Court of Criminal Appeals Opinions

Format: 05/25/2016
Format: 05/25/2016
State of Tennessee v. Billy Locke
E2015-00901-CCA-R3-CD
Authoring Judge: Judge Robert W. Wedemeyer
Trial Court Judge: Judge Andrew Mark Freiberg


In 1998, a jury convicted the Defendant, Billy Locke, for DUI, third offense. The trial court sentenced the Defendant to serve eleven months and twenty-nine days, 160 days of which was to be served in confinement with the remainder to be served on probation. In 1999, the Defendant pleaded guilty to burglary, evading arrest, assault, and possession of burglary tools, and the trial court sentenced him to an effective sentence of three years to run consecutively with any sentence he received for violating his probation for the DUI conviction. Fifteen years later, in January 2015, the Defendant filed a Tennessee Rule of Criminal Procedure 36.1 motion to correct an illegal sentence, arguing that the trial court was required to align his sentences consecutively because he was on probation and thus still “serving” his sentence for the DUI conviction when sentenced for the burglary-related convictions. The trial court denied the Defendant’s motion, and he appealed to this Court. After a thorough review of the record and applicable law, we affirm the trial court’s judgment.

Polk County Court of Criminal Appeals 03/31/16
William Thomas Mayers v. State of Tennessee
M2014-01704-CCA-R3-PC
Authoring Judge: Judge Norma McGee Ogle
Trial Court Judge: Judge J. Randall Wyatt, Jr.

The Petitioner, William Thomas Mayers, filed a petition for post-conviction relief in the Davidson County Criminal Court, alleging that his counsel was ineffective at trial and on appeal.  The post-conviction court denied the petition, and the Petitioner appeals.  Upon review, we affirm the judgment of the post-conviction court.

Davidson County Court of Criminal Appeals 03/31/16
Jerry Crawford, Jr. v. State of Tennessee
W2015-00882-CCA-R3-PC
Authoring Judge: Judge Robert W. Wedemeyer
Trial Court Judge: Judge Roy B. Morgan, Jr.

A Madison County jury convicted the Petitioner, Jerry Crawford, Jr., of aggravated robbery, and the trial court sentenced him to thirty years in prison. The Petitioner appealed his conviction and sentence, and this Court affirmed the trial court's judgments. See State v. Jerry Crawford, Jr., No. W2012-02729-CCA-R3-CD, 2014 WL 296014, at *1 (Tenn. Crim. App., at Knoxville, Jan. 28, 2014), no Tenn. R. App. P. 11 application filed. In 2015, the Petitioner filed a pro se petition for post-conviction relief. The post-conviction court appointed counsel who filed an amended petition for post-conviction relief alleging that the Petitioner had received the ineffective assistance of counsel. The trial court held a hearing on the petition and denied relief. On appeal, the Petitioner contends that the trial court erred when it denied his petition. After a thorough review of the record and applicable authorities, we affirm the post-conviction court's judgment.

Madison County Court of Criminal Appeals 03/31/16
State of Tennessee v. Marcus Traveno Cox, Jr.
M2015-00512-CCA-R3-CD
Authoring Judge: Special Judge Roger A. Page
Trial Court Judge: Judge Forest A. Durard, Jr.

Appellant, Marcus Traveno Cox, Jr., stands convicted (after merger of duplicate counts) of possession with intent to sell less than .5 grams of cocaine, possession with intent to sell more than one-half ounce but less than ten pounds of marijuana, possession of a Schedule III controlled substance (Lortab), possession of drug paraphernalia, and possession of a firearm with intent to go armed during the commission of a dangerous felony.  The trial court sentenced him to an effective sentence of nine years in the Tennessee Department of Correction.  On appeal, appellant argues that the indictment and jury instructions for the possession of a firearm charge were fatally deficient and that he received ineffective assistance of counsel.  Following our review, we affirm the judgments of the trial court.

