Court of Criminal Appeals Opinions

Format: 10/31/2014
Format: 10/31/2014
Sam E. Stevenson v. State of Tennessee
W2013-02656-CCA-R3-PC
Authoring Judge: Judge Alan E. Glenn
Trial Court Judge: Judge Roy B. Morgan Jr.

The petitioner, Sam E. Stevenson, appeals the post-conviction court’s denial of his petition for post-conviction relief, arguing he received ineffective assistance of counsel. After review, we affirm the denial of the petition.

Madison County Court of Criminal Appeals 10/10/14
Felton McNeal v. State of Tennessee
W2013-02014-CCA-R3-PC
Authoring Judge: Judge Alan E. Glenn
Trial Court Judge: Judge Chris Craft

The petitioner, Felton McNeal, appeals the denial of his petition for post-conviction relief, arguing that his guilty pleas were unknowingly and involuntarily entered without the effective assistance of counsel. After review, we affirm the denial of the petition.

Shelby County Court of Criminal Appeals 10/10/14
State of Tennessee v. Paul Edward Martin, Jr.
W2013-02311-CCA-R3-CD
Authoring Judge: Judge Alan E. Glenn
Trial Court Judge: Judge Nathan B. Pride

The defendant, Paul Edward Martin, Jr., was convicted by a Chester County Circuit Court jury of carjacking and aggravated robbery, Class B felonies, and sentenced to terms of twenty years on each conviction, to be served consecutively as a Range II offender in the Tennessee Department of Correction. On appeal, he argues that the trial court imposed an excessive sentence. After review, we affirm the judgments of the trial court.

Chester County Court of Criminal Appeals 10/10/14
State of Tennessee v. Allen Craft and Cedric Mims
W2013-01822-CCA-R3-CD
Authoring Judge: Judge Alan E. Glenn
Trial Court Judge: Judge Paula Skahan

Defendants Allen Craft and Cedric Mims were convicted of first degree felony murder, especially aggravated robbery, attempted voluntary manslaughter, and employing a firearm during the commission of a dangerous felony. The trial court sentenced each defendant to life for the felony murder conviction, with concurrent sentences of twenty years for the especially aggravated robbery conviction and two years for the attempted voluntary manslaughter conviction. The trial court also dismissed the charges of employing a firearm during the commission of a dangerous felony. On appeal, the defendants challenge the sufficiency of the evidence and the trial court’s refusal to grant a mistrial. Upon our review, we affirm the judgments of the trial court.

Shelby County Court of Criminal Appeals 10/10/14
State of Tennessee v. Travis Grover Richardson
E2013-02250-CCA-R3-CD
Authoring Judge: Judge Timothy L. Easter
Trial Court Judge: Judge Jon Kerry Blackwood

Defendant, Travis Grover Richardson, was convicted by a Carter County jury of aggravated robbery, two counts of felony evading arrest, two counts of felony aggravated assault, criminal simulation, and felony reckless endangerment. Following a sentencing hearing, the trial court ordered Defendant to serve a total effective sentence of thirty years’ incarceration. In this direct appeal, Defendant contends: (1) that he was improperly convicted of felony reckless endangerment as a lesser-included offense of attempted second degree murder; (2) that his two convictions for felony evading arrest violated his right to be free from double jeopardy; (3) that the evidence was insufficient to support his conviction for aggravated robbery and both of his convictions for aggravated assault; and (4) that he was improperly sentenced as a career offender based, in part, on offenses he committed as a juvenile. Upon our thorough review of the record and applicable law, we reverse Defendant’s conviction of felony reckless endangerment and merge Defendant’s two convictions for felony evading arrest into a single conviction. We affirm the remaining judgments of the trial court and remand for correction of the judgment forms.

