Court of Criminal Appeals Opinions

Format: 09/26/2016
Format: 09/26/2016
State of Tennessee v. Alexander Jackson
W2015-01741-CCA-R3-CD
Authoring Judge: Judge Alan E. Glenn
Trial Court Judge: Judge James C. Beasley, Jr.

The defendant, Alexander Jackson, was convicted by a Shelby County Criminal Court jury of two counts of rape, which the trial court merged and sentenced him to a term of nine years. On appeal, he argues that his right against self-incrimination was violated by a statement of the prosecutor during closing argument which he asserts amounts to plain error. After review, we affirm the judgment of the trial court.

Shelby County Court of Criminal Appeals 08/03/16
State of Tennessee v. Brian J. Bledsoe
W2015-02252-CCA-R3-CD
Authoring Judge: Judge Alan E. Glenn
Trial Court Judge: Judge Clayburn L. Peeples

The defendant, Brian J. Bledsoe, was convicted by a Gibson County Circuit Court jury of assault, a Class B misdemeanor, and sentenced to six months in the county jail suspended after service of sixty days. On appeal, the defendant challenges the sentence imposed by the trial court. After review, we affirm the judgment of the trial court. However, we remand for entry of a corrected judgment, reflecting that the defendant’s sentence is suspended after service of sixty days.

Gibson County Court of Criminal Appeals 08/03/16
State of Tennessee v. Jeffrey Lynn Whitehead
M2016-00160-CCA-R3-CD
Authoring Judge: Judge James Curwood Witt, Jr.
Trial Court Judge: Judge Jill B. Ayers

The defendant, Jeffrey L. Whitehead, appeals the order of the Montgomery County Circuit Court denying his motion to waive costs.  Because this court lacks jurisdiction of the defendant’s claim, the appeal is dismissed.

Montgomery County Court of Criminal Appeals 08/03/16
State of Tennessee v. Anthony Jackson
W2015-01403-CCA-R3-CD
Authoring Judge: Judge J. Ross Dyer
Trial Court Judge: Judge Lee V. Coffee

The defendant, Anthony Jackson, was indicted for attempted first degree premeditated murder, employing a firearm with intent to commit a felony, and convicted felon in possession of a firearm. After trial, a jury found the defendant guilty of the lesser-included offense of attempted voluntary manslaughter, employing a firearm with intent to commit a felony, and convicted felon in possession of a firearm. The trial court subsequently held a sentencing hearing and imposed sentences of twelve years for attempted voluntary manslaughter, fifteen years for employing a firearm with intent to commit a felony, and fifteen years for convicted felon in possession of a firearm with all sentences to be served consecutively for an effective sentence of forty-two years. On appeal, the defendant argues that there was insufficient evidence to support his convictions, and the trial court imposed an excessive sentence. Following our review, we affirm the judgments of the trial court.

Shelby County Court of Criminal Appeals 08/02/16
State of Tennessee v. Norman McDowell
W2015-01762-CCA-R3-CD
Authoring Judge: Judge J. Ross Dyer
Trial Court Judge: Judge Chris Craft

The defendant, Norman McDowell, was sentenced to twenty years in confinement by the trial court for the merged convictions of aggravated rape and rape. On appeal, the defendant argues that the trial court improperly enhanced his aggravated rape sentence from the minimum fifteen years to twenty years in violation of the purposes and principles of the Tennessee Criminal Sentencing Reform Act. Following our review of the briefs, the record, and the applicable law, we affirm the twenty year sentence.

Shelby County Court of Criminal Appeals 08/02/16
State of Tennessee v. Hollis Fisk, Jr.
M2015-01552-CCA-R3-CD
Authoring Judge: Judge Timothy L. Easter
Trial Court Judge: Judge Larry B. Stanley, Jr.

