Court of Criminal Appeals Opinions

Format: 03/01/2017
Format: 03/01/2017
State of Tennessee v. Connie Khonsabanh Vongphakdy
M2015-01296-CCA-R3-CD
Authoring Judge: Judge Norma McGee Ogle
Trial Court Judge: Judge Royce Taylor

The Appellant, Connie Kohnsabanh Vongphakdy, pled guilty in the Rutherford County Circuit Court to one count of theft $60,000 or more but less than $250,000; four counts of theft of $10,000 or more but less than $60,000; and two counts of theft of $1,000 or more but less than $10,000.  Pursuant to the plea agreement, the Appellant received a total effective sentence of eight years.  After a sentencing hearing, the trial court denied alternative sentencing and ordered the Appellant to pay restitution in the amount of $178,300.  On appeal, the Appellant challenges the trial court’s denial of alternative sentencing.  The State concedes that the trial court did not consider the specific factors in Tennessee Code Annotated section 40-35-103 but contends that the trial court implicitly found that confinement was necessary to avoid depreciating the seriousness of the offense and to serve as a deterrent.  Upon review, we reverse the judgments of the trial court and and remand for resentencing.

Rutherford County Court of Criminal Appeals 09/21/16
State of Tennessee v. Shiema Moniqueke Reid
M2015-00434-CCA-R3-CD
Authoring Judge: Judge Norma McGee Ogle
Trial Court Judge: Judge Steve R. Dozier

A Davidson County Criminal Court Jury convicted the appellant, Shiema Moniqueke Reid, of perjury, a Class A misdemeanor, and the trial court sentenced her to eleven months, twenty-nine days to be served on supervised probation.  On appeal, the appellant contends that the evidence is insufficient to support the conviction.  Based upon the record and the parties’ briefs, we affirm the judgment of the trial court.

Davidson County Court of Criminal Appeals 09/21/16
State of Tennessee v. Zakkawanda Zawumba Moss a/k/a Face
M2014-00746-CCA-R3-CD
Authoring Judge: Judge Norma McGee Ogle
Trial Court Judge: Judge Forest A. Durard, Jr.

A Lincoln County Circuit Court Jury convicted the appellant, Zakkawanda Zawumba Moss, of six counts of first degree premeditated murder, and he received consecutive sentences of life in confinement.  On appeal, the appellant contends that the evidence is insufficient to support the convictions, that the trial court’s refusing to allow the jury to view a child witness’s video-recorded interview denied him of his right to due process, that the trial court improperly admitted the testimony of four witnesses into evidence, that the trial court should have granted his requests for a mistrial, that the trial court improperly admitted photographs into evidence that were overly prejudicial and cumulative, and that the trial court improperly instructed the jury.  Based upon the record and the parties’ briefs, we find no reversible error and affirm the judgments of the trial court.

Lincoln County Court of Criminal Appeals 09/21/16
State of Tennessee v. Kris Theotis Young
E2015-01908-CCA-R3-CD
Authoring Judge: Judge Robert H. Montgomery, Jr.
Trial Court Judge: Judge G. Scott Green
The Defendant, Kris Theotis Young, was convicted by a Knox County Criminal Court jury of especially aggravated kidnapping, a Class A felony; aggravated robbery, a Class B felony; and aggravated burglary, a Class C felony. See T.C.A. §§ 39-13-305 (2014) (especially aggravated kidnapping), 39-13-402 (2014) (aggravated robbery), 39-14-403 (2014) (aggravated burglary). In a previous appeal, the supreme court affirmed the aggravated robbery conviction but remanded the case for sentencing on the especially aggravated kidnapping and aggravated burglary convictions that the trial court had dismissed. Thereafter, the trial court sentenced the Defendant as a Range I, standard offender to twenty-two years' confinement for especially aggravated kidnapping and six years' confinement for aggravated burglary, to be served concurrently with each other and with the twelve-year sentence imposed previously for the aggravated robbery conviction. On appeal, the Defendant contends that the trial court erred in sentencing him to twenty-two years for especially aggravated kidnapping. We affirm the judgments of the trial court.
 
