Court of Criminal Appeals Opinions

Format: 07/31/2015
Format: 07/31/2015
State of Tennessee v. Dustin Matthew Lucio
E2014-00642-CCA-R3-CD
Authoring Judge: Judge Norma McGee Ogle
Trial Court Judge: Judge Richard R. Vance

A Sevier County Circuit Court Jury convicted the appellant, Dustin Matthew Lucio, of aggravated rape, and the trial court sentenced him to twenty-three years in confinement to be served at 100%. On appeal, the appellant contends that the trial court erred by failing to suppress a suggestive pretrial identification of him as the perpetrator, that the trial court erred by refusing to allow him to introduce evidence of the victim’s drug use to corroborate his version of the events, and that the evidence is insufficient to support the conviction. Based upon the oral arguments, the record, and the parties’ briefs, we affirm the judgment of the trial court.

Sevier County Court of Criminal Appeals 03/31/15
Jamie Lou Haneline v. State of Tennessee
W2014-01713-CCA-R3-ECN
Authoring Judge: Judge John Everett Williams
Trial Court Judge: Judge C. Creed McGinley

The petitioner, Jamie Lou Haneline, appeals the dismissal of his petition for the writ of error coram nobis. He was convicted of rape of a child in 2001 and received a sentence of thirty-eight years. In the petition for relief, which was filed in 2013, the petitioner alleged a newly discovered witness with information not previously known at trial. After a hearing, the court dismissed the petition as untimely and, further, found that the witness’s testimony would not have changed the verdict in the petitioner’s case. The petitioner contends that the error coram nobis court erroneously reached those conclusions. Following review of the record, we affirm the judgment of the court.

Decatur County Court of Criminal Appeals 03/31/15
Jerry McGaha v. State of Tennessee
E2014-01538-CCA-R3-PC
Authoring Judge: Judge D. Kelly Thomas, Jr.
Trial Court Judge: Judge Ben W. Hooper, II

The pro se appellant, Jerry McGaha, appeals as of right from the Cocke County Circuit Court’s order denying his petition for post-conviction relief challenging his guilty-pleaded convictions of nine counts of rape of a child. The State has filed a motion requesting that this court affirm the trial court’s denial of relief pursuant to Rule 20 of the Rules of the Tennessee Court of Criminal Appeals. Following our review, we conclude that the State’s motion to affirm by memorandum opinion is well-taken and affirm the judgment of the Cocke County Circuit Court.

Cocke County Court of Criminal Appeals 03/31/15
Troy D. Bartley v. Brenda Jones, Warden
W2014-01464-CCA-R3-HC
Authoring Judge: Judge Camille R. McMullen
Trial Court Judge: Judge Joe H. Walker, III

The Petitioner, Troy D. Bartley, 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 03/31/15
State of Tennessee v. James Murray Washington
M2013-00831-CCA-R3-CD
Authoring Judge: Presiding Judge Thomas T. Woodall
Trial Court Judge: Judge Monte Watkins

I join in the majority opinion except that portion which concerns the appellant’s challenge that his constitutional right to confront a witness was denied by admission into evidence of the autopsy report prepared by Dr. Ann L. Bucholtz, M.D. The appellant was entitled to cross-examine Dr. Bucholtz prior to admission of the autopsy report. Therefore, I conclude it was error to admit the autopsy report itself into evidence as an exhibit. However, my conclusion does not extend to bar the use of Dr. Bucholtz’s autopsy report by the testifying physician to form his own expert opinion.

Davidson County Court of Criminal Appeals 03/31/15
State of Tennessee v. James Murray Washington
M2013-00831-CCA-R3-CD
Authoring Judge: Judge Norma McGee Ogle
Trial Court Judge: Judge Monte Watkins

The appellant, James Murray Washington, was convicted by a jury in the Davidson County Criminal Court of first degree murder. The trial court sentenced the appellant to life imprisonment without the possibility of parole. On appeal, the appellant contends that the evidence was not sufficient to sustain his conviction, that the trial court erred by denying a motion to suppress his statement to the police, and that the trial court violated his constitutional right to confrontation by allowing a doctor who did not perform the victim’s autopsy to testify regarding the autopsy and by admitting the autopsy report into evidence. Upon review, we affirm the judgment of the trial court.

Davidson County Court of Criminal Appeals 03/31/15
State of Tennessee v. Andrew Lee Davis
M2014-00563-CCA-R3-CD
Authoring Judge: Judge Norma McGee Ogle
Trial Court Judge: Judge Forest A. Durard, Jr.

