Court of Criminal Appeals Opinions

Format: 02/17/2018
Format: 02/17/2018
State of Tennessee v. Joseph D. Sexton
M2017-00735-CCA-R3-CD
Authoring Judge: Judge John Everett Williams
Trial Court Judge: Judge William R. Goodman, III

The Defendant, Joseph D. Sexton, entered an open guilty plea to one count of attempted aggravated sexual battery. The trial court held a sentencing hearing and sentenced the Defendant to five years of incarceration. The Defendant appeals, arguing that the trial court erred in calculating the length of the sentence based on the enhancing and mitigating factors presented and that the trial court erred in denying alternative sentencing. After a thorough review of the record, we determine that there was no abuse of discretion, and we affirm the trial court’s judgment.

Robertson County Court of Criminal Appeals 01/05/18
State of Tennessee v. Joshua Michael Stewart
E2017-00864-CCA-R3-CD
Authoring Judge: Judge Robert H. Montgomery, Jr.
Trial Court Judge: Judge Steven Wayne Sword

The Defendant, Joshua Michael Stewart, was found guilty by a Knox County Criminal Court jury of rape of a child, a Class A felony, and two counts of aggravated sexual battery, a Class B felony. See T.C.A. §§ 39-15-522 (2014) (rape of a child), 39-13-504 (2014) (aggravated sexual battery). The trial court sentenced the Defendant to twenty-five years for rape of a child, twelve years for aggravated sexual battery, and eight years for aggravated sexual battery. The court ordered partial consecutive service, for an effective sentence of thirtythree years at 100% service. On appeal, the Defendant contends that (1) the evidence is insufficient to support his convictions and (2) the court erred by denying his request to exclude references to his tattoos and relationship with his father from the recording of his police interview. We affirm the judgments of the trial court.

Knox County Court of Criminal Appeals 01/04/18
Dennis Rasheed Gaye v. State of Tennessee
E2017-00793-CCA-R3-PC
Authoring Judge: Judge Robert H. Montgomery, Jr.
Trial Court Judge: Judge Bob R. McGee

The Petitioner, Dennis Rasheed Gaye, appeals from the Knox County Criminal Court’s denial of his petition for post-conviction relief from his 2014 guilty plea to possession with intent to sell 0.5 gram or more of cocaine within 1000 feet of a drug-free childcare zone, for which he is serving an eight-year sentence. The Petitioner contends that the post-conviction court erred by failing to dismiss the indictment because the judgment did not reflect the proper conviction. We affirm the judgment of the post-conviction court.

Knox County Court of Criminal Appeals 01/04/18
Bryiant C. Overton v. State of Tennessee
M2016-00783-CCA-R3-PC
Authoring Judge: Judge Robert H. Montgomery, Jr.
Trial Court Judge: Judge David M. Bragg

The Petitioner, Bryiant C. Overton, appeals from the Rutherford County Circuit Court’s denial of his petition for post-conviction relief from his convictions for aggravated kidnapping, aggravated robbery, attempted first degree murder, and conspiracy to commit kidnapping, for which he is serving an effective forty-eight-year sentence. On appeal, he contends that the post-conviction court erred in denying relief on his ineffective assistance of counsel claims relative to trial counsel’s performance, that he received the ineffective assistance of post-conviction counsel, and that he was subject to inappropriate questions at the post-conviction hearing about the facts of the conviction offenses. We affirm the judgment of the post-conviction court.

Rutherford County Court of Criminal Appeals 01/04/18
Joseph Miles v. State of Tennessee
M2017-00349-CCA-R3-HC
Authoring Judge: Judge John Everett Williams
Trial Court Judge: Judge Cheryl A. Blackburn

The Petitioner, Joseph Miles, appeals the Davidson County Criminal Court’s denial of his petition for writ of habeas corpus, in which he challenged his second degree murder conviction and resulting forty-year sentence. We conclude that the Petitioner has failed to establish that he is entitled to habeas corpus relief, and we affirm the denial of his petition in accordance with Rule 20, Rules of the Court of Criminal Appeals.

Davidson County Court of Criminal Appeals 01/03/18
Calvin Reeves v. State of Tennessee
M2017-00042-CCA-R3-PC
Authoring Judge: Judge Timothy L. Easter
Trial Court Judge: Judge David A. Patterson

Defendant, Calvin Reeves, appeals the trial court’s entry of amended judgment forms, without notice to him, which removed pretrial jail credit from two of his three consecutive sentences. He claims those credits were part of his negotiated plea agreement. Based upon our review of the record, the triplicate award of pretrial jail credit was a clerical error such that the trial court had the authority to amend the judgments under Tennessee Rule of Criminal Procedure 36. However, the amended judgment form for Count One still contains a clerical error when compared with the actual pretrial jail credit awarded during the plea submission hearing. Therefore, we affirm the trial court’s judgments in part, reverse in part, and remand for the entry of a corrected judgment form on Count One.

