Court of Criminal Appeals Opinions

Format: 06/29/2015
Format: 06/29/2015
State of Tennessee v. Marcus Anthony Robey
M2014-00773-CCA-R3-CD
Authoring Judge: Presiding Judge Thomas T. Woodall
Trial Court Judge: Judge Mitchell Keith Siskin

Defendant, Marcus Anthony Robey, timely filed a motion to withdraw his guilty plea to the Class C felony offense of possessing a firearm at a time when he had previously been convicted of a felony offense involving the use or attempted use of force, violence, or a deadly weapon. The motion was filed after sentence had been imposed pursuant to a negotiated plea agreement which involved other convictions that are not a part of this appeal. Following an evidentiary hearing, the trial court denied the motion. After review of the record and the briefs of the parties, we affirm the judgment of the trial court.

Rutherford County Court of Criminal Appeals 04/13/15
Dericko Jackson v. State of Tennessee
W2014-01453-CCA-R3-CO
Authoring Judge: Judge Robert W. Wedemeyer
Trial Court Judge: Judge Chris Craft

In 1998, the Petitioner, Dericko Jackson, pleaded guilty to first degree felony murder, especially aggravated robbery, and aggravated assault. The trial court entered the agreed sentences of life imprisonment for the felony murder conviction, fifteen years for the especially aggravated robbery conviction, and three years for the aggravated assault conviction. The life sentence and the fifteen-year sentence were ordered to run consecutively, and the three-year sentence was ordered to run concurrently with the life sentence. The judgment forms for each of the three convictions reflect that the Petitioner is entitled to 480 days of pretrial jail credit. The Petitioner filed a motion to correct an illegal sentence pursuant to Tennessee Rule of Criminal Procedure 36.1, asserting that his sentence was illegal because the life sentence and the fifteen-year sentence both reflected 480 days of jail credit, and the jail credit should have only been applied to one of these convictions. The trial court summarily denied the motion, and the Petitioner appealed. On appeal, the Petitioner asserts that the trial court erred when it summarily dismissed his petition because he stated a colorable claim that his sentence is illegal. After review, we affirm the trial court’s judgment.

Shelby County Court of Criminal Appeals 04/13/15
Tommy Nunley v. State of Tennessee
W2014-01776-CCA-R3-PC
Authoring Judge: Judge Timothy L. Easter
Trial Court Judge: Judge John Wheeler Campbell

Petitioner, Tommy Nunley, appeals the denial of his petition for relief under the Post-Conviction DNA Analysis Act of 2001. Because the post-conviction court properly determined that the evidence sought for analysis had been lost or destroyed, Petitioner is not entitled to relief. Accordingly, the decision of the post-conviction court is affirmed.

Shelby County Court of Criminal Appeals 04/13/15
State of Tennessee v. Amber Renee Terry
W2014-01628-CCA-R3-CD
Authoring Judge: Judge Timothy L. Easter
Trial Court Judge: Judge C. Creed McGinley

Defendant, Amber Renee Terry, pled guilty to theft of property valued at $10,000 or more and official misconduct and was sentenced to a total effective sentence of three years, suspended to supervised probation. After a hearing, the trial court denied judicial diversion. Upon our review of the record, we determine that the trial court did not abuse its discretion in denying judicial diversion. Therefore, the judgments of the trial court are affirmed.

Hardin County Court of Criminal Appeals 04/13/15
John C. Crim v. State of Tennessee-Concurring in part and dissenting in part
M2014-00948-CCA-R3-PC
Authoring Judge: Presiding Judge Thomas T. Woodall
Trial Court Judge: Judge David Earl Durham

I respectfully dissent from that portion of the majority’s opinion which affirms part of the post-conviction court’s summary dismissal of the post-conviction petition. A colorable claim was made in the pro se petition. The post-conviction court clearly erred by summarily dismissing the petition. I conclude that upon remand under these circumstances the interests of justice dictate that the entire pro se petition must be considered by the post-conviction court. It may be that some of Petitioner’s claims have been waived or previously determined - but that should be determined after a full hearing. This court should not sanction a rush to judgment when a trial court has erred as in this case. Accordingly, I would respectfully reverse the order of the post-conviction court without affirming any portion of it.

