Court of Criminal Appeals Opinions

Format: 06/29/2016
Format: 06/29/2016
State of Tennessee v. James Hawkins
W2014-01987-CCA-R3-CD
Authoring Judge: Judge Timothy L. Easter
Trial Court Judge: Judge Lee V. Coffee

Defendant, James Hawkins, appeals his convictions for two counts of rape of a child. Defendant raises four issues: (1) whether there was a fatal variance between the original indictments and the offenses elected by the State; (2) whether the trial court erred by admitting the forensic interview of one of the victims; (3) whether the State failed to properly elect offenses; and (4) whether there was sufficient evidence to support his convictions beyond a reasonable doubt. Based upon our review of the record, we affirm the judgments of the trial court.

Shelby County Court of Criminal Appeals 01/20/16
Andrew T. Lee v. State of Tennessee
M2014-02242-CCA-R3-PC
Authoring Judge: Judge Robert W. Wedemeyer
Trial Court Judge: Judge Keith Siskin

In 2012, a Rutherford County jury found the Petitioner, Andrew T. Lee, guilty of especially aggravated burglary, aggravated assault, tampering with evidence, evading arrest, and resisting arrest.  The trial court sentenced the Petitioner to a total effective sentence of ten years in the Tennessee Department of Correction.  The Petitioner filed a petition seeking post-conviction relief, which the post-conviction court denied after a hearing.  On appeal, the Petitioner maintains that he received the ineffective assistance of counsel and that he was denied his right to a speedy trial due to the delay between his conviction and sentencing.  After a thorough review of the record and applicable law, we affirm the post-conviction court’s judgment.

Rutherford County Court of Criminal Appeals 01/19/16
State of Tennessee v. Tabitha Lynn Hughes
W2014-01849-CCA-R3-CD
Authoring Judge: Judge James Curwood Witt, Jr.
Trial Court Judge: Judge Joseph H. Walker, III

The defendant, Tabitha Lynn Hughes, appeals her Tipton County Circuit Court jury conviction of driving under the influence, claiming that the trial court erred by denying her pretrial motion to dismiss based upon the State's failure to timely commence prosecution and by admitting certain evidence at trial. Discerning no error, we affirm the judgment of the trial court.

Tipton County Court of Criminal Appeals 01/15/16
State of Tennessee v. Robin Dale Arthur
E2015-00348-CCA-R3-CD
Authoring Judge: Judge D. Kelly Thomas, Jr.
Trial Court Judge: Judge James F. Goodwin, Jr.

The Defendant, Robin Dale Arthur, pled guilty to aggravated assault in exchange for a five-year and six-month sentence as Range I, standard offender. Thereafter, the trial court denied any form of alternative sentencing based upon the Defendant’s history of criminal convictions and criminal behavior. The Defendant appeals, arguing that he is a suitable candidate for alternative sentencing pursuant to the statutory considerations outlined in Tennessee Code Annotated section 40-35-103(1)(A)-(C). Following our review, we discern no abuse of discretion in the trial court’s alternative sentencing decision. Accordingly, the judgment is affirmed.

Sullivan County Court of Criminal Appeals 01/15/16
Travis Kinte Echols v. State of Tennessee
E2015-00601-CCA-R3-PC
Authoring Judge: Judge Roger A. Page
Trial Court Judge: Judge Bobby R. McGee

Petitioner, Travis Kinte Echols, was convicted of felony murder perpetrated during the commission of a robbery and was sentenced to life in prison. Following an unsuccessful direct appeal, he petitioned for post-conviction relief from his conviction. The post-conviction court denied relief, and this appeal follows. Petitioner seeks review of four issues: (1) whether trial counsel was ineffective for failure to contemporaneously object to the introduction of character evidence pertaining to the victim; (2) whether the State violated the tenets of Brady v. Maryland, 373 U.S. 83 (1963), by withholding a witness statement; (3) whether the trial court erred by precluding trial counsel from questioning the primary investigator with regard to the polygraph results of a witness; and (4) whether the trial court erred by sequestering petitioner's private investigator. Discerning no error, we affirm the judgment of the post-conviction court.

Knox County Court of Criminal Appeals 01/15/16
Michael Davis v. State of Tennessee
W2015-00227-CCA-R3-ECN
Authoring Judge: Judge Robert H. Montgomery, Jr.
Trial Court Judge: Judge James M. Lammey, Jr.

The Petitioner, Michael Davis, appeals the Shelby County Criminal Court's denial of his petition for a writ of error coram nobis regarding his 2013 conviction for second degree murder and his resulting sentence of life imprisonment without the possibility of parole. The coram nobis court denied relief on the grounds that the purported evidence was not newly discovered and that it was cumulative to evidence presented at the trial. On appeal, the Petitioner contends that the court erred by denying relief. We affirm the judgment of the coram nobis court.

