Court of Criminal Appeals Opinions

Format: 07/29/2014
Format: 07/29/2014
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
State of Tennessee v. Charles Franklin Smith
E2013-01626-CCA-R3-CD
Authoring Judge: Presiding Judge Joseph M. Tipton
Trial Court Judge: Judge Steven W. Sword

The appellant, Charles Franklin Smith, appeals as of right from the judgments of the Knox County Criminal Court convicting the appellant of two counts of burglary. The appellant’s counsel has filed a motion to withdraw pursuant to Rule 22 of the Rules of the Tennessee Court of Criminal Appeals. We conclude that the motion is well-taken and, in accordance with Rule 22(F), affirm the trial court’s judgments pursuant to Rule 20 of the Rules of the Tennessee Court of Criminal Appeals.

Knox County Court of Criminal Appeals 05/14/14
Jeremy Jarvis v. State of Tennessee
M2013-01640-CCA-R3-PC
Authoring Judge: Special Judge Joe H. Walker, III
Trial Court Judge: Judge Michael R. Jones

The Petitioner, Jeremy Jarvis, appeals the denial of post-conviction relief, alleging ineffective assistance by counsel. Petitioner alleges that trial counsel was unaware of the law concerning self-defense until trial and was ineffective by asserting the defense of self-defense with regard to the death of an innocent third person; and was ineffective by failing to attempt to negotiate a settlement of the case short of trial. Finding that the court properly denied post-conviction relief, we affirm the judgment of the post-conviction court.

Montgomery County Court of Criminal Appeals 05/14/14
Lawrence Ralph v. State of Tennessee
M2013-00828-CCA-R3-PC
Authoring Judge: Special Judge Joe H. Walker, III
Trial Court Judge: Judge Larry B. Stanley, Jr.

The petitioner, Lawrence Ralph, appeals the denial of post-conviction relief, alleging that counsel provided ineffective assistance by not requesting the transcript of voir dire, and that the trial court erred by merging two convictions. Finding that the trial court properly denied post-conviction relief, we affirm the judgment of the trial court.

Warren County Court of Criminal Appeals 05/14/14
State of Tennessee v. Frederick Leon Tucker
M2013-01077-CCA-R3-CO
Authoring Judge: Special Judge Joe H. Walker, III
Trial Court Judge: Judge Monte Watkins

Petitioner, Frederick Leon Tucker, sought a writ of error coram nobis. The hearing court found there were no due process concerns which would entitle petitioner to relief and dismissed the petition as not being filed within the applicable statute of limitations. Finding no error, we affirm the judgment of the trial court.

Davidson County Court of Criminal Appeals 05/14/14
Marvin Green v. State of Tennessee
M2013-02715-CCA-R3-HC
Authoring Judge: Special Judge Joe H. Walker, III
Trial Court Judge: Judge Jim T. Hamilton

The pro se petitioner, Marvin Green, appeals the dismissal of two petitions for habeas corpus relief. He was sentenced to fifteen years under the Drug Free School Zone Act. He argues that he is a standard offender and should be released after service of thirty percent of the sentence, and he alleges errors in his indictment. Finding no error, we affirm the judgment of the trial court.

Wayne County Court of Criminal Appeals 05/14/14
State of Tennessee v. Andrew Quinn
M2013-01683-CCA-R3-CD
Authoring Judge: Special Judge Joe H. Walker, III
Trial Court Judge: Judge James G. Martin, III

The defendant, Andrew Quinn, appeals a certified question of law pertaining to the stop of his vehicle and the denial of a motion to suppress. Finding no error, we affirm the judgment of the trial court.

Williamson County Court of Criminal Appeals 05/14/14
State of Tennessee v. Larry Baltimore
W2013-01599-CCA-R3-CD
Authoring Judge: Judge Jerry L. Smith
Trial Court Judge: Judge R. Lee Moore

Appellant, Larry Baltimore, was acting as a bail bondsman in Dyer County at the time this Court decided in In re: The Application of Tony Cox (Seeking to Qualify as Agent for Memphis Bonding), 389 S.W.3d 794 (Tenn. Crim. App. 2012), that a convicted felon could not act as a bail bondsman under Tennessee Code Annotated section 40-11-128. After Cox was decided, the trial court determined that Appellant could not be a bail bondsman because of a previous conviction for felony assault. Appellant appeals from this order and asks this Court to reverse its decision in Cox. After a thorough review of Appellant’s arguments, we find no reason to reverse our earlier determination. Therefore, the trial court’s decision is affirmed.

Dyer County Court of Criminal Appeals 05/13/14
State of Tennessee v. Ronald Lee West, Jr.
E2013-00830-CCA-R3-CD
Authoring Judge: Judge D. Kelly Thomas, Jr.
Trial Court Judge: Judge John F. Dugger, Jr.

The Defendant, Ronald Lee West, Jr., appeals from his jury convictions for initiation of a process intended to result in the manufacture of methamphetamine, Count 1, and possession of drug paraphernalia, Count 2. In this appeal, he alleges (1) that the evidence presented at trial is insufficient to sustain his conviction in Count 1; (2) that the trial court erred in refusing to grant his request for a mistrial after improper character evidence was admitted by a witness at trial; and (3) that the trial court also erred in declining to apply any mitigating factors, resulting in a longer sentence. Upon consideration of the record and the applicable authorities, we affirm the judgments of the trial court.

Greene County Court of Criminal Appeals 05/13/14