Court of Criminal Appeals Opinions

Format: 09/28/2016
Format: 09/28/2016
State of Tennessee v. Lance Elliott Falcon
E2015-00935-CCA-R3-CD
Authoring Judge: Judge James Curwood Witt, Jr.
Trial Court Judge: Judge G. Scott Green

The defendant, Lance Elliott Falcon, appeals his Knox County Criminal Court jury convictions of rape, statutory rape by an authority figure, and sexual battery by an authority figure, arguing that the trial court improperly commented on the defendant's credibility in front of the jury, that the trial court erred in its instructions to the jury, that the evidence was insufficient to support his convictions, that the sentence is excessive, and that the cumulative effect of the errors at trial entitles him to a new trial. Discerning no reversible error, we affirm the judgments of the trial court.

Knox County Court of Criminal Appeals 08/17/16
State of Tennessee v. Javonte Thomas
W2015-01473-CCA-R3-CD
Authoring Judge: Judge Alan E. Glenn
Trial Court Judge: Judge J. Robert Carter, Jr.

The defendant, Javonte Thomas, was convicted by a Shelby County Criminal Court jury of first degree premeditated murder and sentenced to life imprisonment. In this appeal, he challenges the sufficiency of the convicting evidence and the trial court's denial of his motion to suppress his statement to police. Following our review, we affirm the judgment of the trial court.

Shelby County Court of Criminal Appeals 08/16/16
State of Tennessee v. Charles Beaty
W2015-00223-CCA-R3-CD
Authoring Judge: Judge John Everett Williams
Trial Court Judge: Judge Glenn Ivy Wright

The State appeals from the trial court's dismissal of a three-count indictment based on the trial court's finding that there was an excessive delay in prosecuting the defendant, Charles Beaty. The State contends that the trial court erred in dismissing the indictment on finding a violation of the defendant's right to a speedy trial and due process. We conclude that the trial court correctly dismissed any offenses which were merely the reindictment of a previously dismissed case. However, the trial court erred in dismissing any new charges, because the defendant's right to a speedy trial was not violated and the defendant failed to show that he was prejudiced by the delay as required for due process relief. Accordingly, we remand for further proceedings in accordance with this opinion.

Shelby County Court of Criminal Appeals 08/16/16
State of Tennessee v. Mohnika M. King
E2015-01802-CCA-R3-CD
Authoring Judge: Judge Robert L. Holloway, Jr.
Trial Court Judge: Judge Steven Wayne Sword

Mohnika M. King (“the Defendant”) pleaded guilty to one count of theft of property valued at $10,000 or more but less than $60,000 and one count of forgery.  During the sentencing hearing, the trial court denied the Defendant’s request that she be placed on judicial diversion.  On appeal, the Defendant contends that the trial court abused its discretion when it denied judicial diversion.  Discerning no error, we affirm the judgments of the trial court.

Knox County Court of Criminal Appeals 08/16/16
State of Tennessee v. Ramon Curry
W2015-01083-CCA-R3- CD
Authoring Judge: Judge Robert W. Wedemeyer
Trial Court Judge: Judge James C. Beasley, Jr.

A Shelby County jury convicted the Defendant, Ramon Curry, of one count of false imprisonment, two counts of aggravated kidnapping, and one count of aggravated assault. The trial court ordered an effective sentence of thirty years to be served at 100%. On appeal, the Defendant contends that: (1) the evidence is insufficient to support his convictions; (2) he was entitled to a mistrial because a State's witness assisted the prosecutor by carrying a box of evidence; and (3) the trial court abused its discretion by ordering partial consecutive sentencing. After review, we affirm the trial court's judgments.

Shelby County Court of Criminal Appeals 08/15/16
State of Tennessee v. Christopher Lynn Clark
W2015-01579-CCA-R3-CD
Authoring Judge: Judge Robert W. Wedemeyer
Trial Court Judge: Judge Jeffrey W. Parham

An Obion County jury convicted the Defendant, Christopher Lynn Clark, of one count of vehicular homicide by intoxication and four counts of vehicular assault with intoxication. The trial court ordered concurrent sentences for an effective sentence of ten years in the Department of Correction. The Defendant appeals, claiming: (1) the evidence is insufficient to support his convictions; (2) the trial court invaded the province of the jury by commenting on the evidence in response to a juror question; and (3) his sentence is excessive. After review, we affirm the trial court's judgments.

Obion County Court of Criminal Appeals 08/15/16
State of Tennessee v. Tanyawa Sallie
W2015-00427-CCA-R3-CD
Authoring Judge: Presiding Judge Thomas T. Woodall
Trial Court Judge: Judge R. Lee Moore, Jr.

