Tennessee Administrative Office of the Courts

Appellate Court Opinions

Format: 09/30/2016
Format: 09/30/2016
State of Tennessee v. Joseph Richard Fredrickson
M2015-01206-CCA-R3-CD

The defendant, Joseph Richard Fredrickson, was convicted of one count of the sale of marijuana, a Class E felony, one count of delivery of marijuana, a Class E felony, and one count of conspiracy to sell or deliver marijuana, a Class A misdemeanor.  The trial court merged felony convictions and sentenced the defendant as a Range II offender to four years; the defendant received a sentence of  eleven months and twenty-nine days for the misdemeanor conviction.  The trial court ordered the defendant to serve his sentences concurrently for an effective sentence of four years.  On appeal, the defendant argues that the evidence is insufficient to sustain his felony convictions, that the trial court erred in denying his motion for independent scientific testing of the marijuana, and that the trial court erred in imposing four-year sentences for his felony convictions.  Following our review, we affirm the judgments of the trial court.

Bedford County Court of Criminal Appeals 09/29/16
William S. Mitchell v. Michael Parris, Warden
W2015-01790-CCA-R3-HC

The petitioner, William S. Mitchell, attempts to convert an appeal of the denial of his petition for writ of habeas corpus into a Tennessee Rule of Criminal Procedure 36.1 claim regarding the illegality of his plea agreement sentence for aggravated sexual battery. We respectfully decline the petitioner’s request that we consider his timely appeal of the denial of his petition for writ of habeas corpus as an untimely appeal of his motion to correct an illegal sentence. Accordingly, we dismiss the appeal.

Lake County Court of Criminal Appeals 09/29/16
State of Tennessee v. Marcus Williams
W2015-01918-CA-R3-CD

The defendant, Marcus Williams, appeals his Shelby County Criminal Court jury convictions of identity theft, theft of property, and forgery, claiming that the evidence was insufficient to support his convictions and that the trial court erred by instructing the jury on criminal responsibility and by admitting certain evidence at trial. Discerning no error, we affirm.

Shelby County Court of Criminal Appeals 09/29/16
Dallas K. Hurley, Jr. v. Ryan B. Pickens, M.D., et al
E2015-02089-COA-R3-CV

Dallas K. Hurley, Jr. (“Plaintiff”) sued Ryan B. Pickens, M.D. and University Urology, P.C. (“Defendants”) alleging claims for health care liability. Defendants filed a motion to dismiss. While the motion to dismiss was pending, Plaintiff filed a notice of and motion for voluntary dismissal pursuant to Tenn. R. Civ. P. 41. The Circuit Court for Knox County (“the Trial Court”) granted Plaintiff a voluntary dismissal without prejudice. Defendants appeal to this Court raising issues regarding whether Plaintiff had the right to take a voluntary dismissal without prejudice when a motion to dismiss was pending and whether Plaintiff failed to comply with Tenn. Code Ann. § 29-26-122 requiring dismissal of Plaintiff’s suit with prejudice. We find and hold that Plaintiff had the right to take a voluntary dismissal even while a motion to dismiss was pending. Our resolution of this issue renders Defendants’ second issue moot. We, therefore, affirm the Trial Court’s order granting Plaintiff a voluntary dismissal.

Knox County Court of Appeals 09/29/16
Michael Fields v. State of Tennessee
E2015-01850-CCA-R3-PC

The Petitioner, Michael Fields, appeals the Sullivan County Criminal Court's denial of post-conviction relief from his convictions for reckless homicide, felony murder, two counts of especially aggravated burglary and especially aggravated robbery. On appeal, the Petitioner argues that he received ineffective assistance of counsel at both the trial and appellate level, and that, in light of these errors, his effective sentence of life plus forty years in incarceration is illegal. Upon review, we affirm the judgment of the post-conviction court.

Sullivan County Court of Criminal Appeals 09/29/16
State of Tennessee v. Rosa Emma Honeycutt
E2015-00790-CCA-R3-CD

A Sullivan County Criminal Court Jury convicted the appellant, Rosa Emma Honeycutt, of failing to report suspected child sexual abuse, a Class A misdemeanor, and the trial court sentenced her to eleven months, twenty-nine days to be served on unsupervised probation. On appeal, the appellant contends that the trial court erred by denying her request for judicial diversion. Based upon the oral arguments, the record, and the parties’ briefs, we reverse the judgment of the trial court and grant judicial diversion.