Shelby County Court of Criminal Appeals 01/14/16
State of Tennessee v. Patrick Gaia
W2015-00535-CCA-R3-CD
Authoring Judge: Judge James Curwood Witt, Jr.
Trial Court Judge: Judge Chris Craft

The defendant, Patrick Gaia, appeals the Shelby County Criminal Court's order declaring him a motor vehicle habitual offender (“MVHO”), arguing that the trial court erred by entering a default judgment where the State failed to comply with the terms of the MVHO statute and Tennessee Rules of Criminal Procedure for service of process. Because the record reflects that neither the State nor the trial court complied with the necessary procedural requirements, we vacate the judgment declaring the defendant an MVHO.

Shelby County Court of Criminal Appeals 01/14/16
Ernest Willard Dodd v. State of Tennessee
M2015-00111-CCA-R3-PC
Authoring Judge: Judge D. Kelly Thomas, Jr.
Trial Court Judge: Judge Larry B. Stanley

The Petitioner, Ernest Willard Dodd, appeals as of right from the Warren County Circuit Court’s denial of his petition for post-conviction relief, wherein he challenged his convictions for initiating a process intended to result in the manufacture of methamphetamine and attempt to promote the manufacture of methamphetamine.  On appeal, the Petitioner contends that he received ineffective assistance of trial counsel based on counsel’s failure (1) to adequately advise him regarding the admissibility of his prior convictions if he chose to testify and (2) to call a “material” witness for the defense.  Following our review, we affirm the judgment of the post-conviction court.

Warren County Court of Criminal Appeals 01/14/16
State of Tennessee v. Joe Clark Mitchell
M2015-01539-CCA-R3-CD
Authoring Judge: Judge Robert H. Montgomery, Jr.
Trial Court Judge: Judge Robert L. Jones

The Defendant, Joe Clark Mitchell, was convicted in 1986 of two counts of aggravated kidnapping, two counts of aggravated rape, two counts of armed robbery, two counts of aggravated assault, arson, and first degree burglary and received an effective sentence of three consecutive life sentences plus thirteen years.  In 2015, the Defendant filed a motion for correction of the sentences pursuant to Tennessee Criminal Procedure Rule 36.1 contending that his life without the possibly of parole sentences were illegal because such sentences did not exist at the time of the offenses.  The trial court summarily dismissed the motion upon finding that the Defendant received life imprisonment sentences, not life without the possibility of parole, and that his sentences were not illegal.  On appeal, the Defendant contends that the trial court erred by dismissing the motion and by imposing the costs against him.  We affirm the judgment of the trial court.

Maury County Court of Criminal Appeals 01/14/16
State of Tennessee v. Lloyd Arlan Jones
M2015-00657-CCA-R3-CD
Authoring Judge: Judge D. Kelly Thomas, Jr.
Trial Court Judge: Judge Joseph A. Woodruff

The Defendant, Lloyd Arlan Jones, appeals as of right from his jury conviction for domestic assault.  The Defendant contends that the trial court erred by admitting several hearsay statements into evidence and by declining to charge domestic assault by extremely offensive or provocative physical contact as a lesser-included offense of domestic assault by causing bodily injury.  Furthermore, he submits that the cumulative result of these errors entitles him to a new trial.  Following our review, we discern no error and affirm the trial court’s judgment.

Williamson County Court of Criminal Appeals 01/14/16
State of Tennessee v. Kenneth Greene
E2015-01068-CCA-R3-CD
Authoring Judge: Judge Roger A. Page
Trial Court Judge: Judge Sandra Donaghy

Appellant was convicted of burglary other than a habitation and was sentenced to four years, suspended to probation, on January 30, 2013. A probation violation report was filed alleging that appellant had violated the terms of his probation by testing positive for marijuana, by being in possession of an adulterated urine specimen, and by failing to pay court costs. Following a probation revocation hearing, the trial court revoked appellant’s probation and ordered his sentence into execution. On appeal, appellant argues that because of his admission to his probation officer about his drug problem and his voluntarily seeking drug treatment for the same, he should have been allowed to complete his inpatient drug treatment program rather than have his probation revoked in full. Upon our review of appellant’s revocation, we affirm the judgment of the trial court.

Polk County Court of Criminal Appeals 01/13/16
Mario Hawkins v. Michael Parris, Warden
W2015-00775-CCA-R3-HC
Authoring Judge: Judge Roger A. Page
Trial Court Judge: Judge R. Lee Moore, Jr.