Defendant, Tanyawa Sallie, was indicted for the offense of cutodial interference, but a Lake County Circuit Court jury convicted her of custodial interference with voluntary return of the child, a Class A misdemeanor. She was sentenced by the trial court to eleven months, twenty-nine days, with ten days to serve and the remainder of the time on supervised probation. On appeal, Defendant challenges the sufficiency of the evidence in support of her conviction and argues that the trial court erred in sentencing by considering her 2004 felony conviction in an unrelated matter and by imposing an excessive sentence. After a careful review of the record, we affirm the judgment of the trial court.

Lake County Court of Criminal Appeals 08/15/16
State of Tennessee v. Tabitha Gentry, aka Abka Re Bay
W2015-01745-CCA-R3-CD
Authoring Judge: Judge Robert W. Wedemeyer
Trial Court Judge: Judge James M. Lammey, Jr.

A Shelby County jury convicted the Defendant, Tabitha Gentry, aka Abka Re Bay, of theft of property valued over $250,000 and aggravated burglary. The trial court ordered an effective sentence of twenty years in the Tennessee Department of Correction, to be served consecutively to a prior sentence from another Shelby County conviction. The Defendant appeals contending that: (1) the evidence is insufficient to support her convictions, (2) the trial court improperly limited cross-examination of a State witness about adverse possession; (3) the trial court improperly limited the Defendant's closing argument; and (4) consecutive sentencing was inappropriate in this case. After review, we remand the case for resentencing and affirm the trial court's judgments in all other respects.

Shelby County Court of Criminal Appeals 08/12/16
State of Tennessee v. George Mark Alan Greene
E2015-01213-CCA-R3-CD
Authoring Judge: Judge John Everett Williams
Trial Court Judge: Judge E. Shayne Sexton

The defendant, George Mark Alan Greene, pled guilty to one count of incest, a Class C felony, and the trial court denied his application for judicial diversion. On appeal, he contends that the judgment of the trial court should be reversed because he is a suitable candidate for judicial diversion. We conclude that although the trial court did not properly consider all of the factors in denying judicial diversion, a de novo review of the record supports the denial of diversion. We affirm the judgment of the trial court.

Claiborne County Court of Criminal Appeals 08/12/16
State of Tennessee v. Jeffrey Lee Sowers
E2015-01961-CCA-R3-CD
Authoring Judge: Judge Robert H. Montgomery, Jr.
Trial Court Judge: Judge John F. Dugger, Jr.

The Defendant, Jeffrey Lee Sowers, pleaded guilty in the Greene County Criminal Court pursuant to a negotiated plea agreement to official misconduct, a Class E felony, with the length and the manner of service of the sentence to be determined by the trial court. See T.C.A. § 39-16-402 (2014). The court sentenced the Defendant as a Range I, standard offender to eighteen months’ incarceration. On appeal, the Defendant contends that the trial court erred in denying his request for judicial diversion. We affirm the judgment of the trial court.

Greene County Court of Criminal Appeals 08/12/16
Wesley Jones v. State of Tennessee-Concurring
W2015-01481-CCA-R3-PC
Authoring Judge: Presiding Judge Thomas T. Woodall
Trial Court Judge: Judge James C. Beasley, Jr.

I concur with most of the majority opinion, but write separately to express my opinion that Detective Lundy and the unnamed uniformed patrol officer unconstitutionally seized Petitioner by handcuffing him and taking him to the police department and placing a leg shackle restraint on him inside the interview room. Although testimony by law enforcement officers was at best equivocal (and probably better described as “evasive” in a reading of the transcript) about restraints used on Petitioner, two things are clear: the officers dutifully followed police department “policy” and the policy dictated that “witnesses” be transported while handcuffed via marked patrol cars to interviews at the police station.

Shelby County Court of Criminal Appeals 08/11/16
Wesley Jones v. State of Tennessee
W2015-01481-CCA-R3-PC
Authoring Judge: Judge Robert H. Montgomery, Jr.
Trial Court Judge: Judge James C. Beasley, Jr.

The Petitioner, Wesley Jones, appeals the Shelby County Criminal Court's denial of his petition for post-conviction relief from his first degree murder conviction and resulting life sentence. On appeal, he contends that he received the ineffective assistance of counsel in numerous respects and that the post-conviction court erred by denying his request for a DNA expert and for DNA testing. We affirm the judgment of the post-conviction court.