Knox County Court of Criminal Appeals 09/20/16
State of Tennessee v. Ricky Lee Webb
W2016-00088-CCA-R3-CO
Authoring Judge: Judge James Curwood Witt, Jr.
Trial Court Judge: Judge J. Weber McCraw

The petitioner, Ricky Lee Webb, appeals from the Gibson County Circuit Court's summary dismissal of his petition for writ of certiorari in which he sought relief from his 1983 jury convictions of first degree murder and rape on the basis of alleged erroneous evidentiary rulings. Because no appeal as of right lies from the trial court's ruling in this case, the appeal is dismissed.

Gibson County Court of Criminal Appeals 09/20/16
State of Tennessee v. Unjolee Tremone Moore
E2015-00942-CCA-R3-CD
Authoring Judge: Judge John Everett Williams
Trial Court Judge: Judge Don W. Poole

A jury convicted the defendant, Unjolee Tremone Moore, of first degree felony murder; attempted especially aggravated robbery, a Class B felony; attempted second degree murder, a Class B felony; and the employment of a firearm during the commission of or attempt to commit a dangerous offense, a Class C felony. On appeal, the defendant challenges the sufficiency of the evidence, the trial court's refusal to dismiss based on the failure of police to collect a co-defendant's telephone, and the trial court's decision to admit the defendant's statement to police into evidence. After a thorough review of the record, we conclude that the defendant is not entitled to relief, and we affirm the judgments of the trial court.

Hamilton County Court of Criminal Appeals 09/20/16
State of Tennessee v. John Armstrong
W2016-00082-CCA-R3-CD
Authoring Judge: Judge John Everett Williams
Trial Court Judge: Judge Carolyn W. Blackett

The petitioner, John Armstrong, appeals the denial of his Tennessee Rule of Criminal Procedure 36.1 motion to correct an illegal sentence. He contends that his effective eighteen-year sentence for attempted first degree murder and unlawful possession of a firearm during the commission of a dangerous felony is illegal because the use or employment of a firearm was an essential element of his conviction for attempted first degree murder. Following our review, we affirm the judgment of the trial court.

Shelby County Court of Criminal Appeals 09/20/16
State of Tennessee v. Ericka Alicia Smith
M2016-00286-CCA-R3-CD
Authoring Judge: Judge Timothy L. Easter
Trial Court Judge: Judge Cheryl A. Blackburn

Defendant, Ericka Alicia Smith, received a twelve-year sentence to be served on Community Corrections after pleading guilty to attempted aggravated child neglect.  After holding a hearing, the trial court determined that Defendant violated the conditions of her alternative sentence and ordered her to serve the remainder of her sentence in confinement.  On appeal, Defendant argues that the trial court abused its discretion by refusing to impose another alternative sentence.  We affirm the judgment of the trial court.

Davidson County Court of Criminal Appeals 09/20/16
Antwan M. Cartwright v. State of Tennessee
M2015-02138-CCA-R3-PC
Authoring Judge: Judge Robert L. Holloway, Jr.
Trial Court Judge: Judge Mark J. Fishburn

Antwan M. Cartwright (“the Petitioner”) appeals from the post-conviction court’s denial of his petition for post-conviction relief.  The Petitioner contends that he was denied the effective assistance of counsel based upon trial counsel’s failure to timely deliver discovery to the Petitioner and because the Petitioner only met with trial counsel four times during counsel’s two-year representation.  The Petitioner further argues that, but for trial counsel’s inadequate performance, he would not have accepted the State’s plea offer to serve a twenty-five year sentence at 100%.  After a thorough review of the appellate record and applicable law, we affirm the judgment of the post-conviction court.

