Court of Criminal Appeals Opinions

Format: 10/19/2018
Format: 10/19/2018
State of Tennessee v. Teddy Lynn Sams
E2017-01837-CCA-R3-CD
Authoring Judge: Judge Robert W. Wedemeyer
Trial Court Judge: Judge R. Jerry Beck

The Defendant, Teddy Lynn Sams, pleaded guilty to three counts of violating a condition of community supervision in exchange for an effective sentence of eleven months and twenty-nine days with the trial court to determine the manner of service of the sentence. After a hearing, the trial court ordered that the Defendant serve his sentence in confinement. On appeal, the Defendant contends the trial court erred when it did not order an alternative sentence. We affirm the trial court’s judgment.

Sullivan County Court of Criminal Appeals 08/03/18
State of Tennessee v. Claude Delanore Maney, Jr.
M2017-01711-CCA-R3-CD
Authoring Judge: Presiding Judge John Everett Williams
Trial Court Judge: Judge Cheryl A. Blackburn

The Defendant, Claude Delanore Maney, Jr., was convicted by a jury of aggravated assault by strangulation and was sentenced as a Range II, multiple offender to eight years of incarceration. On appeal, the Defendant challenges the sufficiency of the evidence to support his conviction. After a thorough review of the record and applicable law, we affirm the judgment of the trial court.

Davidson County Court of Criminal Appeals 08/03/18
State of Tennessee v. Christopher Russell
M2017-01152-CCA-R3-CD
Authoring Judge: Presiding Judge John Everett Williams
Trial Court Judge: Judge Thomas W. Graham

The Defendant, Christopher Russell, appeals his convictions for second degree murder and aggravated child abuse and his effective twenty-five-year sentence. On appeal, the Defendant contends that (1) the evidence is insufficient to support his convictions; (2) the trial court erred in denying his motion to continue the trial; (3) the trial court erred in denying his motion for new trial based on newly discovered evidence; and (4) his sentences are excessive. Upon reviewing the record and the applicable law, we affirm the judgments of the trial court.

Marion County Court of Criminal Appeals 08/03/18
Daniel H. Jones v. State of Tennessee
E2017-02026-CCA-R3-CO
Authoring Judge: Judge Norma McGee Ogle
Trial Court Judge: Judge James F. Goodwin

The pro se Appellant, Daniel H. Jones, appeals from the Sullivan County Criminal Court’s order denying his motion for declaratory relief. Tenn. Code Ann. § 29-14- 102(a). The State has filed a motion requesting that this court affirm the trial court’s denial of relief pursuant to Rule 20 of the Rules 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 Sullivan County Criminal Court.

Sullivan County Court of Criminal Appeals 08/02/18
State of Tennessee v. Monica Leigh-Ann Briggs
E2017-01025-CCA-R3-CD
Authoring Judge: Judge Robert H. Montgomery, Jr.
Trial Court Judge: Judge E. Shayne Sexton

The Defendant, Monica Leigh-Ann Briggs, was convicted by a Campbell County Criminal Court jury of first degree murder and second degree murder. See T.C.A. §§ 39- 13-202 (2014) (first degree murder), 39-13-210 (2014) (second degree murder). The trial court merged the convictions and sentenced the Defendant to life imprisonment. On appeal, the Defendant contends that (1) the trial court erred in denying her motion to suppress her pretrial statement, (2) the evidence is insufficient to support her convictions, (3) the trial court erred by not requiring the State to make an election of the offenses, (4) the trial court erred in denying her motion for a bill of particulars, (5) the trial court erred in admitting an exhibit depicting a Facebook page, (6) the trial court erred in admitting a “ledger” found in the victim’s wallet, (7) the trial court erred during jury instructions, and (8) due process requires relief due to the existence of cumulative error. We affirm the judgments of the trial court.