Sullivan County Court of Criminal Appeals 09/29/16
State of Tennessee v. Michael A. Alderson
M2015-01395-CCA-R3-CD

The defendant, Michael A. Alderson, was convicted by a jury of introducing drugs into a penal institution, a Class C felony, after he was arrested for an unrelated offense and disburdened himself of a small amount of marijuana in the “trap” room leading to the Maury County jail.  The trial court sentenced the defendant as a Range II offender to ten years’ imprisonment.  On appeal, the defendant asserts that he was denied his right to self-representation.  The defendant also argues that the marijuana should have been suppressed because his initial arrest was unlawful, and he asserts error in sentencing.  Because we conclude that the trial court erred in denying the defendant his right to self-representation, we reverse the judgment and remand for further proceedings consistent with this opinion.

Maury County Court of Criminal Appeals 09/29/16
Ms. Bowen Ex Rel. John Doe, "N" v. William E. Arnold, Jr. Et Al.
M2015-00762-SC-R11-CV

The determinative question in this appeal is whether the trial court erred in ruling that a person convicted of rape and aggravated sexual battery is collaterally estopped in a subsequent civil lawsuit filed by the victim of the criminal offenses from relitigating the issue of whether he raped and sexually battered the victim. The trial court applied collateral estoppel, explaining that, although the victim was not a party to the criminal prosecution, the victim was in privity with the State, which satisfied the party mutuality requirement necessary for collateral estoppel to apply. The trial court therefore granted the plaintiffs partial summary judgment but permitted the defendant to seek an interlocutory appeal pursuant to Tennessee Rule of Appellate Procedure 9. After the Court of Appeals declined to accept the interlocutory appeal, the defendant filed an application for permission to appeal in this Court, which we granted. We hereby abolish the strict party mutuality requirement for offensive and defensive collateral estoppel and adopt sections 29 and 85 of the Restatement (Second) of Judgments as the guidelines for courts to follow when determining whether nonmutual collateral estoppel applies. Having applied these guidelines to the undisputed facts in this appeal, we affirm the trial court’s decision granting partial summary judgment to the plaintiffs and remand this matter to the trial court for further proceedings consistent with this decision.

Davidson County Supreme Court 09/29/16
State of Tennessee v. Larenzo Jerome Morgan, Jr.
W2016-00114-CCA-R3-CD

The State appeals the Dyer County Circuit Court’s order granting Larenzo Jerom Morgan, Jr.’s, request for jail credit toward his Dyer County sentence for time he spent serving a sentence in the Missouri Department of Corrections on Missouri convictions. Because we conclude that the trial court was without authority to award jail credit on the Dyer County sentence for time served on the unrelated Missouri convictions, we reverse the judgment of the trial court.

Dyer County Court of Criminal Appeals 09/29/16
State of Tennessee v. Jermaine Carpenter
E2016-00450-CCA-R3-CD

The defendant, Jermaine Carpenter, appeals the summary dismissal of his motion, filed pursuant to Tennessee Rule of Criminal Procedure 36.1, to correct what he believes to be an illegal sentence imposed for his 2004 Sullivan County Criminal Court jury convictions. Discerning no error, we affirm.

Sullivan County Court of Criminal Appeals 09/28/16
Tom Seaton v. Mona Johnson
E2015-2467-COA-R3-CV

The appellee brought a detainer warrant against the appellant. The general sessions court granted the warrant and the appellant appealed to the circuit court, but did not post the required bond. The circuit court dismissed the case and the appellant appealed. We find that appellant’s brief does not meet the argument and citation requirements of Tenn. R. App. P. 27(a)(7) and, therefore, consider appellant’s issues waived. The circuit court’s decision is affirmed.

Washington County Court of Appeals 09/28/16
State of Tennessee v. Joseph A. Colwell, Sr.
M2016-00130-CCA-R3-CD

Defendant, Joseph A. Colwell, Sr., appeals after being convicted by a jury of two counts of rape and two counts of incest and receiving an effective sentence of twenty years.  Upon our review, we determine that the evidence was sufficient to support the convictions and that the trial court did not abuse its discretion in sentencing Defendant to a twenty-year sentence.  Consequently, the judgments of the trial court are affirmed.

Maury County Court of Criminal Appeals 09/28/16
In re Dustin L. et al.
E2015-02265-COA-R3-PT

This is a termination of parental rights case focusing on the six minor children of Tonya F. (“Mother”) and Joshua F. (“Father”). On February 9, 2015, the Tennessee Department of Children’s Services (“DCS”) filed a petition to terminate the parental rights of Mother and Father. DCS alleged as a basis for termination the statutory grounds of (1) failure to provide a suitable home, (2) substantial noncompliance with the permanency plans, and (3) persistence of the conditions leading to removal of the children. Following a bench trial, the trial court granted the petition upon its determination by clear and convincing evidence that DCS had proven all three statutory grounds alleged. The court further determined by clear and convincing evidence that termination of Mother’s and Father’s parental rights was in the children’s best interest. Mother and Father have appealed. Inasmuch as DCS has conceded that the elements of abandonment through failure to provide a suitable home were not proven as to either party, we reverse this statutory ground. We affirm the trial court’s judgment in all other respects, including the termination of Mother’s and Father’s parental rights to the children.

