Court of Criminal Appeals Opinions

Format: 02/27/2017
Format: 02/27/2017
Robert Keith Ward v. State of Tennessee
E2016-01110-CCA-R3-PC
Authoring Judge: Judge James Curwood Witt, Jr.
Trial Court Judge: Judge Rex Henry Ogle
The petitioner, Robert Keith Ward, appeals pro se from the summary dismissal of his 2016 petition for post-conviction relief, which challenged his 2004 conviction of aggravated rape. Because the petition was filed well beyond the applicable statute of limitations and because the petitioner failed to prove a statutory exception to the timely filing or a due process tolling of the statute of limitations, we affirm the judgment of the post-conviction court.
 
Sevier County Court of Criminal Appeals 01/05/17
State of Tennessee v. Edythe Christie
W2015-02485-CCA-R3-CD
Authoring Judge: Judge Timothy L. Easter
Trial Court Judge: Judge Donald H. Allen

Defendant, Edythe Christie, appeals her conviction of tampering with evidence. The trial court denied judicial diversion, sentencing Defendant to four years and six months, with all but 150 days of the sentence to be served on probation. On appeal, Defendant challenges the sufficiency of the evidence, the jury instruction on tampering with the evidence, and the denial of judicial diversion. Defendant also argues that juror bias violated her right to a fair trial and impartial jury. After a review of the issues, we determine that Defendant is not entitled to relief. Consequently, the judgment of the trial court is affirmed.

Madison County Court of Criminal Appeals 12/30/16
State of Tennessee v. Allen Glen Begley
E2016-00331-CCA-R3-CD
Authoring Judge: Judge D. Kelly Thomas, Jr.
Trial Court Judge: Judge James F. Goodwin, Jr.
The Defendant, Allen Glen Begley, appeals as of right from the Sullivan County
Criminal Court’s revocation of the balance of his two-year probationary sentence for
failure to appear. The Defendant submits that he was not afforded due process because
the violation affidavits, which listed the wrong case number, were “fatally defective.”
Following our review, we affirm the trial court’s revocation of the Defendant’s probation.
 
Sullivan County Court of Criminal Appeals 12/30/16
Bennie Osby v. State of Tennessee
W2015-02479-CCA-R3-PC
Authoring Judge: Judge Robert L. Holloway, Jr.
Trial Court Judge: Judge James C. Beasley, Jr.

Bennie Osby (“the Petitioner”) was convicted after a jury trial of especially aggravated kidnapping, attempted second degree murder, aggravated robbery, and employing a firearm during the commission of a felony. He sought post-conviction relief alleging ineffective assistance of counsel. The post-conviction court denied relief. On appeal, we affirm the judgment of the post-conviction court.

Shelby County Court of Criminal Appeals 12/29/16
State of Tennessee v. Ashanti Glass
E2015-01900-CCA-R3-CD
Authoring Judge: Judge Thomas T. Woodall
Trial Court Judge: Judge G. Scott Green

The defendant, Ashanti Glass, was sentenced to fifteen years in confinement after a jury found her guilty of aggravated child neglect pursuant to Tenn. Code Ann. § 39-15-402. On appeal, the defendant argues the evidence was insufficient to support her conviction. Following our review, we affirm the judgment of the trial court.

Knox County Court of Criminal Appeals 12/29/16
Richard L. Vowell v. State of Tennessee
E2016-00374-CCA-R3-PC
Authoring Judge: Judge D. Kelly Thomas, Jr.
Trial Court Judge: Judge Donald R. Elledge
The Petitioner, Richard L. Vowell, appeals from the Anderson County Circuit Court’s summary denial of his petition for post-conviction relief. The Petitioner contends that the post-conviction court erred in finding that his petition was untimely filed because the statute of limitations should have been tolled on due process grounds. Following our review, we affirm the judgment of the post-conviction court.
 