Marshall County Court of Criminal Appeals 03/31/16
Teresa Deion Smith Harris v. State of Tennessee
W2015-01072-CCA-R3-ECN
Authoring Judge: Judge Robert W. Wedemeyer
Trial Court Judge: Judge C. Creed McGinley

In 1994, a Henry County jury convicted the Petitioner, Teresa Deion Smith Harris, of first degree felony murder, and she was sentenced to life in prison without the possibility of parole. The Petitioner appealed, and this Court affirmed the Petitioner's conviction and sentence. State v. Teresa Deion Smith Harris, No W2012-00540-CCA-R3-CD, 1996 WL 654335, at *1 (Tenn. Crim. App., at Jackson, Nov. 12, 1996), perm. app. granted (Tenn. June 8, 1998). The Tennessee Supreme Court affirmed the Petitioner's conviction and sentence but found that there existed some harmless error in sentencing. State v. Harris, 989 S.W.2d 301, 316 (Tenn. 1999). The Petitioner filed a petition for post-conviction relief and two previous petitions for writ of error coram nobis. All of these petitions were denied, the Petitioner appealed, and this Court affirmed their denial. In this, her third, petition for writ of error coram nobis, the Petitioner alleged that she had received newly discovered evidence in the form of an affidavit from a doctor who said that her attorney was cavalier about the charges the Petitioner faced and seemed to not want to talk to the doctor about the Petitioner's case. The coram nobis court summarily dismissed the petition, finding it was filed outside the statute of limitations and that the evidence presented by the Petitioner was not newly discovered and was available to her before her 1994 trial. On appeal, the Petitioner, proceeding pro se, contends that the coram nobis court erred when it dismissed her petition without conducting an evidentiary hearing. After a thorough review, we affirm the coram nobis court's judgment.

Henry County Court of Criminal Appeals 03/31/16
State of Tennessee v. Brian Pillow
M2014-01355-CCA-R3-CD
Authoring Judge: Judge Norma McGee Ogle
Trial Court Judge: Judge Stella Hargrove

A Maury County Circuit Court Jury convicted the Appellant, Brian Pillow, of three counts of selling .5 grams or more of cocaine in a drug-free zone.  The trial court imposed a total effective sentence of twelve years in the Tennessee Department of Correction.  On appeal, the Appellant contends that the trial court erred by requiring the Appellant to expose his tattooed arms to the jury and by admitting photographs of his tattoos into evidence.  Additionally, the Appellant challenges the sufficiency of the evidence sustaining his convictions.  Upon review, we affirm the judgments of the trial court.

Maury County Court of Criminal Appeals 03/31/16
State of Tennessee v. Eddie Williams, Jr.
W2015-02065-CCA-R3-CD
Authoring Judge: Judge Robert L. Holloway, Jr.
Trial Court Judge: Judge Chris Craft

Eddie Williams, Jr., the Defendant, appeals the summary denial of his Tennessee Rule of Criminal Procedure 36.1 motion to correct an illegal sentence. He claims that the trial court improperly used his prior petit larceny conviction to enhance his sentence. Because this claim has previously been rejected by this court on multiple occasions and because the Defendant’s motion failed to state a colorable claim, we affirm the trial court’s summary denial of the motion.

Shelby County Court of Criminal Appeals 03/31/16
State of Tennessee v. Christopher Hammack
M2015-00898-CCA-R3-CD
Authoring Judge: Judge Robert L. Holloway, Jr.
Trial Court Judge: Judge Stella L. Hargrove

Christopher Hammack (“the Defendant”) was indicted for one count of initiation of the process to manufacture methamphetamine (Count 1), one count of possession of a firearm during the commission of or attempt to commit a dangerous felony (Count 2), and one count of convicted felon in possession of a firearm (Count 3).  The Defendant was convicted by a jury of the lesser included offense of facilitation of initiation of the process to manufacture methamphetamine in Count 1 and as charged in Count 2.  A judgment of conviction was entered by the trial court in Count 3.  On appeal, the Defendant challenges the sufficiency of the evidence underlying his convictions in Counts 1 and 2.  Upon review, we conclude that there was insufficient evidence to support the Defendant’s convictions for Counts 1 and 2.  Additionally, we conclude that the Defendant did not effectively waive his right to a jury trial or enter a plea of guilty in Count 3.  The judgments of the trial court are reversed and the charges are dismissed.