Campbell County Court of Criminal Appeals 08/02/18
State of Tennessee v. Jamie L. Woods
M2017-01760-CCA-R3-CD
Authoring Judge: Judge Camille R. McMullen
Trial Court Judge: Judge Jill Bartee Ayers

On April 28, 2017, the Defendant, Jamie L. Woods, entered a guilty plea to theft of property valued at more than $10,000.00 and received a three-year sentence of probation with the amount of restitution to be determined by the trial court. Following a hearing, the trial court ordered the Defendant to pay $19,442.36 in restitution at $540 per month. In this appeal, the Defendant argues that the trial court abused its discretion in determining the amount of restitution and the Defendant’s ability to pay the restitution. Upon our review, we affirm the judgment of the trial court.

Robertson County Court of Criminal Appeals 08/02/18
State of Tennessee v. James T. Hutchins
E2017-02138-CCA-R3-CD
Authoring Judge: Judge Robert H. Montgomery, Jr.
Trial Court Judge: Judge Tom Greenholtz

The Defendant, James T. Hutchins, appeals the Hamilton County Criminal Court’s order revoking his probation for his criminal exposure of another to human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) conviction and ordering him to serve the remainder of his four-year sentence in confinement. The Defendant contends that the trial court abused its discretion by ordering him to serve his sentence. We affirm the judgment of the trial court.

Hamilton County Court of Criminal Appeals 08/01/18
Robert Simons v. State of Tennessee
E2017-02411-CCA-R3-PC
Authoring Judge: Judge Robert H. Montgomery, Jr.
Trial Court Judge: Judge Lisa Rice

According to the allegations in the pro se post-conviction petition, the Petitioner, Robert Simons, was convicted by a Washington County Criminal Court jury of two counts of aggravated child abuse and six counts of child neglect and received an effective eighteenyear sentence. He alleged that the date of the judgment was April 13, 2012, and that no appeal was filed. He filed a post-conviction petition on February 16, 2016, alleging that the one-year post-conviction statute of limitations should not bar his petition because he was tried pursuant to an invalid indictment, he was asserting actual innocence, and his severe mental disability prevented him from “understanding the laws and rules to present and articulate the violations occurring in the trial court proceedings.” The post-conviction court summarily dismissed the petition as time-barred after considering the statutory factors that allow for tolling the statute of limitations. See T.C.A. § 40-30-102(b)(1)-(3) (2012). On appeal, the Petitioner contends that the post-conviction court erred in dismissing the case on the basis of the statute of limitations. We reverse the judgment of the post-conviction court and remand the case for consideration of whether due process requires tolling the statute of limitations pursuant to State v. Nix, 40 S.W.3d 459, 463 (Tenn. 2001), and to consider whether the appointment of counsel is appropriate.

Washington County Court of Criminal Appeals 08/01/18
State of Tennessee v. Roger Reed
W2017-00266-CCA-R3-CD
Authoring Judge: Judge James Curwood Witt, Jr.
Trial Court Judge: Judge James M. Lammey, Jr.

Aggrieved of his Shelby County Criminal Court jury convictions of first degree premeditated murder, felony murder, and especially aggravated robbery, the defendant, Roger Reed, appeals. In this appeal, he contends that the trial court erred by permitting certain testimony in violation of Tennessee Rule of Evidence 404(b) and that the evidence was insufficient to support his convictions. Because we discern no reversible error, we affirm the judgments of the trial court.

Shelby County Court of Criminal Appeals 07/31/18
State of Tennessee v. Angela Denise Brewer
W2017-00124-CCA-R3-CD
Authoring Judge: Judge Thomas T. Woodall
Trial Court Judge: Judge Joe H. Walker, III

Defendant, Angela Denise Brewer, appeals her jury conviction for premeditated first degree murder, for which she was sentenced to life imprisonment. Defendant contends that the evidence was insufficient to support her conviction, specifically challenging the evidence establishing premeditation and that she acted “intentionally.” Having reviewed the entire record and the briefs of the parties, we affirm the judgment of the trial court.

