Court of Criminal Appeals Opinions

Format: 04/18/2015
Format: 04/18/2015
Everett Spencer Barnette v. State of Tennessee
E2014-00902-CCA-R3-CD
Authoring Judge: Judge D. Kelly Thomas, Jr.
Trial Court Judge: Judge Robert H. Montgomery, Jr.

The Defendant, Everett Spencer Barnette, appeals as of right from the Sullivan County Criminal Court’s denial of his motion to withdraw his nolo contendere pleas. The Defendant contends (1) that he received ineffective assistance from his trial counsel; and (2) that his pleas were not knowingly, voluntarily, and understandingly entered. Following our review, we conclude that the Defendant’s pleas were not knowingly, voluntarily, and understandingly entered. Accordingly, we reverse the judgments of the trial court and remand the case to the trial court for further proceedings consistent with this opinion.

Sullivan County Court of Criminal Appeals 02/13/15
State of Tennessee v. Thearon Antonio Grambling
E2014-00248-CCA-R3-CD
Authoring Judge: Norma McGee Ogle
Trial Court Judge: Judge Tammy Harrington

A Blount County Circuit Court Jury convicted the appellant, Thearon Antonio Grambling, of statutory rape by an authority figure and incest; the victim of both offenses was his fifteenyear- old daughter. The trial court imposed concurrent sentences of four years and six months in the Tennessee Department of Correction. On appeal, the appellant contends that the evidence is not sufficient to sustain his convictions. Upon review, we affirm the judgments of the trial court.

Blount County Court of Criminal Appeals 02/12/15
Keith Edward Clements v. State of Tennessee
M2014-00751-CCA-R3-PC
Authoring Judge: Judge Alan E. Glenn
Trial Court Judge: Judge David M. Bragg

The petitioner, Keith Edward Clements, appeals the post-conviction court’s denial of his petition for post-conviction relief from his four aggravated burglary guilty plea convictions.  On appeal, he argues that he received ineffective assistance of counsel, but for which he would have elected to take his case to trial.  After review, we affirm the denial of the petition.

Rutherford County Court of Criminal Appeals 02/12/15
State of Tennessee v. Rhakim Martin
W2013-02013-CCA-R3-CD
Authoring Judge: Judge Alan E. Glenn
Trial Court Judge: Judge Chris Craft

The defendant, Rhakim Martin, was convicted by a Shelby County Criminal Court jury of carjacking, a Class B felony, and employment of a firearm during the commission of a dangerous felony, a Class C felony, and was sentenced to an effective term of sixteen years in the Tennessee Department of Correction. On appeal, he argues that: (1) his conviction for employing a firearm during a dangerous felony violates the terms of Tennessee Code Annotated section 39-17-1324(c) and the prohibitions against double jeopardy; (2) the failure to name the predicate felony in the indictment for employment of a firearm during the commission of a dangerous felony voids the conviction; (3) the trial court erred in denying his motion to suppress the victim’s identification of him; (4) the evidence is insufficient to sustain his convictions; and (5) the trial court committed plain error by failing to charge the jury on possession of a firearm during the commission of a dangerous felony as a lesserincluded offense of employing a firearm during the commission of a dangerous felony. After review, we affirm the judgments of the trial court.

Shelby County Court of Criminal Appeals 02/10/15
State of Tennessee v. Norman McDowell
W2014-00301-CCA-R3-CD
Authoring Judge: Judge Roger A. Page
Trial Court Judge: Judge Chris Craft

Appellant, Norman McDowell, was convicted of aggravated robbery, a Class B felony; two counts of aggravated rape, Class A felonies; and aggravated statutory rape, a Class D felony. The trial court merged appellant’s aggravated rape convictions and sentenced appellant to an effective twenty-two-year sentence. On appeal, appellant argues that the evidence at trial was insufficient to support his aggravated rape and aggravated robbery convictions. Following our review of the briefs, the record, and the applicable law, we reduce one of appellant’s merged aggravated rape convictions to rape, affirm the trial court’s judgments as modified, and remand to the trial court for a new sentencing hearing.