Wayne County Court of Criminal Appeals 03/31/16
Loice E. Pittman v. State of Tennessee
M2015-02105-CCA-R3-PC
Authoring Judge: Judge D. Kelly Thomas, Jr.
Trial Court Judge: Judge L. Craig Johnson

The Petitioner, Loice E. Pittman, appeals as of right from the Coffee County Circuit Court’s summary dismissal of his petition for post-conviction relief.  The Petitioner contends that the post-conviction court erred by summarily dismissing his petition for having been untimely filed.  Discerning no error, we affirm the judgment of the post-conviction court.

Coffee County Court of Criminal Appeals 03/31/16
State of Tennessee v. Marcus Zeron Jones
M2015-02030-CCA-R3-CD
Authoring Judge: Judge Timothy L. Easter
Trial Court Judge: Judge Robert L. Jones

The Appellant, Marcus Zeron Jones, is appealing the trial court’s denial of his motion to correct an illegal sentence filed pursuant to Rule of Criminal Procedure Rule 36.1  The State has filed a motion asking this Court to affirm pursuant to Court of Criminal Appeals Rule 20.  Said motion is hereby granted.

Maury County Court of Criminal Appeals 03/31/16
State of Tennessee v. Harold McDuffie
W2015-00664-CCA-R3-CD
Authoring Judge: Judge Camille R. McMullen
Trial Court Judge: Judge Lee V. Coffee

Pro se petitioner, Harold McDuffie, appeals from the Shelby County Criminal Court’s summary dismissal of his motion to correct an illegal sentence pursuant to Tennessee Rule of Criminal Procedure 36.1. Upon review, we affirm the judgment of the trial court pursuant to Rule 20 of the Rules of the Court of Criminal Appeals.

Shelby County Court of Criminal Appeals 03/31/16
State of Tennessee v. David William Lowery
E2015-00924-CCA-R3-CD
Authoring Judge: Judge Camille R. McMullen
Trial Court Judge: Judge Donald R. Elledge

An Anderson County jury convicted the Defendant-Appellant, David William Lowery, as charged of three counts of aggravated child abuse.  See T.C.A. § 39-15-402(a)(1) (Supp. 2007).  The trial court imposed concurrent twenty-five-year sentences with a release eligibility of one hundred percent for each count.  See id. § 40-35-501(i) (Supp. 2008).  Lowery’s sole issue on appeal is that the evidence is insufficient to sustain his convictions.  Upon review, we affirm Lowery’s convictions but remand the case for entry of corrected judgments in counts 1, 2, and 3 to reflect that he was charged with and convicted of three counts of aggravated child abuse and that these convictions are Class A felonies.    

Anderson County Court of Criminal Appeals 03/30/16
State of Tennessee v. Brandon Waire
M2014-02140-CCA-R3-CD
Authoring Judge: Judge Robert L. Holloway, Jr.
Trial Court Judge: Judge Stella L. Hargrove

In December 2012, the Maury County Grand Jury indicted Brandon Waire (“the Defendant”) on three counts of sale of cocaine over .5 gram within a drug-free zone.  Following a trial, a jury convicted the Defendant as charged, and the trial court sentenced the Defendant to an effective eight years’ incarceration.  On appeal, the Defendant asserts that he is entitled to relief from his convictions because:  (1) the trial court erroneously denied the Defendant’s motion for mistrial after the State’s confidential informant testified that he had served prison time with the Defendant; (2) the Defendant’s right to a fair trial was violated when the State failed to preserve video evidence of statements made by the confidential informant in violation of State v. Ferguson, 2 S.W.3d 912 (Tenn. 1999); (3) the trial court erred when it failed to exclude the State’s late-disclosed witness from testifying; and (4) the evidence was insufficient to support his convictions.  Upon review, we affirm the judgments of the trial court.

Maury County Court of Criminal Appeals 03/30/16
Paul Williams EL v. Sheriff Andy Dickson, Carroll County
W2015-01614-CCA-R3-HC
Authoring Judge: Judge Robert L. Holloway, Jr.
Trial Court Judge: Judge Charles C. McGinley

The Petitioner, Paul Williams el, filed a Petition for Writ of Habeas Corpus Relief, challenging his conviction for a second or subsequent offense of driving on a cancelled, suspended, or revoked license. The habeas court summarily dismissed the Petition. On appeal, we conclude that the Petition failed to meet the procedural requirements of Tennessee Code Annotated section 29-21-107. Additionally, the Petitioner's claim is based on a complete misreading of Tennessee Code Annotated section 55-50-504 and is without merit. The judgment of the habeas court is affirmed.

