Court of Criminal Appeals Opinions

Format: 11/25/2014
Format: 11/25/2014
Terry D. Sanders v. State of Tennessee
M2014-00236-CCA-R3-PC
Authoring Judge: Judge Robert H. Montgomery, Jr.
Trial Court Judge: Judge George Sexton

The Petitioner, Terry D. Sanders, appeals the Houston County Circuit Court’s denial of his petition for post-conviction relief from his convictions for two counts of the sale of less than 0.5 gram of cocaine and his effective thirty-year sentence.  The Petitioner contends that the trial court erred in denying a mistrial when the State’s confidential informant testified that the Petitioner was on community corrections, that he received the ineffective assistance of counsel, and that he was denied a fair trial due to cumulative errors in the conviction proceedings.  We affirm the judgment of the post-conviction court.

Houston County Court of Criminal Appeals 10/31/14
William L. Green v. State of Tennessee
M2013-02840-CCA-R3-PC
Authoring Judge: Judge Robert H. Montgomery, Jr.
Trial Court Judge: Judge Cheryl Blackburn

The Petitioner, William L. Green, appeals the Davidson County Criminal Court’s denial of his petition for post-conviction relief from his 2010 conviction for second degree murder and his twenty-three-year sentence.  The Petitioner contends that he received the ineffective assistance of counsel and that the post-conviction court erred by denying him relief.  We affirm the judgment of the post-conviction court.

Davidson County Court of Criminal Appeals 10/31/14
Reginald Maurice Adkins v. State of Tennessee
M2013-02481-CCA-R3-PC
Authoring Judge: Judge Robert H. Montgomery, Jr.
Trial Court Judge: Judge Cheryl Blackburn

The Petitioner, Reginald Maurice Adkins, appeals the Davidson County Criminal Court’s denial of his petition for post-conviction relief from his 2010 convictions for first degree murder and attempted especially aggravated robbery and his life-plus-twelve-years sentence.  The Petitioner contends that he received the ineffective assistance of counsel and that the post-conviction court erred by denying him relief.  We affirm the judgment of the post-conviction court.

Davidson County Court of Criminal Appeals 10/31/14
Conley R. Fair v. State of Tennessee
E2014-00406-CCA-R3-PC
Authoring Judge: Judge Robert H. Montgomery, Jr.
Trial Court Judge: Judge Stacy L. Street

The Petitioner, Conley R. Fair, appeals the Unicoi County Criminal Court’s denial of his petition for post-conviction relief from his 1997 convictions for first degree murder and attempted first degree murder and his life-plus-thirty-five-years sentence. The Petitioner contends that the post-conviction court erred by (1) denying him relief because he received the ineffective assistance of counsel and (2) failing to make findings of fact and conclusions of law regarding his claim that he was denied his right to confront witnesses. We affirm the judgment of the post-conviction court.

Unicoi County Court of Criminal Appeals 10/31/14
Jermaine Carlton Jordan v. State of Tennessee
M2013-02497-CCA-R3-ECN
Authoring Judge: Judge Timothy L. Easter
Trial Court Judge: Judge J. Randall Wyatt, Jr.

Petitioner, Jermaine Carlton Jordan, pled guilty to one count of attempted first degree murder and one count of especially aggravated kidnapping in April 2007.  Six years later, he filed a petition for writ of error coram nobis, claiming that he should be granted a new trial based on newly discovered evidence.  The coram nobis court summarily dismissed his petition as time-barred.  Petitioner appealed, arguing that due process considerations require tolling the statute of limitations.  Upon thorough review of the record, we determine that Petitioner has neither alleged the nature of the evidence nor when it was discovered sufficiently for us to determine whether it qualifies as a later-arising ground for relief.  Therefore, we hold that due process does not require tolling the statute of limitations.  We affirm the decision of the coram nobis court.