Shelby County Court of Criminal Appeals 02/10/15
State of Tennessee v. Kerry Randall Meadows
M2013-01650-CCA-R3-CD
Authoring Judge: Presiding Judge Thomas T. Woodall
Trial Court Judge: Judge Seth W. Norman

Defendant, Kerry Randall Meadows, entered a guilty plea to driving while being an habitual motor vehicle offender pursuant to a negotiated plea agreement and properly reserved a certified question of law for appeal.  The precise issue, as reserved, is “[w]hether reasonable suspicion or probable caused existed to stop and seize [Defendant’s] vehicle based on incorrect information contained in the police database?”  After thorough review we affirm the judgment of the trial court.

Davidson County Court of Criminal Appeals 02/10/15
State of Tennessee v. Marisa Shrum
E2014-00954-CCA-R3-CD
Authoring Judge: Judge John Everett Williams
Trial Court Judge: Judge David R. Duggan

The defendant, Marisa Ann Shrum, appeals the sentencing decision of the trial court following the revocation of her probationary sentence. The defendant pled guilty to two counts of prescription drug fraud and one count of failure to appear. Pursuant to the plea agreement, she received an effective sentence of five years, with sixty days to be served in confinement, sixty days to be served on consecutive weekends, and the balance on supervised probation. A violation report was subsequently filed and, following a hearing, the trial court revoked the defendant’s probation and ordered that the balance of the sentence be served in confinement. On appeal, the defendant does not contest the revocation of her probation, but she argues that the trial court erred in ordering total confinement. Following review of the record, we conclude no error occurred and affirm the decision of the trial court.

Blount County Court of Criminal Appeals 02/10/15
State of Tennessee v. Bradley Douglas Parker
M2013-02620-CCA-R3-CD
Authoring Judge: Presiding Judge Thomas T. Woodall
Trial Court Judge: Judge Timothy L. Easter

Defendant, Bradley Douglas Parker, was indicted by the Hickman County Grand Jury for one count of aggravated child abuse, a Class A felony, and one count of aggravated child neglect, also a Class A felony.  Both charges involved the same incident and victim.  Subsequently, the State announced that it was unable to prove serious bodily injury of the victim and moved the trial court to dismiss the count of aggravated child abuse and to amend the count charging aggravated child neglect to charge the Class D felony offense of child neglect of a child less than eight years of age.  Immediately, Defendant pled guilty to the Class D felony offense of child neglect.  The parties agreed Defendant would be sentenced as a Range I standard offender, with the length and manner of service of the sentence to be determined by the trial court following a sentencing hearing.  The trial court imposed a sentence of three years to be served by split confinement comprised of thirty days’ incarceration in the county jail followed by three years’ probation.  Defendant appeals, arguing that the trial court should have granted judicial diversion or in the alternative imposed a three-year sentence totally suspended to be served on probation.  After a thorough review, we affirm the judgment of the trial court.

Hickman County Court of Criminal Appeals 02/10/15
State of Tennessee v. Latonya Shanta Bowman
E2014-01153-CCA-R3-CD
Authoring Judge: Judge D. Kelly Thomas, Jr.
Trial Court Judge: Judge Mary Beth Leibowitz

The Defendant, Latonya Shanta Bowman, appeals as of right from the Knox County Criminal Court’s order revoking her probation and ordering that she serve the remainder of her sentence in confinement. The Defendant contends that the trial court erred by revoking her probation “without considering alternative sentencing options.” Discerning no error, we affirm the judgment of the trial court.

