Court of Criminal Appeals Opinions

Format: 05/06/2016
Format: 05/06/2016
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
State of Tennessee v. Roderick Quatel Bates and Emmett Jones
E2014-07141-CCA-R3-CD
Authoring Judge: Judge James Curwood Witt, Jr.
Trial Court Judge: Judge Barry A. Steelman

In this consolidated case, the defendants, Roderick Quatel Bates and Emmett Jones, appeal their convictions of aggravated burglary and first degree murder. Mr. Jones challenges the trial court's admission of a photograph of him provided by the Department of Correction and the trial court's denial of his motion to suppress the out-of-court identification of him as a perpetrator. Both defendants challenge the admission of the audio-recorded statements of two witnesses, the admission of the audio recording of a 9-1-1 call made by a State's witness, and the sufficiency of the convicting evidence. Discerning no error, we affirm the judgments of the trial court.

Hamilton County Court of Criminal Appeals 12/15/15
State of Tennessee v. Noah Keith Tipton - dissenting
E2014-02531-CCA-R3-CD
Authoring Judge: Judge Camille R. McMullen
Trial Court Judge: Judge Andrew M. Freiberg

I respectfully disagree with the conclusion reached by the majority in this case. For the reasons that follow, I would remand this matter to the trial court for Tipton to be placed in the community corrections program. In this appeal, Tipton contends that the trial court relied upon an erroneous interpretation of Tennessee Code Annotated section 40-36-106 in finding him statutorily ineligible for placement in the community correction program. He argues that the prior convictions relied upon by the court do not constitute a pattern of prior violent offenses pursuant to Tennessee Code Annotated section 40-36-102(11).1 Specifically, he contends that (1) reckless endangerment does not meet the definition of a violent offense; (2) aggravated animal cruelty, as codified at Tennessee Code Annotated section 39-14-212, is classified as a property offense and not a crime of violence; and (3) the trial court improperly relied on Tennessee Code Annotated section 39-13-113(f)(1)-(3) (2006), rather than section 39-13-113 (2001), in finding that his 2001 charge for violating an order of a protection was a violent offense. Excluding the convictions that the trial court improperly classified as crimes of violence, Tipton claims the sole basis for the trial court‟s denial of his placement in the community correction program was charges reflected in his presentence report that did not result in convictions, which is likewise an improper basis to deny placement.

Monroe County Court of Criminal Appeals 12/15/15
State of Tennessee v. Noah Keith Tipton
E2014-02531-CCA-R3-CD
Authoring Judge: Judge Robert L. Holloway, Jr.
Trial Court Judge: Judge Andrew M. Freiberg

A Monroe County Grand Jury indicted the Defendant, Noah Keith Tipton, for one count of initiation of a process intended to result in the manufacture of methamphetamine (“the methamphetamine charge”) and fourteen counts of aggravated cruelty to animals. Pursuant to a negotiated plea, the Defendant pleaded guilty to the methamphetamine charge and two counts of aggravated cruelty to animals and was sentenced to eight years with the manner of service to be determined at a sentencing hearing. Following the sentencing hearing, the trial court found that the Defendant was “not eligible for punishment in the community” under Tennessee Code Annotated section 40-36-106(a)(1) but took under advisement the Defendant’s claim that his “special needs” were treatable and could best be served in the community as provided by subsection -106(c). Following a second hearing in which no additional proof was taken, the trial court found that the Defendant’s special needs could be best served in the Department of Correction rather than in the community corrections program for Monroe County. In this appeal, the Defendant argues that the trial court erred in denying his placement in the community corrections program. Upon our review, we affirm the judgments of the trial court.

Monroe County Court of Criminal Appeals 12/15/15
Bruce Anton Parks v. State of Tennessee
E2014-02359-CCA-R3-PC
Authoring Judge: Judge Timothy L. Easter
Trial Court Judge: Judge Sandra Donaghy

Petitioner, Bruce Anton Parks, appeals the denial of his petition for post-conviction relief, claiming he received ineffective assistance of counsel on several bases. After a thorough review of the record and the applicable law, we affirm the decision of the post-conviction court.

Bradley County Court of Criminal Appeals 12/15/15
State of Tennessee v. Beau C. Vaughan
M2014-02530-CCA-R3-CD
Authoring Judge: Judge D. Kelly Thomas, Jr.
Trial Court Judge: Judge Robert L. Jones

The Appellant, Beau C. Vaughan, appeals as of right from the Maury County Circuit Court’s denial of his Tennessee Rule of Criminal Procedure 36.1 motion to correct an illegal sentence.  The Appellant contends (1) that the trial court erred in ruling that his sentence for a felony conviction which occurred while he was released on bond for another offense was not statutorily required to be served consecutively to the sentence for the underlying offense because the underlying offense was a misdemeanor; and (2) that the trial court erred by ruling, in the alternative, that Rule 36.1 was not applicable because the convictions occurred before Rule 36.1 was enacted in 2013.  The State concedes that the trial court erred with respect to both of the Appellant’s issues.  However, contrary to the State’s concession, the Appellant’s sentence expired long ago; therefore, his motion failed to state a colorable claim for relief.  As such, we affirm the trial court’s denial of the Appellant’s Rule 36.1 motion.

Maury County Court of Criminal Appeals 12/15/15
State of Tennessee v. Janette Ebony Robinson
M2015-00041-CCA-R3-CD
Authoring Judge: Judge Robert H. Montgomery, Jr.
Trial Court Judge: Judge Cheryl A. Blackburn

The Defendant, Janette Ebony Robinson, pleaded guilty in the Criminal Court for Davidson County to two counts of aggravated child abuse and received two concurrent twenty-five-year sentences.  See T.C.A. § 39-15-402 (2014).  The Defendant appeals the trial court’s denial of her motion to withdraw her guilty plea.  We affirm the judgment of the trial court.

Davidson County Court of Criminal Appeals 12/15/15
State of Tennessee v. Timothy W. Patrick
M2015-00880-CCA-R3-CD
Authoring Judge: Judge Robert H. Montgomery, Jr.
Trial Court Judge: Judge Gary McKenzie

The Defendant, Timothy W. Patrick, appeals the DeKalb County Criminal Court’s order revoking his probation for his convictions for three counts of selling hydromorphone and ordering him to serve the remainder of his effective nine-year sentence in confinement.  The Defendant contends that the trial court abused its discretion by revoking his probation.  We affirm the judgment of the trial court.

DeKalb County Court of Criminal Appeals 12/15/15