Tennessee Administrative Office of the Courts

Appellate Court Opinions

Format: 07/30/2014
Format: 07/30/2014
Cyrus Deville Wilson v. State of Tennessee
M2013-01807-CCA-R3-CO

The petitioner, Cyrus Deville Wilson, appeals the denial of his petition for the writ of error coram nobis.  The petitioner is currently serving a life sentence following his conviction for first degree murder.  In his petition, the petitioner contended that he was entitled to relief because of recently recanted testimony by an eyewitness to the murder.  The error coram nobis court concluded that the recantation was not credible and denied relief.  On appeal, the petitioner contends that the court erred in denying relief because it improperly assessed the evidence presented and applied an incorrect legal standard.  After a review of the record, we affirm.

Davidson County Court of Criminal Appeals 07/30/14
Jamia Rentz v. Michael Rentz
E2013-02414-COA-R3-CV

This appeal arises from the Parties’ numerous post-divorce issues. As relevant to this appeal, Father filed a petition to correct his child support obligation, alleging that his alimony payments to Mother should have been considered as income in setting his support obligation. Father also sought to modify his support obligation in recognition of the birth of his new son and his payment of health insurance. Following numerous hearings, the trial court declined to consider Father’s alimony payments in setting the support obligation but modified the obligation to reflect the birth of Father’s son and the payment of health insurance. The court awarded Mother attorney fees. Father appeals. We affirm the decision of the trial court.

Sullivan County Court of Appeals 07/30/14
State of Tennessee v. Demontre Chavez Brown
M2013-02091-CCA-R3-CD

In this appeal, the Defendant, Demontre Chavez Brown, challenges his conviction for aggravated robbery, a Class B felony, and subsequent sentence of twelve years’ incarceration. Specifically, he alleges that (1) the evidence was insufficient to support his conviction because the witnesses’ testimonies had material inconsistencies and his co-defendant’s testimony was inadequately corroborated; (2) the trial court improperly allowed his co-defendant to testify because the State did not provide him with sufficient notice of such; and (3) the trial court’s imposition of the maximum sentence was excessive because the Defendant’s record contained mostly petty juvenile offenses. Upon consideration of the record and relevant case law, we affirm the judgment of the trial court.

Bedford County Court of Criminal Appeals 07/30/14
Donald E. Price v. Oxford Graduate School, Inc.
E2013-02467-COA-R3-CV

This is a breach of contract case in which an administrator filed suit against a school for unpaid severance pay. The school claimed that the administrator did not provide the requisite 30-day notice for severance pay pursuant to the terms of his contract. The trial court found that the administrator satisfied the notice requirement under the term of his contract and awarded him damages. The school appeals. We affirm the decision of the trial court.

Rhea County Court of Appeals 07/30/14
Ronald Brown v. Netherlands Insurance Company
E2013-01935-SC-R3-WC

After a work-related accident in August of 2010, the employee filed suit against his employer for workers’ compensation benefits, claiming permanent injury to both knees. The employer agreed that the injury to the employee’s right knee was compensable, but contended that the injury to the left knee was not work related. The trial court found for the employee, awarding benefits for injuries to each knee. The employer appealed. The appeal has been referred to the Special Workers’ Compensation Appeals Panel for a hearing and a report of findings of fact and conclusions of law in accordance with Tennessee Supreme Court Rule 51. The judgment of the trial court is affirmed.

Hamilton County Workers Compensation Panel 07/30/14
Tiffany Davis v. Brenda Jones, Warden
M2014-00386-CCA-R3-HC

The petitioner, Tiffany Davis, appeals the Marshall County Circuit Court’s dismissal of her petition for writ of habeas corpus.  In the petition, she challenged her Marshall County drug convictions, which had resulted in an effective sentence of 30 years in the Department of Correction.  Because we agree with the habeas corpus court that the petitioner’s claims of double jeopardy violations and ineffective assistance of counsel do not render her convictions void, we affirm that court’s dismissal of the petition.

