Court of Criminal Appeals Opinions

Format: 05/27/2016
Format: 05/27/2016
State of Tennessee v. David Burrows
W2014-01785-CCA-R3-CD
Authoring Judge: Judge James Curwood Witt, Jr.
Trial Court Judge: Judge John Campbell

Aggrieved of his Shelby County Criminal Court jury convictions of first degree murder and especially aggravated kidnapping, the defendant, David Burrows, appeals, claiming that the trial court erred by refusing to remove a juror for cause, by admitting autopsy photographs of the victim, and by admitting evidence of the defendant's 2008 domestic assault of the victim and that the evidence is insufficient to support his convictions. Discerning no error, we affirm.

Shelby County Court of Criminal Appeals 01/12/16
George Harvey v. State of Tennessee
W2015-00224-CCA-R3-PC
Authoring Judge: Judge James Curwood Witt, Jr.
Trial Court Judge: Judge James M. Lammey, Jr.

The petitioner, George Harvey, appeals the denial of post-conviction relief from his 2013 Shelby County Criminal Court guilty-pleaded conviction of second degree murder, for which he received a sentence of 15 years. In this appeal, the petitioner contends that his guilty plea was not knowingly and voluntarily entered and that he was denied the effective assistance of counsel. Discerning no error, we affirm.

Shelby County Court of Criminal Appeals 01/12/16
Kenneth Lee Anderson v. State of Tennessee
W2015-01306-CCA-R3-PC
Authoring Judge: Judge Alan E. Glenn
Trial Court Judge: Judge R. Lee Moore, Jr.

The petitioner, Kenneth Lee Anderson, appeals the post-conviction court’s denial of his petition for post-conviction relief, arguing that he was denied the right to appellate counsel on direct appeal. After review, we affirm the judgment of the post-conviction court denying the petition for post-conviction relief.

Dyer County Court of Criminal Appeals 01/12/16
State of Tennessee v. William Franklin Robinette
E2015-00154-CCA-R3-CD
Authoring Judge: Judge James Curwood Witt, Jr.
Trial Court Judge: Judge Bob R. McGee

The defendant, William Franklin Robinette, appeals from his Greene County Criminal Court jury convictions of solicitation to commit first degree murder, claiming that the sentence imposed by the trial court was excessive. Discerning no error, we affirm the judgments of the trial court.

Knox County Court of Criminal Appeals 01/12/16
State of Tennessee v. Darrell Ray Beene
M2015-00231-CCA-R3-CD
Authoring Judge: Judge Robert W. Wedemeyer
Trial Court Judge: Judge Cheryl A. Blackburn

A Davidson County jury convicted the Defendant, Darrell Ray Beene, of aggravated robbery, and the trial court sentenced him to twenty years in the Tennessee Department of Correction.  The trial court ordered that the Defendant’s sentence be served consecutively to the Defendant’s forty-two year sentence in another case.  On appeal, the Defendant contends that the evidence is insufficient to sustain his conviction and that his sentence is excessive.  After a thorough review of the record and applicable authorities, we affirm the Defendant’s conviction and sentence.

Davidson County Court of Criminal Appeals 01/12/16
Cory Shane Rollins v. State of Tennessee
E2015-00774-CCA-R3-PC
Authoring Judge: Judge D. Kelly Thomas, Jr.
Trial Court Judge: Judge Bob R. McGee

The Petitioner, Cory Shane Rollins, appeals from the denial of his petition for post conviction relief, wherein he challenged his jury convictions for aggravated robbery, evading arrest, and driving under the influence. On appeal, the Petitioner raises the following ineffective assistance of counsel claims: (1) whether trial counsel failed to convey a plea offer made by the State; and (2) whether trial counsel failed to adequately apprise him of his right to testify. After a thorough review of the record, we affirm the judgment of the post-conviction court.

Knox County Court of Criminal Appeals 01/12/16
State of Tennessee v. Toby Lynn Young
M2015-00712-CCA-R3-CD
Authoring Judge: Judge Robert L. Holloway, Jr.
Trial Court Judge: Judge Larry B. Stanley, Jr.

A Warren County jury found the Defendant, Toby Lynn Young, guilty of theft over $10,000, evading arrest, and driving on a suspended license, second offense.  The trial court sentenced the Defendant to a total effective sentence of twelve years’ incarceration.  On appeal, the Defendant challenges the trial court’s failure to properly instruct the jury on identity pursuant to State v. Dyle, 899 S.W.2d 607 (Tenn. 1995).  Upon review, we affirm the judgments of the trial court.

