Court of Criminal Appeals Opinions

Format: 01/23/2019
Format: 01/23/2019
State of Tennessee v. Jason D. Kubelick
E2018-00408-CCA-R3-CD
Authoring Judge: Judge Robert W. Wedemeyer
Trial Court Judge: Judge Justin C. Angel

The Defendant, Jason D. Kubelick, pleaded guilty to aggravated sexual battery. By agreement, the Defendant’s sentence was four years with six years on the sex offender registry with the manner of service to be determined by the trial court. The trial court ordered the Defendant to serve his four-year sentence in confinement. On appeal, the Defendant contends that the trial court erred when it denied him judicial diversion and imposed a sentence of confinement. After a thorough review of the record and applicable law, we affirm the trial court’s judgment.

Rhea County Court of Criminal Appeals 12/26/18
Demarcus Ant-Juan Nelson v. State Of Tennessee
E2017-01418-CCA-R3-PC
Authoring Judge: Judge Thomas T. Woodall
Trial Court Judge: Judge Steven Wayne Sword

Petitioner, Demarcus Nelson, appeals the denial of his post-conviction petition. Petitioner argues that he received ineffective assistance of counsel in litigating his motion to suppress; that the State presented false testimony at the suppression hearing; that trial counsel was ineffective in failing to provide accurate advice concerning the gang enhancement statute; and that his guilty plea was involuntary. Following a review of the briefs of the parties and the entire record, we affirm the judgment of the post-conviction court.

Knox County Court of Criminal Appeals 12/21/18
Antonio Oliver v. State of Tennessee
W2017-01472-CCA-R3-PC
Authoring Judge: Judge Robert H. Montgomery, Jr.
Trial Court Judge: Judge Paula L. Skahan

The Petitioner, Antonio Oliver, appeals the Shelby County Criminal Court’s denial of his petition for post-conviction relief from his first degree murder conviction, for which he is serving a life sentence. The Petitioner contends that he received the ineffective assistance of trial counsel. We affirm the judgment of the post-conviction court.

Shelby County Court of Criminal Appeals 12/21/18
State of Tennessee v. Coray Eugene Knight
M2017-01584-CCA-R3-CD
Authoring Judge: Judge J. Ross Dyer
Trial Court Judge: Judge Mark J. Fishburn

In November 2013, a Montgomery County grand jury returned a ten-count indictment against the defendant, Coray Eugene Knight, and his two co-defendants, Kelley Hufford and Frederick Persinger, charging them with conspiracy to commit first degree murder, first degree premeditated murder, first degree felony murder, two counts of especially aggravated kidnapping, three counts of aggravated kidnapping, abuse of a corpse, and tampering with evidence. A jury convicted the defendant as charged on all counts and he received an effective life sentence. On appeal, the defendant challenges the sufficiency of the evidence supporting his conviction for first degree premeditated murder. He also challenges the jurisdiction of the trial court and several of its rulings, including: the denial of his motion to suppress the statements he made prior to trial; the ruling finding Mr. Persinger competent to testify at trial; the denial of his motions for a mistrial, for judgment of acquittal, and for a new trial; and the denial of his request for a jury instruction on the defense of others. Based upon our review of the record, we affirm the judgments of the trial court.

Montgomery County Court of Criminal Appeals 12/20/18
State of Tennessee v. Tequan Laquarious Evans
M2017-02266-CCA-R3-CD
Authoring Judge: Judge Robert H. Montgomery, Jr.
Trial Court Judge: Judge William R. Goodman, III

The Defendant, Tequan Laquarious Evans, was convicted after a bench trial of possession with the intent to sell or to deliver not less than one-half ounce nor more than ten pounds of marijuana, a Class E felony, possession of a firearm with the intent to go armed during the commission of a dangerous felony, a Class D felony, possession of alprazolam, a Class A misdemeanor, possession of drug paraphernalia, a Class A misdemeanor, and escape, a Class A misdemeanor. See T.C.A. §§ 39-17-417(a)(4) (2018) (possession with intent to sell and to deliver), 39-17-1324(a) (2018) (unlawful possession of firearm), 39-17-418 (2018) (misdemeanor drug possession), 39-17-425 (possession of drug paraphernalia); 39-16-605 (2018) (escape). The trial court imposed sentences of one year at 30% service for possession with the intent to sell or to deliver, three years at 100% service for unlawful firearm possession, and eleven months, twenty-nine days at 75% service each for possession of Alprazolam, possession of drug paraphernalia, and escape. The court ordered consecutive service of the firearm and escape convictions, for an effective sentence of three years, eleven months, and twenty-nine days. The possession with the intent to sell or to deliver conviction was ordered to be served consecutively to a conviction in an unrelated case. On appeal, the Defendant contends that the evidence is insufficient to support his convictions for possession with the intent to sell or to deliver not less than one-half ounce nor more than ten pounds of marijuana and possession of a firearm with the intent to go armed during the commission of a dangerous felony. We affirm the judgments of the trial court.