Anderson County Court of Criminal Appeals 12/29/16
State of Tennessee v. Elizabeth Gardenhire
M2015-01998-CCA-R3-CD
Authoring Judge: Judge Alan E. Glenn
Trial Court Judge: Judge David A. Patterson

Following a jury trial, the defendant, Elizabeth Gardenhire, was convicted of theft of property valuedat $1000 or more but less than $10,000, a Class D felony.  The trial court sentenced the defendant as a career offender to twelve years in the Department of Correction.  On appeal, the defendant challenges the sufficiency of the evidence, arguing that the State failed to establish that she acted knowingly or that the value of the property was $1000 or more.  Based upon our review, we affirm the judgment of the trial court.

White County Court of Criminal Appeals 12/29/16
State of Tennessee v. Jill Alyse Patrick
E2016-00741-CCA-R3-CD
Authoring Judge: Judge Timothy L. Easter
Trial Court Judge: Judge R. Jerry Beck
Defendant, Jill Alyse Patrick, appeals her conviction for facilitation of a violation of the sex offender registry as well as her resulting sentence of eleven months and twenty-nine days to be served on probation after the service of thirty days in incarceration. After a review of the evidence, we determine Defendant is not entitled to relief. However, a clerical error in the judgment requires our remand to the trial court for correction of the error. Accordingly, the judgment of the trial court is affirmed and remanded.
 
Sullivan County Court of Criminal Appeals 12/29/16
State of Tennessee v. Mario Jones
W2015-01646-CCA-R3-CD
Authoring Judge: Judge D. Kelly Thomas, Jr.
Trial Court Judge: Judge John W. Campbell

Following a jury trial, the Defendant, Mario Jones, was convicted of two counts of rape of a child involving two different victims. He now appeals as of right from those convictions challenging the sufficiency of the evidence, noting that there was no forensic evidence to bolster the victims' narratives and asserting that those narratives lacked credibility. Following our review, we conclude that the evidence was sufficient to support the Defendant's convictions. Therefore, the trial court's judgments are affirmed.

Shelby County Court of Criminal Appeals 12/28/16
Andrew Taylor v. State of Tennessee
W2016-00664-CCA-R3-PC
Authoring Judge: Judge John Everett Williams
Trial Court Judge: Judge Kyle Atkins

The Petitioner, Andrew Taylor, appeals the denial of his petition for post-conviction relief in which he challenged his guilty pleas to carjacking and aggravated robbery and his effective sentence of eight years in prison at eighty-five percent. On appeal, the Petitioner contends that he was denied his right to the effective assistance of counsel, which rendered his pleas unknowing and involuntary. We affirm the post-conviction court’s denial of relief.

Madison County Court of Criminal Appeals 12/28/16
State of Tennessee v. Justin T. Knox
W2016-00617-CCA-R3-CD
Authoring Judge: Judge Timothy L. Easter
Trial Court Judge: Judge Roy B. Morgan, Jr.

Petitioner, Justin T. Knox, appeals the trial court's dismissal of his “Motion to Correct Sentence Calculation.” The trial court found both sentences had expired and thus the motion was moot. Upon our review of the record, we affirm the judgment of the trial court.

Madison County Court of Criminal Appeals 12/28/16
State of Tennessee v. Joshua Johnson
E2016-00334-CCA-R3-CD
Authoring Judge: Judge James Curwood Witt, Jr.
Trial Court Judge: Judge James F. Goodwin

The defendant, Joshua Johnson, appeals his Sullivan County Criminal Court jury convictions of 34 counts of sexual exploitation of a minor, see T.C.A. § 39-17-1003, claiming that the trial court erred by refusing to suppress the defendant's pretrial statement to the police, that the evidence was insufficient to support his convictions, and that the four-year effective sentence is excessive. Discerning no error, we affirm.

Sullivan County Court of Criminal Appeals 12/28/16
State of Tennessee v. Darrell E. Childress
M2016-00799-CCA-R3-CD
Authoring Judge: Judge Robert W. Wedemeyer
Trial Court Judge: Judge Robert Jones

A Maury County jury convicted the Defendant, Darrell E. Childress, of Driving Under the Influence (“DUI”), fourth offense, and the trial court sentenced him to 150 days of incarceration followed by two years of supervised probation.  On appeal, the Defendant contends that: (1) the trial court erred when it allowed the State to impeach him with his prior conviction for public intoxication; (2) the trial court erred when it allowed the State to ask the arresting officer about the results of a field sobriety task; (3) the evidence is insufficient to sustain his conviction.  After review, we affirm the trial court’s judgment.