Davidson County Court of Criminal Appeals 10/31/14
State of Tennessee v. Calvin Reid Quarles
M2013-00117-CCA-R3-CD
Authoring Judge: Judge Timothy L. Easter
Trial Court Judge: Judge Donald P. Harris

Calvin Reid Quarles, Defendant, was convicted by a Williamson County Jury for theft of property valued over $500.  After the denial of a motion for new trial, Defendant perfected this appeal.  The following issues are presented for our review: (1) whether the trial court erred in giving the jury charge partially before and partially after closing arguments; and (2) whether the trial court erred by issuing a supplemental jury instruction.  After a review of the applicable authorities and the record, we conclude that Defendant waived any challenge to the trial court’s completing the jury instructions after closing argument by acquiescing and by failing to raise the issue in a motion for new trial.  Further, we conclude that the trial court did not commit error in answering a question posed by the jury during deliberations.  Accordingly, the judgment of the trial court is affirmed.

Williamson County Court of Criminal Appeals 10/31/14
State of Tennessee v. Dandarius Woods
M2014-00194-CCA-R9-CD
Authoring Judge: Judge Timothy L. Easter
Trial Court Judge: Judge Monte Watkins

Defendant, Dandarius Woods, was charged with one count of aggravated rape and one count of rape.  He filed a motion to suppress a statement that he made to police, alleging that his statements were coerced by implied promises of leniency.  After a hearing, the trial court granted the motion, finding that Defendant’s statements were not voluntary.  The State sought an interlocutory appeal.  Upon thorough review of the record, we find that the detective did not imply that Defendant would be released or that Defendant would receive treatment in lieu of a jail sentence if he confessed to rape.  Therefore, we reverse the decision of the trial court and remand the case for further proceedings.

Davidson County Court of Criminal Appeals 10/31/14
State of Tennessee v. Robert Allen Lester, Jr.
M2014-00225-CCA-R3-CD
Authoring Judge: Judge Timothy L. Easter
Trial Court Judge: Judge David A. Patterson

Defendant, Robert Allen Lester, Jr., was indicted by the Dekalb County Grand Jury in fourteen separate cases for thirteen counts of burglary of a motor vehicle, one count of aggravated burglary, four counts of burglary, eleven counts of theft of property valued under $500, one count of theft of property valued over $500, and six counts of theft of property valued over $1,000.  Subsequently, Defendant entered into negotiated guilty pleas to eleven counts of burglary of a motor vehicle, one count of aggravated burglary, and two counts of burglary.  The plea agreement called for an effective sentence of eight years, the manner of service of the sentence to be determined by the trial court at a sentencing hearing.  At the hearing, the trial court denied alternative sentencing and ordered Defendant to serve the sentence in incarceration.  He appeals, challenging the denial of an alternative sentence.  After our review of the record and applicable authorities, we determine that the judgment form in Case Number 2013-CR-127 should be corrected to reflect a conviction and sentence for burglary rather than auto burglary.  Further, the matter is remanded to the trial court to resolve inconsistencies between the plea provisions and the corresponding judgments in order to yield an effective eight-year sentence and to correct any other clerical errors which may exist.  We determine that the trial court did not abuse its discretion in denying an alternative sentence to Defendant due to his extensive criminal history, because measures less restrictive had been applied to Defendant in the past, and in order to avoid depreciating the seriousness of the offenses.  Accordingly, the matter is affirmed in part and remanded in part.

DeKalb County Court of Criminal Appeals 10/31/14
Jason Garner v. State of Tennessee
W2012-01997-CCA-R3-PC
Authoring Judge: Judge Alan E. Glenn
Trial Court Judge: Judge W. Otis Higgs Jr.

The petitioner, Jason Garner, appeals the post-conviction court’s denial of his petition for post-conviction relief. He argues that counsel was ineffective for failing to properly investigate a defense of diminished capacity, asserting that his capacity was diminished due to his ingestion of an antibiotic medication. After review, we affirm the denial of the petition.

Shelby County Court of Criminal Appeals 10/30/14
Pervis Tyrone Payne v. State of Tennessee-Concurring In Part, Dissenting In Part
W2013-01248-CCA-R3-PD
Authoring Judge: Judge Camille R. McMullen
Trial Court Judge: Judge J. Robert Carter

For the reasons that follow, I would remand this matter for an evidentiary hearing in order to determine whether the Petitioner is intellectually disabled. To the extent the majority differs from this conclusion, I respectfully disagree.