Petitioner, Mario Hawkins, was convicted of first degree murder in 1996. On December 31, 2014, he filed a petition for writ of habeas corpus, alleging that his judgment was void because he was not granted pretrial jail credits. The habeas corpus court summarily dismissed the petition based on petitioner's failure to follow the documentary requirements of the habeas corpus statutes. Following our review, we affirm the summary dismissal of the petition.

Lake County Court of Criminal Appeals 01/12/16
State of Tennessee v. David Burrows
W2014-01785-CCA-R3-CD
Authoring Judge: Judge James Curwood Witt, Jr.
Trial Court Judge: Judge John Campbell

Aggrieved of his Shelby County Criminal Court jury convictions of first degree murder and especially aggravated kidnapping, the defendant, David Burrows, appeals, claiming that the trial court erred by refusing to remove a juror for cause, by admitting autopsy photographs of the victim, and by admitting evidence of the defendant's 2008 domestic assault of the victim and that the evidence is insufficient to support his convictions. Discerning no error, we affirm.

Shelby County Court of Criminal Appeals 01/12/16
George Harvey v. State of Tennessee
W2015-00224-CCA-R3-PC
Authoring Judge: Judge James Curwood Witt, Jr.
Trial Court Judge: Judge James M. Lammey, Jr.

The petitioner, George Harvey, appeals the denial of post-conviction relief from his 2013 Shelby County Criminal Court guilty-pleaded conviction of second degree murder, for which he received a sentence of 15 years. In this appeal, the petitioner contends that his guilty plea was 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 01/12/16
Kenneth Lee Anderson v. State of Tennessee
W2015-01306-CCA-R3-PC
Authoring Judge: Judge Alan E. Glenn
Trial Court Judge: Judge R. Lee Moore, Jr.

The petitioner, Kenneth Lee Anderson, appeals the post-conviction court’s denial of his petition for post-conviction relief, arguing that he was denied the right to appellate counsel on direct appeal. After review, we affirm the judgment of the post-conviction court denying the petition for post-conviction relief.

Dyer County Court of Criminal Appeals 01/12/16
State of Tennessee v. William Franklin Robinette
E2015-00154-CCA-R3-CD
Authoring Judge: Judge James Curwood Witt, Jr.
Trial Court Judge: Judge Bob R. McGee

The defendant, William Franklin Robinette, appeals from his Greene County Criminal Court jury convictions of solicitation to commit first degree murder, claiming that the sentence imposed by the trial court was excessive. Discerning no error, we affirm the judgments of the trial court.

Knox County Court of Criminal Appeals 01/12/16
State of Tennessee v. Darrell Ray Beene
M2015-00231-CCA-R3-CD
Authoring Judge: Judge Robert W. Wedemeyer
Trial Court Judge: Judge Cheryl A. Blackburn

A Davidson County jury convicted the Defendant, Darrell Ray Beene, of aggravated robbery, and the trial court sentenced him to twenty years in the Tennessee Department of Correction.  The trial court ordered that the Defendant’s sentence be served consecutively to the Defendant’s forty-two year sentence in another case.  On appeal, the Defendant contends that the evidence is insufficient to sustain his conviction and that his sentence is excessive.  After a thorough review of the record and applicable authorities, we affirm the Defendant’s conviction and sentence.

Davidson County Court of Criminal Appeals 01/12/16
Cory Shane Rollins v. State of Tennessee
E2015-00774-CCA-R3-PC
Authoring Judge: Judge D. Kelly Thomas, Jr.
Trial Court Judge: Judge Bob R. McGee

The Petitioner, Cory Shane Rollins, appeals from the denial of his petition for post conviction relief, wherein he challenged his jury convictions for aggravated robbery, evading arrest, and driving under the influence. On appeal, the Petitioner raises the following ineffective assistance of counsel claims: (1) whether trial counsel failed to convey a plea offer made by the State; and (2) whether trial counsel failed to adequately apprise him of his right to testify. After a thorough review of the record, we affirm the judgment of the post-conviction court.

Knox County Court of Criminal Appeals 01/12/16
State of Tennessee v. Toby Lynn Young
M2015-00712-CCA-R3-CD
Authoring Judge: Judge Robert L. Holloway, Jr.
Trial Court Judge: Judge Larry B. Stanley, Jr.

A Warren County jury found the Defendant, Toby Lynn Young, guilty of theft over $10,000, evading arrest, and driving on a suspended license, second offense.  The trial court sentenced the Defendant to a total effective sentence of twelve years’ incarceration.  On appeal, the Defendant challenges the trial court’s failure to properly instruct the jury on identity pursuant to State v. Dyle, 899 S.W.2d 607 (Tenn. 1995).  Upon review, we affirm the judgments of the trial court.

