Court of Criminal Appeals Opinions

Format: 05/03/2016
Format: 05/03/2016
State of Tennessee v. Travei Pryor - concurring and dissenting
E2012-02638-CCA-R3-CD
Authoring Judge: Judge John Everett Williams
Trial Court Judge: Judge Jon Kerry Blackwood

I must respectfully dissent from the majority’s reasoned opinion with regard to its conclusion that the absence of the White instructions constituted reversible error. I would affirm the convictions as they were entered, although merging those counts which were alternatively charged. In all other regards, I join in the majority's opinion.

Knox County Court of Criminal Appeals 12/18/15
State of Tennessee v. Patrick Wilson
W2015-00225-CCA-R3-CD
Authoring Judge: Judge Timothy L. Easter
Trial Court Judge: Judge J. Robert Carter, Jr.

Defendant, Patrick Wilson, appeals the trial court's denial of an alternative sentence after the entry of a guilty plea to aggravated statutory rape. Because the trial court did not abuse its discretion in denying an alternative sentence, we affirm the judgment of the trial court.

Shelby County Court of Criminal Appeals 12/18/15
State of Tennessee v. James Brandon Stewart
W2015-00167-CCA-R3-CD
Authoring Judge: Judge James Curwood Witt, Jr.
Trial Court Judge: Judge J. Weber McCraw

The defendant, James Brandon Stewart, appeals the summary denial 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 challenged sentence has expired, we affirm the summary dismissal of the defendant's motion.

Hardeman County Court of Criminal Appeals 12/18/15
State of Tennessee v. Travei Pryor
E2012-02638-CCA-R3-CD
Authoring Judge: Judge Norma McGee Ogle
Trial Court Judge: Judge Jon Kerry Blackwood
A Knox County Criminal Court Jury convicted the appellant, Travei Pryor, of eleven counts of aggravated kidnapping, a Class B felony; four counts of aggravated robbery, a Class B felony; four counts of aggravated burglary, a Class C felony; one count of employing a firearm during the commission of a dangerous felony, a Class C felony; one count of possessing a firearm during the commission of a dangerous felony, a Class C felony; and one count of criminal impersonation, a Class B misdemeanor. After a sentencing hearing, he received an effective twelve-year sentence. On appeal, the appellant claimed that the evidence was insufficient to support his convictions of employing and possessing a firearm during the commission of a dangerous felony and that the trial court committed reversible error by failing to instruct the jury as provided by State v. White, 362 S.W.3d 559 (Tenn. 2012). This court concluded that the trial court’s failure to instruct the jury pursuant to White constituted reversible error, reversed his eleven convictions of aggravated kidnapping, remanded the case to the trial court for a new trial as to those offenses, and affirmed the appellant’s remaining convictions. The Tennessee Supreme Court granted the State’s application for permission to appeal and remanded the case to this court for reconsideration in light of the supreme court’s recent opinions in State v. Teats, 468 S.W.3d 495 (Tenn. 2015), and State v. Williams, 468 S.W.3d 510 (Tenn. 2015). After revisiting the issue pertaining to the White instruction, we conclude that the appellant’s convictions of aggravated kidnapping in counts 13 and 14 and counts 20 and 21 must be reversed and the case remanded to the trial court for a new trial as to those offenses. The appellant’s remaining convictions are affirmed. However, upon remand, the trial court is to merge the appellant’s convictions in counts 7 and 8, counts 9 and 10, counts 11 and 12, counts 15 and 16, and counts 17 and 18.
 
