Court of Criminal Appeals Opinions

Format: 06/27/2016
Format: 06/27/2016
State of Tennessee v. John Eugene Grigsby
M2015-01376-CCA-R3-CD
Authoring Judge: Judge Roger A. Page
Trial Court Judge: Judge J. Randall Wyatt, Jr.

Appellant, John Eugene Grigsby, was convicted of attempted second degree murder and reckless endangerment.  Appellant later filed a motion to correct an illegal sentence pursuant to Tennessee Rule of Criminal Procedure 36.1, which the trial court summarily dismissed, holding that appellant had failed to state a colorable claim.  On appeal, appellant argues that the trial court erred in summarily dismissing his motion.  Following our review of the parties’ briefs, the record, and the applicable law, we affirm the judgment of the trial court.

Davidson County Court of Criminal Appeals 02/09/16
State of Tennessee v. Raymond A. Klein
M2014-02340-CCA-R3-CD
Authoring Judge: Presiding Judge Thomas T. Woodall
Trial Court Judge: Judge Michael R. Jones

Raymond A. Klein (“the Defendant”) proceeded to trial on one count of aggravated sexual battery and was convicted as charged.  On appeal, the Defendant argues that the evidence was insufficient to support his conviction.  Discerning no error, we affirm the judgment of the trial court.

Montgomery County Court of Criminal Appeals 02/09/16
State of Tennessee v. Eddie Minter
W2015-00540-CCA-R3-CD
Authoring Judge: Judge Alan E. Glenn
Trial Court Judge: Judge John W. Campbell

The defendant, Eddie Minter, was convicted of two counts of aggravated robbery, a Class B felony, and sentenced to consecutive terms of fourteen years and eighteen years. On appeal, he argues that the evidence is insufficient to sustain his convictions. Following our review, we affirm the judgments of the trial court.

Shelby County Court of Criminal Appeals 02/08/16
State of Tennessee v. Deangelo T. Collins
W2015-00781-CCA-R3-CD
Authoring Judge: Judge Alan E. Glenn
Trial Court Judge: Judge W. Mark Ward

In 2000, the defendant pled guilty to aggravated robbery and, apparently, a lesser-included offense of possession with intent to sell less than one-half gram of cocaine, receiving concurrent sentences of eight years and three years. In 2014, apparently now in federal custody, he filed a Tennessee Rule of Criminal Procedure 36.1 motion, claiming that the second offense was committed while he was free on bond for the first, thus requiring the sentences to be served consecutively. He asked, in his pro se motion, that the convictions be vacated and the indictments set for trial. However, at an evidentiary hearing, after counsel had been appointed, the defendant asked that he be resentenced in the two cases to consecutive terms. The trial court found that the manner of service of the sentences had not been a material component to the guilty pleas and resentenced the defendant, as requested, to consecutive terms for his two state convictions. The defendant then appealed, asserting that the trial court had erred in concluding that the manner of service of the sentences was not a material part of the guilty pleas and arguing that he was entitled to a new hearing on his motion. Following our review, we reverse the trial court’s order that the sentences be served consecutively and reinstate the original judgments for concurrent sentences.

Shelby County Court of Criminal Appeals 02/08/16
State of Tennessee v. Roy Cherry
W2015-01084-CCA-R3-CD
Authoring Judge: Judge Alan E. Glenn
Trial Court Judge: Judge Paula Skahan

The defendant, Roy Cherry, appeals the termination of his judicial diversion, arguing that he was denied his fundamental due process right to confront the witnesses against him and that the trial court did not make required findings of fact regarding the evidence it relied on in its decision. Following our review, we affirm the judgment of the trial court terminating the defendant's diversion.

Shelby County Court of Criminal Appeals 02/08/16
Mike Settle v. State of Tennessee
W2015-01629-CCA-R3-ECN
Authoring Judge: Judge John Everett Williams
Trial Court Judge: Judge Kyle Atkins

The Petitioner, Mike Settle, appeals the trial court's denial of his petition for writ of error coram nobis. 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.

