Court of Criminal Appeals Opinions

Format: 10/25/2014
Format: 10/25/2014
State of Tennessee v. Walter Lee Hicks, Jr.
M2013-01410-CCA-R3-CD
Authoring Judge: Judge Jerry L. Smith
Trial Court Judge: Judge Robert Crigler

Appellant, Walter Lee Hicks Jr., was convicted by a Marshall County jury of numerous offenses  that arose from an encounter with an officer of the Tennessee Highway Patrol.  The sentences imposed included four years for reckless endangerment with a deadly weapon, eight years for evading arrest and creating a risk of death and injury, and five years for giving a false report.  The trial court ordered that the sentences be served consecutively, with all remaining sentences to be served concurrently, for a total effective sentence of seventeen years at thirty-five percent.  Appellant argues (1) that the evidence was insufficient to support his convictions for reckless endangerment and giving a false report, and (2) that the sentence imposed was excessive and contrary to law.  After thoroughly examining the record, we find no error in either the verdicts or the sentence, and we affirm the trial court.  However, we remand to the trial court for correction of the judgment to reflect that Appellant’s convictions for assault and felony reckless endangerment are merged.

Marshall County Court of Criminal Appeals 06/26/14
State of Tennessee v. Daniel Muhammad
W2013-01395-CCA-R3-CD
Authoring Judge: Judge Thomas T. Woodall
Trial Court Judge: Judge James C. Beasley Jr.

Defendant, Daniel Muhammad, and his co-defendant Michael Taylor were indicted by the Shelby County Grand Jury for aggravated arson. Defendant filed a motion to have his case severed from that of his co-defendant. The trial court denied Defendant’s motion. Following a jury trial, Defendant was convicted of the lesser included offense of facilitation of aggravated arson. The jury was unable to reach a verdict as to co-defendant Taylor, and the trial court declared a mistrial. Defendant was sentenced as a Range II multiple offender to 12 years of incarceration. Defendant appeals his conviction and raises the following issues for our review: 1) whether the trial court abused its discretion in denying Defendant’s motion to sever; 2) whether the trial court erred by not granting Defendant’s motion for a mistrial; and 3) whether the evidence was sufficient to sustain Defendant’s conviction. After a careful review of the record and the briefs of the parties, we affirm the judgment of the trial court.

Shelby County Court of Criminal Appeals 06/25/14
Montrel Gilliam v. State of Tennessee
W2013-01187-CCA-R3-PC
Authoring Judge: Judge Camille R. McMullen
Trial Court Judge: Judge Lee V. Coffee

The Petitioner, Montrel Gilliam, appeals from the denial of post-conviction relief by the Criminal Court for Shelby County. He was convicted of first degree premeditated murder and three counts of attempted first degree murder and received an effective sentence of life imprisonment plus sixty-seven years in the Tennessee Department of Correction. On appeal, the Petitioner argues that he received ineffective assistance of counsel. Upon our review, we affirm the judgment of the post-conviction court.

Shelby County Court of Criminal Appeals 06/25/14
State of Tennessee v. Jennifer Leigh Salyers
E2013-02332-CCA-R3-CD
Authoring Judge: Judge Robert W. Wedemeyer
Trial Court Judge: Judge R. Jerry Beck

The Defendant, Jennifer Leigh Salyers, pled guilty to two counts of reckless aggravated assault. The trial court denied the Defendant’s application for judicial diversion and sentenced her to serve sixty days in jail, followed by two years of supervised probation. The Defendant asserts that the trial court erred when it denied her application for judicial diversion and a sentence of full probation. After a thorough review of the record and applicable law, we affirm the trial court’s judgments.