Wilson County Court of Criminal Appeals 04/13/15
John C. Crim v. State of Tennessee
M2014-00948-CCA-R3-PC
Authoring Judge: Judge Timothy L. Easter
Trial Court Judge: Judge David Earl Durham

Petitioner, John C. Crim, appeals the summary dismissal of his petition for post-conviction relief for failure to state a colorable claim.  After careful review of the parties’ briefs, the record, and the applicable law, we conclude that the petition alleged a colorable claim of ineffective assistance of counsel, thereby entitling Petitioner to appointed counsel and to an opportunity to amend his petition with the aid of post-conviction counsel.  Additional claims made by Petitioner were previously determined during his direct appeal and were, therefore, properly dismissed.  Accordingly, the judgment of the post-conviction court is affirmed in part, reversed in part, and remanded.

Wilson County Court of Criminal Appeals 04/13/15
Frederick Moore v. State of Tennessee
W2014-01740-CCA-R3-ECN
Authoring Judge: Judge Roger A. Page
Trial Court Judge: Judge Roy B. Morgan, Jr.

Appellant, Frederick Moore, appeals the denial of his petition for writ of error coram nobis in which he challenged his convictions for first degree premeditated murder, felony murder, aggravated kidnapping, and two counts of tampering with evidence and his effective sentence of life imprisonment plus twenty years. We affirm the judgment of the coram nobis court pursuant to Rule 20 of the Rules of the Court of Criminal Appeals.

Madison County Court of Criminal Appeals 04/09/15
State of Tennessee v. William Valentine
E2014-00522-CCA-R3-CD
Authoring Judge: Judge D. Kelly Thomas, Jr.
Trial Court Judge: Judge Barry A. Steelman
Following a jury trial, the Defendant, William Valentine, was convicted of attempted first degree murder, a Class A felony, and aggravated assault, a Class C felony. See Tenn. Code Ann. §§ 39-12-101, -13-102, -13-202. The Defendant was sentenced to sixteen years for the attempted first degree murder conviction and five years for the aggravated assault conviction.1 In this appeal as of right, the Defendant contends (1) that the evidence was insufficient to sustain the Defendant’s conviction for attempted first degree murder; (2) that the trial court erred in denying the Defendant’s motion to suppress and allowing the State to cross-examine him regarding statements he made to the police; (3) that the trial court erred in admitting photographs depicting scars on the victim’s body from several gunshot wounds when the victim already displayed the scars to the jury during his testimony; (4) that the trial court erred in admitting the victim’s medical records; (5) that the trial court erred in admitting a recording of a 911 call made by a witness to the shooting; (6) that the State committed prosecutorial misconduct; (7) that the trial court erred by not allowing the Defendant to testify regarding his opinion of a local nightclub; (8) that the trial court erred by not allowing the Defendant to introduce extrinsic evidence of a prior inconsistent statement made by the victim; (9) that the trial court erred by denying the Defendant’s motion for a new trial on the grounds that the victim recanted a portion of his trial testimony; and (10) that the Defendant received ineffective assistance from his trial counsel.2 Following our review, we affirm the judgments of the trial court.
 
Hamilton County Court of Criminal Appeals 04/09/15
State of Tennessee v. Bruce Lamont Smith
M2014-02092-CCA-R3-CD
Authoring Judge: Judge James Curwood Witt, Jr.
Trial Court Judge: Judge Steve Dozier

The defendant, Bruce Lamont Smith, appeals the summary denial of his motion, filed pursuant to Rule 36.1 of the Tennessee Rules of Criminal Procedure, to correct what he believes to be an illegal sentence. Discerning no error, we affirm.

Davidson County Court of Criminal Appeals 04/09/15
State of Tennessee v. Jeffrey Lee Martin
E2014-00308-CCA-R3-CD
Authoring Judge: Judge James Curwood Witt, Jr.
Trial Court Judge: Judge Tammy M. Harrington
A Blount Court Circuit Court jury convicted the defendant, Jeffrey Lee Martin, of promoting the manufacture of methamphetamine, and the trial court imposed a Range II sentence of 8 years’ incarceration. In this appeal, the defendant challenges the sufficiency of the convicting evidence, argues that the trial court erred by denying his motion to suppress, and claims that the trial court erroneously limited his cross-examination of a certain witness. Discerning no error, we affirm the judgment of the trial court.
 
