Court of Criminal Appeals Opinions

Format: 09/20/2020
Format: 09/20/2020
State of Tennessee v. Michael William Shavers
E2019-01558-CCA-R3-CD
Authoring Judge: Judge James Curwood Witt, Jr.
Trial Court Judge: Judge Thomas C. Greenholtz

The defendant, Michael William Shavers, appeals the Hamilton County Criminal Court’s order revoking his probation and ordering him to serve the balance of the 10-year effective sentence for his guilty-pleaded convictions of attempted second degree murder in confinement. Discerning no error, we affirm.

Hamilton County Court of Criminal Appeals 07/07/20
Quinton A. Cage v. State of Tennessee
M2019-01888-CCA-R3-HC
Authoring Judge: Judge Timothy L. Easter
Trial Court Judge: Judge Amanda Jane McClendon

Petitioner, Quinton A. Cage, appeals the denial of his petition for habeas corpus relief in which he argues that he was deprived of a fair trial. Because we determine that Petitioner has failed to file a timely notice of appeal or provide a reason as to why the timely filing of the notice of appeal should be waived, the appeal is dismissed.

Davidson County Court of Criminal Appeals 07/06/20
Dwight Michael Alston v. State of Tennessee
W2019-00930-CCA-R3-PC
Authoring Judge: Presiding Judge John Everett Williams
Trial Court Judge: Judge Joe H. Walker, III

The Petitioner, Dwight Michael Alston, appeals the post-conviction court’s denial of his petition for post-conviction relief in which he challenged his conviction for first degree premeditated murder. The Petitioner maintains that trial counsel was ineffective for advising him not to testify and for failing to investigate and raise issues regarding the competence of the Petitioner’s son. Additionally, the Petitioner asserts that the postconviction court erred in finding that appellate counsel was ineffective for failing to raise issues on appeal that were included in the motion for new trial. The Petitioner also argues that the post-conviction court erred in not allowing a continuance or bifurcated hearing so that appellate counsel could be present to testify. After a thorough review of the record and applicable law, we affirm the judgment of the post-conviction court.

Tipton County Court of Criminal Appeals 07/02/20
Miguel Saenz v. State of Tennessee
W2019-01665-CCA-R3-PC
Authoring Judge: Judge J. Ross Dyer
Trial Court Judge: Judge James M. Lammey

The petitioner, Miguel Saenz, appeals the dismissal of his post-conviction petition, arguing the post-conviction court erred in dismissing the petition as time-barred. Following our review, we affirm the post-conviction court’s dismissal of the petition.

Shelby County Court of Criminal Appeals 07/02/20
State of Tennessee v. Bryan James Cooke
M2019-01164-CCA-R3-CD
Authoring Judge: Judge John Everett Williams
Trial Court Judge: Judge Larry B. Stanley, Jr.

The Defendant, Bryan James Cooke, challenges his effective sentence of two consecutive terms of life imprisonment without the possibility of parole resulting from his convictions of two counts of first degree premeditated murder, two counts of felony murder, two counts of aggravated burglary, and a theft offense. Both the Defendant’s motion for a new trial and his notice of appeal were filed over one year after the entry of the judgment forms, and the Defendant has given no explanation of the untimely filings. Accordingly, we dismiss the appeal.

Warren County Court of Criminal Appeals 07/02/20
Leonel Lopez v. State of Tennessee
M2019-00683-CCA-R3-PC
Authoring Judge: Judge Timothy L. Easter
Trial Court Judge: Judge Jennifer Smith

A Davidson County grand jury indicted Petitioner, Leonel Lopez, for first degree murder. After a jury trial, Petitioner was convicted of second degree murder. Petitioner received a twenty-year sentence. This Court upheld Petitioner’s conviction on appeal. State v. Lopez, 440 S.W.3d 601 (Tenn. Crim. App. 2014). Petitioner filed a pro se petition for post-conviction relief arguing that he received ineffective assistance of counsel, that the prosecution failed to disclose exculpatory evidence, that the State engaged in prosecutorial misconduct, and that the trial court made various errors. After two hearings, the post-conviction court denied relief. After reviewing the record, we affirm the judgment of the post-conviction court.