Putnam County Court of Criminal Appeals 01/03/18
State of Tennessee v. Jerica Elizabeth Taylor
M2016-02578-CCA-R3-CD
Authoring Judge: Judge Robert H. Montgomery, Jr.
Trial Court Judge: Judge Cheryl Blackburn

The Defendant, Jerica Elizabeth Taylor, was convicted by a Davidson County Criminal Court jury of aggravated robbery, a Class B felony. See T.C.A. § 39-13-402 (2014). The trial court sentenced the Defendant as a Range I, standard offender to eleven years’ confinement at 85% service. On appeal, the Defendant contends that (1) the evidence is insufficient to support her conviction, (2) the trial court improperly limited her cross-examination of the victim, (3) the photograph lineup was improperly admitted as evidence, and (4) the trial court erred during sentencing. We affirm the judgment of the trial court.

Davidson County Court of Criminal Appeals 01/03/18
Michael V. Morris v. Blair Leibach, Warden
M2017-00811-CCA-R3-HC
Authoring Judge: Judge John Everett Williams
Trial Court Judge: Judge John D. Wootten, Jr.

The Petitioner, Michael V. Morris, appeals the Trousdale County Circuit Court’s denial of his petition for writ of habeas corpus in which the Petitioner challenged his classification as a career offender. We conclude that the Petitioner has failed to establish that he is entitled to habeas corpus relief, and we affirm the denial of his petition in accordance with Rule 20, Rules of the Court of Criminal Appeals.

Trousdale County Court of Criminal Appeals 12/27/17
Eric Dewayne Wallace v. State of Tennessee
W2017-00690-CCA-R3-HC
Authoring Judge: Presiding Judge Thomas T. Woodall
Trial Court Judge: Judge R. Lee Moore, Jr.

Eric Dewayne Wallace, Petitioner, filed a petition for writ of habeas corpus claiming that he was being illegally detained because his fifteen-year sentence for attempted first degree murder, which was ordered to be served consecutively to his life sentence for felony murder, has expired. The habeas corpus court summarily dismissed the petition. We affirm.

Lake County Court of Criminal Appeals 12/22/17
State of Tennessee v. Shelton Stone Goss
W2016-01227-CCA-R3-CD
Authoring Judge: Presiding Judge Thomas T. Woodall
Trial Court Judge: Judge Joe H. Walker, III

Defendant, Shelton Stone Goss, was convicted by a Tipton County Jury of attempted  second degree murder, aggravated burglary, five counts of burglary of a vehicle, two counts of theft under $500, one count of theft over $500, one count of theft over $1,000, employment of a firearm during the commission of a dangerous felony to wit: attempted second degree murder of Joshua Halleron, and possession of a firearm during the commission of a dangerous felony: to wit: aggravated burglary of the Halleron residence. He received an effective fourteen-year sentence to be served in confinement. On appeal, Defendant argues that the evidence was insufficient to support his convictions. After a thorough review of the record, we affirm the judgments of the trial court.

Tipton County Court of Criminal Appeals 12/22/17
State of Tennessee v. Trevor H. Taylor
E2016-01920-CCA-R3-CD
Authoring Judge: Judge T. Woodall, Presiding Judge
Trial Court Judge: Judge James F. Goodwin

Defendant, Trevor H. Taylor, pled guilty to three separate sales of cocaine. Corresponding guilty pleas to delivery of cocaine were merged with the sale of cocaine convictions. The negotiated plea agreement set a sentence of three years for each conviction, to be served concurrently with each other for an effective sentence of three years. The manner of service of the sentence was left to the determination of the trial court at a separate sentencing hearing. The trial court ordered the entire sentence to be served by incarceration. Defendant appeals, arguing that the trial court erred by denying “probation or other appropriate alternative sentencing.” After review, we affirm the judgments of the trial court.

Sullivan County Court of Criminal Appeals 12/22/17
State of Tennessee v. Daniel S. Sharp
E207-00614-CCA-R3-CD
Authoring Judge: Judge Robert H. Montgomery, Jr.
Trial Court Judge: Judge Tammy Harrington

The Defendant, Daniel S. Sharp, appeals from the Blount County Circuit Court’s order revoking his community corrections sentence for his convictions for three counts of aggravated assault and one count of robbery. The Defendant contends that the trial court abused its discretion by revoking his community corrections sentence and by ordering him to serve the remainder of his effective ten-year sentence in confinement. We affirm the judgment of the trial court. 