Warren County Court of Criminal Appeals 01/12/16
Ralph T. O'Neal v. State of Tennessee
M2015-01052-CCA-R3-HC
Authoring Judge: Judge D. Kelly Thomas, Jr.
Trial Court Judge: Judge Steve R. Dozier

The Petitioner, Ralph T. O’Neal, appeals as of right from the Davidson County Criminal Court’s summary dismissal of his petition for writ of habeas corpus.  He claims entitlement to habeas corpus relief, alleging that the trial court did not have the jurisdiction or authority to sentence him for Class B felony cocaine possession because he was indicted only for Class C possession, and the record was devoid of any evidence that he consented to an amendment or waived his right to indictment at the guilty plea proceedings.  Following our review, we affirm the judgment of the habeas corpus court.

Davidson County Court of Criminal Appeals 01/12/16
Freeman Ray Harrison, Jr. v. State of Tennessee
M2015-00454-CCA-R3-PC
Authoring Judge: Judge D. Kelly Thomas, Jr.
Trial Court Judge: Judge David M. Bragg

The Petitioner, Freeman Ray Harrison, Jr., appeals as of right from the Rutherford County Circuit Court’s denial of his petition for post-conviction relief, wherein he challenged his convictions for two counts of aggravated sexual battery and one count of reckless endangerment.  On appeal, the Petitioner asserts that he received ineffective assistance of trial counsel based on counsel’s failure to (1) discuss the bill of particulars with him; (2) discuss the possibility of filing a motion to sever the offenses; and (3) retain medical experts.  Following our review, we affirm the judgment of the post-conviction court.

Rutherford County Court of Criminal Appeals 01/12/16
Ellis Hardin v. State of Tennessee
M2015-00494-CCA-R3-PC
Authoring Judge: Judge James Curwood Witt, Jr.
Trial Court Judge: Judge Royce Taylor

The petitioner, Ellis Hardin, appeals the denial of post-conviction relief from his 2014 Rutherford County Circuit Court guilty-pleaded convictions of aggravated sexual battery and attempted aggravated sexual battery, for which he received an effective sentence of 15 years.  In this appeal, the petitioner contends that his guilty pleas were not knowingly and voluntarily entered and that he was denied the effective assistance of counsel.  Discerning no error, we affirm.

Rutherford County Court of Criminal Appeals 01/12/16
State of Tennessee v. Michael Bailey
W2014-02517-CCA-R3-CD
Authoring Judge: Judge Robert L. Holloway, Jr.
Trial Court Judge: Judge James C. Beasley, Jr.

Michael Bailey (“the Defendant”) was convicted by a jury of one count of aggravated robbery in case number 09-02888. At a subsequent sentencing hearing for case number 09-02888 and six other case numbers, the Defendant was sentenced as a repeat, violent offender to seven sentences of life without the possibility of parole. The trial ordered the Defendant's life without parole sentence in 09-02888 to run consecutively to one of the other life without parole sentences. On appeal, the Defendant argues that (1) the evidence was insufficient to support his conviction in case number 09-02888 and (2) the trial court abused its discretion when it ordered partial consecutive sentences. After a review of the record and applicable law, we affirm the judgment of the trial court.

Shelby County Court of Criminal Appeals 01/11/16
State of Tennessee v. Kenyale Pirtle
W2014-02150-CCA-R3-CO
Authoring Judge: Presiding Judge Thomas T. Woodall
Trial Court Judge: Judge Clayburn Peeples

Defendant, Kenyale Pirtle, appeals from the trial court’s summary dismissal of his two motions filed pursuant to Tennessee Rule of Criminal Procedure 36.1. One motion pertained to case numbers 5168 and 5277. Although appellant listed these case numbers in his notice of appeal, he has made no argument concerning the trial court’s summary dismissal of this motion. The other motion pertains to case numbers 4841, 4940, and 4996. Defendant argues that the trial court erred by summarily dismissing this motion. All challenged sentences have expired. In light of State v Brown, ____ S.W.3d _____, No. E2014-00673-SC-R11-CD, (Tenn., filed Dec. 2, 2015) we affirm the judgments of the trial court pursuant to Rule 20 of the Rules of the Court of Criminal Appeals of Tennessee.

Haywood County Court of Criminal Appeals 01/11/16
Paul E. Isaac v. State of Tennessee
E2015-01119-CCA-R3-PC
Authoring Judge: Judge D. Kelly Thomas, Jr.
Trial Court Judge: Judge Bobby Ray McGee

The Petitioner, Paul E. Isaac, appeals as of right from the Knox County Criminal Court’s denial of his petition for post-conviction relief from his guilty-pled convictions for two counts of aggravated assault, attempted aggravated robbery, and misdemeanor assault. On appeal, the Petitioner contends that trial counsel was ineffective because he was not adequately prepared for trial, and the Petitioner’s lack of confidence in trial counsel led him to plead guilty. Following our review, we affirm the judgment of the post-conviction court.

