Court of Criminal Appeals Opinions

Format: 07/31/2015
Format: 07/31/2015
State of Tennessee v. Shannon Dixon
M2014-00718-CCA-R3-CD
Authoring Judge: Judge Alan E. Glenn
Trial Court Judge: Judge Thomas W. Graham

The defendant, Shannon Dixon, was convicted by a Marion County Circuit Court jury of aggravated assault, a Class C felony, and was sentenced to five years, suspended to probation after service of twelve months of incarceration.  On appeal, the defendant argues that the trial court erred in:  (1) denying his request for a special jury instruction that a pellet gun was not a deadly weapon per se for purposes of the aggravated assault statute, and (2) not applying as a mitigating factor at sentencing that he acted under strong provocation.  After review, we affirm the judgment of the trial court.

Marion County Court of Criminal Appeals 06/17/15
Karlos D. McMahon v. State of Tennessee
M2014-02316-CCA-R3-PC
Authoring Judge: Judge Robert L. Holloway, Jr.
Trial Court Judge: Judge Forest A. Durard, Jr.

Karlos D. McMahon (“the Petitioner”) pleaded guilty to several counts of sale of cocaine in case numbers 17268 and 17478.  Subsequent to entering his guilty pleas, the Petitioner filed a petition for post-conviction relief alleging ineffective assistance of counsel.  After a hearing, the post-conviction court denied the petition.  Upon a thorough review of the record and applicable law, we affirm the judgment of the post-conviction court.

Bedford County Court of Criminal Appeals 06/17/15
State of Tennessee v. Michael Bland
W2014-00991-CCA-R3-CD
Authoring Judge: Judge Alan E. Glenn
Trial Court Judge: Judge James M. Lammey

The defendant, Michael Bland, was convicted by a Shelby County jury of first degree premeditated murder and sentenced to life imprisonment. On appeal, he challenges the sufficiency of the evidence and argues that the trial court erred by not giving his requested accomplice instruction to the jury, by instructing the jury on the law of criminal responsibility, and by overruling his objection to the opinion testimony of a police officer regarding his honesty. Following our review, we affirm the judgment of the trial court.

Shelby County Court of Criminal Appeals 06/16/15
State of Tennessee v. Shelton Pope
W2014-01057-CCA-R3-CD
Authoring Judge: Judge James Curwood Witt, Jr.
Trial Court Judge: Judge J. Robert Carter, Jr.

The defendant, Shelton Pope, appeals his Shelby County Criminal Court jury conviction of theft of property valued at more than $500 but less than $1,000. On appeal, the defendant claims that the trial court erroneously denied his motion for a mistrial in response to the jury’s being exposed to improper influence and that the evidence is insufficient to support the conviction. Following our review, we affirm the judgment of the criminal court.

Shelby County Court of Criminal Appeals 06/16/15
State of Tennessee v. Adam Todd Tucker
M2014-01931-CCA-R3-CD
Authoring Judge: Judge Robert H. Montgomery, Jr.
Trial Court Judge: Judge Jim T. Hamilton

The Defendant, Adam Todd Tucker, appeals the Lawrence County Circuit Court’s order revoking his probation for his convictions for two counts of theft of property valued at $1000 or more but less than $10,000, theft of property valued at more than $500 but less than $1000, and promotion of methamphetamine manufacture and ordering his effective eight-year sentence into execution. The Defendant contends that the trial court abused its discretion by revoking his probation. We affirm the judgment of the trial court.

Lawrence County Court of Criminal Appeals 06/15/15
State of Tennessee v. Malik Hardin - dissenting opinion
E2014-00873-CCA-R3-CD
Authoring Judge: Judge D. Kelly Thomas, Jr.
Trial Court Judge: Judge Bob R. McGee

I respectfully disagree with the majority’s conclusion that the Defendant’s custodial arrest for criminal trespass was proper. The Defendant was arrested for criminal trespass based on the exception to the cite and release statute that allows for a custodial arrest for a misdemeanor when “[t]here is a reasonable likelihood that the offense would continue or resume . . . .” See Tenn. Code Ann. 40-7-118(c)(2). Because I do not believe that exception was properly applied in this case, I have concluded that the Defendant was subjected to a custodial arrest in violation of Tennessee Code Annotated 40-7-118(b)(1). Accordingly, I would not reach the Defendant’s second issue challenging the legality of the search of his vehicle following his arrest.