Blount County Court of Criminal Appeals 12/22/17
State of Tennessee v. Torry Holland
W2017-00691-CCA-R3-CD
Authoring Judge: Judge James Curwood Witt, Jr.
Trial Court Judge: Judge Lee V. Coffee

The defendant, Torry Holland, appeals the summary dismissal of his petition, filed pursuant to Tennessee Rule of Criminal Procedure 36.1, to correct what he believes to be an illegal sentence imposed for his convictions of drug and firearms possession. Discerning no error, we affirm the trial court’s order of summary dismissal. Although we affirm the order dismissing the defendant’s motion, we do notice a clerical error in the judgment form for count 3 in case number 12-00532 that requires entry of a corrected judgment in that count.

Shelby County Court of Criminal Appeals 12/21/17
Shaun Tailaferro v. State of Tennessee
W2017-00138-CCA-R3-PC
Authoring Judge: Judge James Curwood Witt, Jr.
Trial Court Judge: Judge Clayburn Peeples

The petitioner, Shaun Taliaferro, appeals the denial of post-conviction relief from his 2013 Haywood County Criminal Court jury convictions of second degree murder and possession of a firearm by a convicted felon, for which he received an effective sentence of 44 years. In this appeal, the petitioner contends that he was denied the effective assistance of counsel at trial. Discerning no error, we affirm.

Haywood County Court of Criminal Appeals 12/21/17
State of Tennessee v. Aaron Jermaine Clark
E2017-00616-CCA-R3-CD
Authoring Judge: Judge Robert L. Holloway, Jr.
Trial Court Judge: Judge Thomas C. Greenholtz

Aaron Jermaine Clark (“the Defendant”) appeals the trial court’s revocation of his probation and imposition of his sentences, claiming that he should have been granted an alternative sentence so that he could continue his course of drug rehabilitation. After a review of the record and applicable law, we conclude that the trial court did not abuse its discretion. The judgment of the trial court is affirmed.

Hamilton County Court of Criminal Appeals 12/21/17
Marlon Duane Kiser v. State of Tennessee
E2016-01644-CCA-R3-PD
Authoring Judge: Judge D. Kelly Thomas, Jr.
Trial Court Judge: Judge Don W. Poole

The Petitioner, Marlon Duane Kiser, appeals the Hamilton County Criminal Court’s denial of his petition for post-conviction relief challenging his 2003 first degree murder conviction and resulting death sentence. On appeal, the Petitioner alleges that the postconviction court should have granted post-conviction relief based upon allegations of the ineffective assistance of counsel during the guilt-innocence phase of the trial, the original trial judge’s failure to recuse himself for an inappropriate relationship with a victimwitness coordinator, the perjured testimony of a witness, and newly-discovered evidence raising doubt as to his guilt. Following our review, we affirm the judgment of the postconviction court.

Hamilton County Court of Criminal Appeals 12/21/17
State of Tennessee v. Kyle J. Dodd
W2017-00733-CCA-R3-CD
Authoring Judge: Judge D. Kelly Thomas
Trial Court Judge: Judge Russell Lee Moore, Jr.

The Defendant, Kyle J. Dodd, was convicted by a jury of driving under the influence (DUI), second offense, a Class A misdemeanor. See Tenn. Code Ann. §§ 55-10-401, - 402(a)(2). The trial court imposed a sentence of eleven months and twenty-nine days with fifty days to be served in confinement and the remainder to be served on supervised probation. On appeal, the Defendant contends that the trial court erred in denying his motion to suppress his statements to the investigating officer and “all evidence derived from” his statements because the officer did not properly inform him of his rights pursuant to Miranda v. Arizona, 384 U.S. 436 (1966). However, our review of the record reveals that the Defendant failed to raise this issue in a timely motion for new trial; thereby, waiving full appellate review. Additionally, we conclude that plain error review of the issue is not warranted. Accordingly, we affirm the judgment of the trial court.

Dyer County Court of Criminal Appeals 12/20/17
James Clark Jr. v. State of Tennessee
W2017-00196-CCA-R3-ECN
Authoring Judge: Judge Robert L. Holloway, Jr.
Trial Court Judge: Judge James M. Lammey

The Petitioner, James Clark, Jr., appeals pro se from the Shelby County Criminal Court’s summary dismissal of his petition for writ of error coram nobis. He contends that the coram nobis court erred in dismissing the petition. Upon review, we affirm the judgment of the coram nobis court.

Shelby County Court of Criminal Appeals 12/19/17
Travis Steed v. State of Tennessee
W2017-00156-CCA-R3-PC
Authoring Judge: Judge Robert L. Holloway, Jr.
Trial Court Judge: Judge Donald H. Allen

Travis Steed (“the Petitioner”) petitioned for post-conviction relief from his convictions of first degree felony murder, second degree murder, felony reckless endangerment, convicted felon in possession of a handgun, and attempted second degree murder. Following a hearing, the post-conviction court denied relief. On appeal, the Petitioner claims that he was denied effective assistance of counsel as a result of trial counsel’s failure to interview and call certain witnesses that the Petitioner contends were critical to his defense. After a thorough review of the appellate record and applicable law, we affirm the judgment of the post-conviction court.