Knox County Court of Criminal Appeals 12/18/15
State of Tennessee v. Raphael Cortez Ferguson
E2015-00984-CCA-R3-CD
Authoring Judge: Judge Roger A. Page
Trial Court Judge: Judge David R. Duggan

Appellant, Raphael Cortez Ferguson, pleaded guilty to facilitation of possession of a Schedule I controlled substance with intent to resell, a Class C felony, and received the agreed-upon sentence of three years to be served in the Tennessee Department of Correction. The department of correction placed appellant in its special alternative incarceration unit and, approximately six months later, released him from custody subject to supervised probation. A probation violation warrant was subsequently issued, alleging the following infractions: (1) committing new criminal offenses for theft of property valued at more than $1,000 but less than $10,000, criminal simulation, and identity theft; (2) testing positive on two drug screens; and (3) failing to complete community service as ordered. Following a hearing, the trial court revoked appellant’s probation and ordered his sentence into execution. On appeal, appellant argues that there was insufficient evidence supporting his new criminal offenses and that the remainder of the evidence warranted a lesser consequence than complete confinement. Upon our review, we affirm the judgment of the trial court.

Blount County Court of Criminal Appeals 12/17/15
Jordan Curry v. State of Tennessee
W2015-00709-CCA-R3-PC
Authoring Judge: Judge Robert H. Montgomery, Jr.
Trial Court Judge: Judge Roy B. Morgan, Jr.

The Petitioner, Jordan Curry, appeals the Madison County Circuit Court’s denial of his petition for post-conviction relief from his convictions for especially aggravated kidnapping, aggravated robbery, aggravated burglary, employing a firearm during the commission of a dangerous felony, and evading arrest and his effective forty-four-year sentence. The Petitioner contends that the post-conviction court erred by denying relief on his ineffective assistance of counsel claim. We affirm the judgment of the post-conviction court.

Madison County Court of Criminal Appeals 12/17/15
State of Tennessee v. Anthony Porrazzo
E2014-02335-CCA-R3-CD
Authoring Judge: Judge James Curwood Witt, Jr.
Trial Court Judge: Judge Steven R. Sword

The defendant, Anthony Porrazzo, appeals his Knox County Criminal Court jury convictions of aggravated robbery and misdemeanor theft, contending that the trial court erred by refusing to suppress the statements he made to law enforcement officers, that the trial court abused its discretion by excluding certain witness testimony and by denying the defendant's motion for a mistrial, and that the evidence adduced at trial was insufficient to support his convictions. Discerning no reversible error, we affirm the judgments of the trial court.

Knox County Court of Criminal Appeals 12/17/15
Shelley Denise Blair v. State of Tennessee
M2014-02506-CCA-R3-PC
Authoring Judge: Judge Alan E. Glenn
Trial Court Judge: Judge Michael W. Binkley

The petitioner, Shelley Denise Blair, appeals the summary dismissal of her petition for post-conviction relief, arguing that the post-conviction court erred by relying solely on her pro se petition, and not considering the allegations of fact in the amended petition prepared by post-conviction counsel, in concluding that she failed to make out a prima facie case of mental incompetence to toll the statute of limitations.  Following our review, we affirm the summary dismissal of the petition as time-barred.

Williamson County Court of Criminal Appeals 12/17/15
Timothy Shane Hixson v. State of Tennessee
M2015-00065-CCA-R3-PC
Authoring Judge: Judge Norma McGee Ogle
Trial Court Judge: Judge Cheryl Blackburn

The Petitioner, Timothy Shane Hixson, appeals the Davidson County Criminal Court’s denial of his petition for post-conviction relief from his conviction of aggravated robbery and resulting twenty-four-year sentence.  On appeal, the Petitioner contends that he received the ineffective assistance of trial counsel.  Based upon the record and the parties’ briefs, we affirm the judgment of the post-conviction court.

Davidson County Court of Criminal Appeals 12/17/15
State of Tennessee v. Demontise Martez Drumwright a.k.a Demontise J. Drumwright
M2015-00098-CCA-R3-CD
Authoring Judge: Judge Robert L. Holloway, Jr.
Trial Court Judge: Judge Steve R. Dozier

Demontise Martez Drumwright a.k.a. Demontise J. Drumwright (“the Defendant”) pleaded guilty to one count each of aggravated burglary and robbery.  The trial court denied alternative sentencing, ordering the Defendant to serve his effective four-year sentence in confinement.  On this appeal, the Defendant claims that the trial court erred when it (1) considered the Defendant’s pending case in Knox County as a basis for denial of alternative sentencing and (2) ordered the Defendant to serve his sentence in confinement.  Discerning no error, we affirm the judgments of the trial court.

