Court of Criminal Appeals Opinions

Format: 03/26/2019
Format: 03/26/2019
State of Tennessee v. John Beasley Seay
M2011-02769-CCA-R3-CD
Authoring Judge: Judge Jerry L. Smith
Trial Court Judge: Judge John D. Wootten, Jr.

Appellant, Joseph Beasley Seay, was indicted by the Wilson County Grand Jury for one count of possession of more than .5 grams of cocaine; one count of driving on a canceled, suspended, or revoked license; and one count of driving on a canceled, suspended, or revoked license, second offense. Appellant filed a motion to suppress the cocaine discovered during the search of a pill fob on his key ring. He subsequently pled guilty to one count of possession of more than .5 grams of cocaine and reserved a certified question for appeal. The remaining counts were dismissed. Pursuant to the plea agreement, Appellant was sentenced to eight years as a Range I, standard offender. After a review of the record on appeal, we have concluded that the trial court did not err in denying Appellant’s motion to suppress. Therefore, we affirm the judgment of the trial court.

Wilson County Court of Criminal Appeals 07/16/13
Michael L. Smith v. State of Tennessee
W2012-01604-CCA-R3-HC
Authoring Judge: Judge Thomas T. Woodall
Trial Court Judge: Judge R. Lee Moore Jr.

Petitioner, Michael L. Smith, appeals from the trial court’s summary dismissal of the pro se petition for habeas corpus relief filed by Petitioner. After a thorough review of the record and the briefs, we affirm the judgment of the habeas corpus trial court.

Lake County Court of Criminal Appeals 07/15/13
State of Tennessee v. Demario Darnell Thompson
W2012-00642-CCA-R3-CD
Authoring Judge: Presiding Judge Joseph M. Tipton
Trial Court Judge: Judge Donald H. Allen

The Defendant, Demario Darnell Thompson, was convicted by a Madison County Circuit Court jury of possession of a firearm with the intent to go armed during the commission of a dangerous felony, a Class D felony, possession of marijuana with the intent to sell, a Class E felony, possession of marijuana with the intent to deliver, a Class E felony, and possession of drug paraphernalia, a Class A misdemeanor. See T.C.A. §§ 39-17-1324, 39-17-417, and 39-17-425 (2010). The trial court merged the two convictions for possession of marijuana into a single count of possession of marijuana with the intent to sell. The court sentenced the Defendant as a Range I, standard offender to four years’ confinement for possession of a firearm during the commission of a dangerous felony, two years’ confinement for possession of marijuana with the intent to sell, and eleven months, twenty-nine days’ confinement for possession of drug paraphernalia and ordered partial consecutive sentencing for an effective six-year sentence. On appeal, the Defendant contends that the evidence is insufficient to support his convictions. We affirm the judgments of the trial court.

Madison County Court of Criminal Appeals 07/15/13
Jerry Orlando Weaver v. State of Tennessee
E2012-02336-CCA-R3-PC
Authoring Judge: Judge Robert W. Wedemeyer
Trial Court Judge: Judge Donald R. Elledge

An Anderson County jury convicted the Petitioner, Jerry Orlando Weaver, of two counts of facilitation of less than one-half gram of cocaine for sale or delivery, and the trial court sentenced him to twelve years for each conviction. The trial court ordered the sentences to run consecutively for a total effective sentence of twenty-four years. The Petitioner appealed, contending that the trial court erred when it sentenced him as a career offender and when it ordered consecutive sentences. State v. Jerry Orlando Weaver, No. E2009-01767-CCA-R3-CD, 2010 WL 2490762, at *1 (Tenn. Crim. App., at Knoxville, April 28, 2010), no Tenn. R. App. P. 11 application filed. This Court dismissed the appeal based upon the Petitioner’s failure to timely file his notice of appeal and because none of the Petitioner’s issues warranted consideration in the “interest of justice.” The Petitioner filed a petition for post-conviction relief. As a result of the petition, the post-conviction court granted the Petitioner a delayed appeal. Accordingly, the Petitioner proceeds with his appeal to this Court. After a thorough review of the record and applicable authorities, we conclude that the Petitioner’s delayed appeal lacks merit  Accordingly, we affirm the judgment of the trial court.