Maury County Court of Criminal Appeals 12/28/16
State of Tennessee v. Marty E. Hughes
E2015-01907-CCA-R3-CD
Authoring Judge: Judge Camille R. McMullen
Trial Court Judge: Judge Thomas J. Wright

The Defendant-Appellant, Marty E. Hughes, was convicted by a Hawkins County jury of two counts of aggravated assault. Although he was represented by appointed counsel at trial, Hughes signed a waiver of his right to appointed counsel prior to his sentencing hearing. He was subsequently sentenced as a Range III, persistent offender to concurrent sentences of ten and fifteen years for his convictions. Thereafter, Hughes filed a pro se notice of appeal before filing an untimely pro se motion for new trial. On appeal, Hughes argues: (1) the trial court violated his due process rights and committed plain error when it failed to expand the jury instruction on self-defense to include the rights of a person in a dwelling; (2) the evidence is insufficient to sustain his convictions for aggravated assault; (3) the trial court imposed an excessive sentence; and (4) his due process rights were violated when he proceeded to the sentencing hearing as a pro se defendant who was unaware and improperly advised of his right to file a motion for new trial. Because the record shows that Hughes did not knowingly, voluntarily, and intelligently waive his right to counsel prior to his sentencing hearing, we vacate the judgments of the trial court and remand the case for appointment of new counsel and a new sentencing hearing.

Hawkins County Court of Criminal Appeals 12/23/16
State of Tennessee v. Gerald E. Thomas, Jr.
E2016-00372-CCA-R3-CD
Authoring Judge: Judge Robert H. Montgomery, Jr.
Trial Court Judge: Judge Steven W. Sword
The Defendant, Gerald E. Thomas, Jr., pleaded guilty to two counts of aggravated assault, Class C felonies. See T.C.A. § 39-13-102 (2014). The trial court sentenced the Defendant to an effective seven years’ confinement. On appeal, the Defendant contends that the trial court erred by denying his request for alternative sentencing. We affirm the judgments of the trial court.
 
Knox County Court of Criminal Appeals 12/23/16
State of Tennessee v. Kathy Bell Noble
M2015-02288-CCA-R3-CD
Authoring Judge: Presiding Judge Thomas T. Woodall
Trial Court Judge: Judge Walter C. Kurtz

Following a jury trial, Defendant, Kathy Bell Noble, was convicted of driving on a suspended license, violation of the vehicle registration law, and failure to obey a traffic control device.  The trial court imposed a sentence of six months and the jury’s fine of $500 for driving on a suspended license and concurrent sentences of thirty days each for violation of the vehicle registration law and failure to obey a traffic control device.  Defendant was ordered to serve forty-eight hours for driving on a suspended license with the remainder of the sentence subject to supervised probation.  The thirty-day sentences for violation of the vehicle registration law and failure to obey a traffic control device were suspended.  On appeal, Defendant argues that the evidence was insufficient to support her convictions.  After a thorough review, we affirm the judgments of the trial court.

Williamson County Court of Criminal Appeals 12/22/16
State of Tennessee v. Travis Dewayne Melton
M2015-02421-CCA-R3-CD
Authoring Judge: Judge Robert L. Holloway
Trial Court Judge: Judge David A. Patterson

Travis Dewayne Melton (“the Defendant”) appeals his Overton County convictions for reckless homicide and assault, for which the Defendant received an effective sentence of four years’ incarceration.  The Defendant contends that: (1) the trial court erred by instructing the jury on lesser included offenses when the Defendant requested that the trial court not charge any lesser included offenses; (2) his dual convictions for assault and reckless homicide violated double jeopardy principles; and (3) the evidence was insufficient to support his convictions.  After a thorough review, we affirm the judgments of the trial court.