This is Defendant’s, Hollis Fisk, Jr., direct appeal of his robbery conviction and accompanying eight-year sentence in confinement.  He argues that the evidence is insufficient to support the conviction and that the trial court abused its discretion in determining the length of his sentence and by denying an alternative sentence.  We affirm the judgment of the trial court.

Warren County Court of Criminal Appeals 08/02/16
State of Tennessee v. Deborah Jean Weston
E2015-01530-CCA-R3-CD
Authoring Judge: Judge James Curwood Witt, Jr.
Trial Court Judge: Judge Tammy M. Harrington

In this appeal as of right, the State challenges the order of the trial court granting the defendant's motion to suppress the evidence obtained during the stop of the defendant and dismissing the driving under the influence charge in this case. Because the community caretaking exception does not apply in this case and because reasonable suspicion did not otherwise justify the stop of the defendant's vehicle, we affirm the judgment of the trial court.

Blount County Court of Criminal Appeals 08/02/16
State of Tennessee v. Andrew Lorenze Allen
E2015-01778-CCA-R3-CD
Authoring Judge: Judge James Curwood Witt, Jr.
Trial Court Judge: Judge Lisa N. Rice

The defendant, Andrew Lorenze Allen, appeals his Washington County Criminal Court jury convictions of aggravated child abuse and aggravated child neglect, claiming that the evidence was insufficient to support his convictions. Discerning no error, we affirm.

Washington County Court of Criminal Appeals 08/01/16
State of Tennessee v. Prince Dumas
W2015-01026-CCA-R3-CD
Authoring Judge: Judge John Everett Williams
Trial Court Judge: Judge W. Mark Ward

The defendant, Prince Dumas, entered a guilty plea to one count of a first offense for driving under the influence (“DUI”), a Class A misdemeanor. As part of the plea, the defendant reserved a certified question of law. The defendant asserts that police initiated a seizure without reasonable suspicion and that because all of the evidence stems from this seizure, he is entitled to have the indictment dismissed. We conclude that the defendant's certified question, as drafted, is not dispositive of the case, and we are accordingly constrained to dismiss the appeal.

Shelby County Court of Criminal Appeals 08/01/16
Gregory L. Hatton v. State of Tennessee
M2015-00225-CCA-R3-ECN
Authoring Judge: Judge Timothy L. Easter
Trial Court Judge: Judge Stella L. Hargrove

Nearly four decades after pleading guilty to rape, armed robbery, burglary, kidnapping, grand larceny, and assault with intent to commit murder, Petitioner, Gregory L. Hatton, filed a petition for writ of error coram nobis.  The trial court summarily dismissed the petition as time-barred.  However, the Tennessee Supreme Court has recently determined that a writ of error coram nobis is not an available procedural mechanism to collaterally attack a guilty plea.  Therefore, we affirm the judgment of the trial court on the separate grounds discussed herein.

Giles County Court of Criminal Appeals 08/01/16
State of Tennessee v. Brian Lee Webb
W2015-01809-CCA-R3-CD
Authoring Judge: Judge Camille R. McMullen
Trial Court Judge: Judge C. Creed McGinley

The Defendant, Brian Lee Webb, was convicted by a Benton County jury of rape of a child (Count 1) and aggravated sexual battery (Count 2). He was sentenced to a concurrent term of forty years' confinement for the child rape conviction and twelve years' confinement for the aggravated sexual battery conviction, for an effective sentence of forty years in the Tennessee Department of Correction (TDOC). On appeal, the Defendant argues that the evidence is insufficient to sustain his convictions and that the trial court erred in not considering certain mitigating evidence in sentencing. Because neither the record nor the judgment reflects service of the aggravated sexual battery conviction at 100% as mandated by statute, we are compelled to remand Count 2 for entry of corrected judgment. In all other respects, we affirm the judgments of the trial court.