Anderson County Court of Criminal Appeals 07/15/13
State of Tennessee v. Dalton Lister
E2012-00213-CCA-R3-CD
Authoring Judge: Judge D. Kelly Thomas, Jr.
Trial Court Judge: Judge Carroll L. Ross

The Defendant, Dalton Lister, was convicted of first degree felony murder; two counts of attempted aggravated robbery, a Class C felony; and conspiracy to commit aggravated robbery, a Class C felony. See Tenn. Code Ann. § 39-12-101, -12-103, -13-202(a)(2), -13- 402. The Defendant received an effective sentence of life with the possibility of parole. On appeal, the Defendant contends (1) that the evidence was insufficient to sustain the Defendant’s convictions; (2) that the trial court erred by admitting recorded statements made by the Defendant; (3) that the trial court erred by not requiring the State to produce statements made by an investigator pursuant to Tennessee Rule of Criminal Procedure 26.2; and (4) that the trial court erred by not allowing the Defendant to cross-examine a co-defendant regarding the co-defendant’s pending charges. Following our review, we affirm the judgments of the trial court.

Bradley County Court of Criminal Appeals 07/12/13
State of Tennessee v. Michael Smith
W2011-01630-CCA-R3-CD
Authoring Judge: Judge Alan E. Glenn
Trial Court Judge: Judge Carolyn Wade Blackett

The defendant, Michael Smith, was convicted by a Shelby County Criminal Court jury of assault, a Class A misdemeanor, and aggravated burglary, a Class C felony, and sentenced as a multiple offender to concurrent terms of eleven months, twenty-nine days and seven years, respectively, in the Tennessee Department of Correction. In this pro se appeal, the defendant argues that: (1) the trial court erred in constructively amending the indictments in its charge to the jury; (2) the evidence is insufficient to sustain his convictions; (3) the State failed to provide sufficient notice in the indictment regarding the charge of aggravated burglary; (4) the trial court erred in failing to recuse itself prior to trial; (5) the trial court erred in failing to apply the appropriate standard to adjudicate the non-structural constitutional errors he raised in the motion for new trial; (6) he was denied a fair trial by the trial court impermissibly restricting his cross-examination of the victim; (7) he was denied a fair trial because the State did not give advanced notice that Officer Michael Garner would testify at trial; (8) the State knowingly introduced false testimony and evidence; (9) he was denied a fair trial because the trial court failed to make a determination regarding the admissibility of his prior convictions before he chose not to testify; (10) the State violated the Jencks Act by failing to provide a recording of a conversation between Kimberly Chrestman and the prosecutor; (11) he was denied a fair trial by Kimberly Chrestman’s testifying about his prior bad acts; (12) the State committed prosecutorial misconduct in closing argument; (13) the trial court failed to give appropriate jury instructions; (14) the trial court erred in its sentencing determination; and (15) the trial court erred in revoking his bond. After review, we conclude that the trial court erred in constructively amending the indictment in its charge to the jury and that the defendant’s convictions must be reversed and the case remanded for a new trial. In the event of further appellate review, we have assessed the defendant’s remaining issues and discern no additional error.

Shelby County Court of Criminal Appeals 07/12/13
State of Tennessee v. Richie P. Hawkins
E2012-02093-CCA-R3-CD
Authoring Judge: Judge Robert W. Wedemeyer
Trial Court Judge: Judge David R. Duggan

In May 2010, the Defendant, Richie P. Hawkins, pled guilty to promotion of the manufacture of methamphetamine, and the trial court sentenced him, as a Range III offender, to serve twelve years on community corrections. The Defendant’s community corrections officer filed an affidavit, alleging that he had violated his community corrections sentence by being convicted of burglarizing an automobile and domestic assault. After a hearing, the trial court revoked the Defendant’s community corrections sentence and ordered the Defendant to serve the balance of his sentence in confinement. On appeal, the Defendant contends the trial court erred when it ordered him to serve his sentence in confinement rather than reinstating his community corrections sentence. After a thorough review of the record and applicable law, we affirm the trial court’s judgment.

Blount County Court of Criminal Appeals 07/11/13
State of Tennessee v. Michael David Fields
E2011-02485-CCA-R3-CD
Authoring Judge: Judge Robert W. Wedemeyer
Trial Court Judge: Judge Jon Kerry Blackwood

A Sullivan County jury found the Defendant, Michael David Fields, guilty of reckless homicide, felony murder, especially aggravated robbery, and two counts of especially aggravated burglary. The trial court merged the reckless homicide conviction with the felony murder conviction and imposed a mandatory life sentence for felony murder. The Defendant appeals, claiming he was denied his right to a speedy trial. After a thorough review of the record and relevant law, we conclude that the trial court properly found there was no violation of the Defendant’s right to a speedy trial. Accordingly, the judgments of the trial court are affirmed.