Knox County Court of Criminal Appeals 06/12/15
State of Tennessee v. Malik Hardin
E2014-00873-CCA-R3-CD
Authoring Judge: Judge James Curwood Witt, Jr.
Trial Court Judge: Judge Bob R. McGee

The defendant, Malik Hardin, pleaded guilty to possession with intent to sell less than 0.5 grams of cocaine in a drug free school zone, possession of a firearm during the commission of a dangerous felony, simple possession of a controlled substance, and criminal trespass. He received a total effective sentence of fifteen years to be served at 100 percent. As part of his guilty plea, the Defendant sought to reserve two certified questions of law: (1) whether the defendant's arrest for the offense of criminal trespass was “objectively reasonable” under the Fourth and Fourteenth Amendments to the United States Constitution and article I, section 7 of the Tennessee Constitution in light of the “cite and release” rule codified at Tennessee Code Annotated section 40-7-118(b)(1); and (2) whether the seizure of the Defendant's automobile was based upon reasonable suspicion that the automobile was or contained evidence or fruits of criminal activity, and whether there was “reasonable cause” to believe that impoundment was “reasonably necessary” under the circumstances. Following our review, we conclude that the defendant's custodial arrest for criminal trespass was not in contravention of Tennessee Code Annotated section 40-7-118 and that the trial court did not err in failing to suppress evidence seized subsequent to the defendant's arrest. The judgments of the trial court are, therefore, affirmed.

Knox County Court of Criminal Appeals 06/12/15
State of Tennessee v. Randy Wayne Johnson
E2014-01613-CCA-R3-CD
Authoring Judge: Judge Timothy L. Easter
Trial Court Judge: Judge Robert E. Cupp

Defendant, Randy Wayne Johnson, challenges the sufficiency of the evidence supporting his conviction for especially aggravated kidnapping. He argues that the kidnapping was merely incidental to the accompanying assault, of which he was also convicted. Because Defendant's conduct in committing the kidnapping constituted a separate and independent offense, there is sufficient evidence to support his conviction, and Defendant is not entitled to relief.

Carter County Court of Criminal Appeals 06/12/15
Andrew Mann v. State of Tennessee
E2014-01524-CCA-R3-PC
Authoring Judge: Judge D. Kelly Thomas, Jr.
Trial Court Judge: Judge Mary Beth Leibowitz

The Petitioner, Andrew Mann, appeals as of right from the Knox County Criminal Court’s denial of his petition for post-conviction relief. The Petitioner contends that he received ineffective assistance from his trial counsel due to trial counsel’s advice that he testify in his own defense. Discerning no error, we affirm the judgment of the post-conviction court.

Knox County Court of Criminal Appeals 06/12/15
Joshua Faulkner v. State of Tennessee
W2014-01572-CCA-R3-PC
Authoring Judge: Judge Robert W. Wedemeyer
Trial Court Judge: Judge James C. Beasley, Jr.

The Petitioner, Joshua Faulkner, pursuant to a plea agreement, pleaded guilty to aggravated burglary, employing a firearm during the commission of a dangerous felony, and aggravated assault, with a total effective sentence of ten years of incarceration. Thereafter, the Petitioner filed, pro se, a petition for post-conviction relief. Counsel was appointed and, after a hearing, the post-conviction court denied the petition. On appeal, the Petitioner maintains that Counsel was ineffective because he coerced the Petitioner into entering a guilty plea. After a thorough review of the record and relevant law, we affirm the post-conviction court’s judgment.

