Court of Criminal Appeals Opinions

Format: 06/22/2018
Format: 06/22/2018
State of Tennessee v. Curtis Stanton
W2012-00568-CCA-R3-CD
Authoring Judge: Judge Norma McGee Ogle
Trial Court Judge: Judge Chris Craft

A Shelby County Criminal Court Jury convicted the appellant, Curtis Stanton, of the first degree premeditated murder of the victim, Regina Tidwell. The trial court sentenced the appellant to life imprisonment in the Tennessee Department of Correction. 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 03/27/13
Charles Rice v. State of Tennessee
W2011-01069-CCA-R3-PD
Authoring Judge: Judge Camille R. McMullen
Trial Court Judge: Judge Chris Craft

The Petitioner, Charles Rice, appeals from the judgment of the Shelby County Criminal Court denying his petition for post-conviction relief. A Shelby County jury convicted the Petitioner of premeditated first degree murder and felony murder and imposed a sentence of death. The Tennessee Supreme Court affirmed the Petitioner’s convictions and sentence on direct appeal. See State v. Rice, 184 S.W.3d 646 (Tenn. 2006). On appeal, the Petitioner challenges the effectiveness of his counsel’s representation in both the guilt and penalty phases of the trial. We hold that the post-conviction court properly found that the Petitioner received effective assistance of counsel at trial. The judgment of the post-conviction court is affirmed.

Shelby County Court of Criminal Appeals 03/27/13
State of Tennessee v. Alexis Mason and Terrence Harris
W2010-02321-CCA-R3-CD
Authoring Judge: Judge Camille R. McMullen
Trial Court Judge: Judge Lee V. Coffee

In a joint trial, the Appellants, Alexis Mason and Terrence Harris, were convicted of various offenses by a Shelby County jury. Appellant Mason was found guilty of one count of second degree murder, a Class A felony, and three counts of aggravated assault, a Class C felony, for which she received an effective sentence of thirty-seven years in the Department of Correction. Appellant Harris was convicted of three counts of facilitation of aggravated assault, a Class D felony, and one count of facilitation of criminally negligent homicide, a Class A misdemeanor, for which he received an effective sentence of twelve years, eleven months, and twenty-nine days in the Department of Correction. In this consolidated appeal, both Appellants challenge the sufficiency of the evidence supporting their convictions and the sentences imposed by the trial court. Appellant Harris additionally argues that the trial court erred in the following evidentiary rulings: admission of various out-of-court statements; admission of an autopsy photograph; exclusion of evidence of the deceased victim’s violent character; and the denial of jury instructions on self-defense and lesser included offenses. Finding no reversible error, we affirm the judgments of the trial court.

Shelby County Court of Criminal Appeals 03/27/13
State of Tennessee v. Deon Marquett Boykins
W2012-01012-CCA-R3-CD
Authoring Judge: Judge Norma McGee Ogle
Trial Court Judge: Judge J. Weber McCraw

The appellant, Deon Marquett Boykins, pled guilty to two counts of introducing contraband into a penal institution and one count of possessing a Schedule II controlled substance with intent to deliver. He was sentenced as a Range I, standard offender to an effective five years on probation. On appeal, the appellant contends that the trial court erred by denying his request for judicial diversion. Based upon the record and the parties’ briefs, we reverse the judgment of the trial court and remand the case for a new sentencing hearing.

Hardeman County Court of Criminal Appeals 03/27/13
Shawn Simmons v. State of Tennessee
M2012-00987-CCA-R3-PC
Authoring Judge: Judge Roger A. Page
Trial Court Judge: Judge Robert Crigler

A Lincoln County jury convicted petitioner, Shawn Simmons, of first degree murder. After an unsuccessful direct appeal, petitioner filed a petition for post-conviction relief alleging that he received ineffective assistance of counsel. The post-conviction court denied relief, and petitioner now appeals. Upon review, we discern no error and affirm the judgment of the post-conviction court.

Lincoln County Court of Criminal Appeals 03/27/13
State of Tennessee v. Stephen Bartholomew Gillard
M2012-00910-CCA-R3-CD
Authoring Judge: Judge Robert W. Wedemeyer
Trial Court Judge: Judge Cheryl Blackburn

A Davidson County jury convicted the Defendant, Stephen Bartholomew Gillard, of possession of a controlled substance, third offense. On appeal, the Defendant challenges the prior conviction evidence introduced at trial to support the third offense classification for possession of a controlled substance. After a thorough review of the record and applicable law, we affirm the trial court’s judgment.

Davidson County Court of Criminal Appeals 03/27/13
State of Tennessee v. Danny Ray Dunn
E2012-00677-CCA-R3-CD
Authoring Judge: Judge Roger A. Page
Trial Court Judge: Judge Rebecca J. Stern

Appellant, Danny Ray Dunn, entered guilty pleas without recommended sentences to four counts of vehicular assault, one count of reckless aggravated assault, one count of driving under the influence, one count of driving on a revoked license, and one count of violation of the financial responsibility law. Following a sentencing hearing, the trial court sentenced him to an effective twenty-year sentence consisting of five consecutive sentences of four years each for the assaultive offenses; eleven months, twenty-nine days for driving under the influence; six months for driving on a revoked license; and thirty days for violation of the financial responsibility law, to be served in the Tennessee Department of Correction. Appellant challenges the length of his sentences, sentence alignment, denial of a suspended sentence, and denial of his motion to withdraw his guilty plea. Upon our review of the record, we affirm the judgments of the trial court.