Blount County Court of Criminal Appeals 04/08/15
Willard William Wright v. State of Tennessee
M2014-01498-CCA-R3-PC
Authoring Judge: Presiding Judge Thomas T. Woodall
Trial Court Judge: Judge Monte Watkins

Petitioner, Willard William Wright, filed a petition for post-conviction relief attacking his conviction, pursuant to a negotiated guilty plea, for burglary of a motor vehicle in Davidson County Criminal Court case number 2010-C-2534. The post-conviction court summarily dismissed the petition because it was filed after the applicable one year statute of limitations had run. Petitioner appeals, arguing that the statute of limitations should be tolled on due process grounds. After a thorough review of the record, we affirm the judgment of the post-conviction court.

Davidson County Court of Criminal Appeals 04/08/15
State of Tennessee v. Sanchez Lewan Bradford
M2014-01311-CCA-R3-CD
Authoring Judge: Judge Alan E. Glenn
Trial Court Judge: Judge J. Randall Wyatt, Jr.

The petitioner, Sanchez Lewan Bradford, appeals the trial court’s summary dismissal of his motion to correct an illegal sentence, asserting that his sentences were illegal in that he was not sentenced to consecutive terms.  After review, we affirm the summary dismissal.

Davidson County Court of Criminal Appeals 04/08/15
Alvin Michael Young v. State of Tennessee
E2014-01276-CCA-R3-PC
Authoring Judge: Judge Alan E. Glenn
Trial Court Judge: Judge Robert H. Montgomery, Jr.
The pro se petitioner, Alvin Michael Young, appeals the post-conviction court’s denial of his petition for post-conviction relief from his convictions for aggravated kidnapping and domestic assault. On appeal, he argues that he received the ineffective assistance of counsel on appeal. After review, we affirm the denial of the petition.
 
Sullivan County Court of Criminal Appeals 04/07/15
State of Tennessee v. Natasha Moses Bates
E2014-00725-CCA-R3-CD
Authoring Judge: Judge Alan E. Glenn
Trial Court Judge: Judge Amy A. Reedy
The defendant, Natasha Moses Bates, was convicted of two counts of felony murder, two counts of aggravated child neglect, and four counts of facilitation of the initiation of the process of manufacturing methamphetamine. The murder charges resulted from the deaths of her five- and three-year-old sons whose bodies were found in her front yard. She received a life sentence for each of the felony murder convictions, a twenty-year sentence for each of the aggravated child neglect convictions, and a three-year sentence for each of the drug-related convictions. The trial court ordered that the two life sentences be served consecutively and the two twenty-year sentences to be served consecutively as well, with these two sets of sentences to be served concurrently with each other and with the drug sentences. On appeal, the defendant argues that the evidence is insufficient to support the convictions; that the court erred by not severing the drug-related offenses from the felony murder and aggravated child neglect offenses; and that the court erred by ordering certain of the sentences to be served consecutively. Following our review, we conclude that the trial court erred in not severing the drug offenses, Counts 5-8, from Counts 1-4, alleging felony murder and aggravated child neglect. Accordingly, we reverse the convictions for Counts 5-8 and remand for a new trial. We affirm the convictions and sentencing for Counts 1-4.
 
Bradley County Court of Criminal Appeals 04/07/15
State of Tennessee v. Paul Williams aka Paul Williams EL
W2014-00231-CCA-R3-CD
Authoring Judge: Judge Alan E. Glenn
Trial Court Judge: Judge C. Creed McGinley

The defendant, Paul Williams, a/k/a Paul Williams El, was convicted by a Carroll County jury of driving with a cancelled, suspended, or revoked license with a prior offense, a Class A misdemeanor, and failure to show registration, a Class C misdemeanor. He was sentenced by the trial court to eleven months, twenty-nine days for the driving conviction and thirty days for the registration conviction. In this pro se appeal, the defendant appears to challenge the sufficiency of the convicting evidence and the trial court‟s jurisdiction over his person. Following our review, we affirm the judgments of the trial court.