Montgomery County Court of Criminal Appeals 12/20/18
Thomas Dowlen v. State of Tennessee
M2018-00052-CCA-R3-PC
Authoring Judge: Judge Robert H. Montgomery, Jr.
Trial Court Judge: Judge Jill Bartee Ayers

The Petitioner, Thomas Dowlen, appeals the Robertson County Circuit Court’s denial of his petition for post-conviction relief from his 2014 conviction for first degree murder and sentence of life imprisonment. The Petitioner contends that he received the ineffective assistance of counsel. We affirm the judgment of the post-conviction court.

Robertson County Court of Criminal Appeals 12/19/18
State of Tennessee v. Audrey Downs
W2018-00391-CCA-R3-CD
Authoring Judge: Judge Norma McGee Ogle
Trial Court Judge: Judge Paula L. Skahan

The Appellant, Audrey Downs, appeals the Shelby County Criminal Court’s summary dismissal of his petition requesting DNA analysis of evidence pursuant to the Post-Conviction DNA Analysis Act of 2001. Based upon the record and the parties’ briefs, the judgment of the trial court is reversed, and the case is remanded for further proceedings consistent with this opinion.

Shelby County Court of Criminal Appeals 12/18/18
State of Tennessee v. Willie Morgan
W2018-00828-CCA-R3-CD
Authoring Judge: Judge Timothy L. Easter
Trial Court Judge: Judge James M. Lammey

Defendant, Willie Morgan, appeals from the trial court’s dismissal of his “Petition for Reduction of Sentence.” The trial court found that the petition was untimely under Tennessee Rule of Criminal Procedure 35. Upon our review of the record, we affirm the judgment of the trial court.

Shelby County Court of Criminal Appeals 12/18/18
State of Tennessee v. Matthew Edward Ford
E2018-00507-CCA-R3-CD
Authoring Judge: Judge James Curwood Witt, Jr.
Trial Court Judge: Judge Tammy M. Harrington

The defendant, Matthew Edward Ford, appeals the Blount County Circuit Court’s order revoking his probation and ordering him to serve the balance of his misdemeanor sentences in confinement. Discerning no error, we affirm.

Blount County Court of Criminal Appeals 12/17/18
State of Tennessee v. Lance Loveless
M2017-02048-CCA-R3-CD
Authoring Judge: Judge J. Ross Dyer
Trial Court Judge: Judge Larry J. Wallace

A Humphreys County grand jury charged the defendant, Lance Loveless, with theft of property between $1000.00 and $10,000.00. Following trial, a jury found the defendant guilty of the lesser-included offense of attempted theft of property between $1000.00 and $10,000.00. On appeal, the defendant contends: the State failed to prove attempt, so the proof was insufficient to support the guilty verdict, and the trial court erred when denying his request for judicial diversion. Discerning no error, we affirm the judgment of the trial court.

Humphreys County Court of Criminal Appeals 12/14/18
Brandon Washington v. State of Tennessee
W2017-02126-CCA-R3-PC
Authoring Judge: Judge J. Ross Dyer
Trial Court Judge: Judge J. Robert Carter, Jr.

The petitioner, Brandon Washington, appeals the denial of his post-conviction petition, arguing the post-conviction court erred in finding he received effective assistance of counsel upon the entry of his guilty plea which he argues was entered involuntarily and unknowingly. Following our review, we affirm the denial of the petition and conclude the petitioner has waived any challenge to the entrance of his plea.

Shelby County Court of Criminal Appeals 12/14/18
State of Tennessee v. Ricky Dee May
W2018-00224-CCA-R3-CD
Authoring Judge: Judge J. Ross Dyer
Trial Court Judge: Judge Donald H. Allen

The defendant, Ricky Dee May, pled guilty to the manufacture of marijuana and felony possession of drug paraphernalia and received an effective sentence of two years. On appeal, the defendant contends the trial court erred in imposing the maximum sentence for each offense. After our review, we affirm the trial court’s sentence pursuant to Rule 20 of the Rules of the Court of Criminal Appeals.