Davidson County Court of Criminal Appeals 07/02/20
Kenneth Darrin Fisher v. State of Tennessee
E2019-01816-CCA-R3-PC
Authoring Judge: Judge J. Ross Dyer
Trial Court Judge: Judge Donald Ray Elledge

The petitioner, Kenneth Darrin Fisher, appeals the denial of his post-conviction petition, arguing the post-conviction court erred in finding he received the effective assistance of counsel at trial and on appeal. Specifically, the petitioner asserts trial counsel was ineffective for failing to properly prepare the petitioner to testify at trial; failing to object to the State’s assertion that the gun found in the petitioner’s vehicle was an “assault rifle;” failing to object to the admission of the unredacted video of the petitioner’s police interview; and failing to appeal the trial court’s admission of Ms. Burchett’s recorded preliminary hearing testimony. The petitioner also asserts he was deprived due process when the post-conviction court sustained the State’s objection regarding Ms. Green’s testimony. After our review of the record, briefs, and applicable law, we affirm the denial of the petition.

Anderson County Court of Criminal Appeals 07/01/20
State of Tennessee v. Carlton Smith
E2019-01532-CCA-R3-CD
Authoring Judge: Judge J. Ross Dyer
Trial Court Judge: Judge Bobby R. McGee

A Knox County jury convicted the defendant, Carlton Smith, of three counts of burglary and one count each of assault and theft. As a result of his convictions, the trial court sentenced the defendant to 12 years’ confinement for each count of burglary and 11 months and 29 days for assault and theft. The trial court merged the three burglary convictions into one count and ordered the defendant’s sentences to be served concurrently. On appeal, the defendant challenges the application of the burglary statute, challenges the sufficiency of the evidence supporting his convictions, and claims his misdemeanor convictions for theft and assault should merge into his conviction for burglary. After reviewing the record and considering the applicable law, we affirm the defendant’s convictions. However, we conclude the defendant’s convictions for assault and theft should be merged with his conviction for burglary and remand the matter to the trial court for entry of amended judgments in accordance with this opinion.

Knox County Court of Criminal Appeals 07/01/20
State of Tennessee v. William Johnson
W2019-00914-CCA-R3-CD
Authoring Judge: Judge James Curwood Witt, Jr.
Trial Court Judge: Judge John W. Campbell

The defendant, William Johnson, appeals his Shelby County Criminal Court jury conviction of vandalism of property valued at $500 or less, arguing that the evidence was insufficient to sustain his conviction. Discerning no error, we affirm.

Shelby County Court of Criminal Appeals 06/30/20
State of Tennessee v. Eddie Smith
W2018-01509-CCA-R3-CD
Authoring Judge: Judge Thomas T. Woodall
Trial Court Judge: Judge James M. Lammey

Defendant, Eddie Smith, appeals his conviction for second degree murder and his twentyone-year sentence. On appeal, Defendant contends that the trial court erred in (1) excluding proof of the victim’s prior bad acts as corroborative evidence that the victim was the initial aggressor and (2) instructing the jury that Defendant had a duty to retreat before using force intended or likely to cause death or serious bodily injury in selfdefense. We affirm the trial court’s judgment.

Shelby County Court of Criminal Appeals 06/30/20
Anthony Thompson v. State of Tennessee
W2019-01206-CCA-R3-PC
Authoring Judge: Judge James Curwood Witt, Jr.
Trial Court Judge: Judge J. Robert Carter, Jr.

The petitioner, Anthony Thompson, appeals the denial of his petition for post-conviction relief, which petition challenged his conviction of first degree murder, alleging that he was deprived of the effective assistance of counsel. Discerning no error, we affirm the denial of post-conviction relief.

Shelby County Court of Criminal Appeals 06/30/20
Joseph S. McNair, Jr. v. Bert Boyd, Warden
E2019-01524-CCA-R3-HC
Authoring Judge: Judge Thomas T. Woodall
Trial Court Judge: Judge Stacy L. Street

Petitioner, Joseph S. McNair, Jr., appeals from the dismissal of his petition for habeas corpus relief. On appeal and in his pro se petition, Petitioner argues that he is entitled to habeas corpus relief because the trial court permitted the State to improperly amend the original indictment. After review of the record and the briefs, we affirm the judgment of the habeas corpus court.

Johnson County Court of Criminal Appeals 06/30/20
State of Tennessee v. Calvin Smith and Hayden Bowen
W2019-01227-CCA-R3-CD
Authoring Judge: Judge Robert L. Holloway, Jr.
Trial Court Judge: Judge Carolyn W. Blackett

The Shelby County Grand Jury indicted Defendants Calvin Smith and Hayden Bowen for attempted first degree murder in counts one and three and for employment of a firearm during the commission of a dangerous felony in counts two and four. Each Defendant filed a motion to dismiss the indictment, arguing that the failure of the State to name a specific victim in counts one and three violated their right against double jeopardy. Following a hearing, the trial court dismissed all counts of the indictment. The State appeals as of right from the trial court’s dismissal of Defendants’ indictment, arguing that the trial court improperly dismissed the indictment based on the weight of the evidence and that the indictment provided sufficient protection against double jeopardy. After a thorough review, the judgments of the criminal court are reversed, the indictment is reinstated, and the case is remanded for further proceedings consistent with this opinion.

