Court of Criminal Appeals Opinions

Format: 12/10/2018
Format: 12/10/2018
State of Tennessee v. Robert Jason Burdick
M2012-01071-CCA-R3-CD
Authoring Judge: Judge Norma McGee Ogle
Trial Court Judge: Judge Timothy L. Easter

A Williamson County Circuit Court Jury convicted the appellant, Robert Jason Burdick, of rape, aggravated kidnapping, and aggravated burglary. The trial court imposed a total effective sentence of thirty years in the Tennessee Department of Correction. On appeal, the appellant challenges the trial court’s denial of his motion to suppress, the sufficiency of the evidence sustaining his convictions, and the trial court’s jury instructions regarding the kidnapping offense in light of State v. White, 362 S.W.3d 559 (Tenn. 2012). Upon review, we affirm the judgments of the trial court.

Williamson County Court of Criminal Appeals 06/11/13
James Wallie Robertson v. State of Tennessee
M2012-01921-CCA-R3-PC
Authoring Judge: Presiding Judge Joseph M. Tipton
Trial Court Judge: Judge Robert Lee Holloway, Jr.

The Petitioner, James Wallie Robertson, appeals the Lawrence County Circuit Court’s summary dismissal of his petition for post-conviction relief from his 1995 guilty pleas to first degree murder, aggravated kidnapping, aggravated burglary, automobile burglary, two counts of forgery, and passing a forged check and his effective sentence of life imprisonment plus twenty-five years. He contends that the trial court erred by summarily dismissing his petition without appointing counsel or holding an evidentiary hearing. We affirm the judgment of the trial court.

Lawrence County Court of Criminal Appeals 06/11/13
Steve Van Duyn d/b/a Steve's Old Junk v. Electronic Innovations, LLC, et al
E2013-01167-COA-10B-CV
Authoring Judge: Judge D. Michael Swiney
Trial Court Judge: Judge Thomas J. Wright

This is an interlocutory appeal as of right pursuant to Tennessee Supreme Court Rule 10B from the denial of a motion to recuse the trial court judge from presiding over a civil action in which one of the Defendants served on a non-profit board with the trial court judge. Having reviewed the Plaintiff’s petition for recusal appeal pursuant to Rule 10B of the Rules of the Tennessee Supreme Court, we affirm the Trial Court’s denial of the motion to recuse.

Greene County Court of Criminal Appeals 06/10/13
State of Tennessee v. Lee Weaver Jr.
W2012-00811-CCA-R3-CD
Authoring Judge: Judge Jerry L. Smith
Trial Court Judge: Judge C. Creed McGinley

Appellant, Lee Weaver, Jr., was indicted by the Hardin County Grand Jury for one count of aggravated assault based upon an altercation with his wife which resulted in her broken arm; one count of felony evading arrest; one count of reckless endangerment; and one count of resisting arrest. He entered a negotiated plea to the charges which resulted in an effective sentence of three years. Appellant requested alternative sentencing. After a hearing, the trial court denied his request. On appeal, Appellant argues that the trial court erred in denying his request to serve his sentence in Community Corrections or in the alternative to some form of probation. After a review of the record, we conclude: (1) that Appellant is not eligible for Community Corrections because he committed aggravated assault which is an offense against a person; and (2) that the trial court did not abuse its discretion in denying probation because it was necessary to avoid depreciating the seriousness of the offense. Therefore, we affirm the judgments of the trial court.

Hardin County Court of Criminal Appeals 06/10/13
State of Tennessee v. Wesley Dawone Coleman
W2012-00880-CCA-R3-CD
Authoring Judge: Judge Jerry L. Smith
Trial Court Judge: Judge William B. Acree Jr.

Appellant, Wesley Dawone Coleman, was indicted by the Obion County Grand Jury for aggravated burglary, theft of property valued at over $500, and evading arrest. After a jury trial, Appellant was convicted of theft of property valued at over $500, aggravated burglary, and evading arrest. As a result of the convictions, Appellant received an effective sentence of ten years. Appellant appeals, challenging the sufficiency of the evidence for the theft and aggravated burglary convictions as well as his sentence. After a review of the record and applicable authorities, we conclude that the evidence was sufficient to support the convictions and that the trial court did not abuse its discretion in sentencing Appellant as a Range II, multiple offender, to ten years in incarceration.

Obion County Court of Criminal Appeals 06/10/13
State of Tennessee v. Marcus Terrell Church
M2011-01770-CCA-R3-CD
Authoring Judge: Judge Thomas T. Woodall
Trial Court Judge: Judge J. Randall Wyatt, Jr.