Carter County Court of Criminal Appeals 10/10/14
Craig U. Quevedo v. State of Tennessee
M2014-00028-CCA-R3-PC
Authoring Judge: Judge John Everett Williams
Trial Court Judge: Judge Michael R. Jones

The Petitioner, Craig U. Quevedo, appeals the denial of his petition for post-conviction relief.  In 2002, the petitioner pled guilty and nolo contendere to seventy-nine counts of various sex crimes involving his minor stepdaughter for which he received an effective sentence of ninety-two years in the Department of Correction. After an unsuccessful direct appeal, the petitioner filed a petition for post-conviction relief, alleging that he received ineffective assistance of counsel at the guilty plea and sentencing phases.  This court affirmed the post-conviction court’s judgment with respect to counsel’s performance at the guilty plea phase but remanded to the post-conviction court with directions to enter an order stating its findings of fact and conclusions of law with respect to the sentencing phase issues.  On remand, the post-conviction court again denied relief.  In this appeal from our limited remand, the petitioner alleges that he received ineffective assistance of counsel at the sentencing hearing.  Specifically, he contends that counsel was deficient in failing to introduce additional positive evidence about the petitioner, namely the details of his military service, his employment history, and his involvement in various community activities.  Following review of the record, we affirm the denial of post-conviction relief.
 

Montgomery County Court of Criminal Appeals 10/10/14
State of Tennessee v. Charles Newsom
M2014-00168-CCA-R3-CD
Authoring Judge: Judge Robert H. Montgomery
Trial Court Judge: Judge J. Randall Wyatt, Jr.

The Defendant, Charles Newsom, was convicted of aggravated burglary upon his best interest guilty plea.  See T.C.A. § 39-14-403 (2014).  As part of the plea agreement, he accepted a three-year, Range I sentence, with the question of judicial diversion and the manner of service to be determined by the trial court.  The trial court denied judicial diversion and imposed a split-confinement sentence of one year of confinement followed by two years of probation.  On appeal, he contends that the trial court erred in denying judicial diversion.  We affirm the judgment of the trial court.

Davidson County Court of Criminal Appeals 10/10/14
State of Tennessee v. Kenneth Brown
W2013-00329-CCA-R3-CD
Authoring Judge: Judge Roger A. Page
Trial Court Judge: Judge Lee V. Coffee

Appellant, Kenneth Brown, was convicted of one count of first degree premeditated murder, twelve counts of criminal attempt to commit first degree murder, twelve counts of aggravated assault, one count of employment of a firearm during a dangerous felony, and one count of reckless endangerment. The trial court merged the attempted murder and aggravated assault convictions. He was sentenced to life imprisonment plus 308 years. On appeal, appellant challenges the sufficiency of the evidence supporting his murder and attempted murder convictions and argues that the trial court erred by denying his motion to suppress his confession. Following our careful review of the record, the applicable law, and the briefs of the parties, we affirm the judgments of the trial court.

Shelby County Court of Criminal Appeals 10/09/14
State of Tennessee v. Robert Brian King
M2013-02168-CCA-R3-CD
Authoring Judge: Judge Timothy L. Easter
Trial Court Judge: Judge Monte Watkins

Defendant, Robert Brian King, was convicted by a Davidson County jury of assault.  As a result, he was sentenced to eleven months and twenty-nine days in incarceration, to be served on supervised probation after the service of ten days in incarceration.  Defendant was also ordered to pay restitution to the victim.  After the denial of a motion for new trial, Defendant appeals, challenging the sufficiency of the evidence and the trial court’s decision to exclude testimony on the basis that it constituted hearsay.  After our review, we determine that the evidence was sufficient to support the assault conviction where the jury weighed the credibility of the State’s witnesses and accredited their testimony.  Further, we determine that the trial court erred in excluding testimony as hearsay when the statements were not offered to prove the truth of the matter asserted but to prove their effect on the hearer.  However, we determine the error was harmless.  Accordingly, the judgment of the trial court is affirmed.

Davidson County Court of Criminal Appeals 10/09/14
State of Tennessee v. Jeffery Scott Hutchinson
M2013-02746-CCA-R3-CD
Authoring Judge: Judge D. Kelly Thomas, Jr.
Trial Court Judge: Judge Franklin Lee Russell

The Defendant, Jeffery Scott Hutchinson, was convicted by a Bedford County jury of one count of initiating a process intended to result in the manufacture of methamphetamine, one count of promoting the manufacture of methamphetamine, and two counts of simple possession of methamphetamine.  He was thereafter convicted by a separate Bedford County jury of failure to appear.  At a consolidated sentencing hearing, the trial court imposed an effective eighteen-year sentence for all of these convictions.  In this direct appeal, the Defendant argues that the evidence is insufficient to support a jury’s finding that he knowingly failed to appear and that the trial court erred in imposing consecutive sentencing.  Finding no error, we affirm the judgments of the trial court.