Shelby County Court of Criminal Appeals 06/11/15
State of Tennessee v. William C. Boles
M2014-01023-CCA-R3-CD
Authoring Judge: Judge James Curwood Witt, Jr.
Trial Court Judge: Judge David A. Patterson

The defendant, William C. Boles, appeals his Clay County Criminal Court jury convictions of two counts of the delivery of oxycodone, a Schedule II drug, in a drug-free school zone and one count of possession with the intent to sell oxycodone in a drug-free school zone, for which he received a total effective sentence of 60 years’ incarceration, claiming that the trial court erred by admitting certain evidence, that the evidence was insufficient to support his convictions, and that the trial court erred by imposing partially consecutive sentences.  Because we conclude that no error attends the convictions or sentences, the convictions and sentences are affirmed.  Because we detect error in the judgment forms, however, the case must be remanded to the trial court for the entry of corrected judgment forms reflecting the mandatory minimum period of incarceration as required by Tennessee Code Annotated section 39-17-432.

Clay County Court of Criminal Appeals 06/11/15
State of Tennessee v. Adam Dansby Frazier
M2014-01027-CCA-R3-CD
Authoring Judge: Judge James Curwood Witt, Jr.
Trial Court Judge: Judge Timothy L. Easter

The defendant, Adam Dansby Frazier, appeals his Hickman County Circuit Court jury convictions of attempted second degree murder, possession of contraband in a penal institution, aggravated assault, and facilitation of felony reckless endangerment, claiming that the evidence was insufficient to support his conviction of attempted second degree murder and that the trial court erred by impermissibly commenting upon the evidence at trial.  Discerning no error, we affirm.

Hickman County Court of Criminal Appeals 06/11/15
State of Tennessee v. Cody Lee Crawford
E2014-01868-CCA-R3-CD
Authoring Judge: Judge Timothy L. Easter
Trial Court Judge: Judge Donald Ray Elledge

Defendant, Cody Lee Crawford, challenges the trial court’s decision ordering him to register as a sex offender after he pled guilty to two counts of statutory rape. He argues that the trial court abused its discretion. The trial court did not abuse its discretion and Defendant is not entitled to relief. Accordingly, the judgments of the trial court are affirmed.

Anderson County Court of Criminal Appeals 06/10/15
Daniel David Eden v. State of Tennessee
M2014-00862-CCA-R3-PC
Authoring Judge: Judge Camille R. McMullen
Trial Court Judge: Judge Michael R. Jones

The Petitioner, Daniel David Eden, appeals as of right from the Robertson County Circuit Court’s summary dismissal of his petition for post-conviction relief, wherein he alleged that he received ineffective assistance of counsel at his probation revocation hearing.  The Petitioner contends that Young v. State, 101 S.W.3d 430 (Tenn. Crim. App. 2002), on which the post-conviction court relied in its summary dismissal, should be abrogated because it offends equal protection guarantees.  Upon review, we affirm the judgment of the post-conviction court.

Robertson County Court of Criminal Appeals 06/10/15
State of Tennessee v. Charles Rankin Zemp
E2014-01712-CCA-R3-CD
Authoring Judge: Judge D. Kelly Thomas, Jr.
Trial Court Judge: Judge Steven W. Sword

The Defendant, Charles Rankin Zemp, pled guilty to one count of driving under the influence (DUI), fourth or subsequent offense, a Class E felony, and one count of operating a motor vehicle after being declared a motor vehicle habitual offender (MVHO), a Class E felony. See Tenn. Code Ann. §§ 55-10-401, -402(a)(4), -616. The Defendant was sentenced as a Range III, persistent offender to four years for each count. The trial court ordered the Defendant’s sentences to be served consecutively, for a total effective sentence of eight years. In this appeal as of right, the Defendant contends that the trial court abused its discretion in ordering him to serve his sentences consecutively. Discerning no error, we affirm the judgments of the trial court.

Knox County Court of Criminal Appeals 06/10/15
Darien C. Houston v. State of Tennessee
E2014-02062-CCA-R3-PC
Authoring Judge: Judge D. Kelly Thomas, Jr.
Trial Court Judge: Judge Rebecca J. Stern

The Petitioner, Darien C. Houston, appeals as of right from the Hamilton County Criminal Court’s summary dismissal of his petition for post-conviction relief. The Petitioner contends that the post-conviction court erred in summarily dismissing his petition for post-conviction relief for having been untimely filed. Following our review, we affirm the judgment of the post-conviction court.