Defendant, Marcus Terrell Church, was indicted by a Davidson County Grand Jury for aggravated robbery and especially aggravated kidnapping. His first trial ended in a mistrial. At a subsequent trial, Defendant was convicted as charged. The trial court imposed concurrent sentences of fifteen years as a Range II offender for aggravated robbery and twenty-five years as a Range I offender for especially aggravated kidnapping. On appeal, Defendant argues: (1) the trial court erred in denying his motion to suppress identification evidence; (2) the trial court improperly admitted evidence that Defendant committed an unrelated purse-snatching during the kidnapping in this case; (3) the trial court erred in admitting hearsay testimony concerning Defendant’s nickname; and (4) the trial court improperly sentenced Defendant. After a thorough review of the record, we affirm the judgments of the trial court.

Davidson County Court of Criminal Appeals 06/10/13
State of Tennessee v. Marcus Terrell Church-separate concurring opinion
M2011-01770-CCA-R3-CD
Authoring Judge: Judge John Everett Williams
Trial Court Judge: Judge J. Randall Wyatt, Jr.

I write separately to express my belief that in Pylant v. State, 263 S.W.3d 854, 871 n.26 (Tenn. 2008), the Tennessee Supreme Court indeed "repudiated" or rejected the de novo standard for review of hearsay issues adopted by the Court of Criminal Appeals in State v. Gilley, 297 S.W.3d 739, 759-60 (Tenn. Crim. App. 2008). The word "repudiate" means "to reject as having no authority or binding force." Webster’s New Universal Unabridged Dictionary 1636 (2nd ed. 1996). When I first joined Judge Witt’s decision in Gilley, I believed that we were setting forth a new and correct standard of review for hearsay issues and that we were providing a clear first step for any such analysis in the trial court. I still have nothing but respect for both Judge Witt’s reasoning and his conclusion in that case.

Davidson County Court of Criminal Appeals 06/10/13
State of Tennessee v. Marcus Terrell Church-separate concurring opinion
M2011-01770-CCA-R3-CD
Authoring Judge: Presiding Judge Joseph M. Tipton
Trial Court Judge: Judge J. Randall Wyatt, Jr.

I concur in the results reached and most of the reasoning in the majority opinion. I do not believe, however, that this court’s standard of review of hearsay in State v. Gilley, 297 S.W.3d 739 (Tenn. Crim. App. 2008), was "repudiated" or rejected by our supreme court in Pylant v. State, 263 S.W.3d 854, 871 n.26 (Tenn. 2008). In fact, the supreme court noted that the trial court’s ruling was error under either standard of review. Id. This is certainly not a rejection of Gilley.

Davidson County Court of Criminal Appeals 06/10/13
State of Tennessee v. Michael D. Boone - concurring opinion
M2011-02435-CCA-R3-CD
Authoring Judge: Judge Camille R. McMullen
Trial Court Judge: Judge Steve Dozier

Because of the great deference afforded to a magistrate judge when making a probable cause determination, I concur with the conclusion reached by the majority in this case. I write separately, however, to express my reluctance in affirming the Defendant’s convictions. As an initial matter, there are several concerns with the affidavit. It contained a single introductory statement that the detective “received information that illegal narcotics were at the premises of 1409 Jackson Street.” However, it failed to provide the source of this information, the point in time when this information was received by the detective, or any specific details regarding the target residence or the illegal narcotics activity. Nothing in the affidavit established that the confidential informant knew that “John” was engaged in the sale of illegal narcotics from the target residence, that the target residence had been under police surveillance, or that any surveillance had uncovered illegal narcotics activity at or around the target residence. There is simply nothing in the affidavit connecting the confidential informant to the Defendant or the target residence. Finally, the affidavit failed to show any effort by law enforcement to identify the Defendant or establish that the target residence was, in fact, the Defendant’s home.
 

Davidson County Court of Criminal Appeals 06/10/13
State of Tennessee v. Michael D. Boone
M2011-02435-CCA-R3-CD
Authoring Judge: Judge Robert W. Wedemeyer
Trial Court Judge: Judge Steve Dozier

This direct appeal presents a certified question of law pursuant to Rule 37(b)(2)(A) of the Tennessee Rules of Criminal Procedure. After the trial court denied his motion to suppress, the Defendant, Michael D. Boone, entered a guilty plea in the Davidson County Criminal Court to possession with intent to sell or deliver .5 grams or more of a substance containing cocaine, a Class B felony, and possession with intent to sell or deliver not less than one-half ounce or more than ten pounds of marijuana, a Class E felony. The trial court ordered the agreed sentence of twenty-four years in the Tennessee Department of Correction. Boone properly reserved the following certified question of law: “Does the affidavit of probable cause in the warrant . . . contain sufficient information to establish a nexus between the residence to be searched and criminal activity; and, if so, does the affidavit further contain reliable information of ongoing criminal activity so as to establish probable cause . . . ?” After a thorough review of the record and applicable authorities, we conclude that the trial court did not err when it determined the affidavit provided sufficient probable cause to support the search warrant. As such, we affirm the trial court’s order denying the Defendant’s motion to suppress, and we affirm the Defendant’s judgments of conviction.