Shelby County Court of Criminal Appeals 08/11/16
John Jack Lynch v. State of Tennessee
M2015-02451-CCA-R3-PC
Authoring Judge: Judge Timothy L. Easter
Trial Court Judge: Judge Forest A. Durard, Jr.

Petitioner, John Jack Lynch, appeals from the denial of post-conviction relief in which he argued that he received ineffective assistance of counsel.  After a thorough review, we determine Petitioner has failed to show clear and convincing evidence that he received ineffective assistance of counsel.  Accordingly, the judgment of the post-conviction court is affirmed.

Marshall County Court of Criminal Appeals 08/11/16
State of Tennessee v. Bobby Lynn Dockery
E2015-02028-CCA-R3-CD
Authoring Judge: Judge Thomas T. Woodall
Trial Court Judge: Judge Richard R. Vance

A Sevier County jury found Defendant, Bobby Lynn Dockery, guilty of forgery. He was sentenced to serve 5 years at 45% as a Range III offender. Defendant alleges on appeal that his conviction for forgery violates the double jeopardy clause of the United States Constitution. Defendant further argues that there was insufficient evidence to sustain the conviction. After a thorough review, we affirm the judgment of the trial court.

Sevier County Court of Criminal Appeals 08/11/16
Torian Dillard v. State of Tennessee
W2015-00579-CCA-R3-PC
Authoring Judge: Presiding Judge Thomas T. Woodall
Trial Court Judge: Judge Glenn Wright

The petitioner, Torian Dillard, was convicted in 2006 of aggravated kidnapping and sentenced to twenty years. His conviction was affirmed on direct appeal. State v. Torian Dillard, No. W2007-00911-CCA-R3-CD, 2008 WL 3342952, at *1 (Tenn. Crim. App. Aug. 11, 2008), perm. app. denied (Tenn. Feb. 2, 2009). He then filed a timely petition for post-conviction relief, alleging that trial counsel had been ineffective in that counsel failed to properly investigate the facts of the case or to provide a sufficient reason to dismiss a prospective juror and that the trial court erred in allowing the victim to sit facing the jury, with her back to the petitioner. After an evidentiary hearing, the post-conviction court denied relief; and, following our review, we affirm that order.

Shelby County Court of Criminal Appeals 08/10/16
State of Tennessee v. Demarco Waters
W2015-01366-CCA-R3-CD
Authoring Judge: Judge Alan E. Glenn
Trial Court Judge: Judge James M. Lammey, Jr.

The defendant, DeMarco Waters, was convicted by a Shelby County Criminal Court jury of premeditated first degree murder; three counts of attempted first degree murder, Class A felonies; attempted second degree murder, a Class B felony; and four counts of employing a firearm during the commission of a dangerous felony, Class C felonies. The defendant was sentenced to an effective term of life plus seventy-seven years. On appeal, the defendant argues that the evidence is insufficient to sustain his convictions and that the trial court abused its discretion in ordering consecutive sentencing. After review, we affirm the judgments of the trial court. However, we remand for entry of a corrected judgment in Count 6 to indicate that the conviction offense is a Class A felony.

Shelby County Court of Criminal Appeals 08/10/16
State of Tennessee v. Jimmy Wilson
W2015-01786-CCA-R3-CD
Authoring Judge: Judge J. Ross Dyer
Trial Court Judge: Judge Chris Craft

The defendant, Jimmy Wilson, was indicted for theft of property valued at $1000 or more but less than $10,000, in violation of Tennessee Code Annotated section 39-14-103, after unlawfully receiving of $5,875.72 in travel reimbursements from the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs. Following trial, a jury found the defendant guilty of the same. On appeal, the defendant argues that there was insufficient evidence to support his conviction. Following our review, we affirm the judgment of the trial court.

Shelby County Court of Criminal Appeals 08/10/16
Michael Lamar Gaines v. State of Tennessee
M2015-01410-CCA-R3-PC
Authoring Judge: Judge Timothy L. Easter
Trial Court Judge: Judge Justin C. Angel

Petitioner, Michael Lamar Gaines, filed a motion to reopen post-conviction proceedings.  Because he failed to comply with the statutory requirements for seeking discretionary review of the dismissal of his motion, this Court has no jurisdiction over the case.  Accordingly, the appeal is dismissed.