Madison County Court of Criminal Appeals 02/05/16
State of Tennessee v. Jeremy Dewayne Cooper
W2015-00914-CCA-R3-CD
Authoring Judge: Judge John Everett Williams
Trial Court Judge: Judge Roy B. Morgan, Jr

The defendant appeals the revocation of his community corrections sentence and the trial court's order that he serve the remainder of his sentence in prison. After a thorough review of the record and the applicable law, we discern no abuse of discretion, and we affirm the trial court's judgment.

Madison County Court of Criminal Appeals 02/05/16
Alvin George Rye v. State of Tennessee
M2015-01294-CCA-R3-PC
Authoring Judge: Judge Timothy L. Easter
Trial Court Judge: Judge Ross H. Hicks

Petitioner, Alvin George Rye, sought post-conviction relief in Montgomery County following his no contest plea to one count of attempted rape of a child.  The petition for relief was dismissed after a hearing.  Upon review, we affirm the judgment of the post-conviction court.

Montgomery County Court of Criminal Appeals 02/05/16
Kenneth Thompson Anderson v. State of Tennessee
M2014-01812-CCA-R3-HC
Authoring Judge: Presiding Judge Thomas T. Woodall
Trial Court Judge: Judge Monte Watkins

Kenneth Thompson Anderson (“the Petitioner”) filed a petition for habeas corpus relief, alleging that he was denied pretrial and post-judgment jail credits.  After a hearing, the habeas corpus court denied relief.  Upon review, we conclude that habeas corpus relief is not available in this case.  The judgment of the habeas corpus court is affirmed.

Davidson County Court of Criminal Appeals 02/05/16
Dwayne Williams v. State of Tennessee
W2014-02415-CCA-R3-PC
Authoring Judge: Judge Roger A. Page
Trial Court Judge: Judge Lee V. Coffee

Petitioner, Dwayne Williams, pleaded guilty to aggravated sexual battery and was sentenced to eight years in confinement. Petitioner filed the instant petition for post-conviction relief, and following an evidentiary hearing, the post-conviction court denied relief. On appeal, petitioner argues that: (1) his guilty plea was not knowingly and voluntarily entered; (2) he received ineffective assistance of counsel when counsel failed to file a motion to suppress and failed to investigate a potential plea offer; and (3) he was denied a full and fair hearing on his ineffective assistance of counsel claims against his first counsel. After our review of the parties' briefs, the record, and the applicable law, we affirm the judgment of the post-conviction court.

Shelby County Court of Criminal Appeals 02/03/16
Andra Taylor v. State of Tennessee
W2015-00744-CCA-R3-PC
Authoring Judge: Judge Robert H. Montgomery, Jr.
Trial Court Judge: Judge Donald H. Allen

The Petitioner, Andra Taylor, appeals the Madison County Circuit Court’s denial of his petition for post-conviction relief from his 2012 convictions for aggravated burglary, employing a firearm during the commission of a dangerous felony, and two counts of reckless endangerment involving a deadly weapon, for which he is serving an effective fourteen-year sentence. The Petitioner contends that the post-conviction court erred by denying him relief due to the ineffective assistance of counsel in the conviction proceedings. We affirm the judgment of the post-conviction court.

Madison County Court of Criminal Appeals 02/03/16
State of Tennessee v. Mario Thomas
W2015-00533-CCA-R3-CD
Authoring Judge: Judge John Everett Williams
Trial Court Judge: Judge James C. Beasley, Jr.

The defendant, Mario Thomas, appeals the sentences imposed for his guilty pleas to the offenses of aggravated robbery, attempted aggravated robbery, aggravated assault, aggravated burglary, employing a firearm in the commission of a dangerous felony, and possessing a firearm after having been convicted of a felony involving the use or attempted use of violence. The defendant's sole allegation of error is that the trial court should not have ordered his convictions for aggravated burglary and aggravated robbery to run consecutively. After a thorough review of the record, we discern no error and affirm the judgments of the trial court.