Davidson County Court of Criminal Appeals 06/10/13
State of Tennessee v. Charles Clevenger
E2012-01119-CCA-R3-CD
Authoring Judge: Judge Norma McGee Ogle
Trial Court Judge: Judge Jon Kerry Blackwood

The appellant, Charles Clevenger, was convicted in the Knox County Criminal Court of two counts of aggravated robbery, one count of felony evading arrest, three counts of misdemeanor simple possession, three counts of felony simple possession, possession of a legend drug, failure to obey a traffic control device, and violation of the financial responsibility law. After a sentencing hearing, he received an effective forty year sentence. On appeal, the appellant contends that the evidence is insufficient to support the aggravated robbery convictions, that the trial court erred by ruling he could be impeached with prior convictions if he decided to testify, and that some of his convictions violate double jeopardy protections. Based upon the oral arguments, the record, and the parties’ briefs, we conclude that the evidence is insufficient to support the appellant’s conviction for aggravated robbery by violence and that the conviction must be reversed. Moreover, we conclude that his convictions for misdemeanor simple possession of oxycodone, felony simple possession of oxycodone, and possession of a legend drug are multiplicitous with his remaining aggravated robbery conviction. Therefore, those three convictions are vacated and the charges are dismissed. The appellant’s remaining convictions and resulting effective forty-year sentence are affirmed.

Knox County Court of Criminal Appeals 06/07/13
State of Tennessee v. Michael J. Fryar
M2012-01544-CCA-R3-CD
Authoring Judge: Judge James Curwood Witt, Jr.
Trial Court Judge: Judge Dee David Gay

The defendant, Michael J. Fryar, appeals a certified question of law from the Sumner County Criminal Court, where he pleaded guilty to aggravated burglary. Because the prosecution of the aggravated burglary charge began before the expiration of the applicable statute of limitations, we affirm the judgment of the trial court.

Sumner County Court of Criminal Appeals 06/07/13
Gerald Sanford v. State of Tennessee
W2012-01194-CCA-R3-PC
Authoring Judge: Judge Alan E. Glenn
Trial Court Judge: Judge Paula Skahan

The petitioner, Gerald Sanford, appeals the denial of his petition for post-conviction relief, arguing that his trial counsel provided ineffective assistance by not hiring DNA and blood spatter experts to testify at his trial. Following our review, we affirm the denial of the petition.

Shelby County Court of Criminal Appeals 06/07/13
State of Tennessee v. Roy Demond Duncan
W2012-00834-CCA-R3-CD
Authoring Judge: Judge Thomas T. Woodall
Trial Court Judge: Judge Roy B. Morgan Jr.

Defendant, Roy Demond Duncan, was convicted by a jury for attempted second degree murder, aggravated assault, and employment of a firearm during the attempt to commit a dangerous felony. The trial court merged Defendant’s aggravated assault conviction with his attempted second degree murder conviction and sentenced him to ten years, and Defendant received a sentence of ten years in Count 3 to be served consecutively, for a total effective sentence of 20 years. Defendant raises the following issues on appeal: 1) the trial court erred by giving a jury instruction as to Count 3 that unduly influenced the jury to find Defendant guilty of attempted second degree murder; 2) Defendant could not properly be convicted of both attempted second degree murder and employing a firearm during the attempt to commit a dangerous felony; and 3) the trial court erred by not bifurcating the trial to allow the jury to determine if Defendant had a prior felony conviction at the time of the offenses for the purposes of determining Defendant’s sentence. After a careful review of the record, we affirm Defendant’s convictions but remand this case for a jury determination regarding Count 3 as to whether Defendant had a prior felony conviction pursuant to Tenn. Code Ann. § 39-17-1324(f). Upon remand, the trial court shall also enter a corrected judgment in Count 3 to reflect that the offense for which Defendant was convicted in Count 3 is a Class C, rather than a Class D, felony.

Madison County Court of Criminal Appeals 06/07/13