Tipton County Court of Criminal Appeals 07/31/18
State of Tennessee v. Quartez Gary
W2017-01495-CCA-R3-CD
Authoring Judge: Judge Robert W. Wedemeyer
Trial Court Judge: Judge Chris Craft

A Shelby County jury convicted the Defendant, Quartez Gary, of attempted first degree premeditated murder and employment of a firearm during the commission of a dangerous felony. The trial court sentenced the Defendant to an effective twenty-three-year sentence. On appeal, the Defendant claims that the evidence was insufficient as to the element of premeditation and that the trial court’s instructions to the jury were unclear. After a thorough review of the record and applicable law, we affirm the trial court’s judgments.

Shelby County Court of Criminal Appeals 07/31/18
William Darryn Busby v. State of Tennessee
M2017-00943-CCA-R3-ECN
Authoring Judge: Judge Norma McGee Ogle
Trial Court Judge: Judge Joseph Woodruff

The Petitioner, William Darryn Busby, filed a petition for a writ of error coram nobis in the Lewis County Circuit Court, asserting that newly discovered evidence entitled him to a new trial. The coram nobis court summarily dismissed the petition, and the Petitioner appeals. Based upon the record and the parties’ briefs, we conclude that the coram nobis court’s summary dismissal of the petition must be reversed and the case remanded to the coram nobis court for an evidentiary hearing to determine whether due process principles require tolling the statute of limitations.

Lewis County Court of Criminal Appeals 07/31/18
Matthew Jackson v. State of Tennessee
M2017-02111-CCA-R3-ECN
Authoring Judge: Judge Timothy L. Easter
Trial Court Judge: Judge Dee David Gay

Petitioner, Matthew Jackson, appeals after he failed to receive relief from his third petition for writ of error coram nobis. For a multitude of reasons, including the failure to file a timely petition, we affirm the judgment of the trial court.

Sumner County Court of Criminal Appeals 07/30/18
State of Tennessee v. Jason Clark
M2018-00293-CCA-R3-CD
Authoring Judge: Judge Robert L. Holloway, Jr.
Trial Court Judge: Judge Angelita Blackshear Dalton

Jason Clark (“Defendant”) filed a Tennessee Rule of Civil Procedure 60.02 motion seeking relief from two judgments of conviction. Defendant has no appeal as of right under Tennessee Rule of Appellate Procedure 3. Because we have no subject matter jurisdiction, we dismiss Defendant’s appeal.

Davidson County Court of Criminal Appeals 07/30/18
State of Tennessee v. Amanda C. Andrews, AKA Amanda C. Perkinson
M2018-00253-CCA-R3-CD
Authoring Judge: Judge Robert L. Holloway, Jr.
Trial Court Judge: Judge Cheryl A. Blackburn

Pursuant to a plea agreement, Amanda C. Andrews (“Defendant”) pled guilty to five counts of aggravated burglary and was sentenced to fifteen years as a persistent offender with the manner of service to be determined by the trial court. Following a sentencing hearing, the trial court ordered Defendant to serve her sentence in the Department of Correction. Defendant claims the trial court erred by sentencing her to serve her sentence in the Department of Correction. Discerning no error, we affirm the judgments of the trial court.

Davidson County Court of Criminal Appeals 07/30/18
State of Tennessee v. James P. Jones
M2017-01790-CCA-R3-CD
Authoring Judge: Judge Robert L. Holloway, Jr.
Trial Court Judge: Judge Dee David Gay

James P. Jones, Defendant, was convicted of several counts of theft and aggravated burglary. The trial court sentenced Defendant to a twelve-year probationary sentence. A violation of probation warrant was later issued against Defendant. After a hearing, the trial court revoked Defendant’s probation. Defendant now timely appeals the trial court’s decision and argues that he was denied the right to counsel during the revocation hearing. Because we conclude that Defendant did not effectively waive or forfeit his right to counsel, we reverse the judgment of the trial court and remand this case for appointment of counsel and a new probation revocation hearing.