Knox County Court of Criminal Appeals 01/11/16
State of Tennessee v. Charles Allen McKinney
M2014-02125-CCA-R3-CD
Authoring Judge: Judge Robert W. Wedemeyer
Trial Court Judge: Judge J. B. Cox

A Lincoln County jury convicted the Defendant, Charles Allen McKinney, of second-degree murder, child abuse, and child neglect.  The trial court merged the convictions for child abuse and child neglect and then sentenced the Defendant to serve twenty-four years for the second-degree murder conviction and a concurrent sentence of two years for the merged child abuse and child neglect conviction, for a total effective sentence of twenty-four years.  On appeal, the Defendant asserts that the trial court erred when it admitted evidence of a prior finding of “severe child abuse” and that there is insufficient evidence to support the child abuse and neglect convictions.  After a thorough review of the record and applicable law, we affirm the trial court’s judgments in part, reverse in part, and remand for further proceedings.         

Lincoln County Court of Criminal Appeals 01/11/16
State of Tennessee v. Joseph Meadows
M2015-00211-CCA-R3-CD
Authoring Judge: Judge Robert W. Wedemeyer
Trial Court Judge: Judge Robert E. Burch

The Defendant, Joseph Meadows, was indicted for initiating the process of the manufacture of methamphetamine, possession of methamphetamine, and possession of drug paraphernalia.  The Defendant filed a pretrial motion to suppress the evidence seized during the warrantless search of his home.  The trial court denied the Defendant’s motion, and the Defendant pleaded guilty to initiating the process of the manufacture of methamphetamine, in return for the dismissal of the remaining counts and an eight-year sentence to be served on supervised probation.  The Defendant reserved a certified question of law pursuant to Tennessee Rule of Criminal Procedure 37(b)(2) as to whether the search of his home by law enforcement was lawful.  After review, we conclude that the search was lawful and thus, we affirm the trial court’s judgment.

Dickson County Court of Criminal Appeals 01/11/16
State of Tennessee v. Joe Travis Northern
W2015-01364-CCA-R3-CD
Authoring Judge: Judge James Curwood Witt, Jr.
Trial Court Judge: Judge Roy B. Morgan

The defendant, Joe Travis Northern, appeals the dismissal of his motion, filed pursuant to Tennessee Rule of Criminal Procedure 36.1, to correct what he believes to be an illegal sentence. Because the defendant has failed to prepare an adequate record for review, we affirm.

Madison County Court of Criminal Appeals 01/08/16
State of Tennessee v. Kervin Jackson
W2015-00134-CCA-R3-CD
Authoring Judge: Judge Timothy L. Easter
Trial Court Judge: Judge J. Robert Carter, Jr.

Defendant, Kervin Jackson, was convicted of first degree murder for the shooting death of his brother-in-law. On appeal, he argues that the evidence was insufficient to support the conviction because the State failed to establish premeditation. After a review of the evidence and authorities, we affirm the judgment of the trial court.

Shelby County Court of Criminal Appeals 01/08/16
Cody Holland v. State of Tennessee
E2015-00265-CCA-R3-PC
Authoring Judge: Judge James Curwood Witt, Jr.
Trial Court Judge: Judge Thomas W. Graham

The petitioner, Cody Holland, appeals the denial of post-conviction relief from his 2012 Rhea County Circuit Court guilty-pleaded conviction of rape, for which he received a sentence of 10 years. In this appeal, the petitioner contends that his guilty plea was not knowingly and voluntarily entered and that he was denied the effective assistance of counsel. Discerning no error, we affirm.

Rhea County Court of Criminal Appeals 01/08/16
State of Tennessee v. Michael Lebron Branham
E2014-02071-CCA-R3-CD
Authoring Judge: Judge D. Kelly Thomas, Jr.
Trial Court Judge: Judge Barry A. Steelman

Following a jury trial, the Defendant, Michael Lebron Branham, was convicted of aggravated robbery, a Class B felony; aggravated assault, a Class C felony; coercion of a witness, a Class D felony; aggravated burglary, a Class C felony; and employment of a firearm during the commission of a dangerous felony, a Class C felony. Tenn. Code Ann. §§ 39-13-102(a)(1)(A)(iii), -13-402(a)(1), -14-403, -16-507, -17-1324(b)(1). The trial court imposed a total effective sentence of twenty-nine years. On appeal, the Defendant contends (1) that this case should be remanded for a new trial because one of the prosecutors had previously represented the Defendant in an unrelated matter; (2) that the indictments for aggravated burglary and employing a firearm during the commission of a dangerous felony should be dismissed due to alleged vindictive prosecution; (3) that the trial court erred in not severing the coercion of a witness charge from the other offenses; (4) that the Defendant's convictions for aggravated burglary and aggravated assault violate the constitutional protection against double jeopardy as those offenses “were incidental to the aggravated robbery”; (5) that the State failed to make a proper election of offenses with respect to the coercion of a witness charge; (6) that the trial court erred in setting the length of the Defendant's sentences; and (7) that the trial court erred in imposing partial consecutive sentences. Following our review, we affirm the judgments of the trial court.