Shelby County Court of Criminal Appeals 10/30/14
Pervis Tyrone Payne v. State of Tennessee
W2013-01248-CCA-R3-PD
Authoring Judge: Judge Alan E. Glenn
Trial Court Judge: Judge J. Robert Carter

The Petitioner, Pervis Tyrone Payne, appeals from the Shelby County Criminal Court’s denial of his petition for writ of error coram nobis in which he challenged his death sentence resulting from his 1988 convictions for first degree murder. On appeal, the Petitioner contends that he is entitled to coram nobis relief because he is intellectually disabled and, therefore, ineligible for the death penalty. We affirm the judgment of the trial court.

Shelby County Court of Criminal Appeals 10/30/14
State of Tennessee v. Dana Crumley
M2013-02502-CCA-R3-CD
Authoring Judge: Judge Robert H. Montgomery, Jr.
Trial Court Judge: Judge Stella L. Hargrove

The Defendant, Dana Crumley, appeals the Maury County Circuit Court’s order denying her motion for a reduced sentence.  The Defendant contends that the trial court abused its discretion.  We affirm the judgment of the trial court.

Maury County Court of Criminal Appeals 10/30/14
Theodore James Nugent v. State of Tennessee
M2014-00014-CCA-R3-PC
Authoring Judge: Judge James Curwood Witt, Jr.
Trial Court Judge: Judge Cheryl Blackburn

The petitioner, Theodore James Nugent, appeals the Davidson County Criminal Court’s denial of his timely petition for post-conviction relief, which petition challenged his 2012 guilty-pleaded convictions of domestic assault and aggravated stalking on the grounds that his trial counsel was ineffective and that his guilty pleas were unknowing and involuntary.  Because the record supports the decision of the post-conviction court, we affirm that court’s order.

Davidson County Court of Criminal Appeals 10/30/14
Jeffrey Wayne Robertson v. State of Tennessee
M2013-02023-CCA-R3-CO
Authoring Judge: Judge Alan E. Glenn
Trial Court Judge: Judge Jim T. Hamilton

The petitioner, Jeffery Wayne Robertson, was convicted in 1998 of first degree premeditated murder and sentenced to life imprisonment.  His conviction was affirmed on direct appeal.  State v. Robertson, 130 S.W.3d 842, 844 (Tenn. Crim. App. 2003).  Subsequently, he filed a petition for post-conviction relief, one of the issues raised being that trial counsel was ineffective for not challenging “expert testimony about the results of a Comparative Bullet Lead Analysis (‘CBLA’) performed on evidence gathered by law enforcement.”  Jeffrey Wayne Robertson v. State, No. M2007-01378-CCA-R3-PC, 2009 WL 277073, at *9 (Tenn. Crim. App. Feb. 5, 2009), perm. app. denied (Tenn. June 15, 2009).  Unsuccessful with that argument, he then raised a similar claim in a petition for writ of error coram nobis, the denial of which is the basis for this appeal.  In that petition, he again focused on the CBLA evidence at his trial, pointing this time to the “newly discovered evidence” that the FBI “suspended performing ‘bullet lead analysis’ in 2004 and ceased entirely performing such examinations and providing such testimony in 2005.”  The coram nobis court denied the petition, concluding that the CBLA evidence issue had previously been argued and the only newly discovered evidence was the fact that the FBI was no longer using the test.  Following our review of the record, we affirm the dismissal of the petition.

Lawrence County Court of Criminal Appeals 10/30/14
State of Tennessee v. Jamayl Stoudemire
E2013-02054-CCA-R3-CD
Authoring Judge: Judge Thomas T. Woodall
Trial Court Judge: Judge Don W. Poole

Defendant, Jamayl Stoudemire, was charged by indictment with three counts of attempted first degree premeditated murder (Counts One through Three), three counts of aggravated assault (Counts Four through Six), and employing a firearm during the commission of a dangerous felony (Count Seven). Defendant entered a best interest plea of guilty to three counts of aggravated assault, a Class C felony, as charged in Counts Four, Five, and Six. The remaining counts of the indictment were dismissed. The parties agreed that the three counts would run concurrently with the trial court to determine length and manner of service. At the sentencing hearing, the trial court sentenced Defendant to five years for each conviction of aggravated assault to be served concurrently in the Department of Correction as a Range I offender. The trial court also denied Defendant’s request to be placed on judicial diversion. Defendant raises two issues on appeal. He argues that his five-year sentence is excessive and that the trial court should have ordered judicial diversion. After a thorough review of the record and the parties’ briefs, we affirm the judgments of the trial court.