Shelby County Court of Criminal Appeals 02/03/16
Danny Blankenship Bonding Company v. State of Tennessee
W2015-00614-CCA-R3-CD
Authoring Judge: Judge John Everett Williams
Trial Court Judge: Judge Donald H. Allen

Appellant, Danny Blankenship Bonding Company, appeals the judgment of the Henderson County Circuit Court forfeiting a $3,000 bail bond in the case of criminal defendant Edward Hunt. On appeal, appellant argues that he was entitled to relief pursuant to Tennessee Code sections 40-11-139(c) and 40-11-203(a). Following our review of the parties’ briefs, the record, and the applicable law, we affirm the judgment of the circuit court.

Henderson County Court of Criminal Appeals 02/03/16
State of Tennessee v. Louis Orlando Harmon
M2015-00691-CCA-R3-CD
Authoring Judge: Judge Roger A. Page
Trial Court Judge: Judge Walter C. Kurtz

Appellant, Louis Orlando Harmon, stands convicted of theft of property valued at $1,000 or more but less than $10,000; possession of tools used to interfere with anti-theft security devices; and driving while his license was suspended.  He was sentenced to six years for the theft of property offense, to a consecutive term of eleven months, twenty-nine days for the possession of tools offense, and to a concurrent term of six months for the driving offense.  On appeal, he argues that the trial court committed plain error by allowing an Academy Sports and Outdoors loss prevention officer to testify about the identification of appellant and his vehicle by other employees of the store.  Following our review, we affirm the judgments of the trial court.

Williamson County Court of Criminal Appeals 02/03/16
State of Tennessee v. Katarina R. Long
M2015-01057-CCA-R3-CD
Authoring Judge: Judge Norma McGee Ogle
Trial Court Judge: Judge Larry J. Wallace

The appellant, Katarina R. Long, pled guilty in the Dickson County Circuit Court to theft of property valued $10,000 or more but less than $60,000 and was granted judicial diversion with the requirement that she complete three years of probation and pay $20,000 restitution.  On appeal, the appellant contends that the trial court abused its discretion by ordering the amount of restitution when it was clear that she did not have the ability to pay it.  Because we lack jurisdiction to consider her appeal, we must dismiss it.

Dickson County Court of Criminal Appeals 02/02/16
State of Tennessee v. Stacey Green
M2015-00323-CCA-R3-CD
Authoring Judge: Judge Robert L. Holloway, Jr.
Trial Court Judge: Judge Thomas W. Graham

The Defendant, Stacey Green, appeals from his convictions for aggravated robbery, burglary, aggravated assault, and three counts of facilitation of aggravated robbery.  The Defendant contends that the trial court erred in denying his motion to suppress evidence relating to a victim’s pretrial identification of the Defendant in a photographic lineup and that the evidence presented at trial was insufficient to support his convictions.  Following a thorough review of the record and applicable law, we affirm the judgments of the trial court. 

Marion County Court of Criminal Appeals 02/01/16
Frederick D. Deberry v. State of Tennessee
W2015-00951-CCA-R3-PC
Authoring Judge: Judge D. Kelly Thomas
Trial Court Judge: Judge J. Weber McCraw

The Petitioner, Frederick D. Deberry, appeals as of right from the Fayette County Circuit Court's summary dismissal of his petition for post-conviction relief. On appeal, the Petitioner contends that the statute of limitations should be tolled (1) because he was in federal custody until 2014 and lacked access to Tennessee legal materials and (2) because his trial counsel and the trial court clerk failed to advise him about post-conviciton procedures after he inquired about such information. Discerning no error, we affirm the judgment of the post-conviction court.