Blount County Court of Criminal Appeals 06/25/14
State of Tennessee v. Ashley K. Moyers
E2013-01608-CCA-R3-CD
Authoring Judge: Judge Jeffrey S. Bivins
Trial Court Judge: Judge David R. Duggan

Ashley K. Moyers (“the Defendant”) was convicted by a jury of sale or delivery of a Schedule II drug in a drug-free zone. Following a sentencing hearing, the trial court sentenced the Defendant to four years’ incarceration and imposed the $40,000 fine assessed by the jury. On appeal, the Defendant challenges the sufficiency of the evidence supporting her conviction. She also contends that her $40,000 fine is excessive. After a thorough review of the record and the applicable law, we affirm the Defendant’s conviction but decrease the Defendant’s fine from $40,000 to $2,000.

Blount County Court of Criminal Appeals 06/25/14
Dennis Wade Suttles v. State of Tennessee
E2013-01016-CCA-R3-PD
Authoring Judge: Judge Alan E. Glenn
Trial Court Judge: Judge Mary Beth Leibowitz

The petitioner, Dennis Wade Suttles, appeals from the trial court’s denial of his petition in which he sought relief from his death sentence, claiming that he was intellectually disabled. On appeal, the petitioner contends that the trial court erred in denying (1) his petition for writ of error coram nobis, (2) his motion for a declaratory judgment, and (3) his stand-alone claim under the intellectual disability provisions in Tennessee Code Annotated section 39-13-203. Upon reviewing the record and the applicable law, we affirm the judgment of the trial court.

Knox County Court of Criminal Appeals 06/25/14
State of Tennessee v. Brian Dunkley & William Miller
M2012-00548-CCA-R3-CD
Authoring Judge: Judge Robert W. Wedemeyer
Trial Court Judge: Judge Steve R. Dozier

A Davidson County jury convicted Defendant Brian Dunkley of conspiracy to commit first degree murder. The jury convicted Defendant William Miller of one count of conspiracy to commit first degree murder, one count of attempted aggravated burglary, and one count of attempted first degree murder. The trial court sentenced both defendants to effective sentences of twenty-five years in the Tennessee Department of Correction. On appeal, Defendant Dunkley asserts that: (1) the trial court erred when it admitted text messages into evidence pursuant to Tennessee Rule of Evidence 404(b); (2) the trial erred when it denied his motion for new trial because the trial court failed to function as the thirteenth juror and because newly discovered evidence warranted a new trial; (3) there is insufficient evidence to support his conviction; and (4) the trial court improperly applied enhancement factors when it sentenced him. Defendant Miller asserts that: (1) there is insufficient evidence to support his convictions; (2) the trial court erred when it denied his motion for new trial because the trial court failed to function as the thirteenth juror; and (3) the trial court erred when it imposed consecutive sentences. After a thorough review of the record and applicable law, we affirm the trial court’s judgments.
 

Davidson County Court of Criminal Appeals 06/25/14
State of Tennessee v. Joshua Allen Felts
M2013-01404-CCA-R3-CD
Authoring Judge: Judge Norma McGee Ogle
Trial Court Judge: Judge Monte Watkins

A Davidson County Criminal Court Jury convicted the appellant, Joshua Allen Felts, on count one of theft of property valued less than $500, a Class A misdemeanor; on count two of attempted theft of property valued more than $1,000 but less than $10,000, a Class E felony; on count three of attempted theft of property valued more than $500 but less than $1,000, a Class A misdemeanor; and on counts four and five of theft of property valued more than $1,000 but less than $10,000, a Class D felony. The trial court imposed a total effective sentence of twelve years in the Tennessee Department of Correction. On appeal, the appellant challenges the sufficiency of the evidence sustaining his convictions, the trial court’s denial of his motion to suppress, and the State’s failure to preserve the chain of custody of the stolen items. Upon review, we affirm the appellant’s conviction in count five. However, the State concedes, and we agree, that the State failed to establish the value of the stolen items in the remaining counts; therefore, we remand to the trial court for amendment of the judgments of conviction in counts one and four to theft of property valued less than $500, a Class A misdemeanor, and to reflect the reduction in the sentence on each of those convictions to eleven months and twenty-nine days. Additionally, we remand to the trial court for amendment of the judgments of conviction in counts two and three to attempted theft of property valued less than $500, a Class B misdemeanor, and to reflect the reduction in the sentence on each of those convictions to six months.
 

