Court of Criminal Appeals Opinions

Format: 09/01/2014
Format: 09/01/2014
State of Tennessee v. Billy Joe Harris
W2013-02310-CCA-R3-CD
Authoring Judge: Judge Camille R. McMullen
Trial Court Judge: Judge William B. Acree Jr.

Following a bench trial, the Defendant-Appellant, Billy Joe Harris, was convicted in the Obion County Circuit Court of violation of the sexual offender registry, a Class E felony. See T.C.A. § 40-39-208 (2012). The trial court imposed a one-year sentence with ninety days to be served in the county jail and the balance to be served on community corrections. The sole issue presented for our review is whether the evidence is sufficient to support the conviction. Upon review, we affirm the judgment of the trial court.

Obion County Court of Criminal Appeals 06/12/14
Guy Graves v. State of Tennessee
W2013-01288-CCA-R3-PC
Authoring Judge: Judge Camille R. McMullen
Trial Court Judge: Judge Donald H. Allen

The Petitioner, Guy Graves, appeals from the denial of post-conviction relief by the Madison County Circuit Court. He was convicted of two counts of burglary and received an effective sentence of twenty-four years in the Tennessee Department of Correction. On appeal, the Petitioner argues that he received ineffective assistance of counsel. Upon review, we affirm the judgment of the post-conviction court.

Madison County Court of Criminal Appeals 06/12/14
State of Tennessee v. Paul Epps
W2013-02194-CCA-R3-CD
Authoring Judge: Judge Camille R. McMullen
Trial Court Judge: Judge J. Weber McCraw

The Defendant, Paul Epps, appeals the trial court’s revocation of his probation and reinstatement of his original two-year sentence in the Department of Correction. On appeal, the Defendant argues that the record does not contain substantial evidence to show that a violation of probation occurred and that the trial court erred in failing to consider a disposition other than incarceration after revoking his probation. Upon our review, we affirm the judgment of the trial court.

Fayette County Court of Criminal Appeals 06/12/14
State of Tennessee v. Christopher Lee Richardson
M2013-01178-CCA-R3-CD
Authoring Judge: Judge James Curwood Witt, Jr.
Trial Court Judge: Judge Lee Russell

The defendant, Christopher Lee Richardson, appeals his Bedford County Circuit Court jury convictions of attempted theft of property valued at $1,000 or more but less than $10,000; disorderly conduct; simple possession of a Schedule IV controlled substance; resisting arrest; simple possession of a Schedule VI controlled substance; and attempted promotion of the manufacture of methamphetamine, claiming that the trial court erred by failing to grant his motion to sever the counts of the indictment; that the trial court erred by refusing to disqualify a juror; that the evidence is insufficient to support his convictions of attempted theft of property and attempted promotion of the manufacture of methamphetamine; and that the sentence is excessive. Discerning no error, we affirm the judgments of the trial court.

Bedford County Court of Criminal Appeals 06/12/14
Terry R. Whitefield v. State of Tennessee
M2013-02029-CCA-R3-PC
Authoring Judge: Judge James Curwood Witt, Jr.
Trial Court Judge: Judge Monte Watkins

The petitioner, Terry R. Whitefield, appeals the denial of post-conviction relief from his 2012 Davidson County Criminal Court
guilty-pleaded convictions of aggravated sexual battery, for which he received a sentence of 16 years’ incarceration. In this appeal, the petitioner contends that he was denied the effective assistance of counsel and that his guilty pleas were not knowingly and voluntarily entered. Discerning no error, we affirm.

Davidson County Court of Criminal Appeals 06/12/14
State of Tennessee v. Jeffrey Wayne Rowe
M2013-02341-CCA-R3-CD
Authoring Judge: Judge James Curwood Witt, Jr.
Trial Court Judge: Judge Forest A. Durand, Jr.

The defendant, Jeffrey Wayne Rowe, pleaded guilty to four counts of aggravated burglary, one count of attempted aggravated burglary, one count of vandalism, and two counts of misdemeanor theft, and the Marshall County Circuit Court sentenced him as a Range I, standard offender to a term of 10 years’ imprisonment. On appeal, the defendant challenges the manner of service of his sentence. Discerning no error, we affirm.

Marshall County Court of Criminal Appeals 06/11/14
State of Tennessee v. Shawn Thompson
M2013-01274-CCA-R3-CD
Authoring Judge: Judge John Everett Williams
Trial Court Judge: Judge Dee David Gay

The defendant, Shawn Thompson, was convicted after a jury trial of three counts of attempted voluntary manslaughter, a Class D felony; one count of reckless endangerment with a deadly weapon, a Class E felony; and one count of employing a firearm during the commission of a dangerous felony, a Class C felony. The trial court ordered the defendant’s attempted voluntary manslaughter convictions to run concurrently with one another, but ordered the reckless endangerment conviction to run consecutively to the first three counts and the weapons conviction to run consecutively to all counts. On appeal, the defendant asserts error in the trial court’s failure to dismiss the weapons charge in light of what he asserts is a material variance; in the trial court’s failure to charge the jury on the issue of self-defense; in the State’s improper argument to the jury; and in the trial court’s allegedly erroneous consideration of non-statutory factors in imposing a consecutive sentence. After a thorough review of the record, we affirm the judgments of the trial court.

