judge: Judge Norma McGee Ogle
Trial Court Judge: Judge Steve R. Dozier

The petitioner, Mark Alan Deakins, filed a petition for a writ of habeas corpus, asserting that he had “flattened” his sentences for his convictions of especially aggravated sexual exploitation of a minor, sexual exploitation of a minor, and statutory rape.  He alleged that the Tennessee Department of Correction improperly calculated his pretrial jail credits and sentencing credits.  The habeas corpus court denied the petition, and the petitioner appeals. Upon review, we affirm the judgment of the habeas corpus court.

Davidson County Court of Criminal Appeals 08/07/14
State of Tennessee v. June Loudermilk
W2013-01613-CCA-R3-CD
Authoring Judge: Special Judge Jeffrey S. Bivins
Trial Court Judge: Judge W. Mark Ward

June Loudermilk (“the Defendant”) was convicted by a jury of driving under the influence (“DUI”), fourth offense. After a hearing, the trial court sentenced the Defendant to two years in the workhouse, suspended to supervised probation after seven months in confinement. In this direct appeal, the Defendant attacks the validity of his indictment and also contends that the trial court’s jury charge was so defective as to entitle him to a reversal of the jury’s determination that he was a multiple DUI offender. Upon our thorough review of the record and applicable law, we modify the trial court’s judgment of conviction and remand this matter for resentencing.

Shelby County Court of Criminal Appeals 08/06/14
State of Tennessee v. Leslie Warren Blevins
M2013-01725-CCA-R3-CD
Authoring Judge: Judge Jerry L. Smith
Trial Court Judge: Judge Shayne Sexton

The Fentress County Grand Jury indicted Appellant, Leslie Warren Blevins, with three counts of aggravated assault.  After a jury trial, Appellant was convicted of one count of aggravated assault and two counts of assault.  As a result, he was sentenced to an effective sentence of five years in confinement.  Appellant appeals, challenging both the sufficiency of the evidence and his sentence.  After a review of the record and the applicable authorities, we determine that the evidence was sufficient to support the conviction and that the trial court did not abuse its discretion in sentencing Appellant.  Accordingly, the judgments of the trial court are affirmed.

Fentress County Court of Criminal Appeals 08/05/14
State of Tennessee v. Michael Kent Walker
M2012-01134-CCA-R3-CD
Authoring Judge: Judge Robert W. Wedemeyer
Trial Court Judge: Judge Leon Burns

Pursuant to a plea agreement, the Defendant, Michael Kent Walker, pleaded guilty to selling Schedule I and Schedule II controlled substances in a drug-free zone.  The plea agreement provided that the Defendant would receive concurrent Range I sentences for one Class B felony and one Class C felony, with the trial court to determine his sentences.  Following a sentencing hearing, the trial court sentenced the Defendant to serve an effective sentence of twelve years of incarceration.  The Defendant asserts that the trial court abused its discretion in ordering an effective twelve-year sentence.  After a thorough review of the record and applicable law, we affirm the trial court’s judgments.

Putnam County Court of Criminal Appeals 08/05/14