Knox County Court of Criminal Appeals 02/10/15
State of Tennessee v. Ephraim J. Nielsen
E2014-00038-CCA-R3-CD
Authoring Judge: Judge Robert L. Holloway
Trial Court Judge: Judge Rex H. Ogle

After entering a conditional guilty plea to robbery pursuant to Tennessee Code Annotated section 40-35-313, Ephraim J. Nielsen (“the defendant”) was arrested on charges of burglary, vandalism over $1,000, and theft of property valued over $1,000 but less than $10,000. Based upon the new charges, his probation officer filed a probation violation warrant against him. After a hearing, the trial court revoked the Defendant’s probation and ordered him to serve the balance of his sentence. In this appeal, the Defendant argues that his probation should not have been revoked because the State did not offer proof of every element of the new charges against him. We affirm the judgment of the trial court.

Sevier County Court of Criminal Appeals 02/09/15
State of Tennessee v. Derick D. Armstrong
E2014-00888-CCA-R3-CD
Authoring Judge: Judge John Everett Williams
Trial Court Judge: Judge Steven Wayne Sword

The defendant, Derick D. Armstrong, was convicted of one count of attempted voluntary manslaughter, a Class D felony, and one count of employment of a firearm during the attempted commission of a felony, a Class C felony. On appeal, the defendant challenges the sufficiency of the evidence supporting his convictions. After thoroughly reviewing the record, the briefs of the parties, and the applicable law, we affirm the judgments of the trial court.

Knox County Court of Criminal Appeals 02/09/15
State of Tennessee v. Ashley Bradshaw-Concurring
W2014-00175-CCA-R3-CD
Authoring Judge: Judge James Curwood Witt, Jr.
Trial Court Judge: Judge J. Robert Carter, Jr.

I concur in the excellent opinion presented by the majority. I write separately to express a view concerning the effectuation of mergers of verdicts. The theory of merger in cases in which multiple verdicts of guilty reflect alternative theories of offending is predicated upon the distinction between a verdict of guilty, on the one hand, and a conviction, on the other.

Shelby County Court of Criminal Appeals 02/09/15
State of Tennessee v. Ashley Bradshaw
W2014-00175-CCA-R3-CD
Authoring Judge: Judge Roger A. Page
Trial Court Judge: Judge J. Robert Carter, Jr.

Appellant, Ashley Bradshaw, was convicted by a jury of three counts of aggravated child abuse, three counts of aggravated child neglect, and three counts of aggravated child endangerment. The trial court merged the convictions into one count of aggravated child abuse and sentenced appellant to twenty years in the Tennessee Department of Correction. On appeal, appellant argues that the evidence was insufficient to support her convictions. Following our review, we affirm the judgment of the trial court but remand for the trial court to clarify on the judgment sheets that the judgments have been merged into the first count.

Shelby County Court of Criminal Appeals 02/09/15
Jason Shawn Cunningham v. State of Tennessee
M2014-00380-CCA-R3-PC
Authoring Judge: Judge John Everett Williams
Trial Court Judge: Judge Seth W. Norman

On June 29, 2011, the petitioner entered guilty pleas to several offenses, including one count of the possession of 300 grams or more of cocaine, a Class A felony, and two counts of money laundering, Class B felonies.  The petitioner received an effective twenty-year sentence for these crimes.  The petitioner’s total effective sentence was forty-one years, twenty-one of which were for crimes not at issue in this appeal.  The petitioner filed a timely post-conviction petition, challenging his convictions for possession of over 300 grams of cocaine and two counts of money laundering on the basis that his trial counsel was deficient for failing to investigate these cases and that his trial counsel was operating under a conflict of interest when he represented the petitioner in the pleas.  The post-conviction court denied relief.  Because we conclude that trial counsel did not have an actual conflict of interest, that trial counsel’s performance was not deficient, that there was no showing of prejudice, and that the pleas were knowing and voluntary, we affirm the judgment of the post-conviction court.

