Court of Criminal Appeals Opinions

Format: 07/22/2014
Format: 07/22/2014
James Frederick Hegel v. State of Tennessee
E2013-01630-CCA-R3-PC
Authoring Judge: Judge Camille R. McMullen
Trial Court Judge: Judge R. Jerry Beck

The Petitioner, James Frederick Hegel, appeals the post-conviction court’s denial of relief from his convictions for rape of a child and incest. On appeal, the Petitioner argues that he received ineffective assistance of counsel. Upon review, we affirm the judgment of the postconviction court.

Sullivan County Court of Criminal Appeals 05/19/14
State of Tennessee v. Leslie Dean Ritchie, Jr.
E2013-01849-CCA-R3-CD
Authoring Judge: Judge Camille R. McMullen
Trial Court Judge: Judge Robert E. Cupp

A Carter County Criminal Court jury convicted the Defendant-Appellant, Leslie Dean Ritchie, Jr., of two counts of soliciting sexual exploitation of a minor, a Class B felony. See T.C.A. § 39-13-529(a) (Supp. 2009). The trial court sentenced Ritchie as a Range I, standard offender to concurrent sentences of ten years in confinement. Ritchie’s sole issue on appeal is that the evidence is insufficient to sustain his two convictions. Upon review, we remand the case for entry of a corrected judgment in count two to reflect that the jury convicted Ritchie of the offense of soliciting sexual exploitation of a minor rather than that Ritchie entered a guilty plea to this offense and to reflect that the sentence in count two is concurrent with the sentence in count one. In all other respects, we affirm the judgments of the trial court.

Carter County Court of Criminal Appeals 05/19/14
State of Tennessee v. John Jackson
M2013-00969-CCA-R3-CD
Authoring Judge: Judge Jeffrey S. Bivins
Trial Court Judge: Judge Michael R. Jones

John Jackson (“the Defendant”) was convicted by a jury of two counts of facilitation of aggravated robbery, one count of aggravated sexual battery, one count of aggravated burglary, and one count of facilitation of theft over $500. The trial court sentenced the Defendant to an effective term of twenty years’ incarceration, to be served at 100%. In this direct appeal, the Defendant contends that the trial court erred in denying his pre-trial motion to suppress; erred in failing to determine whether the Defendant’s prior convictions were admissible; erred in failing to grant a continuance after finding error in the State’s notice of intent to seek enhanced punishment; erred in failing to instruct the jury on theft as a lesser-included offense of aggravated robbery; that the evidence was not sufficient to support his conviction of aggravated sexual battery; that the trial court failed to act as thirteenth juror; and that he should not have been sentenced as a Range III offender. Upon our thorough review of the record and applicable law, we affirm the trial court’s judgments.

Montgomery County Court of Criminal Appeals 05/16/14
State of Tennessee v. Linda Garvin
M2013-02165-CCA-R3-CD
Authoring Judge: Judge John Everett Williams
Trial Court Judge: Judge Stella L. Hargrove

The defendant, Linda Garvin, pleaded guilty to two counts of the sale of cocaine in the amount of .5 grams or less, Class C felonies. She received two four-year sentences to be served consecutively on probation for an effective sentence of eight years. She admitted to violating the terms of her probation. After a probation revocation hearing, the trial court found that the defendant had violated the terms of her probation and ordered her to serve the remainder of her sentence in the penitentiary. The defendant now appeals, arguing that her right to due process was violated because the trial court revoked her probation without making a sufficient statement as to the evidence relied upon and the reasons for revoking probation and that the trial court abused its discretion in revoking her probation. After a thorough review of the record, we affirm the judgment of the trial court.
 

Maury County Court of Criminal Appeals 05/16/14
Clint Sims v. State of Tennessee
W2013-01708-CCA-R3-PC
Authoring Judge: Judge Alan E. Glenn
Trial Court Judge: Judge Donald H. Allen

The petitioner, Clint Sims, appeals the denial of his petition for post-conviction relief, arguing that both his waiver of appointed counsel and his pro se guilty pleas were unknowing due to his mental health issues and the conditions he endured at the jail. Following our review, we affirm the judgment of the post-conviction court denying the petition.

Madison County Court of Criminal Appeals 05/15/14
State of Tennessee v. Terence Dewayne Borum, aka "Measle"
W2013-01035-CCA-R3-CD
Authoring Judge: Judge Alan E. Glenn
Trial Court Judge: Judge Joseph H. Walker, III

The defendant, Terence Dewayne Borum, pleaded guilty to burglary, theft over $1,000, and vandalism over $500 with the sentence to be determined by the trial court. Following a sentencing hearing, the trial court found the defendant to be a persistent offender and imposed an effective ten-year sentence to be served on probation. The State appeals contending that the trial court erred in finding the defendant to be a persistent, rather than a career, offender. Based upon our review of the record and the applicable law, we reverse the judgment of the trial court and remand the case to the trial court for further proceedings consistent with this opinion.

Tipton County Court of Criminal Appeals 05/15/14
State of Tennessee v. James Craig Thomas
E2013-02196-CCA-R3-CD
Authoring Judge: Judge Roger A. Page
Trial Court Judge: Judge Jon Kerry Blackwood

Appellant, James Craig Thomas, was convicted by a Johnson County jury of aggravated assault, a Class C felony. The trial court sentenced him to serve twelve years in the Tennessee Department of Correction as a persistent offender. On appeal, appellant argues that the evidence was insufficient to support his conviction, that the assistant district attorney general committed prosecutorial misconduct during his closing argument, and that the trial court’s sentencing was inappropriate. Following our review, we affirm the judgment of the trial court.