Hamilton County Court of Criminal Appeals 10/29/14
State of Tennessee v. Adrian R. Brown
E2014-00673-CCA-R3-CD
Authoring Judge: Judge John Everett Williams
Trial Court Judge: Judge Carroll L. Ross

The appellant, Adrian R. Brown, was convicted in 1995 of three counts of the sale of less than 0.5 grams of cocaine, a Class C felony, and one count of the sale of more than 0.5 grams of cocaine, a Class B felony. The appellant was given concurrent sentences of eight years’ imprisonment for the Class B felony and six years’ imprisonment for each Class C felony. The appellant entered the community corrections program, and he was recommended for a transfer to probation one year later. In October 2003, shortly before his eight-year sentence was set to expire, a violation of probation affidavit was completed. However, the petition for revocation of the appellant’s probation was dismissed in 2005. The appellant now challenges his sentences as illegal, asserting that he did not receive the pretrial jail credits to which he was entitled. After a thorough review of the record, we conclude that the issue is moot, and accordingly, the trial court properly dismissed the appellant’s motion to correct his sentence.

McMinn County Court of Criminal Appeals 10/29/14
State of Tennessee v. Quinisha Renee Brabson
E2013-02335-CCA-R3-CD
Authoring Judge: Judge John Everett Williams
Trial Court Judge: Judge Rebecca J. Stern

The defendant, Quinisha Renee Brabson, was convicted after a jury trial of second degree murder, a Class A felony. On appeal, the defendant challenges the sufficiency of the evidence, asserting that the defendant should either have been acquitted as acting in selfdefense or convicted only of the lesser-included offense of voluntary manslaughter. After a thorough review of the record, we conclude that the evidence was sufficient to support the verdict, and we accordingly affirm the judgment of the trial court.

Hamilton County Court of Criminal Appeals 10/29/14
State of Tennessee v. Eric Parker
E2013-02339-CCA-R3-CD
Authoring Judge: Judge John Everett Williams
Trial Court Judge: Judge Robert H. Montgomery, Jr.

The defendant, Eric Parker, was convicted after a jury trial of aggravated domestic assault by reckless conduct, a Class D felony, and he was sentenced by the trial court to four years’ imprisonment. On appeal, the defendant asserts that: (1) the evidence was insufficient to support the verdict; (2) the proof at trial constituted a variance from or constructive amendment to the indictment; (3) the trial court erred in denying his motions related to a continuance to allow for expert testimony; (4) the trial court erred in not giving a corrective instruction regarding improper prosecutorial argument; (5) the trial court erred in admitting certain evidence at sentencing; and (6) the trial court misapplied enhancement and mitigating factors and improperly refused alternative sentencing. After a thorough review of the record, we discern no error and affirm the trial court’s judgment.

Sullivan County Court of Criminal Appeals 10/29/14
State of Tennessee v. Randy Ray Ramsey
E2013-01951-CCA-R3-CD
Authoring Judge: Judge Thomas T. Woodall
Trial Court Judge: Judge Ben W. Hooper, II

A Cocke County Jury convicted Defendant, Randy Ray Ramsey, of second-degree murder. He received a sentence of twenty-five years to be served concurrently with a federal sentence for drug-related convictions. On appeal, Defendant argues that the evidence was insufficient to support his conviction for second degree murder and that the trial court improperly sentenced him. After a thorough review, we affirm the judgment of the trial court.