Davidson County Court of Criminal Appeals 06/25/14
Albert Wayne Franchek, Jr. v. State of Tennessee
M2013-02631-CCA-R3-PC
Authoring Judge: Judge Norma McGee Ogle
Trial Court Judge: Judge Dee David Gay

The Petitioner, Albert Wayne Franchek, Jr., appeals the Sumner County Criminal Court’s denial of his petition for post-conviction relief from his guilty plea to selling one-half gram or more of a Schedule II controlled substance, a Class B felony, and resulting eight-year sentence. On appeal, the Petitioner contends that he received the ineffective assistance of counsel and that he did not plead guilty knowingly and voluntarily. Based upon the record and the parties’ briefs, we affirm the judgment of the post-conviction court.

Sumner County Court of Criminal Appeals 06/25/14
Antonio Santial Jones v. State of Tennessee
M2012-01548-CCA-R3-PC
Authoring Judge: Judge John Everett William
Trial Court Judge: Judge Monte Watkins

The petitioner, Antonio Santial Jones, appeals the denial of his petition for post-conviction relief. The petitioner was convicted of second degree murder and is currently serving a sentence of twenty-two years in the Department of Correction. On appeal, he contends that trial counsel was ineffective for failing to supply the petitioner with discovery, only beginning preparation for trial the day before, failing to convey a plea offer to the petitioner, and ignoring the self-defense claim asserted by the petitioner. Following review of the record, we affirm the denial of post-conviction relief.

Davidson County Court of Criminal Appeals 06/25/14
State of Tennessee v. Jan Michelle Ell
E2013-01624-CCA-R3-CD
Authoring Judge: Judge Joseph M. Tipton
Trial Court Judge: Judge Tammy Harrington

The Defendant, Jan Michelle Ell, was convicted by a Blount County Circuit Court jury of especially aggravated robbery, a Class A felony, and conspiracy to commit especially aggravated robbery, a Class B felony. See T.C.A. §§ 39-13-403, 39-12-103 (2010). The trial court sentenced the Defendant as a Range I, standard offender to concurrent sentences of twenty-two years for the especially aggravated robbery conviction and twelve years for the conspiracy conviction. On appeal, the Defendant contends that the evidence is insufficient to support her convictions. We affirm the judgments of the trial court.

Blount County Court of Criminal Appeals 06/25/14
State of Tennessee v. Elmus Travis Gaylor
E2013-02649-CCA-R3-CD
Authoring Judge: Judge Jeffrey S. Bivins
Trial Court Judge: Judge E. Shayne Sexton

Elmus Travis Gaylor (“the Defendant”) pleaded guilty to second degree murder and especially aggravated robbery. Following a sentencing hearing, the trial court ordered the Defendant to serve an effective sentence of twenty-five years. On appeal, the Defendant challenges the length of his sentence. After a thorough review of the record and the applicable law, we affirm the judgments of the trial court.

Campbell County Court of Criminal Appeals 06/25/14
State of Tennessee v. Lloyd Daniel Thompson
E2013-01850-CCA-R3-CD
Authoring Judge: Judge Alan E. Glenn
Trial Court Judge: Judge Mary Beth Leibowitz

The defendant, Lloyd Daniel Thompson, pled guilty in the Knox County Criminal Court to theft of property valued at $10,000 or more but less than $60,000, a Class C felony, and was sentenced by the trial court as a Range I, standard offender to three years in the Department of Correction, suspended to supervised probation. The trial court also ordered that the defendant pay $40,000 in restitution to the victim. In a timely appeal to this court, the defendant argues that the evidence at the restitution hearing did not support the trial court’s determination of the victim’s losses and that the trial court erred in ordering him to pay $40,000 in restitution without considering his resources and future ability to pay. Following our review, we affirm the trial court’s finding that the victim suffered $40,000 in losses but remand for the trial court to determine the defendant’s current financial resources and future ability to pay restitution.

Knox County Court of Criminal Appeals 06/25/14