Anderson County Court of Appeals 09/28/16
State of Tennessee v. Marcus Thurman Wade
M2014-01418-CCA-R3-CD

A jury in the Coffee County Circuit Court found the Appellant, Marcus Thurman Wade, guilty of the first degree premeditated murders of Richard Elliott and Timothy Gill, the felony murders in the perpetration of aggravated robbery of Mr. Elliott and Mr. Gill, and the especially aggravated robbery of Mr. Elliott.  The trial court merged the premeditated murder convictions and the felony murder convictions and imposed a total effective sentence of life without the possibility of parole plus thirty-five years.  On appeal, the Appellant challenges (1) the sufficiency of the evidence sustaining his convictions, (2) the trial court’s decision to allow testimony regarding a prior bad act of the Appellant, (3) the trial court’s refusal to give the pattern jury instruction on circumstantial evidence that was in place at the time of the offenses, and (4) the trial court’s ruling on the Appellant’s motion to suppress his statement.  Upon review, we affirm the judgments of the trial court.

Coffee County Court of Criminal Appeals 09/28/16
Dwight Douglas et al v. Charlotte Cornwell
E2016-00124-COA-R3-CV

At issue is whether an easement for ingress and egress exists. Plaintiffs commenced this action to enjoin the adjacent property owner from using Plaintiffs’ driveway for ingress and egress. Defendant filed a counterclaim asserting that she had an easement by implication; alternatively, she claimed Plaintiffs purchased the property subject to an easement because the easement was apparent upon inspection. The dispositive issue concerning the alleged easement by implication is whether the easement is essential to Defendant’s beneficial enjoyment of her property. The trial court found that Defendant failed to establish that she would incur an unreasonable expenditure to create another means of ingress and egress to her property; therefore, the easement was not a necessity. The court also found that the claimed easement was not apparent upon inspection. Accordingly, the court enjoined Defendant from using the driveway for ingress and egress. We affirm.

Washington County Court of Appeals 09/28/16
State of Tennessee v. Philemon Alexander
W2015-02494-CCA-R3-CD

The Defendant, Philemon Alexander, was convicted of one count of theft of property valued at $1,000 or more but less than $10,000. See Tenn. Code Ann. § 39-14-103. In this appeal as of right, the Defendant contends that the evidence was insufficient to sustain his conviction, arguing that there was no proof of his possession of the stolen vehicle. Following our review, the judgment is affirmed.

Shelby County Court of Criminal Appeals 09/28/16
State of Tennessee v. Leonardo D. Williams
W2016-00168-CCA-R3-CD

The defendant, Leonardo D. Williams, appeals the dismissal of his Tennessee Rule of Criminal Procedure 36.1 motion for correction of an illegal sentence, arguing that he illegally received concurrent sentences when he should have received consecutive ones. We affirm the summary dismissal of the motion pursuant to Rule 20, Rules of the Court of Criminal Appeals.

Shelby County Court of Criminal Appeals 09/28/16
State of Tennessee v. Travis Brooks
W2015-02433-CCA-R3-CD

The petitioner, Travis Brooks, appeals the dismissal of his motion to correct an illegal sentence. He argues that he is entitled to relief because the trial court failed to award him appropriate pretrial jail credits. Following our review, we conclude that the petitioner has not stated a colorable claim for relief, and we affirm the judgment of the trial court.

Shelby County Court of Criminal Appeals 09/28/16
State of Tennessee v. Kevin Ladell Grandberry
W2015-01344-CCA-R3-CD

The defendant, Kevin Ladell Grandberry, was indicted for first-degree premeditated murder, murder in the perpetration of a felony, especially aggravated robbery, attempted first degree murder, employing a firearm during the commission of a dangerous felony, felon in possession of a weapon, and theft between $1000 and $10,000. Following trial, a jury found the defendant guilty of murder in the perpetration of a felony, especially aggravated robbery, aggravated assault, felon in possession of a weapon, and theft between $1000 and $10,000. The trial court sentenced the defendant to an effective sentence of life without the possibility of parole plus 27 years in confinement. On appeal, the defendant argues the evidence was insufficient to support his convictions. After review, we affirm the defendant's convictions, but remand to the trial court for entry of amended judgments reflecting, per the sentencing hearing transcripts, that the sentences in Counts 2 and 3 are to be served concurrently.