Cocke County Court of Criminal Appeals 10/29/14
Michael J. Shipp v. State of Tennessee
M2014-00065-CCA-R3-PC
Authoring Judge: Judge Roger A. Page
Trial Court Judge: Judge Robert L. Jones

Petitioner, Michael J. Shipp, stands convicted of first degree premeditated murder and aggravated robbery and is serving an effective life sentence in the Tennessee Department of Correction.  In his post-conviction petition, petitioner claimed that he did not receive effective assistance of counsel at trial because his attorney failed to seek suppression of his statement to the police.  The post-conviction court denied relief.  Following our review, we affirm the judgment of the post-conviction court.

Maury County Court of Criminal Appeals 10/29/14
Nelson V. Plana v. State of Tennessee
M2014-00359-CCA-R3-PC
Authoring Judge: Judge James Curwood Witt, Jr.
Trial Court Judge: Senior Judge Paul Summers

The petitioner, Nelson V. Plana, appeals the denial of his petition for post-conviction relief, which petition challenged the petitioner’s 2004 Montgomery County Circuit Court jury convictions of two counts of first degree murder.  In this appeal, the petitioner claims entitlement to post-conviction relief based upon the allegedly ineffective assistance of his trial counsel.  Discerning no error, we affirm.

Montgomery County Court of Criminal Appeals 10/29/14
State of Tennessee v. Robert A. Bass
M2013-02717-CCA-R3-CD
Authoring Judge: Judge Robert H. Montgomery, Jr.
Trial Court Judge: Judge Stella L. Hargrove

The Defendant, Robert A. Bass, was convicted by a Maury County Circuit Court jury of assault, a Class A misdemeanor.  See T.C.A. § 39-13-101(a)(2) (2014).  The trial court sentenced the Defendant to eleven months, twenty-nine days on probation.   On appeal, the Defendant contends that the trial court erred by failing to instruct the jury regarding self-defense.  We reverse the judgment of the trial court and remand for a new trial.

Maury County Court of Criminal Appeals 10/29/14
State of Tennessee v. Dana Keith Woods
W2010-02409-CCA-R3-PC
Authoring Judge: Judge Camille R. McMullen
Trial Court Judge: Judge Donald H. Allen

The Petitioner, Dana Keith Woods, appeals the post-conviction court’s denial of relief from his convictions for first degree premeditated murder, felony murder, aggravated burglary, especially aggravated kidnapping, aggravated assault, and attempted first degree murder. The trial court merged the convictions for first degree premeditated murder and felony murder and also merged the convictions for attempted first degree murder and aggravated assault. For his convictions, the Petitioner received an effective sentence of life without the possibility of parole plus fifty years. On appeal, the Petitioner argues that he received ineffective assistance of trial counsel. Upon our review, we affirm the judgment of the postconviction court.

Madison County Court of Criminal Appeals 10/28/14
State of Tennessee v. Dannaer Beard
W2013-00502-CCA-MR3-CD
Authoring Judge: Judge Robert L. Holloway
Trial Court Judge: Judge W. Mark Ward

A Shelby County jury found Appellant Dannaer Beard guilty of criminal attempt: second degree murder and two counts of aggravated assault. The trial court sentenced him to an effective term of twelve years' imprisonment. Appellant now challenges the sufficiency of the evidence to sustain his conviction for criminal attempt: second degree murder. Appellant also argues that the trial judge erred in not merging the two aggravated assault convictions. Because a jury could find that Appellant’s stabbing of the victim was a substantial step in a knowing attempt to kill Mr. Moore, we affirm the criminal attempt conviction. Additionally, we find that the two aggravated assault charges arose from a single incident, and we remand the case for entry of a single judgment noting merger of the two offenses in counts 2 and 3.

Shelby County Court of Criminal Appeals 10/28/14
State of Tennessee v. Racris Thomas
W2013-00851-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, Racris Thomas, of two counts of especially aggravated kidnapping, one count of aggravated robbery, one count of attempted aggravated robbery, and one count of being a convicted felon in possession of a handgun. The trial court imposed a total effective sentence of seventy years in the Tennessee Department of Correction. On appeal, the appellant contends that the evidence is not sufficient to sustain his convictions and that the trial court erred by refusing to declare a mistrial after the jury instructions revealed that the felony underlying the charge for being a felon in possession of a handgun was a prior aggravated robbery. Upon review, we affirm the judgments of the trial court.

Shelby County Court of Criminal Appeals 10/27/14