Marshall County Court of Criminal Appeals 07/30/14
Eugene Mark Hogbin v. State of Tennessee
M2014-00085-CCA-R3-PC

Petitioner, Eugene Mark Hogbin, was convicted of two counts of aggravated sexual battery and sentenced to an effective sentence of twenty years.  Petitioner filed the instant petition for post-conviction relief, in which he alleged that he received ineffective assistance of counsel.  Following an evidentiary hearing, the post-conviction court denied relief.  On appeal, petitioner argues that he received ineffective assistance of counsel when trial counsel told petitioner that she would win his case at trial.  After our review of the parties’ briefs, the record, and the applicable law, we affirm the judgment of the post-conviction court.

Cheatham County Court of Criminal Appeals 07/30/14
David M. Dulaney, Et Al. v. Don Walker Construction, Et Al.
E2013-00805-COA-R3-CV

David M. Dulaney and Traci L. Dulaney (“Plaintiffs”) sued Don Walker Construction (“Walker Construction”) and Rhonda P. Walker (collectively “Defendants”) with regard to real property and a house constructed and sold by Defendants to Plaintiffs. After a trial, the Circuit Court for Hamilton County (“the Trial Court”) entered its judgment finding and holding, inter alia, that Plaintiffs had failed to prove negligent construction and had failed to prove misrepresentation and violations of the Tennessee Consumer Protection Act. Plaintiffs appeal. We find and hold that the evidence does not preponderate against the Trial Court’s findings, and we affirm.

Hamilton County Court of Appeals 07/30/14
Phillip Dean Patrick v. Nelson Global Products, Inc.
E2013-02444-COA-R3-CV

This is a retaliatory discharge action filed by Phillip Dean Patrick (“Plaintiff”), a former employee of Nelson Global Products, Inc. (“the Employer”). Plaintiff alleged that, on a day during his employment, he was standing nearby when a co-worker sustained a work-related injury. Plaintiff alleged that he was unlawfully terminated after the injured co-worker filed a claim for workers’ compensation benefits. According to Plaintiff, the co-worker’s filing was a “substantial factor” in the Employer’s decision to discharge him. The trial court granted the Employer’s Tenn. R. Civ. P. 12.02(6) motion to dismiss for failure to state a claim upon which relief can be granted. Plaintiff appeals. We affirm.

Anderson County Court of Appeals 07/30/14
Joshua Wayne Taylor v. Mary Katherine Taylor
E2013-01734-COA-R3-CV

This is a post-divorce case stemming from the parties’ competing pleadings, both of which sought a modification of their earlier-filed agreed permanent parenting plan as well as other relief. Within a few months of their divorce, Mary Katherine Taylor (“Mother”) had filed a petition to modify the residential parenting schedule. Joshua Wayne Taylor (“Father”) filed a counterclaim also seeking a modified residential schedule and, furthermore, a change in the custody designation. Following a bench trial, the court found that there was no material change in circumstances warranting a change in the identity of the primary residential parent, but that there was a material change supporting a modification  of the residential schedule. The court ordered a new schedule that substantially increased Mother’s parenting time and provided Father with only standard visitation. The court dismissed each party’s attempt to find the other in contempt. Father appeals. We affirm.

Hamilton County Court of Appeals 07/30/14
State of Tennessee v. Jessica Kennedy
E2013-00260-CCA-R3-CD

The Defendant, Jessica Kennedy, was convicted by a Monroe County Criminal Court jury of facilitation of felony murder, a Class A felony, facilitation of aggravated robbery, a Class C felony, facilitation of burning personal property, a Class A misdemeanor, and facilitation of abuse of a corpse, a Class A misdemeanor. See T.C.A. §§ 39-13-202, 39-13-402, 39-14-303, 13-17-312, 39-11-402, 39-11-403 (2010). The trial court sentenced the Defendant as a Range I, standard offender to concurrent sentences of twenty-two years for facilitation of felony murder, five years for facilitation of aggravated robbery, eleven months, twenty-nine days for facilitation of burning personal property, and eleven months, twenty-nine days for facilitation of abuse of a corpse. On appeal, she contends that (1) the evidence is insufficient to support her convictions, (2) the trial court erred by denying her motion for a judgment of acquittal, (3) the trial court erred by denying her motion to suppress, (4) the trial court erred by failing to grant a mistrial related to the testimony of Tennessee Bureau of Investigation (TBI) Special Agent Barry Brakebill, (5) the trial court erred by permitting the State to call witnesses not listed on the indictment, (6) the trial court erred by making improper statements related to her recorded police interview and by failing to grant a mistrial, (7) the trial court erred by limiting the testimony of a psychologist, (8) the trial court erred by denying her ex parte motion for funds to secure an expert, (9) the trial court erred by overruling her motions to dismiss and to disqualify the prosecutor and the district attorney general’s office, and (10) the trial court erred by misapplying mitigating and enhancement factors during sentencing. We affirm the judgments of the trial court.