Benton County Court of Criminal Appeals 07/27/16
Deandre Blake v. State of Tennessee
W2015-01423-CCA-R3-PC
Authoring Judge: Special Judge Brandon O. Gibson
Trial Court Judge: Judge John Wheeler Campbell

The petitioner, Deandre Blake, appeals the post-conviction court's denial of his petition for post-conviction relief in which he challenged his convictions for two counts of felony first degree murder and resulting life sentence. On appeal, the petitioner contends that he received ineffective assistance of counsel at trial. Upon reviewing the record and the applicable law, we affirm the judgment of the post-conviction court.

Shelby County Court of Criminal Appeals 07/27/16
State of Tennessee v. James Lackey
M2015-01508-CCA-R3-CD
Authoring Judge: Judge D. Kelly Thomas. Jr.
Trial Court Judge: Judge David Alan Patterson

Following a jury trial, the Defendant, James Lackey, was convicted of one count of second degree murder, seeTennessee Code Annotated section 39-13-210, for which he received a sentence of twenty-two years to be served at one-hundred percent.  On appeal, the Defendant contends (1) that the evidence was insufficient to support his conviction, arguing that the proof supported a finding that he acted in self-defense, and (2) that the twenty-two year sentence imposed was excessive.  Following our review, we affirm the judgment of the trial court.

White County Court of Criminal Appeals 07/27/16
State of Tennessee v. Thomas Braden
M2015-00991-CCA-R3-CD
Authoring Judge: Judge Norma McGee Ogle
Trial Court Judge: Judge Robert L. Jones

The appellee, Thomas Braden, was indicted for possession of cocaine, possession of marijuana, and possession of Alprazolam, all misdemeanors.  He filed a motion to suppress the evidence, arguing that the affidavit in support of the search warrant for the home in which the drugs were found was defective because it failed to establish ongoing criminal activity at the residence.  The Maury County Circuit Court granted the motion, and the State now appeals.  Upon review of the oral arguments, the record, and the parties’ briefs, we affirm the judgment of the trial court.

Maury County Court of Criminal Appeals 07/27/16
State of Tennessee v. John Edward Dawson
E2016-00123-CCA-R3-CD
Authoring Judge: Judge Robert L. Holloway, Jr.
Trial Court Judge: Judge Sandra Donaghy

Following a jury trial, the Defendant, John Edward Dawson, was convicted of aggravated burglary, burglary, vandalism of property valued at $1,000 or more but less than $10,000, theft of property valued at $1,000 or more but less than $10,000, and possession of burglary tools. The trial court sentenced the Defendant, as a Range II multiple offender, to ten years for aggravated burglary; eight years for burglary; eight years for vandalism of property valued at $1,000 or more but less than $10,000; and eight years for theft of property valued at $1,000 or more but less than $10,000. The trial court also sentenced the Defendant to eleven months and twenty-nine days for possession of burglary tools. All the sentences were ordered to run concurrently for an effective ten years’ incarceration. On appeal, the Defendant challenges the sufficiency of the evidence supporting his convictions and contends that his sentence is excessive. Discerning no error, the judgments of the trial court are affirmed.

McMinn County Court of Criminal Appeals 07/27/16
State of Tennessee v. David Cloar
E2015-01069-CCA-R3-CO
Authoring Judge: Judge D. Kelly Thomas, Jr.
Trial Court Judge: Judge Thomas Wright

Following a jury trial in 1992, the Defendant, David Cloar, was found not guilty by reason of insanity on two counts of first degree murder. The Defendant was then involuntarily committed to the Middle Tennessee Mental Health Institute pursuant to Tennessee Code Annotated section 33-7-303(c). The Defendant now appeals from the trial court’s order denying his discharge, following a ninety-day furlough to a residential group home, from involuntary commitment. The Defendant contends that it was not established by clear, unequivocal, and convincing evidence that he was ineligible for discharge under the applicable statute. Following our review, we reverse the judgment of the trial court and remand this case for the entry of an order discharging the Defendant pursuant to the discharge plan submitted by the Middle Tennessee Mental Health Institute.