Davidson County Court of Criminal Appeals 02/09/15
State of Tennessee v. Jay Herman Sanders
M2014-00346-CCA-R3-CD
Authoring Judge: Judge Robert L. Holloway
Trial Court Judge: Judge Thomas W. Graham

The Defendant, Jay Herman Sanders, appeals from the trial court’s denial of an alternative sentence and order to pay $250,000 in restitution.  He argues that the trial court abused its discretion when it sentenced him to 10 years in the Department of Correction and claims that the trial court failed to consider his future ability to pay restitution.  After a review of the record and the applicable law, we affirm the judgment of the trial court.

Marion County Court of Criminal Appeals 02/09/15
State of Tennessee v. Deshawn Mancill
E2014-00278-CCA-R3-CD
Authoring Judge: Judge Norma McGee Ogle
Trial Court Judge: Judge Steven W. Sword

The appellant, Deshawn Mahon Mancill, was convicted by a jury in the Knox County Criminal Court of possession of heroin with the intent to sell or deliver. The trial court sentenced the appellant as a Range II, multiple offender to sixteen years in the Tennessee Department of Correction. On appeal, the appellant challenges the sufficiency of the evidence supporting his conviction. Upon review, we affirm the judgment of the trial court.

Knox County Court of Criminal Appeals 02/06/15
State of Tennessee v. Joshua Edward Kilgore
E2014-01208-CCA-R3-CD
Authoring Judge: Judge Robert H. Montgomery, Jr.
Trial Court Judge: Judge Barry A. Steelman

The Defendant, Joshua Edward Kilgore, appeals the Hamilton County Criminal Court’s order revoking his probation for his conviction for violating the sex offender registry requirements and ordering his four-year sentence into execution. The Defendant contends that the trial court abused its discretion. We affirm the judgment of the trial court.

Hamilton County Court of Criminal Appeals 02/06/15
Kenneth Ray Jobe v. State of Tennessee
W2014-00997-CCA-R3-PC
Authoring Judge: Judge D. Kelly Thomas Jr.
Trial Court Judge: Judge R. Lee Moore Jr.

The Petitioner, Kenneth Ray Jobe, appeals as of right from the Dyer County Circuit Court’s denial of his petition for post-conviction relief. In this appeal, the Petitioner contends that he received ineffective assistance of counsel based upon trial counsel’s failure: (1) to communicate the amount of restitution that was included as a part of his guilty plea; (2) to file a motion to vacate his plea; and (3) to effectively communicate with him. Discerning no error, we affirm the judgment of the post-conviction court.

Dyer County Court of Criminal Appeals 02/06/15
State of Tennessee v. Tyler Young
W2013-01591-CCA-R3-CD
Authoring Judge: Judge Roger A. Page
Trial Court Judge: Judge Chris Craft

Appellant, Tyler Young, was convicted by a Shelby County jury of aggravated burglary, employing a firearm during the commission of a dangerous felony, and two counts of attempted aggravated robbery. The trial court ordered him to serve an effective sentence of fourteen years in the Tennessee Department of Correction. On appeal, he challenges the sufficiency of the evidence supporting his convictions for employing a firearm during the commission of a dangerous felony and attempted aggravated robbery and argues that the trial court erred in its sentencing. Following our review, we affirm the judgments of the trial court.

Shelby County Court of Criminal Appeals 02/06/15
State of Tennessee v. Jared Booth Spang
M2014-00468-CCA-R3-CD
Authoring Judge: Judge Robert L. Holloway
Trial Court Judge: Judge Steve R. Dozier

Jared Booth Spang (“the Defendant”) was indicted for voluntary manslaughter and aggravated assault.  The Defendant pleaded guilty to the lesser-included offense of reckless homicide.  Pursuant to a written plea agreement signed by the Defendant and the State, the State agreed it would take no position at the sentencing hearing as to whether the sentence would be deferred pursuant to Tennessee Code Annotated section 40-35-313.  At the sentencing hearing, the State argued against deferral, stating that “a permanent conviction is necessary [so as] not to depreciate the seriousness of this crime.”  The trial court sentenced the Defendant to three years probation and denied deferral, concluding “there is something permanent about death” and “there should be something permanent about . . . this conviction.”  We conclude that the State breached the plea agreement.  We, therefore, reverse and remand for a new sentencing hearing.