Madison County Court of Criminal Appeals 12/14/18
State of Tennessee v. William Ingram
W2017-02343-CCA-R3-CD
Authoring Judge: Judge Norma McGee Ogle
Trial Court Judge: Judge Lee V. Coffee

A Shelby County Criminal Court Jury convicted the Appellant, William Ingram, of aggravated assault, and the trial court sentenced him to six years in the Shelby County workhouse. On appeal, the Appellant challenges the sufficiency of the evidence sustaining his conviction. Upon review, we affirm the judgment of the trial court.

Shelby County Court of Criminal Appeals 12/14/18
Paul Brent Baxter v. State of Tennessee
M2017-01230-CCA-R3-PC
Authoring Judge: Judge J. Ross Dyer
Trial Court Judge: Judge Franklin L. Russell

The petitioner, Paul Brent Baxter, appeals the denial of his post-conviction petition, arguing the post-conviction court erred in finding he received effective assistance of counsel at trial. Within the context of his post-conviction claims, the petitioner argues trial counsel was ineffective for failing to object to the State asking the victim to compare her pain level as a result of the petitioner’s assault to the pain she experienced at other points in her life. Following our review, we affirm the denial of the petition.

Marshall County Court of Criminal Appeals 12/14/18
In re: Rader Bonding Company - dissenting
M2017-01687-CCA-R3-CD
Authoring Judge: Judge Robert H. Montgomery, Jr.
Trial Court Judge: Judge Mark J. Fishburn

I dissent from the majority’s holding that the trial court erred in denying Rader Bonding Company’s motion for exoneration and in denying the motion to alter or amend the judgment of forfeiture.

Davidson County Court of Criminal Appeals 12/14/18
In re: Rader Bonding Company
M2017-01687-CCA-R3-CD
Authoring Judge: Presiding Judge John Everett Williams
Trial Court Judge: Judge Mark J. Fishburn

In this appeal, we must determine whether the Appellant, Rader Bonding Company (“Rader”), remained obligated as surety for the $7,500 bond set for the Defendant, Saul Aldaba-Arriaga, for a charge of driving under the influence of an intoxicant (“DUI”), second offense, and his $2,500 bond for a charge of driving on a revoked license when the State later obtained an indictment that increased the severity of the Defendant’s misdemeanor charge of DUI second offense to a felony charge of DUI fourth offense and included additional charges. After the Defendant failed to appear in court on the indicted charges, the trial court initiated forfeiture proceedings and entered a final judgment of forfeiture against the Defendant and Rader following a hearing. We conclude that based on the specific and unique circumstances of this case, Rader’s obligation under the bonding agreement for the $7,500 bond on the Defendant’s DUI second offense charge in general sessions court did not extend to the indicted charge of DUI fourth offense and that as a result, the trial court erred in entering a judgment of final forfeiture against Rader on the $7,500 bond. We further conclude that Rader’s obligation for the $2,500 bond on the Defendant’s charge of driving on a revoked license in general sessions court continued when the Defendant was indicted for the same offense and that the trial court did not abuse its discretion in denying Rader’s request for exoneration. Accordingly, the trial court’s judgment is affirmed in part and reversed in part, and this case is remanded for further proceeding in accordance with this opinion.

Davidson County Court of Criminal Appeals 12/14/18
State of Tennessee v. Carl Allen aka Artie Perkins
W2017-01118-CCA-R3-CD
Authoring Judge: Judge Norma McGee Ogle
Trial Court Judge: Judge Paula L. Skahan

The Appellant, Carl Allen, appeals the Shelby County Criminal Court’s granting a motion filed by the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation (TBI) to intervene in this case and the court’s vacating a portion of a previous order in which the court determined that the Appellant was required to register as a sexual offender as opposed to a violent sexual offender in the TBI’s sexual offender registry (SOR). Based upon the oral arguments, the record, and the parties’ briefs, we conclude that the appeal must be dismissed.

Shelby County Court of Criminal Appeals 12/13/18
State of Tennessee v. Joseph Proffitt
W2017-01958-CCA-R3-CD
Authoring Judge: Presiding Judge John Everett Williams
Trial Court Judge: Judge Glenn Ivy Wright

The Defendant, Joseph Proffitt, was convicted of two counts of attempted second degree murder, three counts of aggravated assault, and two counts of employing a firearm during the attempted murders. He received an effective sentence of fourteen years. On appeal, the Defendant challenges only his convictions for attempted second degree murder, arguing that the evidence is insufficient to support the verdicts. Upon reviewing the record and applicable law, we affirm the Defendant’s convictions.