Sullivan County Court of Criminal Appeals 07/11/13
State of Tennessee v. Trinidad Martinez Flores
M2012-00285-CCA-R3-CD
Authoring Judge: Judge Thomas T. Woodall
Trial Court Judge: Judge Seth Norman

A Davidson County Grand Jury returned an indictment against Defendant, Trinidad Martinez Flores, and six co-defendants. In Count One, Defendant and all co-defendants were charged with conspiracy to sell more than three hundred pounds of marijuana in a school zone. In Count Two, he and two co-defendants were charged with conspiracy to commit money laundering. In Count Five, Defendant and four co-defendants were charged with possession with intent to deliver three hundred pounds or more of marijuana in a school zone. In Counts Six through Sixteen, Defendant and one co-defendant were charged with money laundering. After a jury trial, Defendant was found guilty of the offenses. The trial court sentenced Defendant to twenty years for conspiracy to sell three hundred pounds of marijuana in Count One; eight years for conspiracy to commit money laundering in Count Two; twenty years for possession with intent to deliver three hundred pound of marijuana in Count Five; and eight years for each count of using proceeds from the sale of marijuana to conduct financial transactions with the intent to promote the sale of marijuana in Counts Six through Sixteen. The sentence in Count Two was ordered to be served consecutively to the sentence in Count One; the sentence in Count Five was ordered to be served consecutively to the sentence in Count Two; the sentence in Count Six was ordered to be served consecutively to the sentence in Count Five; and the sentences in Counts Seven through Sixteen were ordered to be served concurrently with the sentence in Count Six for an effective fifty-six-year sentence in the Department of Correction. On appeal, Defendant argues that (1) the evidence was insufficient to support his convictions for possession of marijuana, conspiracy to commit money laundering, and money laundering; (2) the trial judge committed plain error by failing to recuse himself; and (3) the trial court erred by imposing consecutive sentencing. After a thorough review, we affirm the judgments of the trial court.

Davidson County Court of Criminal Appeals 07/11/13
Anton Carlton v. State of Tennessee
W2012-02449-CCA-R3-HC
Authoring Judge: Judge James Curwood Witt, Jr.
Trial Court Judge: Judge Joseph Walker

The petitioner, Anton Carlton, appeals the Hardeman County Circuit Court’s summary dismissal of his petition for habeas corpus relief from his 2005 Rutherford County Circuit Court conviction of especially aggravated kidnapping for which he received a 25-year Department of Correction sentence. Upon our review, we affirm the order of the Hardeman County Circuit Court.

Hardeman County Court of Criminal Appeals 07/11/13
State of Tennessee v. Ronnie Paul Trusty
W2012-02445-CCA-R3-CD
Authoring Judge: Judge James Curwood Witt, Jr.
Trial Court Judge: Judge Joseph H. Walker III

The defendant, Ronnie Paul Trusty, appeals his Tipton County Circuit Court jury conviction of possession of a firearm during the commission of a dangerous felony, challenging the sufficiency of the evidence to support his conviction. We affirm the conviction and sentence. In addition, we remand for correction of clerical errors in the judgments.

Tipton County Court of Criminal Appeals 07/11/13
State of Tennessee v. Paresh J. Patel - Concurring and dissenting
M2012-02130-CCA-R3-CD
Authoring Judge: Presiding Judge Joseph M. Tipton
Trial Court Judge: Judge Larry B. Stanley, Jr.

I concur with the majority opinion’s conclusion that the trial court did not err by denying judicial diversion because it properly considered and weighed all the appropriate factors. See State v. Electroplating, Inc., 990 S.W.2d 211, 229 (Tenn. Crim. App. 1998); State v. Parker, 932 S.W.2d 945, 958 (Tenn. Crim. App. 1996). I respectfully disagree, though, with the conclusion that the standard of review announced in State v. Bise, 380 S.W.3d 682 (Tenn. 2012), and State v. Caudle, 388 S.W.3d 273 (Tenn. 2012), is applicable to judicial diversion.

Warren County Court of Criminal Appeals 07/10/13
State of Tennessee v. Paresh J. Patel - Concurring
M2012-02130-CCA-R3-CD
Authoring Judge: Judge James Curwood Witt, Jr.
Trial Court Judge: Judge Larry B. Stanley, Jr.

I concur in the results reached in Judge McMullen’s opinion, but I respectfully depart from the conclusion that State v. Bise, 380 S.W.3d 682 (Tenn. 2012), and State v. Caudle, 388 S.W.3d 273 (Tenn. 2012), changed the methodology for reviewing judicial diversion determinations.

Warren County Court of Criminal Appeals 07/10/13