Fayette County Court of Criminal Appeals 01/29/16
State of Tennessee v. Phillip Serpas
E2015-00693-CCA-R3-CD
Authoring Judge: Judge Roger A. Page
Trial Court Judge: Judge R. Jerry Beck

Appellant, Phillip Serpas, entered guilty pleas to two counts of unlawfully obtaining a prescription for controlled substances by fraud, Class D felonies, and one count of conspiracy to obtain or attempt to obtain a controlled substance by fraud, a Class E felony. The trial court sentenced him as a Range I, standard offender to concurrent terms of two years each for the Class D felonies and one year for the Class E felony. The trial court held a hearing on the issue of alternative sentencing and ordered appellant to serve his effective two-year sentence in the Tennessee Department of Correction. Appellant appeals the denial of alternative sentencing. Following our review, we affirm the judgments of the trial court.

Sullivan County Court of Criminal Appeals 01/29/16
State of Tennessee v. Cornelius Banks
W2014-02195-CCA-R3-CD
Authoring Judge: Judge Timothy L. Easter
Trial Court Judge: Judge Lee V. Coffee

Defendant, Cornelius Banks, appeals his Shelby County convictions for one count of aggravated kidnapping, two counts of especially aggravated kidnapping, one merged count of aggravated rape, one merged count of aggravated sexual battery, three counts of aggravated robbery, one count of aggravated burglary, and one count of employing a firearm during the commission of a dangerous felony. The trial court imposed a sentence of 240 years. Defendant argues (1) that the indictment for one of the counts of aggravated rape was fatally defective and should be dismissed; (2) that the evidence was insufficient to support his convictions and that his kidnapping convictions violated double jeopardy; (3) that the trial court erred in failing to instruct the jury that it could consider one of the witnesses as an accomplice whose testimony must be corroborated; and (4) that the trial court erred in ordering Defendant's sentences to be served consecutively. Upon our review of the record, we affirm the judgments of the trial court.

Shelby County Court of Criminal Appeals 01/29/16
State of Tennessee v. John N. Moffitt
W2014-02388-CCA-R3-CD
Authoring Judge: Presiding Judge Thomas T. Woodall
Trial Court Judge: Judge Roy B. Morgan, Jr.

Defendant, John N. Moffitt, was convicted of reckless aggravated assault and sentenced to four years' incarceration to be served at 30 percent release eligibility. Defendant was also ordered to pay restitution and a $2,500 fine. On appeal, Defendant asserts that the evidence was insufficient to support his conviction; that the trial court erred by failing to instruct the jury that his conduct must have caused serious bodily injury; that the evidence was insufficient to support the trial court's order of restitution; and that the trial court erred by imposing the maximum sentence within the applicable range. Having carefully reviewed the record before us, we affirm Defendant's conviction and sentence. However, we reduce the amount of restitution and remand this case to the trial court to determine Defendant's ability to pay restitution.

Henderson County Court of Criminal Appeals 01/29/16
State of Tennessee v. Daetrus Pilate
W2015-00229-CCA-R3-CD
Authoring Judge: Judge Timothy L. Easter
Trial Court Judge: Judge Lee V. Coffee

Defendant, Daetrus Pilate, appeals his convictions for rape of a child, aggravated sexual battery, sexual battery by an authority figure, and incest and also appeals his effective sentence of forty-nine years. Defendant argues that: (1) the trial court erred by permitting the State to present evidence that violated the rules of discovery; (2) the trial court erred by admitting a prior consistent statement of the victim; (3) the trial court erred by admitting evidence of Defendant's arrest and giving a jury instruction on flight; (4) cumulative error requires reversal of the convictions; (5) there is insufficient evidence to support his convictions; and (6) his sentence is excessive. We affirm the judgments of the trial court.