Hamilton County Court of Criminal Appeals 01/08/16
Jeffrey S. Whitaker v. State of Tennessee
E2014-02240-CCA-R3-PC
Authoring Judge: Judge Camille R. McMullen
Trial Court Judge: Judge E. Eugene Eblen

The Petitioner, Jeffrey S. Whitaker, appeals the Roane County Criminal Court's dismissal of his second petition for post-conviction relief. On appeal, the Petitioner argues that the one-year statute of limitations should be tolled based on the later-arising claims doctrine and the discovery rule of contract law, that his plea agreement was breached when his judgments were corrected to show a release eligibility of 100% and when the trial court imposed partially consecutive sentences, and that the post-conviction court erred in failing to apply the doctrine of judicial estoppel against the State. Upon review, we affirm the judgment of the post-conviction court.

Roane County Court of Criminal Appeals 01/07/16
State of Tennessee v. Jacob R. Mowery
M2015-00250-CCA-R3-CD
Authoring Judge: Judge Alan E. Glenn
Trial Court Judge: Judge Stella Hargrove

The defendant, Jacob R. Mowery, appeals the revocation of his probation, asserting that there was insufficient evidence to support the revocation.  After review, we affirm the judgment of the trial court revoking the defendant’s probation and ordering him to serve his original sentence in confinement.

Lawrence County Court of Criminal Appeals 01/07/16
State of Tennessee v. James Dickerson
M2014-02238-CCA-R3-CD
Authoring Judge: Judge James Curwood Witt, Jr.
Trial Court Judge: Judge Michael R. Jones

The defendant, James Dickerson, appeals his Montgomery County Circuit Court jury convictions of aggravated sexual battery and rape of a child, claiming that the evidence was insufficient to support his convictions and that the trial court erred by admitting certain evidence at trial.  Discerning no error, we affirm the judgments of the trial court.

Montgomery County Court of Criminal Appeals 01/07/16
State of Tennessee v. Rodney Stephens - dissenting
E2014-02514-CCA-R3-CD
Authoring Judge: Judge Timothy L. Easter
Trial Court Judge: Judge E. Shayne Sexton

I respectfully dissent with the conclusions of the majority that a rational trier of fact could not conclude beyond a reasonable doubt that Defendant possessed the culpable mental state of knowingly violating an order of protection. On direct examination, Defendant acknowledged that he was served “with something” when he left the jail. On cross-examination, Defendant admitted that he knew that there was an order telling him not to have contact with his wife when he left the jail. He acknowledged that somebody had given him a copy of the order and he showed it to the officer who stopped him a few minutes later. Finally, he agreed with the State that he was not “trying to tell the folks of the jury that [he] didn’t know that [he was] not allowed to have contact with [Ms. Stephens]” and he knew that there was an order of protection

Campbell County Court of Criminal Appeals 01/06/16
State of Tennessee v. Rodney Stephens
E2014-02514-CCA-R3-CD
Authoring Judge: Judge Robert H. Montgomery, Jr.
Trial Court Judge: Judge E. Shayne Sexton

The Defendant, Rodney Stephens, was convicted by a Campbell County Criminal Court jury of aggravated stalking. T.C.A. § 39-17-315(c)(1)(E) (2010) (amended 2012). The court sentenced the Defendant to three years, with sixty day' confinement and the remainder to be served on probation. On appeal, the Defendant contends that (1) the trial court erred in allowing the trial to proceed despite the absence of a police officer and (2) the evidence is insufficient to support the conviction. We modify the judgment of conviction for aggravated stalking to one for misdemeanor stalking, and we remand the case for sentencing and entry of a judgment of conviction for misdemeanor stalking.

Campbell County Court of Criminal Appeals 01/06/16
State of Tennessee v. June Curtis Loudermilk
W2015-00222-CCA-R3-CD
Authoring Judge: Judge Timothy L. Easter
Trial Court Judge: Judge W. Mark Ward

Defendant, June Curtis Loudermilk, appeals his sentence for driving under the influence (“DUI”), third offense, a Class A misdemeanor, which was imposed upon remand after this Court modified his original conviction for DUI, fourth offense, a Class E felony. He argues that the sentence is illegal because, during his first direct appeal, he completed a probationary period which exceeded the statutory maximum punishment for a Class A misdemeanor. We conclude that Defendant’s sentence is not illegal because he was not on probation pending the resolution of his direct appeal. Therefore, the judgment of the trial court is affirmed.

Shelby County Court of Criminal Appeals 01/06/16