Shelby County Court of Criminal Appeals 06/30/20
State of Tennessee v. Donquise Tremonte Alexander
M2019-01715-CCA-R3-CD
Authoring Judge: Judge D. Kelly Thomas, Jr.
Trial Court Judge: Judge Mark J. Fishburn

The Petitioner, Donquise Tremonte Alexander, entered a guilty plea to second-degree murder and was sentenced to thirty years in confinement. Following a motion to correct an illegal sentence and an untimely petition for post-conviction relief, the Petitioner filed a pro se petition to correct a clerical error on his judgment form, alleging that the form was not stamped “filed.” The post-conviction court denied the petition, and the Petitioner filed a timely appeal. Following our review, we affirm.

Davidson County Court of Criminal Appeals 06/30/20
State of Tennessee v. Michael Chambers
W2019-00661-CCA-R3-CD
Authoring Judge: Judge Camille R. McMullen
Trial Court Judge: Judge Chris Craft

The Defendant-Appellant, Michael Chambers, was convicted by a Shelby County jury of felony vandalism of property in an amount $2,500 or more but less than $10,000, in violation of Tennessee Code Annotated section 39-14-408, a Class D felony. The Defendant was sentenced as a Range II, multiple offender, to six years to be served on supervised probation. In this appeal as of right, the sole issue presented for our review is whether the evidence is sufficient to sustain the Defendant’s conviction for felony vandalism. Following our review, we affirm the judgment of the trial court.

Shelby County Court of Criminal Appeals 06/29/20
Marquette Jones v. State of Tennessee
W2019-00399-CCA-R3-PC
Authoring Judge: Judge Alan E. Glenn
Trial Court Judge: Judge Paula L. Skahan

The Petitioner, Marquette Jones, appeals the denial of his petition for post-conviction relief. Following our review, we affirm the judgment of the post-conviction court denying the petition.

Shelby County Court of Criminal Appeals 06/29/20
State of Tennessee v. Keisha Moses Richardson
M2019-00952-CCA-R3-CD
Authoring Judge: Judge Thomas T. Woodall
Trial Court Judge: Judge Angelita Blackshear Dalton

Defendant, Keisha Moses Richardson, was convicted by a Davidson County jury for violating an order of protection. The trial court imposed a sentence of eleven months and twenty-nine days to be served on probation. On appeal, Defendant argues that the evidence was insufficient to support her conviction. Having reviewed the entire record, the oral arguments, and the briefs of the parties, we affirm the judgment of the trial court.

Davidson County Court of Criminal Appeals 06/26/20
State of Tennessee v. Terry Trammell
E2019-01147-CCA-R3-PC
Authoring Judge: Judge Thomas T. Woodall
Trial Court Judge: Judge G. Scott Green

Petitioner, Terry Trammell, was convicted by a Knox County Criminal Court jury of theft over $1000 and sentenced to twelve years in prison. This Court affirmed the judgment of the trial court on direct appeal. State v. Terry Trammell, No. E2016-01267- CCA-R3-CD, 2017 WL 1861792, at *3 (Tenn. Crim. App. May 8, 2017), no perm. app. filed. Petitioner sought post-conviction relief and the post-conviction court denied relief. On appeal, Petitioner contends that the post-conviction court erred by denying his claim that he received ineffective assistance of counsel during the guilt phase of the trial. After a thorough review of the record, we affirm the judgment of the post-conviction court on the basis that Petitioner received effective assistance of counsel.

Knox County Court of Criminal Appeals 06/26/20
Ronald Hudson v. State of Tennessee
W2019-00385-CCA-R3-PC
Authoring Judge: Judge Alan E. Glenn
Trial Court Judge: Judge Lee V. Coffee

The pro se Petitioner, Ronald Hudson, appeals the summary dismissal of his petition for post-conviction relief as time-barred, arguing that he should be afforded counsel and an evidentiary hearing because his petition was timely. The State agrees there is some evidence that the petition was timely but notes that the Petitioner’s notice of appeal was clearly untimely. Because the notice of appeal is untimely and we find nothing that warrants the waiver of the timely notice of appeal requirement, we dismiss the appeal.