Sumner County Court of Criminal Appeals 06/11/14
Cornelius O. Williams v. State of Tennessee
M2013-01470-CCA-R3-PC
Authoring Judge: Judge John Everett Williams
Trial Court Judge: Judge Michael R. Jones

The petitioner, Cornelius O. Williams, appeals the denial of his petition for post-conviction relief. He alleges that he received ineffective assistance of counsel because his guilty plea was unlawfully induced and involuntarily made. After thoroughly reviewing the record, we conclude that the petitioner entered a knowing and voluntary plea of guilty and affirm the judgment of the post-conviction court.

Montgomery County Court of Criminal Appeals 06/11/14
State of Tennessee v. Robert D. Ewing and Anthony T. Ewing
E2013-01587-CCA-R3-CD
Authoring Judge: Judge Jeffrey S. Bivins
Trial Court Judge: Judge Carroll L. Ross

Robert D. Ewing (“Defendant Robert”) and Anthony T. Ewing (“Defendant Anthony”) (collectively “the Defendants”) each pleaded guilty to sexual exploitation of a minor. The Defendants reserved a certified question of law as to whether information received several months prior to obtaining and executing a search warrant was too stale to support probable cause. Pursuant to plea agreements, the trial court sentenced each of the Defendants to two years, suspended to supervised probation. This Court consolidated the Defendants’ appeals. Upon our thorough review of the record and applicable law, we reject the Defendants’ challenges to the search warrant and affirm the judgments of the trial court.

Bradley County Court of Criminal Appeals 06/11/14
Andre Kimbrough v. State of Tennessee
M2013-02536-CCA-R3-PC
Authoring Judge: Judge John Everett Williams
Trial Court Judge: Judge Steve R. Dozier

The petitioner, Andre Kimbrough, was convicted of second degree murder, a Class A felony. He now appeals the denial of his petition for post-conviction relief. On appeal, he argues that the statute of limitations for filing a petition for post-conviction relief should be tolled because trial counsel did not give the petitioner adequate notice that his direct appeal was denied or notice that trial counsel did not apply for permission to appeal to the Tennessee Supreme Court. After reviewing the record, we affirm the denial of post-conviction relief.

Davidson County Court of Criminal Appeals 06/10/14
Mitchell Ford v. State of Tennessee
M2013-01471-CCA-R3-PC
Authoring Judge: Judge John Everett Williams
Trial Court Judge: Judge Robert G. Crigler

The petitioner, Mitchell Ford, appeals the denial of his petition for post-conviction relief. At trial, the petitioner was convicted of arson and aggravated burglary, Class C felonies, and was sentenced to two fifteen-year terms to be served concurrently. On appeal, he argues that he was denied his right to effective assistance of counsel because trial counsel failed to challenge the identification of the petitioner by the State’s witnesses and failed to challenge a juror who knew the victim and the petitioner and his family. Following a review of the record, we conclude that the petition was properly denied and affirm the judgment of the post-conviction court.

Marshall County Court of Criminal Appeals 06/10/14
State of Tennessee v. Kevin Harding
M2013-01637-CCA-R3-CD
Authoring Judge: Judge John Everett Williams
Trial Court Judge: Judge Stella L. Hargrove

The defendant, Kevin Harding, was convicted of one count of facilitation of possession of marijuana, a Schedule VI drug, with the intent to sell, a Class A misdemeanor, one count of possession of cocaine with intent to sell, a Class B felony, one count of possession of drug paraphernalia, a Class A misdemeanor, and one count of possession of a firearm during the commission of a dangerous felony, a Class D felony. The trial court sentenced the defendant to a four-year sentence for facilitation of possession of marijuana with the intent to sell, a seventeen-year sentence for possession of cocaine for resale, a sentence of 11 months and 29 days for possession of drug paraphernalia, and an eight-year sentence for possession of a firearm during the commission of a dangerous felony. The court ordered the possession of cocaine for resale and possession of drug paraphernalia sentences to be served concurrently, and the sentence for possession of a firearm during the commission of a dangerous felony to run consecutively to the sentence for possession of cocaine for resale, for an effective sentence of twenty-five years. On appeal, the defendant argues that the trial court erred when it failed to define the charge of simple possession of cocaine for the jury; that the trial court committed plain error in sentencing the defendant to serve four years for facilitation of possession of marijuana with the intent to sell; and that the trial court committed plain error in failing to require the State to elect the felony to serve as the underlying felony for possession of a firearm and failing to define “dangerous felony” for the jury. After reviewing the record, we affirm the judgment of the trial court for possession with the intent to sell cocaine, reverse the judgment for facilitation because the sentence was outside the appropriate class range, and reverse the judgment for possession of a firearm during the commission of a dangerous felony. The case is remanded for resentencing on the facilitation conviction and for a new trial on the possession of a firearm charge.

Giles County Court of Criminal Appeals 06/10/14
James Richard Blue, Jr. v. State of Tennessee
M2013-02251-CCA-R3-PC
Authoring Judge: Judge John Everett Williams
Trial Court Judge: Judge Mark Fishburn

The petitioner, James Richard Blue, Jr., appeals the denial of his petition for post-conviction relief. The petitioner pled guilty to sale of a Schedule II controlled substance over .5 grams and received an agreed-to sentence of twenty years in confinement as a Range III persistent offender. On appeal, he contends that his guilty plea was not entered knowingly and voluntarily due to the ineffective assistance of counsel. Specifically, he contends that trial counsel was ineffective for allowing him to plead as a Range III offender when, because of a failure to enter corrected judgments following a remand, he was in fact only a Range II offender. Following review of the record, we affirm the denial of post-conviction relief.

Davidson County Court of Criminal Appeals 06/10/14