Bedford County Court of Criminal Appeals 10/09/14
Johnny Young v. State of Tennessee
M2013-02209-CCA-R3-PC
Authoring Judge: Judge D. Kelly Thomas, Jr.
Trial Court Judge: Judge Monte Watkins

The Petitioner, Johnny Young, contends that he received the ineffective assistance of counsel at trial – citing multiple bases supporting his contention – and on appeal – citing counsel’s failure to file a motion for new trial – and asks this court to either grant him a new trial or a delayed appeal. After reviewing the record and the applicable authorities, we conclude that counsel was ineffective for failing to file a motion for new trial and, therefore, grant the Petitioner a delayed appeal.

Davidson County Court of Criminal Appeals 10/09/14
State of Tennessee v. Quincy Maurice Deal
M2013-02315-CCA-R3-CD
Authoring Judge: Judge Alan E. Glenn
Trial Court Judge: Judge Steve R. Dozier

The defendant, Quincy Maurice Deal, pled guilty, in three different cases, to two counts of aggravated robbery, Class B felonies; aggravated kidnapping, a Class B felony; possession of cocaine in a school zone with intent to sell or deliver, a Class B felony; and felon in possession of a weapon, a Class E felony.  The trial court sentenced the defendant to an effective term of fourteen years, to be served consecutively to his sentences in previous convictions for which he was on probation.  On appeal, the defendant argues that the trial court imposed an excessive sentence.  After review, we affirm the sentences imposed by the trial court.

Davidson County Court of Criminal Appeals 10/09/14
State of Tennessee v. Narceus Cox
W2014-00056-CCA-R3-CD
Authoring Judge: Judge Robert W. Wedemeyer
Trial Court Judge: Judge Paula Skahan

The Defendant, Narceus Cox, pleaded guilty to one count of unlawful possession of a controlled substance, Oxycodone, with intent to sell. The trial court denied the Defendant’s request for judicial diversion and sentenced him to a three-year sentence involving split confinement. The Defendant asserts that the trial court erred when it denied his application for judicial diversion. After a thorough review of the record and applicable law, we affirm the trial court’s judgment.

Shelby County Court of Criminal Appeals 10/08/14
State of Tennessee v. Phalanda D. Falls
E2014-00350-CCA-R3-CD
Authoring Judge: Judge Roger A. Page
Trial Court Judge: Judge R. Jerry Beck

Appellant, Phalanda D. Falls, entered a guilty plea to evading arrest, a Class D felony, and driving with a suspended license, a Class B misdemeanor, and received an effective sentence of four years. Following a hearing to determine her request for alternative sentencing, the trial court denied the motion and ordered appellant to serve her sentence in the Tennessee Department of Correction. This appeal follows. Upon our review of the record, we affirm the judgments of the trial court.

Sullivan County Court of Criminal Appeals 10/08/14
State of Tennessee v. Joseph Scott Morrell
E2013-02431-CCA-R3-CD
Authoring Judge: Judge James Curwood Witt, Jr.
Trial Court Judge: Judge Stacy Street

The defendant, Joseph Scott Morrell, appeals his Washington County Criminal Court jury conviction of third offense driving under the influence (“DUI”), claiming that the evidence was insufficient to support his conviction, that the verdict of the jury was not unanimous, and that the trial court should have dismissed the indictment or declared a mistrial following the State’s improper commentary during closing argument. Discerning no error, we affirm.