Johnson County Court of Criminal Appeals 05/15/14
State of Tennessee v. Cheryl A. King
E2013-01799-CCA-R3-CD
Authoring Judge: Judge Roger A. Page
Trial Court Judge: Judge Robert H. Montgomery

Appellant, Cheryl A. King, entered a no contest plea to arson, a Class C felony, and applied for judicial diversion. The trial court denied diversion and sentenced her to three years, suspended to probation. Appellant now appeals from the denial of judicial diversion. Following our review, we affirm the judgment of the trial court.

Sullivan County Court of Criminal Appeals 05/15/14
State of Tennessee v. Russell Leaks
W2013-01136-CCA-R3-CO
Authoring Judge: Judge Alan E. Glenn
Trial Court Judge: Judge Bernie Weinman

The defendant, Russell Leaks, pleaded guilty to theft of property over $1,000, burglary of a motor vehicle, and two counts of identity theft and received an effective sentence of twelve years in the Tennessee Department of Correction to be served as a career offender at 60%. The defendant later filed a petition requesting that the trial court suspend the remainder of his sentence and place him on community corrections. The trial court denied the petition, and the defendant appeals. We affirm the judgment of the trial court.

Shelby County Court of Criminal Appeals 05/15/14
State of Tennessee v. Johnathan R. Johnson
M2013-00301-CCA-R3-CD
Authoring Judge: Judge Jeffrey S. Bivins
Trial Court Judge: Judge Michael R. Jones

Johnathan R. Johnson (“the Defendant”) was convicted on two counts of driving on a suspended driver’s license, one count of possession of .5 grams or more of a substance containing cocaine with intent to sell or deliver, one count of possession of contraband in a penal institution, and one count of simple possession of marijuana. In this direct appeal, the Defendant contends that: (1) the trial court erred when it denied his motions to suppress certain evidence; (2) the trial court erred when it admitted evidence of a Tennessee Bureau of Investigation (“TBI”) lab report which the Defendant alleges was not provided in discovery; (3) the evidence was insufficient to support his conviction for possession of .5 grams or more of a substance containing cocaine with intent to sell or deliver; and (4) the trial court erred in denying alternative sentencing. After a thorough review of the record and applicable law, we affirm the judgements of the trial court.

Montgomery County Court of Criminal Appeals 05/15/14
State of Tennessee v. James Williams
W2012-02098-CCA-R3-CD
Authoring Judge: Judge Alan E. Glenn
Trial Court Judge: Judge James Lammey Jr.

The defendant, James Williams, was convicted by a Shelby County Criminal Court jury of first degree premeditated murder, three counts of attempted first degree premeditated murder, and employing a firearm during the commission of a dangerous felony. The jury sentenced him to life imprisonment for the first degree murder conviction, and the trial court sentenced him as a Range I offender to twenty-five years for each of the attempted murder convictions and as a Range III offender to fifteen years for the firearm conviction, with each of the sentences to be served consecutively to each other and consecutively to the life sentence. However, at the hearing on the motion for new trial, the trial court overturned and dismissed the firearm conviction, leaving the defendant with an effective sentence of life plus seventyfive years in the Department of Correction for the murder and attempted murder convictions. In a timely appeal to this court, the defendant challenges the sufficiency of the evidence in support of his murder and attempted murder convictions and argues that the trial court erred in admitting prior bad act evidence and in ordering consecutive sentences. Following our review, we affirm the judgments of the trial court.

Shelby County Court of Criminal Appeals 05/14/14
State of Tennessee v. Arthur Crutcher
W2012-02534-CCA-R3-CD
Authoring Judge: Judge Norma McGee Ogle
Trial Court Judge: Judge Lee V. Coffee

A Shelby County Criminal Court Jury convicted the appellant, Arthur Crutcher, of aggravated robbery. The trial court sentenced the appellant to ten years in the Tennessee Department of Correction. On appeal, the appellant asserts that the trial court erred by ruling that the State could use a prior conviction to impeach the appellant without giving proper notice. The State contends that the appellant’s notice of appeal was untimely and that the appeal should be dismissed. We agree with the State and conclude that the interests of justice do not require waiver of the timely filing of the notice of appeal. Accordingly, the appeal is dismissed.

Shelby County Court of Criminal Appeals 05/14/14
State of Tennessee v. Tray Dontacc Chaney
W2013-00914-CCA-R9-CD
Authoring Judge: Judge Alan E. Glenn
Trial Court Judge: Judge Nathan B. Pride

The defendant was indicted for first degree premeditated murder, attempted first degree murder, carjacking, aggravated assault, employing a firearm in the commission of a dangerous felony, and felony evading arrest. After the defendant was determined to be competent to stand trial, counsel filed a motion asking that the defendant be allowed to present expert proof of a mental disease or defect to show that he could not form the requisite state of premeditation. The State objected to the introduction of this evidence, and the defendant responded by asserting that, while the expert witness could not state unequivocally that he could not form the requisite intent, the testimony was admissible as bearing on the defendant’s intent. Following a hearing, the trial court denied the State’s motion to bar this testimony. The State then requested, and the trial court granted, the filing of a Tennessee Rule of Appellate Procedure 9 appeal, which this court granted. Following our review, we agree with the State that the proferred evidence is inadmissible, reverse the order of the trial court, and remand this matter for further proceedings consistent with this opinion.

Madison County Court of Criminal Appeals 05/14/14