Hamblen County Court of Criminal Appeals 07/27/16
Jose Segura v. State of Tennessee
W2015-00929-CCA-R3-PC
Authoring Judge: Presiding Judge Thomas T. Woodall
Trial Court Judge: Judge John W. Campbell

Petitioner, Josue Segura, appeals the denial of his petition for post-conviction relief, arguing that the trial court erred in finding that he received effective assistance of counsel. Following a thorough review of the record, we affirm the judgment of the post-conviction court.

Shelby County Court of Criminal Appeals 07/26/16
State of Tennessee v. Bradley Darrin Williams
M2015-00946-CCA-R3-CD
Authoring Judge: Judge Robert W. Wedemeyer
Trial Court Judge: Judge Joseph A. Woodruff

A Williamson County grand jury indicted the Defendant, Bradley Darrin Williams, for one count of driving under the influence (“DUI”) and one count of DUI per se. The Defendant filed a pretrial motion to suppress the evidence obtained as a result of his traffic stop. The trial court denied the Defendant’s motion, and the Defendant pleaded guilty to the two counts of DUI. The trial court merged the convictions and sentenced the Defendant to eleven months and twenty-nine days, to be served on probation after the service of seven days in confinement. The Defendant reserved a certified question of law pursuant to Tennessee Rule of Criminal Procedure 37(b)(2) as to whether the trial court erred when it denied his motion to suppress because the officer did not have reasonable suspicion justifying the stop.  After review, we conclude that the traffic stop was lawful and thus, we affirm the trial court’s judgment.

Williamson County Court of Criminal Appeals 07/26/16
Brian O'Neal Elliott v. State of Tennessee
M2015-02000-CCA-R3-PC
Authoring Judge: Judge Robert W. Wedemeyer
Trial Court Judge: Judge Cheryl Blackburn

In 2012, the Petitioner, Brian O’Neal Elliott, pleaded guilty to second degree murder and was sentenced to twenty-five years of incarceration to be served at 100%.  In 2013, the Petitioner filed a pro sepetition 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 post-conviction court held a hearing on the petition and denied relief.  We affirm the post-conviction court’s judgment.

Davidson County Court of Criminal Appeals 07/26/16
State of Tennessee v. Monica Dawn Hammers
E2015-00464-CCA-R3-CD
Authoring Judge: Judge Robert W. Wedemeyer
Trial Court Judge: Judge Barry A. Steelman

A Hamilton County jury found the Defendant, Monica Dawn Hammers, guilty of attempted aggravated child abuse. Pursuant to an agreement between the parties, the trial court sentenced the Defendant as a Range I offender to serve a nine year sentence through supervised probation. On appeal, the Defendant asserts that: (1) the evidence presented at trial is insufficient to support her conviction; (2) the trial court erred in allowing the State to present evidence of the Defendant's prior bad acts; and (3) the trial court failed to instruct the jury on lesser-included offenses. After a thorough review of the record and applicable law, we affirm the trial court's judgment.

Hamilton County Court of Criminal Appeals 07/26/16
Raygan L. Presley v. Grady Perry, Warden
W2016-00182-CCA-R3-HC
Authoring Judge: Judge Robert W. Wedemeyer
Trial Court Judge: Judge Joe H. Walker, III

In 2008, a Warren County jury convicted the Petitioner, Raygan L. Presley, of three counts of aggravated sexual battery, and the trial court sentenced the Petitioner to an effective sentence of twenty-two years, to be served at 100%. Upon review, this Court ordered that all the sentences run concurrently, for a total effective sentence of eleven years, to be served at 100%. See State v. Raygan L. Presley, No. M2007-02487-CCA-R3-CD, 2008 WL 3843849, at *1 (Tenn. Crim. App., at Nashville, Aug. 18, 2008), no Tenn. R. App. P. 11 application filed. In December 2015, the Petitioner filed a petition for habeas corpus relief alleging that his sentence had expired. He asserted that, in addition to the pretrial jail credits, he had earned 140 days of behavior credits and 492 days of program credits, meaning that his sentence expired on November 1, 2015. The habeas corpus court summarily dismissed the petition, finding that the face of the judgments did not show that his sentence had expired and that he must pursue relief pursuant to the Administrative Procedures Act. On appeal, the Petitioner contends that the trial court erred when it dismissed his petition. After review, we affirm the habeas corpus court’s judgment.