Washington County Court of Criminal Appeals 10/07/14
State of Tennessee v. James Dean Wells
M2013-01145-CCA-R9-CD
Authoring Judge: Judge John Everett Williams
Trial Court Judge: Judge James G. Martin, III

The defendant was indicted for driving under the influence of an intoxicant (“DUI”), DUI per se, simple possession, leaving the scene of an accident, and DUI (second offense) after his vehicle struck a utility pole and small building.  The defendant refused law enforcement’s request to test his blood in order to determine his blood alcohol content.  The defendant’s blood was taken pursuant to Tennessee Code Annotated section 55-10-406(f)(2) (2012) and without a warrant, despite his refusal to submit to testing.  The defendant moved to suppress evidence of his blood alcohol content, alleging that his Fourth Amendment rights had been violated and that Tennessee Code Annotated section 55-10-406(f)(2) was unconstitutional.  The trial court granted the motion to suppress, concluding that the statute was unconstitutional.  The State sought and was granted permission to appeal, arguing that the blood was taken under exigent circumstances and that the implied consent law functioned to satisfy the consent exception to the warrant requirement.  After a thorough review of the record, we conclude that the blood draw violated the defendant’s right to be free from unreasonable searches and seizures because it was not conducted pursuant to an exception to the warrant requirement, and we affirm the suppression of the evidence.  We determine that, although the blood draw was taken pursuant to the statute, the statute did not dispense with the warrant requirement and is therefore not unconstitutional as applied to the defendant.

Williamson County Court of Criminal Appeals 10/06/14
Vernon Motley v. State of Tennessee
W2013-01185-CCA-R3-PC
Authoring Judge: Judge Camille R. McMullen
Trial Court Judge: Judge Lee V. Coffee

The Petitioner, Vernon Motley, appeals the Shelby County Criminal Court’s denial of postconviction relief from his conviction for first degree premeditated murder and his sentence of life imprisonment. On appeal, he argues that the State’s Brady violation rendered counsels’ assistance ineffective. Upon review, we affirm the judgment of the post-conviction court.

Shelby County Court of Criminal Appeals 10/03/14
Barry Lamont Price v. State of Tennessee
W2014-01209-CCA-R3-ECN
Authoring Judge: Judge Roger A. Page
Trial Court Judge: Judge Roy B. Morgan

Appellant, Barry Lamont Price, appeals the denial of his petition for writ of error coram nobis in which he challenged his 1991 guilty plea to three counts of the sale of cocaine, one count of driving on a revoked license, and one count of obtaining money by false pretenses and his effective ten-year sentence. We affirm the judgment of the coram nobis court pursuant to Rule 20 of the Rules of the Court of Criminal Appeals.

Madison County Court of Criminal Appeals 10/03/14
David Freeman Clay v. State of Tennessee
E2013-02262-CCA-R3-PC
Authoring Judge: Judge Thomas T. Woodall
Trial Court Judge: Judge Bobby R. McGee

Petitioner, David Freeman Clay, appeals from the trial court’s denial of his petition for postconviction relief following an evidentiary hearing. Petitioner sought post-conviction relief from his convictions of two counts of sexual battery and three counts of assault, based upon his assertions that his trial counsel rendered ineffective assistance of counsel at trial and on appeal. In his appeal Petitioner asserts that the trial court erred by ruling that trial counsel did not provide ineffective assistance of counsel. After a thorough review we affirm the judgment of the trial court.

Knox County Court of Criminal Appeals 10/03/14
State of Tennessee v. Charles A. Kennedy
M2013-02207-CCA-R9-CD
Authoring Judge: Judge James Curwood Witt, Jr.
Trial Court Judge: Judge James G. Martin, III

In this interlocutory appeal by the State, the State challenges the trial court’s suppression of the results of blood alcohol testing conducted on the defendant’s blood pursuant to Tennessee Code Annotated section 55-10-406(f)(2) (Supp. 2012), claiming that the trial court erred by declaring Code section 55-10-406(f)(2) unconstitutional and by ruling that no exception to the warrant requirement existed to justify the warrantless taking of the defendant’s blood.  Because Code section 55-10-406(f)(2) does not mandate the warrantless taking of a blood sample, the trial court erred by declaring the statute unconstitutional, and that portion of the judgment is reversed.  Because no exception to the warrant requirement justified the warrantless taking of the defendant’s blood in this case, however, we affirm the trial court’s order suppressing the results of blood alcohol testing conducted on the sample.