Davidson County Court of Criminal Appeals 12/17/15
State of Tennessee v. Michael Dean Hodges
M2014-01544-CCA-R3-CD
Authoring Judge: Judge Norma McGee Ogle
Trial Court Judge: Judge Cheryl A. Blackburn

The Davidson County Grand Jury indicted the appellant, Michael Dean Hodges, for aggravated child abuse in counts one through three and aggravated child neglect in count four.  After a jury trial, the appellant was acquitted of count one but convicted as charged in counts two and three and convicted of aggravated assault as a lesser-included offense of aggravated child neglect in count four.  The trial court merged the aggravated assault conviction into the aggravated child abuse convictions and sentenced the appellant to an effective twenty-five-years in confinement to be served at 100%.  On appeal, the appellant contends that the trial court erred by failing to sever the charge of aggravated child abuse in count one from the remaining two counts of aggravated child abuse; that the trial court erred by allowing the jury to hear a portion of his statement in which he admitted to prior bad acts; that the trial court erred by giving the jury a supplemental instruction on “knowingly” that failed to include language about non-accidental conduct; and that cumulative error warrants a new trial.  Based upon the record and the parties’ briefs, we conclude that the trial court erred by allowing the jury to hear that the appellant had been “in trouble” previously.  However, we conclude that the error was harmless. Nevertheless, we conclude that the appellant’s conviction of aggravated assault must be reversed because aggravated assault is not a lesser-included offense of aggravated child neglect.

Davidson County Court of Criminal Appeals 12/17/15
State of Tennessee v. Tanya Nicole Slimick
M2014-00747-CCA-R3-CD
Authoring Judge: Judge John Everett Williams
Trial Court Judge: Judge Michael W. Binkley

A jury convicted the defendant, Tanya Nicole Slimick, of first degree (premeditated) murder for shooting her boyfriend.  The defendant received a life sentence.  On appeal, the defendant challenges the sufficiency of the evidence, asserting that the State failed to show premeditation or to negate self-defense.  She also raises numerous challenges to the jury instructions, including that the trial court instructed the jury that the defendant had the burden of raising the issue of self-defense; that the self-defense instruction was confusing to the jury; that the jury instructions improperly failed to list the negation of self-defense in the litany of items which the State is required to prove beyond a reasonable doubt; and that the instructions failed to list lesser included offenses whenever the “charged offense” was referenced.  The defendant also asserts that there was reversible error in the use of a demonstrative aid in the prosecution’s closing argument.  After a thorough review of the law and the facts, we affirm the judgment of the trial court.

Williamson County Court of Criminal Appeals 12/17/15
Mark Brooks v. State of Tennessee
W2015-00155-CCA-R3-PC
Authoring Judge: Judge James Curwood Witt, Jr.
Trial Court Judge: Judge W. Mark Ward

The petitioner, Mark Brooks, appeals the denial of post-conviction relief from his 2013 Shelby County Criminal Court guilty-pleaded convictions of possession of cocaine with intent to manufacture, sell, or deliver, possession of marijuana with intent to manufacture, sell, or deliver, possession of a firearm during the commission of a dangerous felony, and possession of a handgun by a convicted felon, for which he received an effective sentence of 12 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.

Shelby County Court of Criminal Appeals 12/16/15
State of Tennessee v. Tom Moore
W2015-00838-CCA-R3-CD
Authoring Judge: Judge James Curwood Witt, Jr.
Trial Court Judge: Judge John Campbell

The defendant, Tom Moore, appeals the summary dismissal of his motion, filed pursuant to Tennessee Rule of Criminal Procedure 36.1, to set aside his 1991 convictions of aggravated rape. Because the defendant has failed to present a cognizable claim for relief under Rule 36.1, we affirm the order of summary dismissal.