Overton County Court of Criminal Appeals 12/22/16
Gai D. Kuot v. State of Tennessee
M2016-00485-CCA-R3-PC
Authoring Judge: Judge Robert W. Wedemeyer
Trial Court Judge: Judge Monte Watkins

A Davidson County jury convicted the Petitioner, Gai D. Kuot, of first degree premeditated murder, first degree felony murder, and especially aggravated robbery.  On appeal, this Court affirmed his convictions and sentence.  State v. Gai D. Kuot, No. M2012-01884-R3-CD, 2013 WL 4539020, at *1 (Tenn. Crim. App., at Nashville, Aug. 26, 2013), perm. app. denied (Tenn. Dec. 11, 2013).  The Petitioner filed a petition for post-conviction relief in which he alleged that he had received the ineffective assistance of counsel because his trial counsel had failed to obtain a translator to explain to him his rights.  After a hearing, the post-conviction court denied the petition.  We affirm the post-conviction court’s judgment.

Davidson County Court of Criminal Appeals 12/21/16
Martez D. Matthews v. State of Tennessee
M2015-02422-CCA-R3-PC
Authoring Judge: Judge Robert W. Wedemeyer
Trial Court Judge: Judge Mark J. Fishburn

A Davidson County jury convicted the Petitioner, Martez D. Matthews, of first degree felony murder, and a life sentence was imposed.  On appeal, this Court affirmed the trial court’s judgments.  See Deangelo M. Moody and Martez D. Matthews, No. M2011-01930-CCA-R3-CD, 2013 WL 1932718, at *1 (Tenn. Crim. App., at Nashville, May 9, 2013), perm. app. denied (Tenn. Oct. 17, 2013).  Subsequently, the Petitioner filed a petition for writ of error coram nobis, which the trial court denied.  On appeal, this Court affirmed the trial court’s denial of relief.  See Martez D. Matthews v. State, No. M2014-01663-CCA-R3-ECN, 2015 WL 3814164, at *1 (Tenn. Crim. App., at Nashville, June 19, 2015), perm. app. denied (Tenn. Oct. 15. 2015).  The Petitioner also filed a post-conviction petition, and the post-conviction court denied relief following a hearing.  On appeal, the Petitioner maintains that he received the ineffective assistance of counsel and that his sentence is unconstitutional pursuant to Miller v. Alabama, 132 S. Ct. 2455, 2464 (2012).  After review, we affirm the post-conviction court’s judgment.

Davidson County Court of Criminal Appeals 12/21/16
State of Tennessee v. Daniel McCaig
W2015-01842-CCA-R3-CD
Authoring Judge: Presiding Judge Thomas T. Woodall
Trial Court Judge: Judge R. Lee Moore, Jr.

Following a jury trial in the Dyer County Circuit Court, Defendant, Daniel McCaig, was found guilty of misdemeanor theft. Defendant appeals this conviction. The theft charge was in Circuit Court by virtue of Defendant’s appeal from a conviction for the offense following a bench trial in the Dyersburg Municipal Court. The Dyersburg Municipal Court also partially revoked Defendant’s probation in an unrelated offense. Defendant appealed both judgments to the Circuit Court for de novo review. Defendant was sentenced by the Circuit Court to serve 11 months and 29 days in the Dyer County Jail for the theft conviction. The Circuit Court judge (hereinafter “trial judge”) also revoked his probation on the other case and ordered him to serve that sentence concurrently with the sentence for theft. Defendant has also appealed to this court the revocation of probation. In this appeal, Defendant raises the following issues for our review: 1) the evidence was insufficient to support his theft conviction; and 2) his due process rights were violated by the State’s failure to provide written notice of the allegation against him which was the basis for the trial court’s revocation of probation. Having reviewed the record and the briefs of the parties, we conclude that the evidence was sufficient to support Defendant’s conviction for theft. We also conclude that the written notice to Defendant of his probation violation did not include the theft charge, and therefore, that ground cannot be a basis to revoke probation. Furthermore, the trial court failed to base its decision on a de novo review. Therefore, we affirm Defendant’s theft conviction and reverse the trial court’s revocation of Defendant’s probation, and dismiss the probation violation warrant.