Marion County Court of Criminal Appeals 08/10/16
Michael Lamar Gaines v. State of Tennessee
M2015-01410-CCA-R3-PC
Authoring Judge: Judge Timothy L. Easter
Trial Court Judge: Judge Justin C. Angel

Petitioner, Michael Lamar Gaines, filed a motion to reopen post-conviction proceedings.  Because he failed to comply with the statutory requirements for seeking discretionary review of the dismissal of his motion, this Court has no jurisdiction over the case.  Accordingly, the appeal is dismissed.

Marion County Court of Criminal Appeals 08/10/16
State of Tennessee v. Mark Rollins
M2016-00162-CCA-R3-CD
Authoring Judge: Judge James Curwood Witt, Jr.
Trial Court Judge: Judge David Bragg

The defendant, Mark Rollins, pleaded guilty to first offense driving under the influence of an intoxicant and reserved as a certified question the propriety of the vehicle stop leading to his arrest.  Discerning no error, we affirm.

Rutherford County Court of Criminal Appeals 08/10/16
State of Tennessee v. John G. Apfel aka Raymond Debartolomies
M2015-00944-CCA-R3-CD
Authoring Judge: Judge Norma McGee Ogle
Trial Court Judge: Judge Stella L. Hargrove

A Lawrence County Circuit Court Jury convicted the Appellant, John Apfel aka Raymond DeBartolomies, of theft of $1,000 or more but less than $10,000.  The trial court imposed a sentence of four years.  On appeal, the Appellant challenges the sufficiency of the evidence supporting his conviction, the trial court’s denial of alternative sentencing, and the amount of restitution imposed.  Upon review, we affirm the judgment of the trial court.

Lawrence County Court of Criminal Appeals 08/10/16
State of Tennessee v. James M. Grant
M2016-00540-CCA-R3-CD
Authoring Judge: Judge Timothy L. Easter
Trial Court Judge: Judge J. Randall Wyatt, Jr.

Defendant, James M. Grant, appeals the denial of his motion filed pursuant to Rule 36.1 of the Tennessee Rules of Criminal Procedure in which he claimed that he received an illegal sentence after a 1998 guilty plea to one count of facilitation of first degree murder and two counts of attempted first degree murder.  Upon our review of the record and applicable authorities, we affirm the judgment of the trial court.

Davidson County Court of Criminal Appeals 08/10/16
Gregory Eidson v. State of Tennessee
M2015-01657-CCA-R3-HC
Authoring Judge: Judge Robert W. Wedemeyer
Trial Court Judge: Judge Dee David Gay

In 2012, the Petitioner, Gregory Eidson, pleaded guilty to aggravated assault and attempted second degree murder, and the trial court imposed consecutive sentences of three and eight years, respectively, to be served on Community Corrections.  The Petitioner filed a timely petition for post-conviction relief, which the post-conviction court denied.  This Court affirmed the denial.  Gregory Eidson v. State, No. M2012-02482-CCA-R3-PC, 2013 WL 6405782, at *1 (Tenn. Crim. App., at Nashville, Dec. 6, 2013), perm. app. denied (Tenn. Mar. 5, 2014).  In 2014, the Petitioner’s Community Corrections sentence was revoked, and the trial court ordered the Petitioner to serve his eleven-year sentence in confinement.  After filing several motions and petitions, the Petitioner filed a petition for writ of habeas corpus, which he also termed a second motion to reopen his post-conviction petition, and a motion for correction of an illegal sentence pursuant to Tennessee Rule of Criminal Procedure 36.1.  The trial court entered an order dismissing the petition and motion.  We affirm the trial court’s judgments.

Sumner County Court of Criminal Appeals 08/10/16
State of Tennessee v. Dannie Brumfield
M2015-01940-CCA-R3-CD
Authoring Judge: Judge D. Kell Thomas, Jr.
Trial Court Judge: Judge David M. Bragg

The Defendant, Dannie Brumfield, appeals as of right from the Rutherford County Circuit Court’s revocation of his probation and order of confinement for six years.  The Defendant contends that the trial court abused its discretion in revoking his probation and ordering him to serve two additional sentences concurrently with the remainder of his original sentence.  Following our review, we affirm the judgments of the trial court.

Rutherford County Court of Criminal Appeals 08/10/16
State of Tennessee v. Randall Boaz
M2015-01532-CCA-R3-CD
Authoring Judge: Judge Timothy L. Easter
Trial Court Judge: Judge Russell Parkes

Defendant, Randall Boaz, appeals his Giles County conviction for reckless endangerment with a deadly weapon.  His single issue on appeal is a claim of insufficient evidence that he used his vehicle as a deadly weapon.  Upon our review of the record, we affirm the judgment of the trial court.

Giles County Court of Criminal Appeals 08/09/16