Lauderdale County Court of Criminal Appeals 09/28/16
State of Tennessee v. James Walter Morgan
E2015-01959-CCA-R3-CD

The Defendant, James Walter Morgan, was found guilty by a Hamblen County Criminal Court jury of theft of property valued at $500 or less, a Class A misdemeanor. See T.C.A. § 39-14-103 (2014). The trial court sentenced the Defendant to eleven months, twenty-nine days of supervised probation. On appeal, the Defendant contends that the trial court erred in denying his request for judicial diversion. We affirm the judgment of the trial court.

Hamblen County Court of Criminal Appeals 09/27/16
State of Tennessee v. Michael D. Hernandez
E2015-01365-CCA-R3-CD
An Anderson County Circuit Court Jury convicted the appellant, Michael D. Hernandez, of one count of rape of a child, and he received a twenty-five-year sentence to be served at 100%. On appeal, the appellant contends that the evidence is insufficient to support the conviction; that the trial court erred by refusing to give him access to the victim's statement in an investigator's notes; that the trial court erred by failing to conduct an in camera review of the notes for exculpatory material; that the trial court erred by denying his motion to suppress evidence found in his home; that the trial court erred by defining “on or about” for the jury; that the trial court erred by giving sequential jury instructions; and that cumulative error warrants a new trial. Based upon the oral arguments, the record, and the parties' briefs, we affirm the judgment of the trial court.
 
Anderson County Court of Criminal Appeals 09/27/16
State of Tennessee v. Michael D. Hernandez - concurring and dissenting
E2015-01365-CCA-R3-CD
I agree with the majority's conclusion upholding the Defendant's conviction for rape of a child and his twenty-five-year sentence. Moreover, while I agree with the majority's conclusion that Ms. Powell's notes do not qualify as a “statement” of the victim pursuant to Tennessee Rule of Criminal Procedure 26.2, I write separately to address the issue of whether Ms. Powell's notes qualify as a “statement” of Ms. Powell as the testifying witness pursuant to Rule 26.2.
 
Anderson County Court of Criminal Appeals 09/27/16
State of Tennessee v. Johnny Malcolm Vinson
M2016-00068-CCA-R3-CD

The defendant, Johnny Malcolm Vinson, was convicted of aggravated assault in violation of an active order of protection pursuant to Tenn. Code Ann. § 39-13-102(c). On appeal, the defendant challenges the sufficiency of the evidence supporting his conviction arguing that conflicting testimony exists regarding his use of a deadly weapon and that the State failed to prove he acted with intent. After our review, we conclude that the defendant’s arguments are without merit. Accordingly, we affirm the judgment of the trial court.

Davidson County Court of Criminal Appeals 09/27/16
State of Tennessee v. Christopher Demotto Linsey
M2015-01851-CCA-R3-CD

The defendant, Christopher Demotto Linsey, was indicted for tampering with evidence, possession of cocaine with intent to sell or deliver, simple possession of marijuana, possession of heroin, and simple possession of alprazolam. After trial, a jury found the defendant guilty of felony tampering with evidence and misdemeanor simple possession of marijuana, for which he received an effective twelve-year sentence. On appeal, the defendant argues the evidence was insufficient to support the trial court’s decision to deny his request for a renunciation jury instruction with respect to the tampering with evidence charge. The State concedes the evidence presented at trial was insufficient to support the defendant’s tampering with evidence conviction and asserts the jury instruction question has been pretermitted. Upon review, we agree with the State. We affirm the defendant’s conviction for simple possession of marijuana and reverse and vacate the defendant’s conviction for tampering with evidence.

Montgomery County Court of Criminal Appeals 09/27/16
Robert Clark v. John Werther, et al.
M2014-00844-COA-R3-CV

The plaintiff, acting pro se, filed a complaint in this health care liability action without attaching a certificate of good faith.  Several defendants filed motions to dismiss based on the missing certificate.  The plaintiff responded to the motions and filed a notice of voluntary nonsuit.  Some of the defendants objected to the voluntary dismissal, arguing the complaint should be dismissed with prejudice.  The trial court dismissed the plaintiff’s claims against the non-objecting defendants without prejudice but dismissed the plaintiff’s claims against the objecting defendants with prejudice.  The plaintiff appealed all of the court’s dismissal orders on numerous grounds.  Upon review, we conclude that Rule 41.01 of the Tennessee Rules of Civil Procedure afforded the plaintiff the right to a voluntary dismissal without prejudice as to all defendants.  Accordingly, we affirm in part, reverse in part, and remand to the trial court for further proceedings consistent with this opinion.  

Davidson County Court of Appeals 09/27/16