Carroll County Court of Criminal Appeals 03/30/16
Victor Clark v. State of Tennessee
W2015-00186-CCA-R3-PC
Authoring Judge: Judge Robert L. Holloway, Jr.
Trial Court Judge: Judge Donald H. Allen

Victor Clark (“the Petitioner”) was indicted for two counts of attempted second-degree murder, two counts of aggravated assault, one count of reckless endangerment, and one count of employing a firearm during the commission of a dangerous offense. After a jury trial, the Petitioner was acquitted of both counts of attempted second-degree murder but convicted of all other charges. In this post-conviction proceeding, the Petitioner contends that he received ineffective assistance of counsel. The post-conviction court denied relief. Upon review of the record, we affirm the judgment of the post-conviction court.

Madison County Court of Criminal Appeals 03/30/16
Wesley Dawone Coleman v. State of Tennessee
W2015-00369-CCA-R3-PC
Authoring Judge: Judge Camille R. McMullen
Trial Court Judge: Judge Jeff Parham

The Petitioner, Wesley Dawone Coleman, appeals from the denial of post-conviction relief by the Circuit Court for Obion County. He was convicted of aggravated burglary, theft over $500, and evading arrest, and received an effective sentence of ten years in the Tennessee Department of Correction. On appeal, the Petitioner argues that he received ineffective assistance of counsel and that the cumulative effect of counsel’s errors denied his constitutional right to a fair trial. Upon our review, we affirm the judgment of the post-conviction court.

Obion County Court of Criminal Appeals 03/30/16
State of Tennessee v. Marico Means
W2015-00989-CCA-R3-CD
Authoring Judge: Judge Timothy L. Easter
Trial Court Judge: Judge Paula L. Skahan

Defendant, Marico Means, appeals his conviction of aggravated robbery and his sentence of eight years and six months at eighty-five percent. He argues that the trial court erred by denying his motion to suppress evidence of the victim's pre-trial identifications and that the trial court erred by considering improper evidence during sentencing. We affirm the judgment of the trial court.

Shelby County Court of Criminal Appeals 03/29/16
State of Tennessee v. Dwayne Moore
W2014-02432-CCA-R3-CD
Authoring Judge: Judge Alan E. Glenn
Trial Court Judge: Judge Carolyn Wade Blackett

The defendant, Dwayne Moore, was convicted by a Shelby County jury of second degree murder and sentenced by the trial court as a Range I offender to twenty-two years at 100% in the Department of Correction. He raises two issues on appeal: (1) whether the trial court committed reversible error by allowing a police officer to offer improper opinion testimony about the appearance of a gun in a photograph and by admitting the photograph and the gun without a proper chain of custody; and (2) whether the evidence is sufficient to sustain his conviction. Following our review, we affirm the judgment of the trial court.

Shelby County Court of Criminal Appeals 03/29/16
In re Chris Highers Bail Bonds, et al.
M2015-00801-CCA-R3-CD
Authoring Judge: Judge Timothy L. Easter
Trial Court Judge: Judge David M. Bragg

Appellants are ten bail bonding companies that each posted a portion of a defendant’s $1 million bond.  After the defendant failed to appear for trial and absconded from the state, the bond was forfeited.  When the defendant was apprehended almost two years later, some of the Appellants filed separate petitions for exoneration of the forfeited bond.  After a hearing, the trial court denied the petitions.  Upon our review of the record, it appears that three of the Appellants—Neal Watson Bonding, Lucky’s Bonding, and Anytime Bail Bonds—never filed petitions with the trial court; therefore, we dismiss their appeals.  As to the remaining seven Appellants, we affirm the judgment of the trial court.

Rutherford County Court of Criminal Appeals 03/29/16
State of Tennessee v. Jose Lemanuel Hall, Jr.
M2015-00018-CCA-R3-CD
Authoring Judge: Judge Timothy L. Easter
Trial Court Judge: Judge J. Randall Wyatt, Jr.