Warren County Court of Criminal Appeals 01/12/16
Ralph T. O'Neal v. State of Tennessee
M2015-01052-CCA-R3-HC
Authoring Judge: Judge D. Kelly Thomas, Jr.
Trial Court Judge: Judge Steve R. Dozier

The Petitioner, Ralph T. O’Neal, appeals as of right from the Davidson County Criminal Court’s summary dismissal of his petition for writ of habeas corpus.  He claims entitlement to habeas corpus relief, alleging that the trial court did not have the jurisdiction or authority to sentence him for Class B felony cocaine possession because he was indicted only for Class C possession, and the record was devoid of any evidence that he consented to an amendment or waived his right to indictment at the guilty plea proceedings.  Following our review, we affirm the judgment of the habeas corpus court.

Davidson County Court of Criminal Appeals 01/12/16
Freeman Ray Harrison, Jr. v. State of Tennessee
M2015-00454-CCA-R3-PC
Authoring Judge: Judge D. Kelly Thomas, Jr.
Trial Court Judge: Judge David M. Bragg

The Petitioner, Freeman Ray Harrison, Jr., appeals as of right from the Rutherford County Circuit Court’s denial of his petition for post-conviction relief, wherein he challenged his convictions for two counts of aggravated sexual battery and one count of reckless endangerment.  On appeal, the Petitioner asserts that he received ineffective assistance of trial counsel based on counsel’s failure to (1) discuss the bill of particulars with him; (2) discuss the possibility of filing a motion to sever the offenses; and (3) retain medical experts.  Following our review, we affirm the judgment of the post-conviction court.

Rutherford County Court of Criminal Appeals 01/12/16
Ellis Hardin v. State of Tennessee
M2015-00494-CCA-R3-PC
Authoring Judge: Judge James Curwood Witt, Jr.
Trial Court Judge: Judge Royce Taylor

The petitioner, Ellis Hardin, appeals the denial of post-conviction relief from his 2014 Rutherford County Circuit Court guilty-pleaded convictions of aggravated sexual battery and attempted aggravated sexual battery, for which he received an effective sentence of 15 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.

Rutherford County Court of Criminal Appeals 01/12/16
State of Tennessee v. Michael Bailey
W2014-02517-CCA-R3-CD
Authoring Judge: Judge Robert L. Holloway, Jr.
Trial Court Judge: Judge James C. Beasley, Jr.

Michael Bailey (“the Defendant”) was convicted by a jury of one count of aggravated robbery in case number 09-02888. At a subsequent sentencing hearing for case number 09-02888 and six other case numbers, the Defendant was sentenced as a repeat, violent offender to seven sentences of life without the possibility of parole. The trial ordered the Defendant's life without parole sentence in 09-02888 to run consecutively to one of the other life without parole sentences. On appeal, the Defendant argues that (1) the evidence was insufficient to support his conviction in case number 09-02888 and (2) the trial court abused its discretion when it ordered partial consecutive sentences. After a review of the record and applicable law, we affirm the judgment of the trial court.

Shelby County Court of Criminal Appeals 01/11/16
State of Tennessee v. Kenyale Pirtle
W2014-02150-CCA-R3-CO
Authoring Judge: Presiding Judge Thomas T. Woodall
Trial Court Judge: Judge Clayburn Peeples

Defendant, Kenyale Pirtle, appeals from the trial court’s summary dismissal of his two motions filed pursuant to Tennessee Rule of Criminal Procedure 36.1. One motion pertained to case numbers 5168 and 5277. Although appellant listed these case numbers in his notice of appeal, he has made no argument concerning the trial court’s summary dismissal of this motion. The other motion pertains to case numbers 4841, 4940, and 4996. Defendant argues that the trial court erred by summarily dismissing this motion. All challenged sentences have expired. In light of State v Brown, ____ S.W.3d _____, No. E2014-00673-SC-R11-CD, (Tenn., filed Dec. 2, 2015) we affirm the judgments of the trial court pursuant to Rule 20 of the Rules of the Court of Criminal Appeals of Tennessee.

Haywood County Court of Criminal Appeals 01/11/16
Paul E. Isaac v. State of Tennessee
E2015-01119-CCA-R3-PC
Authoring Judge: Judge D. Kelly Thomas, Jr.
Trial Court Judge: Judge Bobby Ray McGee

The Petitioner, Paul E. Isaac, appeals as of right from the Knox County Criminal Court’s denial of his petition for post-conviction relief from his guilty-pled convictions for two counts of aggravated assault, attempted aggravated robbery, and misdemeanor assault. On appeal, the Petitioner contends that trial counsel was ineffective because he was not adequately prepared for trial, and the Petitioner’s lack of confidence in trial counsel led him to plead guilty. Following our review, we affirm the judgment of the post-conviction court.

Knox County Court of Criminal Appeals 01/11/16