Davidson County Court of Criminal Appeals 09/19/16
State of Tennessee v. Robert Andrew Hawkins
E2015-01542-CCA-R3-CD
Authoring Judge: Judge Camille R. McMullen
Trial Court Judge: Judge E. Shayne Sexton

The Defendant, Robert Andrew Hawkins, was convicted by a Claiborne County jury of aggravated kidnapping and two counts of aggravated assault. For these offenses, he received an effective sentence of sixteen years' in the Tennessee Department of Correction. On appeal, he argues that the trial court erred by denying his motion for a mistrial and abused its discretion by imposing consecutive sentences. Upon review, we affirm the judgments of the trial court.

Claiborne County Court of Criminal Appeals 09/19/16
State of Tennessee v. Timothy John McKnight, Jr.
M2015-02306-CCA-R3-CD
Authoring Judge: Judge Timothy L. Easter
Trial Court Judge: Judge Mark J. Fishburn

Defendant, Timothy John McKnight, Jr., appeals from his conviction of aggravated robbery, arguing that the evidence is insufficient and that the trial court abused its discretion by improperly limiting cross-examination of two witnesses.  After carefully reviewing the record, we affirm the judgment of the trial court.

Davidson County Court of Criminal Appeals 09/19/16
State of Tennessee v. Shenekia M. Parks
M2015-01888-CCA-R3-CD
Authoring Judge: Judge J. Ross Dyer
Trial Court Judge: Judge David M. Bragg

The defendant, Shenekia M. Parks, was sentenced by the trial court to ten years in the Tennessee Department of Correction after pleading guilty to attempted aggravated child neglect. On appeal, the defendant argues that the trial court improperly enhanced her sentence for attempted aggravated child neglect, a Class B felony, from the minimum of eight years to ten years. The defendant argues the trial court failed to properly apply the applicable enhancement and mitigating factors to her sentence. The defendant also contends that the trial court erroneously denied her request for alternative sentencing. Following our review of the briefs, the record, and the applicable law, we affirm the defendant’s ten-year sentence.

Rutherford County Court of Criminal Appeals 09/19/16
State of Tennessee v. Donald Peden
M2015-01252-CCA-R3-CD
Authoring Judge: Judge Camille R. McMullen
Trial Court Judge: Judge Mark J. Fishburn

This case arises from the attempted murder of Latoya Pipkins in September of 2012.  For this offense, the Defendant-Appellant, Donald Peden, was indicted by the Davidson County Grand Jury for attempted first degree murder in count one, especially aggravated robbery in count two, and theft of property valued at more than five hundred dollars, but less than one thousand dollars, in count three.  Prior to trial, Peden filed a motion in limine to exclude evidence recovered from a vehicle that he and the victim jointly owned.  He also asked the court to exclude photographs of his hands as well as clothing that was taken by investigating officers while he was incarcerated.  Following a trial, the State withdrew count three, and the jury convicted Peden of attempted first degree murder in count one and the lesser-included offense of theft of property in count two.  The trial court sentenced Peden to eleven months and twenty nine days’ incarceration on count two, and after a separate sentencing hearing, sentenced Peden as a Range III career offender to sixty years’ incarceration on count one.  On appeal, Peden argues that (1) the evidence is insufficient to support his attempted first degree murder conviction; (2) the trial court erred in denying his motions to suppress evidence seized in violation of his Fourth, Fifth, and Sixth Amendment rights; and (3) improperly sentenced him as a Range III, career offender.  Upon review, we affirm the judgment of the trial court.

Davidson County Court of Criminal Appeals 09/19/16
State of Tennessee v. Robert L. Lyle
M2015-00480-CCA-R3-CD
Authoring Judge: Judge James Curwood Witt, Jr.
Trial Court Judge: Judge David M. Bragg

The defendant, Robert L. Lyle, appeals the revocation of his community corrections sentence, claiming that the trial court erred by ordering that he serve a portion of his total effective sentence in confinement.  Discerning no error, we affirm.