Dyer County Court of Criminal Appeals 12/19/16
State of Tennessee v. Timothy Andrew Bishop
M2015-00314-CCA-R3-CD
Authoring Judge: Judge John Everett Williams
Trial Court Judge: Judge Steve R. Dozier

The Defendant, Timothy Andrew Bishop, appeals his convictions for two counts of child abuse, a Class D felony.  The Defendant challenges the trial court’s admission of lay opinion testimony from a detective regarding the victim’s bruises, the prosecutor’s statements during closing argument, and the admission of a hearsay statement under the then existing state of mind exception. He also asserts on appeal that the trial court erred in admitting, under the excited utterance exception to the rule against hearsay, the victim’s statements at school that the Defendant was responsible for his bruises.  After a thorough review, we conclude that the hearsay statements admitted as excited utterances were admitted in error and that the error was not harmless.  Accordingly, we reverse and remand for a new trial.

Davidson County Court of Criminal Appeals 12/16/16
Maurice Dotson v. State of Tennessee
W2016-00344-CCA-R3-PC
Authoring Judge: Judge Norma McGee Ogle
Trial Court Judge: Judge Roy B. Morgan, Jr.

The Petitioner, Maurice Dotson, appeals the Madison County Circuit Court's denial of his petition for post-conviction relief from his convictions of possessing marijuana with intent to sell and deliver, possessing a firearm during the commission of a dangerous felony, possessing drug paraphernalia, and theft of property valued under five hundred dollars and resulting effective eleven-year sentence. On appeal, the Petitioner contends that his guilty pleas were involuntary and that he received the ineffective assistance of counsel. Based upon the record and the parties' briefs, we affirm the judgment of the post-conviction court.

Madison County Court of Criminal Appeals 12/15/16
Larry Hunt v. State of Tennessee
W2015-01836-CCA-R3-PC
Authoring Judge: Judge Robert H. Montgomery, Jr.
Trial Court Judge: Judge Glenn Wright

The Petitioner, Larry Hunt, appeals the Shelby County Criminal Court's denial of his petition for post-conviction relief from his aggravated robbery, aggravated kidnapping, and aggravated rape convictions, for which he is serving an effective thirty-two-year sentence. He contends that he received the ineffective assistance of counsel. We affirm the judgment of the post-conviction court.

Shelby County Court of Criminal Appeals 12/15/16
State of Tennessee v. Jakeil Malik Waller
W2015-02361-CCA-R3-CD
Authoring Judge: Judge Robert L. Holloway, Jr.
Trial Court Judge: Judge Donald H. Allen

In December 2014, the Madison County Grand Jury indicted Jakeil Malik Waller (“the Defendant”) and the Defendant’s brother, Jernigal Blackwell, for second degree murder and aggravated assault. Following a trial, a jury convicted the Defendant of second degree murder and felony reckless endangerment, as a lesser included offense of aggravated assault, and the trial court sentenced the Defendant to an effective sentence of twenty-seven years’ incarceration. On appeal, the Defendant contends that: (1) the evidence was insufficient to support his conviction for second degree murder; (2) the prosecutor committed misconduct during closing argument; and (3) the trial court abused its discretion by admitting two photographs of the victim that were not relevant to any issue at trial. Upon review, we affirm the judgments of the trial court.

Madison County Court of Criminal Appeals 12/15/16
Charles T. Hartley v. State of Tennessee
E2015-01445-CCA-R3-PC
Authoring Judge: Judge Thomas T. Woodall
Trial Court Judge: Judge Donald Ray Elledge

The petitioner, Charles T. Hartley, appeals the denial of his petition for post-conviction relief. The petitioner, originally indicted for rape of a child, entered an Alford plea to the lesser offense of attempted aggravated sexual battery and received a sentence of ten years to be served on supervised probation. The petitioner filed a petition for post-conviction relief arguing: (1) the judgments in his case were illegal because they did not reflect the sentence of mandatory supervision for life; and (2) he received ineffective assistance of counsel. The post-conviction court dismissed the petition finding that it was barred by the statute of limitations and also ruled that if an appellate court concluded that the petition was not barred, that the petitioner received effective assistance of counsel. On appeal, the petitioner argues that the trial court erred when it dismissed his petition. Following our review, the judgment of the post-conviction court is affirmed.

Anderson County Court of Criminal Appeals 12/15/16