Davidson County Court of Criminal Appeals 02/06/15
State of Tennessee v. Jasper Clayton
W2014-00517-CCA-R3-CD
Authoring Judge: Judge Roger A. Page
Trial Court Judge: Judge Paula Skahan

Appellant, Jasper Clayton, pleaded guilty to facilitation of aggravated robbery. The trial court granted him judicial diversion for a three-year period. The State petitioned the court to revoke appellant’s judicial diversion, and after a hearing, the trial court granted the State’s request, revoking appellant’s judicial diversion and sentencing him to three years’ incarceration. On appeal, appellant contends that the State failed to comply with due process notice requirements and that the trial court abused its discretion by revoking his diversion. Following our review, we affirm the judgment of the trial court.

Shelby County Court of Criminal Appeals 02/05/15
State of Tennesse v. Jasper Clayton
W2014-00517-CCA-R3-CD
Authoring Judge: Judge Roger A. Page
Trial Court Judge: Judge Paula Skahan

Appellant, Jasper Clayton, pleaded guilty to facilitation of aggravated robbery. The trial court granted him judicial diversion for a three-year period. The State petitioned the court to revoke appellant’s judicial diversion, and after a hearing, the trial court granted the State’s request, revoking appellant’s judicial diversion and sentencing him to three years’ incarceration. On appeal, appellant contends that the State failed to comply with due process notice requirements and that the trial court abused its discretion by revoking his diversion. Following our review, we affirm the judgment of the trial court.

Shelby County Court of Criminal Appeals 02/05/15
State of Tennessee v. Terrance Johnson
W2013-02449-CCA-R3-CD
Authoring Judge: Judge Roger A. Page
Trial Court Judge: Judge Chris B. Craft

Appellant, Terrance Johnson, was convicted by a jury of second degree murder, employing a firearm during the commission of a dangerous felony, and burglary of an automobile. The trial court sentenced him to seventeen years for the murder conviction, six years for the firearm conviction, and one year for the burglary conviction for a total effective sentence of twenty-three years. On appeal, appellant argues that the armed dangerous felonies statute, Tennessee Code Annotated section 39-17-1324, does not list second degree murder as a dangerous felony in subsection 1324(i)(1) and that therefore (1) his conviction for employing a firearm during the commission of a dangerous felony cannot stand and (2) the trial court erred in its jury instructions with regard to this charge. The State concedes error and requests that this court reverse and dismiss the firearm conviction. Following our review, we reverse and dismiss appellant’s conviction for employing a firearm during the commission of a dangerous felony. We affirm the trial court’s judgments in all other respects.

Shelby County Court of Criminal Appeals 02/05/15
State of Tennessee v. Monterious Bell
W2013-01592-CCA-R3-CD
Authoring Judge: Judge James Curwood Witt Jr.
Trial Court Judge: Judge James C. Beasley Jr.

The defendant, Monterious Bell, appeals his Shelby County Criminal Court jury conviction of aggravated burglary, claiming that the evidence was insufficient to support his conviction. Discerning no error, we affirm.

Shelby County Court of Criminal Appeals 02/05/15
Lamario Hill v. State of Tennessee
W2013-02557-CCA-R3-PC
Authoring Judge: Judge Camille R. McMullen
Trial Court Judge: Judge Glenn I. Wright

The Petitioner, Lemario Hill, appeals the Shelby County Criminal Court’s denial of postconviction relief from his convictions for first degree felony murder, attempted especially aggravated robbery, and aggravated assault. On appeal, he contends he received ineffective assistance of counsel based on counsel’s failure (1) to present a jury nullification defense or any other defense strategy, (2) to promptly investigate his case, and (3) to adequately communicate with him regarding his defense. Upon review, we affirm the denial of postconviction relief.

Shelby County Court of Criminal Appeals 02/05/15