Hamilton County Court of Criminal Appeals 03/27/13
Derrick Lemon Goode v. State of Tennessee
M2012-00780-CCA-R3-PC
Authoring Judge: Judge Jerry L. Smith
Trial Court Judge: Judge Robert Crigler

Petitioner, Derrick Lemon Goode, was convicted by a Bedford County jury of one count of the sale of .5 grams of cocaine and one count of the delivery of .5 grams or more of cocaine. State v. Derrick Lemon Goode, No. M2009-02259-CCA-R3-CD, 2010 WL 4674298, at *1 (Tenn. Crim. App., at Nashville, Nov. 17, 2010), perm. app. denied (Tenn. Apr. 13, 2011). After the merger of the convictions, Petitioner was sentenced to twelve years. He was unsuccessful on appeal. Id. Petitioner subsequently filed a petition for post-conviction relief alleging that he was afforded ineffective assistance of counsel. After conducting a hearing, the post-conviction court denied the petition. On appeal, Petitioner alleges that he received ineffective assistance of counsel because trial counsel failed to adequately prepare for trial; failed to adequately prepare, interview and call witnesses for trial; and failed to properly investigate his addiction. After a thorough review of the record, we conclude that Petitioner has not proven either that trial counsel’s representation was deficient, or that Petitioner was prejudiced by trial counsel’s representation. Therefore, we affirm the post-conviction court’s denial of the petition.

Bedford County Court of Criminal Appeals 03/27/13
State of Tennessee v. Dustin Lee Swaney
E2012-01192-CCA-R3-CD
Authoring Judge: Judge Camille R. McMullen
Trial Court Judge: Judge Tammy Harrington

The Defendant-Appellant, Dustin Swaney, entered a plea of guilty to abuse of a child under the age of eight, a Class D felony, with the court to determine the length and manner of service of sentence. After a sentencing hearing, Swaney was sentenced to three years and six months’ confinement. The sole issue presented for our review is whether the trial court abused its discretion in imposing sentence. Upon review, we affirm the judgment of the trial court.

Blount County Court of Criminal Appeals 03/27/13
Ira Minnifee, Jr. v. State of Tennessee
E2012-00996-CCA-R3-PC
Authoring Judge: Judge Camille R. McMullen
Trial Court Judge: Judge Bob R. McGee

The Petitioner, Ira Minnifee, Jr., appeals the denial of post-conviction relief by the Criminal Court for Knox County. He originally entered guilty pleas to one count of possession of more than one gram of cocaine with the intent to sell within a thousand feet of a school and six counts of half a gram of cocaine or more within a thousand feet of a school, all Class A felonies. Pursuant to the plea agreement, he received an effective sentence of twenty years. In this appeal, the Petitioner contends that he received ineffective assistance of counsel due to counsel’s failure to adequately investigate his case. Consequently, the Petitioner claims he did not enter a knowing and voluntary guilty plea. Upon review, we affirm the judgment of the trial court.

Knox County Court of Criminal Appeals 03/27/13
State of Tennessee v. Jason Allen Cobb
W2011-02437-CCA-R3-CD
Authoring Judge: Judge Roger A. Page
Trial Court Judge: Judge J. Weber McCraw

A Hardeman County jury convicted appellant, Jason Allen Cobb, of second degree murder. The trial court sentenced him to twenty-three years in the Tennessee Department of Correction. On appeal, appellant contends that (1) the trial court erred in admitting improper character evidence; (2) a witness’s false testimony violated his right to a fair trial; (3) the State engaged in prosecutorial misconduct; (4) the evidence was insufficient to support his conviction; and (5) the trial court erred in ordering him to serve his sentence in this case consecutively to his sentence in another case. Upon review of the record, the parties’ briefs, and applicable law, we affirm the judgment of the trial court.

Hardeman County Court of Criminal Appeals 03/26/13
State of Tennessee v. Gretchen Rochowiak
E2012-00931-CCA-R3-CD
Authoring Judge: Judge James Curwood Witt, Jr.
Trial Court Judge: Judge R. Jerry Beck

The defendant, Gretchen Rochowiak, appeals the Sullivan County Criminal Court’s denial of judicial diversion for her convictions of conspiracy to introduce contraband into a penal institution and introduction of buprenorphine into a penal institution. Discerning no error, we affirm the judgments of the trial court.

Sullivan County Court of Criminal Appeals 03/26/13
State of Tennessee v. Jermaine Johnson
M2012-00391-CCA-R9-CD
Authoring Judge: Judge Camille R. McMullen
Trial Court Judge: Judge Monte Watkins

The Defendant-Appellee, Jermaine Johnson, was indicted for one count of possession with intent to sell or deliver .5 grams or more of cocaine in a drug-free zone. The trial court granted in part and denied in part Johnson’s motion to suppress evidence. Pursuant to Rule 9 of the Tennessee Rules of Appellate Procedure, we granted the State’s interlocutory appeal challenging the trial court’s suppression of 14.5 grams of cocaine found near Johnson, and we granted Johnson’s cross-appeal of the denial of his motion to suppress 1.43 grams of cocaine found on him. Upon review, we affirm the partial denial of Johnson’s motion, reverse the court’s decision to suppress evidence, and remand the case for further proceedings consistent with this opinion.

Davidson County Court of Criminal Appeals 03/26/13