Shelby County Court of Criminal Appeals 12/16/15
State of Tennessee v. David Frazier
E2015-01422-CCA-R3-CD
Authoring Judge: Judge Roger A. Page
Trial Court Judge: Judge Andrew M. Freiberg

Appellant pleaded guilty to voluntary manslaughter and later filed a motion challenging his sentence 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. Following our review of the parties’ briefs, the record, and the applicable law, we affirm the judgment of the trial court.

McMinn County Court of Criminal Appeals 12/16/15
State of Tennessee v. Maurice McAllister
M2014-02022-CCA-R3-CD
Authoring Judge: Judge Robert W. Wedemeyer
Trial Court Judge: Judge Stella L. Hargrove

In 2012, a Giles County jury convicted the Defendant, Maurice McAllister, of rape, and the trial court sentenced him to twelve years of confinement.  On appeal, the Defendant contends that the trial court erred when it: (1)  denied his motion to suppress his statements to police; (2) admitted evidence seized from his vehicle; and (3) imposed a twelve-year sentence to be served in confinement.  The Defendant lastly contends that the cumulative effect of the errors at trial require a reversal of his conviction.  After a thorough review of the record and applicable law, we affirm the trial court’s judgment.

Giles County Court of Criminal Appeals 12/16/15
John Vernon Campbell v. State of Tennessee
E2015-01292-CCA-R3-HC
Authoring Judge: Judge D. Kelly Thomas, Jr.
Trial Court Judge: Judge Lisa N. Rice

The Petitioner, John Vernon Campbell, appeals as of right from the Johnson County Criminal Court’s summary dismissal of his petition for writ of habeas corpus. The Petitioner contends (1) that the trial court lacked jurisdiction for his premeditated first degree murder conviction because the offense was committed in the Cherokee National Forest; and (2) that the indictment charging the Petitioner was invalid due to the State’s dismissal of a charge of felony first degree murder. Discerning no error, we affirm the judgment of the habeas corpus court.

Johnson County Court of Criminal Appeals 12/16/15
State of Tennessee v. William Anthony McDaniel
E2015-00680-CCA-R3-CD
Authoring Judge: Judge Norma McGee Ogle
Trial Court Judge: Judge Rebecca J. Stern

The Appellant, William Anthony McDaniel, filed in the Hamilton County Criminal Court a motion to correct an illegal sentence pursuant to Tennessee Rule of Criminal Procedure 36.1. The motion was summarily denied, and the Appellant timely appealed the ruling. Upon review, we affirm the judgment of the trial court.

Hamilton County Court of Criminal Appeals 12/16/15
State of Tennessee v. Anthony H. Dean
W2015-01348-CCA-R3-CD
Authoring Judge: Judge Robert H. Montgomery, Jr.
Trial Court Judge: Judge James C. Beasley, Jr.

The Defendant, Anthony H. Dean, was convicted in 2000 of aggravated rape of a ninety-two-year-old victim and received a forty-year sentence as a violent offender. In 2015, the Defendant allegedly filed a motion pursuant to Tennessee Criminal Procedure Rule 36.1 requesting the correction of the judgment. The trial court summarily dismissed the motion for failure to state a colorable claim. On appeal, the Defendant contends that the trial court erred by dismissing the motion. We reverse the judgment of the trial court and remand for further proceedings.

Shelby County Court of Criminal Appeals 12/15/15
State of Tennessee v. Carlos Gonzalez
W2014-02198-CCA-R3-CD
Authoring Judge: Judge Roger A. Page
Trial Court Judge: Judge James C. Beasley, Jr.