Shelby County Court of Criminal Appeals 01/29/16
State of Tennessee v. Johnthan Tyler Ryan Tyree
M2015-01169-CCA-R3-CD
Authoring Judge: Judge Robert L. Holloway, Jr.
Trial Court Judge: Judge Forest A. Durard, Jr.

In September 24, 2014, the Marshall County Grand Jury indicted the Defendant, Johnthan Tyler Ryan Tyree, for two counts of aggravated assault involving the use of a deadly weapon.  The Defendant entered a best interest guilty plea to the charged offenses with sentencing reserved.  Following a sentencing hearing, the trial court sentenced the Defendant as a Range I standard offender to four years and nine months in the Department of Correction for each count.  The trial court merged Count 2 into Count 1, finding the two offenses arose from a single incident.The sentence was ordered to be served consecutively to a Rutherford County sentence arising from criminal offenses committed while the Defendant was released on bail in this case.  On appeal, the Defendant contends that his sentence is excessive and contrary to law.  Following our review, we find no error in sentencing and affirm the judgments of the trial court.

Marshall County Court of Criminal Appeals 01/29/16
Timothy Coleman v. State of Tennessee
E2015-01414-CCA-R3-PC
Authoring Judge: Judge Robert H. Montgomery, Jr.
Trial Court Judge: Judge Sandra N.C. Donaghy

According to the allegations of the pro se post-conviction petition, the Petitioner, Timothy Coleman, pleaded guilty to initiation of a process to manufacture methamphetamine and received a nine-year sentence. He alleged that the date of the judgment was March 7, 2014, and that no appeal was filed. He filed a post-conviction petition on July 6, 2015, alleging that due process required tolling of the one-year post-conviction statute of limitations due to his mental incompetency. The post-conviction court summarily dismissed the petition as time-barred. On appeal, the Petitioner contends that the post-conviction court erred in dismissing the case on the basis of the statute of limitations. He also contends that newly discovered evidence may establish his actual innocence of the offense. We affirm the judgment of the post-conviction court.

McMinn County Court of Criminal Appeals 01/29/16
Chauquinn Bernard v. State of Tennessee
W2015-00987-CCA-R3-PC
Authoring Judge: Judge Roger A. Page
Trial Court Judge: Judge Joe H. Walker, III

Petitioner, Chauquinn Bernard, pleaded guilty to felony possession of marijuana pursuant to Tennessee Code Annotated section 39-17-418(e) and received the agreed-upon sentence of four years in the Tennessee Department of Correction, to be served concurrently with a ten-year sentence for aggravated burglary that he was already serving. He filed a petition for post-conviction relief alleging ineffective assistance of counsel and involuntariness of his guilty plea. Following an evidentiary hearing, the post-conviction court denied relief. In this appeal, petitioner argues that the post-conviction court erred in finding that he received effective assistance of counsel. Following our review, we affirm the judgment of the post-conviction court.

Tipton County Court of Criminal Appeals 01/28/16
State of Tennessee v. Douglas Kincaid
W2015-00689-CCA-R3-CD
Authoring Judge: Judge Roger A. Page
Trial Court Judge: Judge Roy B. Morgan, Jr.

Appellant stands convicted of possession with the intent to sell not less than one-half ounce but not more than ten pounds of marijuana, a Class E felony; possession with intent to sell a schedule IV controlled substance, a Class D felony; possession of a firearm with the intent to go armed during the commission of a dangerous felony, a Class D felony; and possession of drug paraphernalia, a Class A misdemeanor. The trial court imposed partially consecutive sentences, for an effective sentence of five years. On appeal, appellant argues that: (1) the evidence was insufficient to support his possession of tramadol conviction and his firearm conviction; (2) the trial court erred in admitting into evidence the photographs and text messages from appellant's cellular telephone; and (3) the trial court erred in allowing witnesses to testify regarding appellant's oral statement to police. Following our review of the record and the applicable law, we affirm the judgments of the trial court.

Madison County Court of Criminal Appeals 01/28/16