Cannon County Court of Criminal Appeals 09/19/16
Timothy W. Sparrow v. State of Tennessee
M2016-00050-CCA-R3-PC
Authoring Judge: Judge James Curwood Witt, Jr.
Trial Court Judge: Judge Michael W. Binkley

The petitioner, Timothy W. Sparrow, appeals the denial of his petition for post-conviction relief, which petition challenged his 2011 Williamson County Circuit Court jury convictions of second degree murder, attempted first degree murder, and attempted aggravated robbery.  In this appeal, he claims that he was deprived of the effective assistance of counsel at trial.  Discerning no error, we affirm the denial of post-conviction relief.

Williamson County Court of Criminal Appeals 09/19/16
State of Tennessee v. Xavier Tull-Morales
M2015-01368-CCA-R3-CD
Authoring Judge: Judge Camille R. McMullen
Trial Court Judge: Judge J. Randall Wyatt, Jr.

The Davidson County Grand Jury returned an indictment against the Defendant-Appellant, Xavier Tull-Morales, and his two codefendants, Alberto Conde-Valentino and Rodney Earl Jones, charging them with one count of first degree felony murder and one count of especially aggravated robbery.  Conde-Valentino filed a motion to sever the defendants’ cases, which Tull-Morales joined, and the trial court denied the motion.  Following a jury trial, Tull-Morales, along with his codefendants, were found guilty of the charged offenses of felony murder and especially aggravated robbery, and he received concurrent sentences of life imprisonment and fifteen years, respectively.  On appeal, Tull-Morales argues:  (1) the trial court abused its discretion in denying his motion to sever his case from that of his codefendants; (2) the trial court erred in failing to instruct the jury that accomplice testimony and/or co-conspirator testimony must be corroborated; and (3) the evidence is insufficient to sustain his convictions.  Upon review, we affirm the judgments of the trial court.

Davidson County Court of Criminal Appeals 09/19/16
John Gray v. State of Tennessee
W2015-01921-CCA-R3-PC
Authoring Judge: Judge J. Ross Dyer
Trial Court Judge: Judge James M. Lammey

The petitioner entered pleas of nolo contendere to aggravated robbery, robbery, and fraudulent use of a credit card for which he received an effective sentence of twelve years. He filed the instant post-conviction petition, and following an evidentiary hearing, the post-conviction court denied relief. On appeal, the petitioner contends his guilty plea was not knowingly, intelligently, and voluntarily entered due to ineffective assistance of counsel. Upon review of the record and the applicable law, we affirm the judgment of the post-conviction court.

Shelby County Court of Criminal Appeals 09/16/16
State of Tennessee v. Michael Frazier
W2015-01537-CCA-R3-CD
Authoring Judge: Judge Alan E. Glenn
Trial Court Judge: Judge Lee V. Coffee

The defendant, Michael Frazier, was convicted by a Shelby County Criminal Court jury of especially aggravated kidnapping, a Class A felony; aggravated robbery, a Class B felony; and carrying a weapon with the intent to go armed, a Class A misdemeanor. He was sentenced by the trial court to an effective term of thirty-seven years, eleven months, and twenty-nine days in the Department of Correction. The sole issue he raises on appeal is whether the evidence is sufficient to sustain his especially aggravated kidnapping and aggravated robbery convictions. Following our review, we affirm the judgments of the trial court.

Court of Criminal Appeals 09/16/16
Torriano Floyd v. State of Tennessee
W2015-02341-CCA-R3-PC
Authoring Judge: Judge Alan E. Glenn
Trial Court Judge: Judge W. Mark Ward

The petitioner, Torriano Floyd, appeals the denial of his petition for post-conviction relief, arguing that the post-conviction court erred in finding that he received effective assistance of counsel. Following our review, we affirm the denial of the petition.