Appellant, Carlos Gonzalez, stands convicted of one count of second degree murder, three counts of attempted second degree murder, one count of misdemeanor reckless endangerment (a lesser-included offense of attempted second degree murder), three counts of aggravated assault, and three counts of employing a firearm during the commission of a dangerous felony. He was acquitted of one count of employing a firearm during the commission of a dangerous felony. The trial court sentenced him to an effective sentence of fifty-two years. On appeal, appellant argues that the trial court erred in its admission and exclusion of evidence, that the evidence was insufficient to support his conviction for second degree murder, and that the trial court erred in its sentencing. Following our review, we affirm the judgments of the trial court but remand for correction of the judgment documents.

Shelby County Court of Criminal Appeals 12/15/15
State of Tennessee v. Quincy Howze
W2014-02449-CCA-R3-CD
Authoring Judge: Judge Roger A. Page
Trial Court Judge: Judge James M. Lammey

Appellant, Quincy Howze, stands convicted of one count of aggravated robbery, a Class B felony. The trial court sentenced him as a Range II, multiple offender to serve twenty years at 100% release eligibility based on his two prior convictions of the same. Appealing his conviction and sentence, appellant raises three issues: (1) whether the trial court erred in omitting a special jury instruction on identity; (2) whether the evidence was sufficient to support his conviction; and (3) whether the trial court erred in sentencing him to the maximum term allowed by law. Upon our review, we affirm the judgment of the criminal court.

Shelby County Court of Criminal Appeals 12/15/15
State of Tennessee v. A.D. Smith, III - Dissenting
W2015-00133-CCA-R9-CD
Authoring Judge: Judge John Everett Williams
Trial Court Judge: Judge Glenn Ivy Wright

I respectfully disagree with the conclusions of the majority opinion for two reasons. First, the implied consent law does not satisfy the consent exception to the warrant requirement of the Fourth Amendment. Second, the evidence does not preponderate against the trial court's findings that the defendant did not freely and voluntarily, and without duress or coercion, consent to the blood test.

Shelby County Court of Criminal Appeals 12/15/15
State of Tennessee v. A.D. Smith, III
W2015-00133-CCA-R9-CD
Authoring Judge: Judge Timothy L. Easter
Trial Court Judge: Judge Glenn Ivy Wright

Defendant, A.D. Smith III, was arrested for driving under the influence (“DUI”) in Shelby County. Based on his prior conviction for DUI, Defendant was informed that he was subject to a mandatory blood draw under Tennessee's implied consent law. Defendant filed a motion to suppress, arguing that his consent was not freely and voluntarily given. The trial court granted the motion to suppress, and the State filed for an interlocutory appeal. Upon our review of the record, arguments, and authorities, we conclude that the trial court erred in finding that Defendant's consent was not voluntary. Therefore, we reverse the decision of the trial court and remand the case for further proceedings in accordance with this opinion.

Shelby County Court of Criminal Appeals 12/15/15
State of Tennessee v. Terry Lee Adams
W2015-00917-CCA-R3-CD
Authoring Judge: Judge Alan E. Glenn
Trial Court Judge: Judge R. Lee Moore

The defendant, Terry Lee Adams, filed a motion to correct an illegal sentence, complaining because concurrent, rather than consecutive, sentences were imposed on him in 1996 and 1998. The trial court denied relief, concluding that since he was on probation for the first conviction when the second sentence was imposed, consecutive sentencing was not required. Based upon our review, we affirm the denial of relief pursuant to Rule 20 of the Rules of the Court of Criminal Appeals.

Dyer County Court of Criminal Appeals 12/15/15
Shaun Steven Kidd v. State of Tennessee
E2014-02426-CCA-R3-PC
Authoring Judge: Judge Norma McGee Ogle
Trial Court Judge: Judge Don W. Poole

The Petitioner, Shaun Steven Kidd, appeals the Hamilton County Criminal Court's summary dismissal of his petition for a writ of error coram nobis. Based upon the record and the parties' briefs, we affirm the dismissal of the petition.

Hamilton County Court of Criminal Appeals 12/15/15