The appellant, Andrew Lee Davis, was convicted of domestic assault.  He was sentenced to eleven months and twenty-nine days in the county jail, with all but thirty days of the sentence suspended.  On appeal, the appellant challenges the sufficiency of the evidence sustaining his conviction.  Upon review, we affirm the judgment of the trial court.

Marshall County Court of Criminal Appeals 03/31/15
Laquan Napoleon Johnson v. State of Tennessee
M2014-00976-CCA-R3-ECN
Authoring Judge: Judge Robert L. Holloway, Jr.
Trial Court Judge: Judge David A. Patterson

Laquan Napoleon Johnson (“the Petitioner”) appeals from the denial of his Petition for Writ of Error Coram Nobis (“the petition”). The coram nobis court interpreted the petition to allege an error coram nobis claim as well as a post-conviction claim. It summarily denied the error coram nobis claim and dismissed the post-conviction claim as time-barred. After a review of the record and applicable law, we affirm the judgment of the coram nobis court.

Putnam County Court of Criminal Appeals 03/31/15
State of Tennessee v. Mario D. Taylor - concurring in part, dissenting in part
M2013-02667-CCA-R3-CD
Authoring Judge: Judge Robert H. Montgomery, Jr.
Trial Court Judge: Judge Dee David Gay

I agree with the majority’s conclusions in all aspects relative to the issues raised by the Appellant. I write separately to address the Appellant’s dual convictions for aggravated robbery and aggravated assault because I conclude as a matter of plain error that the dual convictions violate double jeopardy principles.

Sumner County Court of Criminal Appeals 03/31/15
State of Tennessee v. Mario D. Taylor
M2013-02667-CCA-R3-CD
Authoring Judge: Judge Roger A. Page
Trial Court Judge: Judge Dee David Gay

Appellant, Mario D. Taylor, was convicted of aggravated burglary, aggravated robbery, employing a firearm during the commission of a dangerous felony, and three counts of aggravated assault. The trial court sentenced him to an effective sentence of twelve years. On appeal, appellant argues that: (1) there was insufficient evidence to support his convictions; (2) his conviction for employing a firearm during the commission of a dangerous felony violates his double jeopardy rights; (3) the trial court erred by refusing to allow a lay witness to testify regarding appellant’s mental and physical health; and (4) the trial court erred by refusing to allow appellant to introduce the entirety of his videotaped interrogation. Following our review of the parties’ briefs, the record, and the applicable law, we affirm the judgments of the trial court.

Sumner County Court of Criminal Appeals 03/31/15
Mark Allen Hill v. State of Tennessee
E2014-01011-CCA-R3-PC
Authoring Judge: Judge D. Kelly Thomas, Jr.
Trial Court Judge: Judge Richard R. Vance

The Petitioner, Mark Allen Hill, appeals the denial of his petition for post-conviction relief, wherein he challenged his “open” guilty plea to second degree murder. See Tenn. Code Ann. § 39-13-210. On appeal, the Petitioner contends that he received the ineffective assistance of counsel, leading to an involuntary plea, because trial counsel failed to inform him of the factors involved in enhancing his sentencing term. Following our review, we affirm the judgment of the post-conviction court. 

Grainger County Court of Criminal Appeals 03/30/15
State of Tennessee v. Eddie Joe Whitaker
E2014-01066-CCA-R3-CD
Authoring Judge: Judge D. Kelly Thomas, Jr.
Trial Court Judge: Judge E. Shayne Sexton

The Defendant, Eddie Joe Whitaker, was convicted by a Campbell County jury of retaliation for past action and failure to appear. See Tenn. Code Ann. §§ 39-16-510, -16-609. On appeal, he contends that the evidence is insufficient to support his convictions. Following our review, we conclude that the evidence is sufficient to support the Defendant’s conviction for retaliation for past action but that the evidence is insufficient to sustain the conviction for failure to appear. Therefore, the conviction for retaliation for past action is affirmed, and the conviction for failure to appear is reversed and that charge is dismissed.

Campbell County Court of Criminal Appeals 03/27/15
State of Tennessee v. John D. Bailey
W2014-00705-CCA-R3-CD
Authoring Judge: Judge Roger A. Page
Trial Court Judge: Judge Russell Lee Moore, Jr.

Appellant, John D. Bailey, was convicted by a jury of first degree premeditated murder and sentenced to life imprisonment. On appeal, he argues that the trial court erred by failing to suppress his statement to the police and that the evidence was insufficient to support his conviction. Following our review, we affirm the judgment of the trial court.