Shelby County Court of Criminal Appeals 09/16/16
Desmond Shelton Spann v. State of Tennessee
M2015-00103-CCA-R3-PC
Authoring Judge: Judge Norma McGee Ogle
Trial Court Judge: Judge Monte Watkins

The Petitioner, Desmond Shelton Spann, filed a petition in the Davidson County Criminal Court seeking post-conviction relief from his convictions of possession of 300 grams or more of cocaine with the intent to deliver within 1,000 feet of a school and conspiracy to possess 300 grams or more of cocaine with the intent to deliver within 1,000 feet of a school.  The Petitioner alleged that his counsel was ineffective at trial and on appeal.  The post-conviction court denied the petition, and the Petitioner appeals.  Upon review, we affirm the judgment of the post-conviction court.

Davidson County Court of Criminal Appeals 09/16/16
Willie Andrew Cole v. State of Tennessee
M2015-02087-CCA-R3-PC
Authoring Judge: Presiding Judge Thomas T. Woodall
Trial Court Judge: Judge Steve R. Dozier

Petitioner, Willie Andrew Cole, appeals pro se from the post-conviction court’s summary dismissal of his post-conviction petition for DNA analysis.  Petitioner contends that the trial court erred by denying his request for DNA testing pursuant to the Post-Conviction DNA Analysis Act.  We affirm the judgment of the post-conviction court.

Davidson County Court of Criminal Appeals 09/16/16
State of Tennessee v. Rickey Lee Brown, Jr.
M2015-01730-CCA-R3-CD
Authoring Judge: Judge Norma McGee Ogle
Trial Court Judge: Judge Dee David Gay

The appellant, Rickey Lee Brown, Jr., was convicted in the Sumner County Criminal Court of driving under the influence (DUI); DUI per se; DUI, fourth offense; and driving on a revoked license.  The trial court merged the first three offenses and sentenced the appellant as a Range II, multiple offender to four years for DUI, fourth offense.  The trial court sentenced him to six months in confinement to be served at 75% release eligibility for driving on a revoked license and ordered that the four-year sentence be served consecutively to the six-month sentence.  On appeal, the appellant contends that his four-year sentence is excessive.  Based upon the record and the parties’ briefs, we affirm the judgments of the trial court.

Sumner County Court of Criminal Appeals 09/16/16
State of Tennessee v. Gregory L. Moody
W2016-00425-CCA-R3-CD
Authoring Judge: Judge John Everett Williams
Trial Court Judge: Judge R. Lee Moore, Jr.

The trial court found that the Defendant, Gregory L. Moody, violated the conditions of his probation when he was arrested and convicted of multiple crimes in North Carolina and failed to appear at his first meeting with his probation officer. The Defendant asserts that his due process rights were violated by the trial court because of a delayed hearing on the violation of probation and lack of appointed counsel, and he asserts he is entitled to sentencing credits. After a thorough review of the record, we affirm the judgment of the trial court.

Dyer County Court of Criminal Appeals 09/15/16
State of Tennessee v. Allen Booker
W2015-02020-CCA-R3-CD
Authoring Judge: Judge Alan E. Glenn
Trial Court Judge: Judge J. Robert Carter, Jr.

The defendant, Allen Booker, was convicted by a Shelby County Criminal Court jury of aggravated robbery, a Class B felony, and was sentenced to ten years in the Department of Correction. On appeal, he argues that the trial court erred in denying his motion to suppress his statement and that the evidence is insufficient to sustain his conviction. After review, we affirm the judgment of the trial court.

Shelby County Court of Criminal Appeals 09/15/16
State of Tennessee v. Thomas Edward Kotewa
E2015-02111-CCA-R3-CD
Authoring Judge: Judge James Curwood Witt, Jr.
Trial Court Judge: Judge Donald R. Elledge

The defendant, Thomas Edward Kotewa, appeals the summary dismissal of his motion, filed pursuant to Tennessee Rule of Criminal Procedure 36.1, to correct what he believes to be an illegal sentence imposed for his 2006 Anderson County Criminal Court guilty-pleaded conviction of second degree murder. Discerning no error, we affirm.

Anderson County Court of Criminal Appeals 09/15/16