Sumner County Court of Criminal Appeals 07/30/18
Tyler James Reed v. State of Tennessee
M2017-00480-CCA-R3-PC
Authoring Judge: Judge Robert L. Holloway, Jr.
Trial Court Judge: Judge Dee David Gay

Tyler James Reed, the Petitioner, was convicted of first degree felony murder in the perpetration of a burglary, aggravated burglary, and employment of a firearm with intent to go armed during the commission of a dangerous felony. After this court affirmed his convictions on direct appeal and the Tennessee Supreme Court denied further review, the Petitioner filed a petition for
post-conviction relief. The post-conviction court denied relief. On appeal, the Petitioner argues that he received ineffective assistance of counsel from lead trial counsel and appellate counsel. He asserts that lead trial counsel convinced him to offer a false proffer to the State, which foreclosed him from testifying at trial, and failed to investigate his mental health and voluntary intoxication at the time of the offenses. He additionally asserts that appellate counsel failed to file a petition to rehear after this court did not specifically discuss several issues raised in his direct appeal. After a thorough review of the facts and applicable case law, we affirm the judgment of the post-conviction court.

Sumner County Court of Criminal Appeals 07/30/18
State of Tennessee v. Santory Alexander Johnson
E2017-00361-CCA-R3-CD
Authoring Judge: Judge D. Kelly Thomas, Jr.
Trial Court Judge: Judge Thomas C. Greenholtz

The Defendant, Santory Alexander Johnson, was convicted by a jury of one count of second degree murder. On appeal, the Defendant contends that (1) the trial court erred in failing to declare a mistrial or issue an adequate curative instruction following prosecutorial misconduct during closing arguments; (2) the trial court erred in allowing a witness to testify about statements made by the victim; (3) the trial court erred in allowing a redacted convenience store video to be entered into evidence; (4) the trial court erred in re-playing a 9-1-1 recording already admitted into evidence; (5) the trial court erred in allowing inflammatory autopsy photographs to be entered as evidence; (6) the cumulative effect of these evidentiary errors was not harmless; and (7) the trial court erred in failing to properly consider mitigating factors at the Defendant’s sentencing hearing.1 Following our review, the judgments of the trial court are affirmed.

Hamilton County Court of Criminal Appeals 07/27/18
State of Tennessee v. Amanda A. Tucker
E2017-01283-CCA-R3-CD
Authoring Judge: Judge Robert H. Montgomery, Jr.
Trial Court Judge: Judge Lisa Rice

The Defendant, Amanda A. Tucker, pleaded guilty in the Washington County Criminal Court to driving under the influence of an intoxicant (DUI). See T.C.A. § 55-10-401 (2017). The Defendant reserved a certified question of law regarding the arresting officer’s encounter with and subsequent seizure of the Defendant, which she presents on appeal. We affirm the judgment of the trial court.

Washington County Court of Criminal Appeals 07/27/18
Marlon Duane Kiser v. State of Tennessee
E2016-02359-CCA-R3-ECN
Authoring Judge: Judge Norma McGee Ogle
Trial Court Judge: Judge Don W. Poole

The Petitioner, Marlon Duane Kiser, filed in the Hamilton County Criminal Court a petition for a writ of error coram nobis, seeking relief from his conviction of first degree murder and resulting sentence of death. In the petition, he alleged that newly discovered evidence and recanted testimony established that someone else committed the murder. The coram nobis court denied the petition. On appeal, the Petitioner challenges the court’s ruling. Upon review, we affirm the judgment of the coram nobis court.