Shelby County Court of Criminal Appeals 12/13/18
State of Tennessee v. Arvester Brown
W2017-02547-CCA-R3-CD
Authoring Judge: Presiding Judge John Everett Williams
Trial Court Judge: Judge John Wheeler Campbell

The Defendant, Arvester Brown, appeals his convictions for felony murder and especially aggravated robbery, for which he received an effective sentence of life imprisonment. On appeal, the Defendant contends that (1) the trial court erred in failing to declare a mistrial due to the behavior of one of the State’s witnesses; (2) the trial court erred in excluding evidence that the victim had agreed to carry out a “hit” on the Defendant; and (3) the State made improper statements during closing arguments. Upon reviewing the record and the applicable law, we affirm the judgments of the trial court.

Shelby County Court of Criminal Appeals 12/13/18
State of Tennessee v. Jacob Erwin Branch
M2017-01448-CCA-R3-CD
Authoring Judge: Judge Alan E. Glenn
Trial Court Judge: Judge Franklin L. Russell

The Defendant, Jacob Erwin Branch, was convicted by a Marshall County jury of two counts of rape of a child, a Class A felony, and contributing to the delinquency of a minor, a Class A misdemeanor, and was sentenced by the trial court to an effective term of twenty-eight years at 100% in the Department of Correction. On appeal, the Defendant challenges the sufficiency of the evidence in support of his child rape convictions. Following our review, we affirm the judgments of the trial court. However, we note the verdict forms indicate the jury found the Defendant not guilty on the charges of rape and aggravated sexual battery, but the judgment forms indicate those charges were dismissed. We therefore remand for entry of corrected judgment forms as to these charges.

Marshall County Court of Criminal Appeals 12/12/18
Bruce Elliott v. State of Tennessee
M2018-00808-CCA-R3-HC
Authoring Judge: Judge Alan E. Glenn
Trial Court Judge: Judge John D. Wootten, Jr.

The pro se Petitioner, Bruce Elliott, appeals the summary dismissal of his petition for writ of habeas corpus. Following our review, we affirm the dismissal of the petition.

Trousdale County Court of Criminal Appeals 12/12/18
State of Tennessee v. Donald Lyndon Madewell
M2018-00183-CCA-R3-CD
Authoring Judge: Judge D. Kelly Thomas, Jr.
Trial Court Judge: Judge Larry B. Stanley, Jr.

The Defendant, Donald Lyndon Madewell, was convicted by a jury of promoting the manufacture of methamphetamine. On appeal, he challenges the denial of his motion to suppress, asserting that he lacked common authority over the hotel room and could not provide valid consent to search. He also alleges that evidence was insufficient to support his conviction. After our review, we affirm the judgment of the trial court.

Warren County Court of Criminal Appeals 12/12/18
Domnick Doria v. State of Tennessee
M2017-02024-CCA-R3-PC
Authoring Judge: Judge D. Kelly Thomas, Jr.
Trial Court Judge: Judge William R. Goodman, III

The Petitioner, Domnick Doria, appeals from the Montgomery County Circuit Court’s denial of his petition for post-conviction relief. The Petitioner contends that he received ineffective assistance of counsel because (1) original counsel forced the Petitioner to participate in a television interview prior to trial that caused the State to “cut off” plea negotiations; and (2) trial counsel failed to call the Petitioner’s mother and his ex-wife to testify at trial. Discerning no error, we affirm the judgment of the post conviction court.

Montgomery County Court of Criminal Appeals 12/12/18
Joan Elizabeth Hall v. State of Tennessee
M2017-01621-CCA-R3-ECN
Authoring Judge: Judge Thomas T. Woodall
Trial Court Judge: Judge Forest A. Durard, Jr.

Petitioner, Joan Elizabeth Hall, appeals the denial of her petition for a writ of error coram nobis based upon newly discovered evidence. After thoroughly reviewing the record and applicable authorities, we affirm the error coram nobis court’s judgment.

Lincoln County Court of Criminal Appeals 12/12/18
State of Tennessee v. Rodricus Antwan Johnson
W2018-00950-CCA-R3-CD
Authoring Judge: Judge Robert L. Holloway, Jr.
Trial Court Judge: Judge Chris Craft

Rodricus Antwan Johnson, Movant, filed a Tennessee Rule of Criminal Procedure 36.1 motion seeking correction of what he claimed was an illegal sentence because the trial court applied enhancement factors that were required by Blakely v. Washington, 542 U.S. 296 (2004) to be determined by the jury. The trial court summarily dismissed the motion for failure to state a colorable claim. Discerning no error, we affirm.

Shelby County Court of Criminal Appeals 12/11/18