Carroll County Court of Criminal Appeals 04/07/15
State of Tennessee v. Dennis Karr
E2014-01245-CCA-R3-CD
Authoring Judge: Judge D. Kelly Thomas, Jr.
Trial Court Judge: Judge Rex Henry Ogle

The Defendant, Dennis Karr, appeals as of right from the Sevier County Circuit’s revocation of his community corrections sentence1 and order of incarceration of his five-year-sentence relative to his guilty-pleaded sale of methamphetamine conviction. The Defendant contends that the trial court abused its discretion in revoking his community corrections sentence based upon his failure to report, which, according to the Defendant, was due to necessity because he was a single father and homeless. He submits that, although he was an absconder from supervision as charged, he had, in his opinion, demonstrated an ability to comply with the conditions of his release by addressing his substance abuse problem, by not obtaining any new charges, and by returning to Tennessee to address this violation. Following our review, we affirm the trial court’s revocation of the Defendant’s community corrections sentence.

Sevier County Court of Criminal Appeals 04/07/15
Charles Steven Shivers v. State of Tennessee
M2014-00455-CCA-R3-PC
Authoring Judge: Judge John Everett Williams
Trial Court Judge: Judge J. Randall Wyatt, Jr.

The petitioner was convicted by a jury of attempted first degree murder and especially aggravated robbery, both Class A felonies, and sentenced to an aggregate sentence of forty-three years. The petitioner filed a timely post-conviction petition, which was amended by appointed counsel. After conducting a hearing, the post-conviction court denied relief. Post-conviction counsel failed to file a timely notice of appeal. Because we do not conclude that the interest of justice requires us to hear the appeal, we dismiss it as untimely.

Davidson County Court of Criminal Appeals 04/07/15
Ines Mendez Monreal v. State of Tennessee
M2014-02036-CCA-R3-PC
Authoring Judge: Judge Roger A. Page
Trial Court Judge: Judge Cheryl A. Blackburn

Petitioner, Ines Mendez Monreal, entered a conditional guilty plea to possession of not less than ten (10) pounds nor more than seventy (70) pounds of marijuana, a Class D felony. He was placed on judicial diversion for a period of four years. See Tenn. Code Ann. § 40-35-313. Almost nine years after entering the plea, he filed a petition for post-conviction relief, which was summarily dismissed by the post-conviction court. On appeal, petitioner raises the following issues: (1) whether due process principles require that he be permitted to pursue his petition for post-conviction relief; (2) whether he was denied effective assistance of counsel; and (3) whether his plea was knowingly and voluntarily entered. Following our review, we affirm the judgment of the post-conviction court.

Davidson County Court of Criminal Appeals 04/06/15
State of Tennessee v. Paul Jerome Johnson, Jr.
E2013-02437-CCA-R3-CD
Authoring Judge: Judge John Everett Williams
Trial Court Judge: Judge Jon Kerry Blackwood
The defendant, Paul Jerome Johnson, Jr., was convicted of felony murder in perpetration of aggravated child abuse and aggravated child abuse, a Class A felony. He received concurrent sentences of life imprisonment for the felony murder conviction and nineteen years for the aggravated child abuse conviction. On appeal, he contends that the trial court erred by (1) admitting photographs of the victim from the hospital and the autopsy because the photographs had little probative value and were not relevant to material issues at trial; (2) improperly restricting the cross-examination of a witness; and (3) failing to require the State to make an election of offenses. After 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 04/06/15
State of Tennessee v. Ed Loyde
W2014-01055-CCA-R3-CD
Authoring Judge: Judge John Everett Williams
Trial Court Judge: Judge James C. Beasley, Jr.

The defendant, Ed Loyde, was convicted of one count of rape of a child, a Class A felony, and one count of aggravated sexual battery, a Class B felony. He received an effective sentence of thirty-five years. On appeal, he raises the sole issue of whether the evidence was sufficient to support his convictions. After thoroughly reviewing the record, the briefs of the parties, and the applicable law, we affirm the judgments of the trial court.