Hamilton County Court of Criminal Appeals 07/26/18
Donald K. Moore, Jr. v. Grady Perry, Warden
W2017-02180-CCA-R3-HC
Authoring Judge: Judge Robert W. Wedemeyer
Trial Court Judge: Judge Joe H. Walker, III

The Petitioner, Donald K. Moore, Jr., was convicted of two murders and a robbery committed in February 1996. For these convictions, he received an effective sentence of life imprisonment plus forty-one years in the Tennessee Department of Correction. In August 2017, the Petitioner filed a petition for a writ of habeas corpus. In it, he claimed that the trial court improperly adjusted his release eligibility percentage for his seconddegree murder conviction in 1999 by filing a corrected judgment. He further asserted that the trial court violated due process when it corrected the judgment without notice to him. Finally, relying on Miller v. Alabama, 132 S. Ct. 2455 (2012), he contended that his sentence was cruel and unusual because he was a juvenile at the time he committed the offenses. Finding no grounds for relief, the habeas corpus court summarily dismissed the petition. On appeal, the Petitioner maintains that his sentence is void because: (1) the trial court corrected his judgment to reflect the proper release eligibility; (2) the trial court did not follow proper sentencing procedure when it corrected the judgment without notice to him; (3) his sentence is unconstitutional because he was a juvenile at the time he committed the offense; and (4) the corrected judgment violated double jeopardy. After review, we affirm the habeas court’s judgment.

Hardeman County Court of Criminal Appeals 07/26/18
Stephen D. Lester, Sr. v. State of Tennessee
E2017-01437-CCA-R3-PC
Authoring Judge: Judge Alan E. Glenn
Trial Court Judge: Judge Don W. Poole

The Petitioner, Stephen D. Lester, Sr., appeals the post-conviction court’s dismissal of his petition for post-conviction relief as untimely. On appeal, he argues that due process requires tolling of the statute of limitations because his untimely filing was due to misrepresentations by trial counsel. After review, we affirm the dismissal of the petition.

Hamilton County Court of Criminal Appeals 07/26/18
Michael Davis v. State of Tennessee
W2017-01592-CCA-R3-PC
Authoring Judge: JudgeTimothy L. Easter
Trial Court Judge: Judge James M. Lammey

Petitioner, Michael Davis, appeals the denial of his petition for post-conviction relief from his conviction for second degree murder. On appeal, Petitioner argues that he was denied due process of law when the post-conviction court refused to grant Petitioner a continuance to present an expert witness and failed to address all of the issues presented in its written order. Additionally, Petitioner claims that he received ineffective assistance of counsel. After thorough review, we determine that Petitioner was afforded due process and received effective assistance of counsel. Thus, we affirm the judgment of the post-conviction court.

Shelby County Court of Criminal Appeals 07/26/18
State of Tennessee v. James Douglas Hamm, Jr.
E2016-02265-CCA-R3-CD
Authoring Judge: Judge James Curwood Witt, Jr.
Trial Court Judge: Judge Lisa D. Rice

The defendant, James Douglas Hamm, Jr., appeals his Sullivan County Criminal Court jury convictions of vehicular homicide by intoxication, leaving the scene of an accident involving a death, reckless endangerment, driving under the influence, failure to exercise due care, and running a red light, challenging the trial court’s denial of both his motion to dismiss based upon the failure to preserve certain evidence and his motion for a mistrial premised on juror bias. In addition, the defendant claims that the prosecutor’s closing argument was improper and that the evidence was insufficient to support his convictions of vehicular homicide and reckless endangerment. Discerning no error, we affirm.

Sullivan County Court of Criminal Appeals 07/26/18
State of Tennessee v. Bradley Mitchell Eckert
E2017-01635-CCA-R3-CD
Authoring Judge: Judge John Everett Williams
Trial Court Judge: Judge Andrew M. Freiberg

The Defendant, Bradley Mitchell Eckert, committed three acts of vandalism and one burglary when he was sixteen years old, and the juvenile court granted a motion to transfer the proceedings to criminal court. The trial court found the Defendant guilty of vandalism of property valued at more than $1,000 but less than $2,500; vandalism of property valued at $10,000 or more but less than $60,000; vandalism of property valued at $60,000 or more but less than $250,000; and burglary. After a hearing, the trial court sentenced the Defendant to serve twelve years in prison. The Defendant appeals the juvenile court’s decision to transfer the proceedings, and he appeals his sentence. We conclude that there was no abuse of discretion, and we affirm the judgments.

McMinn County Court of Criminal Appeals 07/25/18