Shelby County Court of Criminal Appeals 06/25/20
Juan Cerano v. State of Tennessee
W2018-02037-CCA-R3-PC
Authoring Judge: Judge Norma McGee Ogle
Trial Court Judge: Judge John Wheeler Campbell

The Petitioner, Juan Cerano, appeals the Shelby County Criminal Court’s denial of his petition for post-conviction relief from his convictions of rape of a child, a Class A felony, and aggravated sexual battery, a Class B felony, and resulting thirty-year sentence. On appeal, the Petitioner contends that the post-conviction court erred in finding that he was not prejudiced by trial counsel’s failure to include records from the Department of Children’s Services with the appellate record on direct appeal of his convictions, which resulted in this court’s being unable to review whether the trial court properly ruled that the records were inadmissible at trial. Based upon the oral arguments, the record, and the parties’ briefs, we affirm the judgment of the post-conviction court.

Shelby County Court of Criminal Appeals 06/25/20
State of Tennessee v. Antywan Eugene Savely
M2019-00249-CCA-R3-CD
Authoring Judge: Judge Alan E. Glenn
Trial Court Judge: Judge M. Wyatt Burk

The Defendant, Antywan Eugene Savely, was convicted by a Bedford County Circuit Court jury of the sale of a Schedule II drug, a Class C felony; the delivery of a Schedule II drug, a Class C felony; and conspiracy to sell or deliver a Schedule II drug, a Class D felony. The court merged the delivery conviction into the sale conviction and imposed a twelve-year sentence as a Persistent Offender. The court imposed a consecutive twelve-year sentence as a Career Offender for the conspiracy conviction, for an effective term of twenty-four years in the Department of Correction. On appeal, the Defendant argues that: (1) the trial court abused its discretion in ruling that the State could cross-examine him on a twenty-two-year-old felony conviction; (2) the evidence is insufficient to sustain his convictions; and (3) the trial court erred in imposing consecutive sentencing. After review, we affirm the judgments of the trial court.

Bedford County Court of Criminal Appeals 06/25/20
State of Tennessee v. Stephanie Brown
E2019-00223-CCA-R3-CD
Authoring Judge: Judge Thomas T. Woodall
Trial Court Judge: Judge Rex Henry Ogle

A Sevier County Jury found Defendant, Stephanie Brown, guilty of reckless homicide. The trial court imposed a sentence of four years to be served in confinement. On appeal, Defendant raises the following issues: (1) whether the trial court properly admitted testimony about the hydrostatic or float test performed on the baby’s lungs; (2) whether the trial court properly admitted Defendant’s confession and denied her motion to dismiss the indictment; (3) whether the evidence was sufficient to support Defendant’s conviction for reckless homicide; and (4) whether the trial court properly sentenced Defendant. Upon reviewing the record and the applicable law, we affirm the judgment of the trial court.

Sevier County Court of Criminal Appeals 06/25/20
State of Tennessee v. Darron Rogers
W2019-00545-CCA-R3-CD
Authoring Judge: Judge Alan E. Glenn
Trial Court Judge: Judge Donald H. Allen

The Defendant, Darron Rogers, was convicted by a Madison County Circuit Court jury of possession of marijuana with intent to sell and possession with intent to deliver, Class E felonies; and possession of drug paraphernalia, a Class A misdemeanor. He was sentenced to an effective term of four years in the Department of Correction. On appeal, the Defendant argues that the trial court erred in allowing a witness to testify that she knew him by the nickname of “Weed.” After review, we affirm the judgments of the trial court.

Madison County Court of Criminal Appeals 06/24/20
Christopher H. Martin v. Mike Parris, Warden and State of Tennessee
E2019-01500-CCA-R3-HC
Authoring Judge: Judge Robert H. Montgomery, Jr.
Trial Court Judge: Judge Jeffery H. Wicks

The pro se Petitioner, Christopher H. Martin, appeals from the Morgan County Criminal Court’s order summarily denying his petition for a writ of habeas corpus. The State has filed a motion to affirm the habeas corpus court’s judgment pursuant to Rule 20 of the Tennessee Court of Criminal Appeals. Following our review, we conclude that the State’s motion is well-taken and affirm the judgment of the habeas corpus court.

Morgan County Court of Criminal Appeals 06/23/20
State of Tennessee v. Tina Nichole Lewis
M2019-01670-CCA-R3-CD
Authoring Judge: Judge John Everett Williams
Trial Court Judge: Judge James G. Martin, III

The Defendant, Tina Nichole Lewis, was charged with one count of second degree murder through the unlawful distribution of fentanyl and amphetamine and one count of delivery of fentanyl and amphetamine. The trial court granted the Defendant’s motion to dismiss the charges on the basis that the indictment was duplicitous because it charged a single count of each offense by listing two Schedule II drugs, fentanyl and amphetamine. The State appeals the dismissal of the homicide charge. We conclude that the indictment, which charged one single offense of homicide, was not duplicitous, and we accordingly reverse the trial court’s dismissal of the charge.

Williamson County Court of Criminal Appeals 06/23/20