Shelby County Court of Criminal Appeals 04/06/15
State of Tennessee v. Ryan M. Delaby
E2014-00772-CCA-R3-CD
Authoring Judge: Judge James Curwood Witt, Jr.
Trial Court Judge: Judge Carroll L. Ross
The petitioner, Ryan M. Delaby, appeals from the Bradley County Criminal Court’s order denying his petition to expunge the records of his 2006 conviction of Class E felony vandalism. Because we conclude that the petitioner failed to meet the requirements of Tennessee Code Annotated section 40-32-101(g), we affirm the trial court’s order.
Bradley County Court of Criminal Appeals 04/02/15
State of Tennessee v. Marcus Ray Millard
E2014-01492-CCA-R3-CD
Authoring Judge: Judge James Curwood Witt, Jr.
Trial Court Judge: Judge Barry A. Steelman
The defendant, Marcus Ray Millard, appeals from the revocation of his probation. Discerning no error, we affirm.
Hamilton County Court of Criminal Appeals 04/02/15
State of Tennessee v. James Russell Jones, Jr.
M2013-02270-CCA-R3-CD
Authoring Judge: Judge Alan E. Glenn
Trial Court Judge: Judge Monte D. Watkins

The defendant, James Russell Jones, Jr., was convicted by a Davidson County Criminal Court jury of two counts of aggravated rape, a Class A felony; attempted aggravated rape, a Class B felony; aggravated sexual battery, a Class B felony; and simple assault, a Class A misdemeanor. He was sentenced by the trial court as a Range II, multiple offender to thirty years at 100% for each of the aggravated rape convictions, as a Range III, persistent offender to twenty-five years at 45% for the attempted aggravated rape conviction and twenty-five years at 100% for the aggravated sexual battery conviction, and to eleven months, twenty-nine days for the misdemeanor assault conviction. The trial court ordered the sentences for the four felony convictions served consecutively, for an effective sentence of 110 years in the Tennessee Department of Correction, to be served consecutively to the defendant’s life sentence for a South Carolina conviction. On appeal, the defendant challenges the sufficiency of the evidence in support of his convictions and argues that the trial court erred by denying his request for a mistrial, by ordering consecutive sentences, and by allowing the jury to deliberate on Counts 1 and 2 of the indictment when venue in Davidson County had not been established. Following our review, we affirm the judgments of the trial court.

Davidson County Court of Criminal Appeals 04/02/15
State of Tennessee v. Charzelle Lamontez Swafford
M2014-00421-CCA-R3-CD
Authoring Judge: Judge John Everett Williams
Trial Court Judge: Judge Cheryl A. Blackburn

After a shooting at a public housing complex, a jury convicted the defendant, Charzelle Lamontez Swafford, of one count of first degree (premeditated) murder, four counts of attempted first degree murder, each a Class A felony, and one count of employing a firearm during the attempt to commit a dangerous felony, a Class C felony. The defendant appeals, challenging the sufficiency of the evidence; the denial of a mistrial based on an emotional outburst from a witness; the trial court’s decision to admit a recorded prior inconsistent statement as substantive evidence; and the trial court’s decision to impose partial consecutive sentences at the upper end of the range. After a thorough review of the record, we affirm the judgments of the trial court.

Davidson County Court of Criminal Appeals 04/02/15
State of Tennessee v. Kenneth McCormick
M2013-02189-CCA-R3-CD
Authoring Judge: Judge John Everett Williams
Trial Court Judge: Judge David A. Patterson

The defendant, Kenneth McCormick, was indicted for driving under the influence of an intoxicant (first offense), a Class A misdemeanor. The defendant moved to suppress the evidence against him on the basis that law enforcement lacked reasonable suspicion to effect the seizure of his parked vehicle through the activation of emergency lights. The trial court denied the motion to suppress, and the defendant was convicted after a jury trial. Because we conclude that the activation of the emergency lights was an exercise of the community caretaking function and did not constitute a seizure, we affirm the judgment of the trial court.

White County Court of Criminal Appeals 04/02/15