Defendant, Jose Lemanuel Hall, Jr., was convicted of first degree murder and sentenced to life in prison.  On appeal, he argues (1) that the evidence was insufficient to support his conviction; (2) that the trial court erred in admitting evidence regarding his gang affiliation and gang rank; (3) that the trial court erred in admitting photographs; and (4) that the trial court erred by ordering consecutive sentencing.  We affirm the judgment of the trial court.

Davidson County Court of Criminal Appeals 03/29/16
State of Tennessee v. Angela Faye Daniel
M2015-01073-CCA-R9-CD
Authoring Judge: Judge Norma McGee Ogle
Trial Court Judge: Judge Deanna Bell Johnson

In this interlocutory appeal, the appellant, State of Tennessee, appeals the Williamson County Circuit Court’s order granting a motion to suppress evidence filed by the appellee, Angela Faye Daniel.  The appellant claims that the trial court erroneously concluded that a police officer’s failure to deliver a copy of a search warrant to the appellee was not a “clerical error” under Tennessee Code Annotated section 40-6-108, the Exclusionary Rule Reform Act.  Based upon the oral arguments, the record, and the parties’ briefs, we affirm the order of the trial court.

Williamson County Court of Criminal Appeals 03/29/16
State of Tennessee v. Karloss Thirkill
W2015-00456-CCA-R3-CD
Authoring Judge: Judge D. Kelly Thomas, Jr.
Trial Court Judge: Judge Glenn Wright

Following a jury trial, the Defendant, Karloss Thirkill, was convicted of aggravated robbery, a Class B felony. See Tenn. Code Ann. § 39-13-402. The trial court subsequently imposed a ten-year sentence for the conviction. On appeal, the Defendant contends (1) that the trial court erred in admitting a video recording of the crime when the witness “did not have personal knowledge [of the contents of the video] nor was involved in the chain of custody”; and (2) that the evidence was insufficient to sustain his conviction. Following our review, we affirm the judgment of the trial court.

Shelby County Court of Criminal Appeals 03/29/16
State of Tennessee v. Anthony Bailey
W2015-00784-CCA-R3-CD
Authoring Judge: Judge Alan E. Glenn
Trial Court Judge: Judge Glenn Wright

The defendant, Anthony Bailey, was convicted by a Shelby County Criminal Court jury of robbery, a Class C felony, and assault, a Class A misdemeanor. He was sentenced by the trial court as a Range I, standard offender to concurrent terms of five years in the workhouse for the robbery conviction and eleven months, twenty-nine days for the assault conviction. On appeal, he argues that the evidence is insufficient to sustain his robbery conviction, the trial court erred by denying his motion to suppress the victim's pretrial and in-court identifications, and the trial court erred by enhancing his sentence and by denying his request for probation. Following our review, we affirm the judgments of the trial court.

Shelby County Court of Criminal Appeals 03/29/16
Kearn Weston v. State of Tennessee
W2015-00460-CCA-R3-PC
Authoring Judge: Judge Timothy L. Easter
Trial Court Judge: Judge James C. Beasley, Jr.

Petitioner, Kearn Weston, appeals the denial of his petition for post-conviction relief. Petitioner argues that he received ineffective assistance of counsel when trial counsel failed to file a pre-trial motion to dismiss the charge based on the loss of a surveillance video. Upon our review, we affirm the decision of the post-conviction court.

Shelby County Court of Criminal Appeals 03/29/16
State of Tennessee v. David Reed
W2015-01740-CCA-R3-CD
Authoring Judge: Judge Timothy L. Easter
Trial Court Judge: Judge Roy B. Morgan, Jr.

Defendant, David Reed, appeals the trial court's denial of his motion to correct an illegal sentence filed pursuant to Tennessee Rule of Criminal Procedure 36.1. Defendant argues that the trial court's failure to award post-judgment jail credit for time he spent incarcerated out-of-state prior to the revocation of his probation renders his sentence illegal. Upon our review of the record and applicable authorities, we affirm the judgment of the trial court.

Madison County Court of Criminal Appeals 03/29/16