Dyer County Court of Criminal Appeals 03/27/15
Frederick Moore v. Mike Parris, Warden
W2014-02128-CCA-R3-HC
Authoring Judge: Judge Camille R. McMullen
Trial Court Judge: Judge R. Lee Moore, Jr.

The Petitioner, Frederick Moore, appeals the Lake County Circuit Court's denial of his pro se petition for writ of habeas corpus. On appeal, he asserts that his indictment is void and illegal and deprives the trial court of jurisdiction because the State illegally amended it and improperly obtained a superseding indictment. He further asserts that he is entitled to habeas corpus relief because he was denied due process when he was not afforded a second preliminary hearing. Upon review, we affirm the the trial court's denial of the petition.

Lake County Court of Criminal Appeals 03/27/15
Curtis Johnson v. State of Tennessee
W2014-01779-CCA-R3-CO
Authoring Judge: Judge Camille R. McMullen
Trial Court Judge: Judge Chris Craft

The Petitioner, Curtis Johnson, appeals the Shelby County Criminal Court's summary dismissal of his motion to correct an illegal sentence pursuant to Tennessee Rule of Criminal Procedure 36.1. On appeal, the Petitioner alleges that he was illegally sentenced under the repealed Tennessee Criminal Sentencing Reform Act of 1982 rather than the Tennessee Criminal Sentencing Reform Act of 1989. Upon review, we affirm the judgment of the criminal court.

Shelby County Court of Criminal Appeals 03/27/15
State of Tennessee v. Jordan Alexander Rodrigues
M2014-01001-CCA-R3-CD
Authoring Judge: Judge Camille R. McMullen
Trial Court Judge: Judge Franklin L. Russell

The Defendant-Appellant, Jordan Alexander Rodrigues, appeals the revocation of his probation by the Marshall County Circuit Court.  He previously entered a guilty plea to burglary for which he received a three-year suspended sentence.  In this appeal, he argues that the trial court abused its discretion by revoking his probation and ordering a sentence of full confinement rather than imposing split confinement.  Upon our review, we affirm the judgment of the trial court.

Marshall County Court of Criminal Appeals 03/27/15
State of Tennessee v. Dennie Louis Price, Jr.
W2014-01331-CCA-R3-CD
Authoring Judge: Judge Alan E. Glenn
Trial Court Judge: Judge Donald H. Allen

The defendant, Dennie Louis Price, Jr., appeals the trial court's revocation of his probation and reinstatement of his sentence of twelve years in the Department of Correction. On appeal, he argues that the trial court erred in revoking his probation. Following our review, we affirm the judgment of the trial court.

Madison County Court of Criminal Appeals 03/27/15
Brian S. Roberson v. State of Tennessee
M2013-02565-CCA-R3-PC
Authoring Judge: Judge Camille R. McMullen
Trial Court Judge: Judge Timothy L. Easter

The Petitioner, Brian S. Roberson, appeals from the denial of post-conviction relief by the Circuit Court for Williamson County.  He was convicted for the sale of .5 grams or more of cocaine and sentenced to thirty years’ imprisonment in the Tennessee Department of Correction.  On appeal, the Petitioner argues that he received ineffective assistance of trial and appellate counsel.  Upon review, we affirm the judgment of the post-conviction court.

Williamson County Court of Criminal Appeals 03/27/15
State of Tennessee v. Eric Williams
W2013-01593-CCA-R3-CD
Authoring Judge: Judge Norma McGee Ogle
Trial Court Judge: Judge James Lammey, Jr.

A Shelby County Criminal Court Jury convicted the appellant, Eric Williams, of first degree premeditated murder, and the trial court sentenced him to life. On appeal, the appellant contends that the evidence is insufficient to support the conviction, that the trial court erred by refusing to allow State witnesses to testify about his statements after the killing, that the trial court erred by allowing the State to use a shotgun for demonstrative purposes when the gun was not involved in the crime, and that the trial court erred by not using the “reasonable effort method” for the jury’s consideration of the charge. Based upon the record and the parties’ briefs, we conclude that the trial court erred by prohibiting the appellant from crossexamining State witnesses about his stating after the shooting that he did not intend to shoot the victim, by allowing the State’s expert to testify about the trigger pull of double-barrel shotguns, and by allowing the jury to handle a shotgun that was not the murder weapon. Moreover, we conclude that the cumulative effect of the errors warrants reversal of the appellant’s conviction. Therefore, the conviction is reversed, and the case is remanded to the trial court for a new trial.

Shelby County Court of Criminal Appeals 03/27/15
State of Tennessee v. Allen Cornelius Bond
W2014-00069-CCA-R3-CD
Authoring Judge: Judge Alan E. Glenn
Trial Court Judge: Judge Roy B. Morgan, Jr.