Hamilton County Court of Criminal Appeals 06/10/15
State of Tennessee v. Derek Gene Clark
E2014-01142-CCA-R3-CD
Authoring Judge: Judge Norma McGee Ogle
Trial Court Judge: Judge Richard R. Vance

The appellant, Derek Gene Clark, pled guilty in the Sevier County Circuit Court to aggravated domestic assault, a Class C felony; theft of property valued more than $1,000, a Class D felony; coercion of a witness, a Class D felony; and retaliation for past action, a Class E felony. Pursuant to the plea agreement, the trial court was to determine the length and manner of service of the sentences except that the appellant was to serve the sentences for the aggravated domestic assault and theft convictions concurrently. After a sentencing hearing, the trial court imposed an effective ten-year sentence in confinement. On appeal, the appellant contends that concurrent sentencing for his aggravated domestic assault and theft convictions is illegal because he was on bail for the theft when he committed the aggravated domestic assault, that the lengths and manner of service of his sentences are excessive, and that the trial court erred by ordering that the serve the sentences for coercion of a witness and retailiation for past action consecutively to the other two sentences. Based upon the record and the parties' briefs, we affirm the appellant's convictions and sentences but remand the case to the trial court for entry of corrected judgments.

Sevier County Court of Criminal Appeals 06/09/15
State of Tennessee v. Eric O. Turner
M2014-00597-CCA-R3-CD
Authoring Judge: Judge John Everett Williams
Trial Court Judge: Judge Dee David Gay

The defendant, Eric O. Turner, pled guilty to three counts of aggravated statutory rape, a Class D felony, and was sentenced as a persistent offender to nine years for each conviction, with one conviction to be served consecutively to the others for an effective sentence of eighteen years.  After pleading guilty, the defendant was immediately released on probation.  Within two weeks of the defendant’s release, a warrant was issued for a violation of the probationary terms after it was discovered that the defendant had been staying with his girlfriend who had minor children who were not biologically related to the defendant.  The trial court found that the defendant had violated the terms of his probation and consequently ordered him to serve the remainder of his sentence in prison. The defendant appeals the revocation of his probation, asserting that the trial court erred in its factual findings, that the defendant received insufficient notice of the basis for the revocation, that the trial court erred in not making written findings, and that the trial court erred in not considering sentencing alternatives.  Having reviewed the record, we conclude that the trial court did not abuse its discretion, and we affirm the judgments of the trial court.

Sumner County Court of Criminal Appeals 06/09/15
State of Tennessee v. William Jason Harris
M2014-00375-CCA-R3-CD
Authoring Judge: Presiding Judge Thomas T. Woodall
Trial Court Judge: Judge Franklin Lee Russell

A Bedford County Jury convicted Defendant, William Jason Harris, of promotion of methamphetamine manufacture, and Defendant pled guilty to failure to appear. He received consecutive sentences of twelve years for promotion of methamphetamine manufacture and six years for failure to appear to be served in confinement. On appeal, Defendant argues: (1) that the trial court erred by allowing the State to impeach his mother’s testimony with Defendant’s prior convictions; (2) that the trial court erred in allowing evidence of Defendant’s past use and manufacture of methamphetamine to rebut Defendant’s assertion that he was coerced and threatened into committing the offense of promotion of methamphetamine manufacture; (3) that the trial court improperly allowed the State to admit the “pseudoephedrine log” which contained Defendant’s past attempts to purchase pseudoephedrine; (4) the trial court did not fulfill its role as thirteenth juror, by allowing the jury’s verdict to stand; and (5) the trial court erroneously denied Defendant’s request for a sentence of community corrections. After a thorough review, we affirm the judgments of the trial court.

Bedford County Court of Criminal Appeals 06/09/15
State of Tennessee v. Marcus Smartt
M2014-01093-CCA-R3-CD
Authoring Judge: Judge John Everett Williams
Trial Court Judge: Judge David M. Bragg

A jury convicted the defendant, Marcus Smartt, of two counts of aggravated sexual battery, Class B felonies, and one count of solicitation of a minor to engage in aggravated sexual battery, a Class C felony.  The trial court sentenced the defendant to ten years’ imprisonment for each aggravated sexual battery conviction, to be served consecutively, and to five years for the solicitation conviction, to be served concurrently, for an effective sentence of twenty years.  On appeal, the defendant challenges the trial court’s denial of his motions for a mistrial and the trial court’s decision to admit evidence that he asserts is inadmissible propensity evidence.  He also alleges prosecutorial misconduct during closing argument.  After a thorough review of the record, we conclude that the trial court did not commit error on the grounds presented, and we affirm the defendant’s convictions for aggravated sexual battery. However, we conclude that the solicitation conviction must merge into one of the aggravated sexual battery convictions, and we remand for further proceedings in accordance with this opinion.