Hardeman County Court of Criminal Appeals 07/25/16
Danny Ray Lacy v. State of Tennessee
W2015-02345-CCA-R3-ECN
Authoring Judge: Judge Robert W. Wedemeyer
Trial Court Judge: Judge Donald H. Allen

In 1996, a Madison County jury convicted the Petitioner, Danny Ray Lacy, of first degree felony murder during the perpetration of aggravated child abuse, and the trial court sentenced him to life in prison without the possibility of parole. The Petitioner appealed, and this Court affirmed the Petitioner's conviction and sentence. State v. Lacy, 983 S.W.2d 686 (Tenn. Crim. App. 1997). The Petitioner filed an unsuccessful petition for habeas corpus relief. Danny Ray Lacy v. Cherry Lindamon, Warden, No. M2009-00072-CCA-R3-CO, 2009 WL 3029619, at *1 (Tenn. Crim. App., at Nashville, Sept. 22, 2009), no Tenn. R. App. P. 11 application filed. The Petitioner then filed this petition for writ of error coram nobis, alleging that the Jackson Police Department possessed exculpatory evidence. The coram nobis court dismissed the petition, and, after review, we affirm that judgment.

Madison County Court of Criminal Appeals 07/25/16
State of Tennessee v. Ardell Allen
E2015-00825-CCA-R3-CD
Authoring Judge: Judge John Everett Williams
Trial Court Judge: Judge R. Jerry Beck

Based on a tip from a confidential informant, police stopped the Defendant and ultimately discovered cocaine in his pocket. He was charged with possession of more than 0.5 grams of cocaine within 1,000 feet of a daycare, a Class B felony. The Defendant filed a motion to suppress the evidence, which the trial court granted. The State appeals, arguing that the confidential informant's credibility and basis of knowledge were sufficiently established, giving officers reasonable suspicion to seize the Defendant. Following our review, we reverse the judgment of the trial court and remand the case for proceedings consistent with this opinion.

Sullivan County Court of Criminal Appeals 07/25/16
Edward Bruce Coleman v. State of Tennessee
M2015-01747-CCA-R3-PC
Authoring Judge: Judge James Curwood Witt, Jr.
Trial Court Judge: Judge Monte D. Watkins

The petitioner, Edward Bruce Coleman, appeals the denial of post-conviction relief from his 2010 Davidson County Criminal Court jury conviction of aggravated assault, for which he received a sentence of 12 years. In this appeal, the petitioner contends that the order denying post-conviction relief was inadequate and that he was denied the effective assistance of counsel. Discerning no error, we affirm.

Davidson County Court of Criminal Appeals 07/25/16
State of Tennessee v. Kevin Wells
E2015-00561-CCA-R3-CD
Authoring Judge: Judge Norma McGee Ogle
Trial Court Judge: Judge James F. Goodwin, Jr.

A Sullivan County Criminal Court Jury convicted the appellant, Kevin Wells, of possession of a Schedule II controlled substance with intent to sell or deliver, a Class C felony; two counts of possession of a Schedule III controlled substance with intent to sell or deliver, a Class D felony; and driving on a revoked license, a Class B misdemeanor, and he received an effective thirteen-year sentence as a Range III, persistent offender. On appeal, the appellant contends that the trial court erred by denying his motion to suppress evidence, by allowing the State to introduce text messages from a codefendant's cellular telephone into evidence, and by admitting his statement into evidence. Based upon the oral arguments, the record, and the parties' briefs, we affirm the judgments of the trial court.

Sullivan County Court of Criminal Appeals 07/25/16