The defendant, Allen Cornelius Bond, was convicted by a Madison County Criminal Court jury of aggravated sexual battery, a Class B felony, and attempted sexual battery, a Class A misdemeanor, and was sentenced to an effective term of sixteen years in the Tennessee Department of Correction to be served consecutively to a prior sentence. On appeal, he argues that: (1) his right to an impartial jury was violated because one of the jurors knew him; (2) the evidence is insufficient to sustain his convictions; (3) the trial court erred in allowing the nurse examiner to testify as an expert witness; and (4) the trial court erred in not exercising its authority as the thirteenth juror and setting aside his convictions. After review, we affirm the judgments of the trial court.

Madison County Court of Criminal Appeals 03/27/15
State of Tennessee v. Maxwell Monroe Hodge
E2014-01059-CCA-R3-CD
Authoring Judge: Judge James Curwood Witt, Jr.
Trial Court Judge: Judge Robert H. Montgomery, Jr.

Convicted of rape by a Sullivan County Criminal Court jury, the defendant, Maxwell Monroe Hodge, appeals and claims that the evidence is insufficient to support his conviction and that the definition of “sexual penetration” expressed in Tennessee Code Annotated section 39-13-501(7) is impermissibly vague relative to that subsection’s use of the terms “genital or anal openings.” Discerning no error, we affirm the judgment of the criminal court.

Sullivan County Court of Criminal Appeals 03/26/15
Crystal Miranda Kirby v. State of Tennessee
W2014-00679-CCA-R3-HC
Authoring Judge: Judge Alan E. Glenn
Trial Court Judge: Judge J. Robert Carter, Jr.

The petitioner, Crystal Miranda Kirby, appeals the denial of her petition for writ of habeas corpus, arguing that her judgment for first degree murder is void and illegal on its face because of the trial court’s merger of her second degree murder conviction into the first degree murder conviction after separate judgments had already been entered and the jury had been dismissed. Following our review, we affirm the judgment of the habeas court summarily denying the petition.

Shelby County Court of Criminal Appeals 03/26/15
Trutonio Yancey v. State of Tennessee
W2014-00328-CCA-R3-PC
Authoring Judge: Judge Alan E. Glenn
Trial Court Judge: Judge J. Robert Carter, Jr.

The petitioner, Trutonio Yancey, was convicted of aggravated robbery, especially aggravated kidnapping, carjacking, and employing a firearm during the commission of a dangerous felony and received an effective sentence of twenty years. On direct appeal, this court affirmed the petitioner’s aggravated robbery and especially aggravated kidnapping convictions but reversed the carjacking and firearm convictions and remanded for a new trial. The Tennessee Supreme Court denied application for permission to appeal. State v. Trutonio Yancey and Bernard McThune, No. W2011-01543-CCA-R3-CD, 2012 WL 4057369, at (Tenn. Crim. App. Sept. 17, 2012), perm. app. denied (Tenn. Jan. 14, 2013). Subsequently, he filed a pro se petition for post-conviction relief, alleging he received the ineffective assistance of counsel at trial. Counsel was appointed and, following an evidentiary hearing, the post-conviction court denied the petition. Based upon our review, we affirm the judgment of the post-conviction court.

Shelby County Court of Criminal Appeals 03/26/15
Corey Alan Bennett v. State of Tennessee
E2015-00143-CCA-R3-PC
Authoring Judge: Judge D. Kelly Thomas, Jr.
Trial Court Judge: Judge Bob R. McGee

The pro se appellant, Corey Alan Bennett, appeals as of right from the Knox County Criminal Court’s order summarily dismissing his petition for post-conviction relief. Because the record reflects that the appellant filed a subsequent petition for post-conviction relief, we affirm the order of the Knox County Criminal Court pursuant to Rule 20 of the Rules of the Tennessee Court of Criminal Appeals.

Knox County Court of Criminal Appeals 03/25/15
Corey Alan Bennett v. State of Tennessee
E2014-02097-CCA-R3-PC
Authoring Judge: Judge D. Kelly Thomas, Jr.
Trial Court Judge: Judge Bob R. McGee

The pro se appellant, Corey Alan Bennett, appeals as of right from the Knox County Criminal Court’s order summarily dismissing his petition for post-conviction relief. Because the record reflects that the appellant filed a subsequent petition for post-conviction relief, we affirm the order of the Knox County Criminal Court pursuant to Rule 20 of the Rules of the Tennessee Court of Criminal Appeals.

Knox County Court of Criminal Appeals 03/25/15