Rutherford County Court of Criminal Appeals 06/09/15
State of Tennessee v. James Gordon Freeman
M2014-02174-CCA-R3-CD
Authoring Judge: Judge James Curwood Witt, Jr.
Trial Court Judge: Judge Seth W. Norman

The defendant, James Gordon Freeman, appeals the summary dismissal of his motion, filed pursuant to Tennessee Rule of Criminal Procedure 36.1, to correct what he believes to be an illegal sentence.  Discerning no error, we affirm the summary dismissal of his motion.

Davidson County Court of Criminal Appeals 06/08/15
State of Tennessee v. Roy Allen Smith
M2014-01172-CCA-R3-CD
Authoring Judge: Judge John Everett Williams
Trial Court Judge: Judge Mitchell Keith Siskin

The defendant, Roy Allen Smith, was convicted after a jury trial of simple possession of a Schedule II controlled substance, a Class A misdemeanor; possession of a Schedule III controlled substance with the intent to manufacture, deliver, or sell, a Class D felony; maintaining a dwelling used for keeping or selling controlled substances, a Class D felony; and possession of drug paraphernalia, a Class A misdemeanor. The defendant received an effective twelve-year sentence, which was ordered to be served consecutively to the sentences of six prior convictions for which the defendant had been on probation at the time that the instant offenses were committed. On appeal, the defendant contends that the City of LaVergne did not have jurisdiction to investigate or prosecute the offenses because the crimes occurred outside the city limits. He also challenges the sufficiency of the convicting evidence and the order to serve his sentence consecutively to his prior convictions. After a thorough review of the record, we affirm the judgments of the trial court

Rutherford County Court of Criminal Appeals 06/08/15
State of Tennessee v. Donald Joseph Powell
M2014-001132-CCA-R3-CD
Authoring Judge: Judge Timothy L. Easter
Trial Court Judge: Judge Michael W. Binkley

Defendant, Donald Joseph Powell, was convicted at a bench trial of attempted aggravated burglary.  On appeal, he argues that the trial court erred in admitting evidence of prior aggravated burglaries committed by Defendant and that the testimony of his co-defendant was not sufficiently corroborated to sustain a verdict of guilt.  Upon thorough review of the record, we affirm the judgment of the trial court.

Williamson County Court of Criminal Appeals 06/08/15
State of Tennessee v. James E. Kenner
M2014-00613-CCA-R3-CD
Authoring Judge: Judge Norma McGee Ogle
Trial Court Judge: Judge J. Randall Wyatt, Jr.

The appellant, James E. Kenner, filed in the Davidson County Criminal Court a motion to correct an illegal sentence pursuant to Tennessee Rule of Criminal Procedure 36.1. The motion was summarily denied, and the appellant appealed this ruling. Upon review, we affirm the judgment of the trial court.

Davidson County Court of Criminal Appeals 06/05/15
Abbas Nejat v. State of Tennessee
M2014-01730-CCA-R3-PC
Authoring Judge: Judge Robert L. Holloway, Jr.
Trial Court Judge: Judge Steve R. Dozier

Abbas Nejat (“the Petitioner”) challenges the denial of his petition for post-conviction relief.  On appeal, the Petitioner argues that he received ineffective assistance of counsel when trial counsel failed to include the transcript of the Petitioner’s Rule 404(b) hearing in the record on direct appeal.  Upon review of the record, we conclude that the Petitioner’s challenge to admission of evidence about his membership in the Kurdish Pride Gang under Tennessee Rule of Evidence 404(b) is without merit.  Accordingly, the Petitioner has failed to show that he was prejudiced by trial counsel’s deficiency.  We affirm the judgment of the post-conviction court.

Davidson County Court of Criminal Appeals 06/05/15