Madison County Court of Criminal Appeals 12/19/17
State of Tennessee v. Jeffrey Glynn McCoy
W2016-01619-CCA-R3-CD
Authoring Judge: Judge James Curwood Witt, Jr.
Trial Court Judge: Judge Clayburn Peeples

The defendant, Jeffrey Glynn McCoy, appeals the total effective sentence of 12 years imposed for his Gibson County guilty-pleaded convictions of burglary and theft of property valued at $10,000 or more but less than $60,000, arguing that the trial court erred by imposing terms of 12 years and by ordering that he serve the effective sentence consecutively to a sentence previously imposed in South Carolina. Discerning no error, we affirm.

Gibson County Court of Criminal Appeals 12/19/17
State of Tennessee v. Guy Len Biggs
W2016-01781-CCA-R3-CD
Authoring Judge: Judge J. Ross Dyer
Trial Court Judge: Judge Donald E. Parish

The defendant, Guy Len Biggs, pled guilty to aggravated perjury and fabrication of evidence in violation of Tennessee Code Annotated sections 39-16-703 and 39-16-503. For his respective crimes, the trial court imposed concurrent sentences of four and five years in the Tennessee Department of Correction. The trial court ordered the effective five-year sentence to run consecutively to a prior, twelve-year sentence for attempted second degree murder. On appeal, the defendant argues the trial court abused its discretion by ordering his present sentences to run consecutively to his prior sentence. The defendant also vaguely challenges the length and manner of service of his sentences for aggravated perjury and fabrication of evidence. Following our review of the briefs, the record, and the applicable law, we affirm the defendant’s four and five-year sentences to be served in confinement, consecutively to the twelve-year sentence for attempted second degree murder.

Henry County Court of Criminal Appeals 12/19/17
State of Tennessee v. Kevin Turner
W2016-02599-CCA-R3-CD
Authoring Judge: Judge Alan E. Glenn
Trial Court Judge: Judge Carolyn W. Blackett

The Defendant, Kevin Turner, was convicted by a Shelby County Criminal Court jury of aggravated robbery, a Class B felony, and was sentenced to eight years in the Tennessee Department of Correction. On appeal, he challenges the sufficiency of the convicting evidence. After review, we affirm the judgment of the trial court.

Shelby County Court of Criminal Appeals 12/19/17
J.W. Causey v. State of Tennessee
W2017-00470-CCA-R3-PC
Authoring Judge: Judge James Curwood Witt, Jr
Trial Court Judge: Judge Chris Craft

The petitioner, J.W. Causey, appeals the denial of post-conviction relief from his 2013 Shelby County Criminal Court jury conviction of first degree murder, for which he received a sentence of life imprisonment. In this appeal, the petitioner contends only that he was denied the effective assistance of counsel at trial. Discerning no error, we affirm.

Shelby County Court of Criminal Appeals 12/19/17
State of Tennessee v. Michael Nelson Hurt
E2016-02507-CCA-R3-CD
Authoring Judge: Judge Timothy L. Easter
Trial Court Judge: Judge Alex E. Pearson

Defendant, Michael Nelson Hurt, pled guilty to official misconduct and theft of property valued over $1000 and accepted an out-of-range sentence of six years’ probation. Defendant applied to the trial court for judicial diversion, which the trial court denied. On appeal, Defendant argues that the trial court erred in failing to consider all of the common law factors in determining Defendant’s suitability for diversion, resulting in a sentence that is disproportionately punitive. Upon our review of the record, we affirm the judgments of the trial court but remand the case for the entry of judgment forms on each charge that was disposed of by way of the plea agreement.

Hamblen County Court of Criminal Appeals 12/18/17
State of Tennessee v. Steven David Catalano
M2016-02272-CCA-R3-CD
Authoring Judge: Judge Norma McGee Ogle
Trial Court Judge: Judge Joseph Woodruff

The Appellant, Steven David Catalano, entered a plea of nolo contendere to driving under the influence (DUI), reserving a certified question of law challenging whether a be-on-the-lookout report (BOLO) issued by a Brentwood police officer provided sufficient probable cause or reasonable suspicion to justify a Franklin police officer’s traffic stop of the Appellant’s vehicle. The State contends that the question presented is not dispositive; therefore, this court is without jurisdiction to consider the appeal. Upon review of the record and the parties’ briefs, we agree with the State and conclude that the appeal must be dismissed.

Williamson County Court of Criminal Appeals 12/18/17