Williamson County Court of Criminal Appeals 10/03/14
State of Tennessee v. Jonathan Casey Bryant
M2013-00922-CCA-R3-CD
Authoring Judge: Judge D. Kelly Thomas, Jr.
Trial Court Judge: Judge Larry B. Stanley, Jr.

The Defendant, Jonathan Casey Bryant, pled guilty to promotion of the manufacture of methamphetamine.  As part of the plea agreement, the Defendant reserved a certified question of law challenging the trial court’s denial of his motion to suppress the evidence resulting from his traffic stop.  However, the Defendant failed to file any document specifying the certified question presented.  Because the Defendant failed to properly reserve the certified question, the appeal is dismissed.

Warren County Court of Criminal Appeals 10/03/14
Lonnie Lanorris Holland, Jr. v. State of Tennessee
M2013-00124-CCA-R3-PC
Authoring Judge: Judge James Curwood Witt, Jr.
Trial Court Judge: Judge Cheryl Blackburn

The petitioner, Lonnie Lanorris Holland, Jr., appeals the Davidson County Criminal Court’s denial of post-conviction relief from his 2012 guilty-pleaded conviction of second degree murder.  In the petition for post-conviction relief, the petitioner claimed that his guilty plea was unknowing or involuntary and stemmed from the ineffective assistance of his counsel.  Because the record supports the post-conviction court’s denial of relief, we affirm its order.

Davidson County Court of Criminal Appeals 10/03/14
State of Tennessee v. Andrea Kelly Jones
M2013-02720-CCA-R3-CD
Authoring Judge: Judge James Curwood Witt, Jr.
Trial Court Judge: Judge David Patterson

The defendant, Andrea Kelly Jones, appeals her Class D felony, guilty-pleaded convictions of two counts of vehicular assault entered by the Dekalb County Criminal Court.  The trial court ordered that the agreed four-year sentence be served in the Tennessee Department of Correction.  On appeal, the defendant challenges the trial court’s denial of a sentencing alternative to incarceration.  We affirm the manner of service of the sentences imposed by the trial court.

DeKalb County Court of Criminal Appeals 10/03/14
State of Tennessee v. Concetta Long aka Concetta Walton
M2014-00565-CCA-R3-CD
Authoring Judge: Judge James Curwood Witt, Jr.
Trial Court Judge: Judge David Bragg

The defendant appeals the order of the Rutherford County Circuit Court revoking her probation and ordering her to serve the balance of her sentence in confinement.  In this appeal, she argues that the trial court erred by ordering her to serve the balance of her sentence.  Discerning no error, we affirm.

Rutherford County Court of Criminal Appeals 10/03/14
State of Tennessee v. Gregory Lamont Hall
M2013-02841-CCA-R3-CD
Authoring Judge: Judge D. Kelly Thomas, Jr.
Trial Court Judge: Judge Mark Fishburn

The Defendant, Gregory Lamont Hall, was indicted for one count of manufacturing .5 grams or more of cocaine within 1,000 feet of a school, a Class B felony; one count of possession with intent to sell 26 grams or more of cocaine within 1,000 feet of a school, a Class B felony; one count of possession of a firearm with the intent to go armed during the commission of a dangerous felony, a Class D felony; and tampering with evidence, a Class C felony.  See Tenn. Code Ann. §§ 39-16-503, -17-417, -17-1324(a).  The Defendant filed a suppression motion which the trial court denied.  The Defendant subsequently entered into a plea agreement with the State and reserved a certified question of law for appellate review pursuant to Tennessee Rule of Criminal Procedure 37(b)(2).  The Defendant pled guilty to one count of possession with intent to sell 26 grams or more of cocaine within 1,000 feet of a school and received a ten-year sentence to be served consecutively to a prior sentence.  The remaining charges were dismissed.  In this appeal, the Defendant contends that there was not sufficient probable cause to justify the issuance of a warrant to search the residence in question.  Following our review, we reverse, vacate the judgment of the trial court, and dismiss the charge.

Davidson County Court of Criminal Appeals 10/03/14