Monroe County Court of Criminal Appeals 07/30/14
State of Tennessee v. Janet Lynn Jared
M2013-01739-CCA-R3-CD

Appellant, Janet Lynn Jared, was convicted of theft over $10,000.  She was sentenced to six years, with the sentence to be served on probation if she paid restitution of over $82,000 to her victims.  To satisfy the judgment, she sold the family farm, but the sale resulted in net proceeds of only about $48,000.  The State subsequently filed a motion to order that the remaining amount of restitution be paid.  After several hearings, the Criminal Court ordered that Appellant pay the remainder of her obligation at the rate of $500 a month.  Appellant does not challenge the amount of restitution ordered by the Criminal Court, but she contends on appeal that the Court erred by ordering a payment schedule without considering her means and ability to pay, in violation of Tennessee Code Annotated section 40-35-304(d).  The State asks us to dismiss this appeal because under Tennessee Rule of Appellate Procedure 3(b) there is no appeal as of right from a decision to modify the conditions of probation.  We agree with the State.  This appeal is dismissed.

Putnam County Court of Criminal Appeals 07/29/14
State of Tennessee v. Terry Scott Yarbrough
M2013-02125-CCA-R3-CD

Appellant, Terry Scott Yarbrough, pleaded guilty to driving under the influence (“DUI”), first offense, and received a sentence of eleven months, twenty-nine days, with all but forty-eight hours suspended to supervised probation.  As a condition of the plea agreement, appellant reserved the right to certify a question of law challenging the trial court’s denial of a motion to suppress.  Following our review, we conclude that we do not have jurisdiction to address the certified question of law because it does not comply with the strict requirements of Tennessee Rule of Criminal Procedure 37(b)(2) and State v. Preston, 759 S.W.2d 647 (Tenn. 1988).  Accordingly, the appeal is dismissed.

Davidson County Court of Criminal Appeals 07/29/14
Scott Clevenger v. State of Tennessee
E2013-01786-CCA-R3-PC

In this appeal, the Petitioner, Scott Clevenger, contends that he received ineffective assistance of counsel at trial. Specifically, he alleges that trial counsel failed to meet with him an adequate amount of times and failed to give him a copy of the discovery materials so that he could make an informed decision about his case. After considering the record and the applicable authorities, we affirm the judgment of the post-conviction court.

Grainger County Court of Criminal Appeals 07/29/14
State of Tennessee v. Pedro Ignacio Hernandez
M2013-01321-CCA-R3-CD

The defendant, Pedro Ignacio Hernandez, appeals from his Davidson County Criminal Court jury convictions of three counts of rape of a child, one count of attempted rape of a child, and five counts of aggravated sexual battery, claiming that the trial court erred by deeming him competent to stand trial; that the trial court erred by denying a motion to suppress his pretrial statement to police; that the trial court erred by denying a motion to suppress the results of DNA testing conducted using DNA that was unconstitutionally obtained; that the trial court erred by allowing the State to present evidence that the defendant displayed a photograph of his genitalia to the victim; that the evidence was insufficient to support two of the defendant’s convictions of rape of a child; that dual convictions of rape of a child in count one and aggravated sexual battery in count twelve were prohibited by principles of due process; and that the trial court erred by imposing consecutive sentences and by sentencing the defendant as a Range II offender.  Because the trial court erroneously imposed a Range II sentence for the defendant’s convictions of rape of a child in violation of constitutional ex post facto protections, the sentence for each conviction of rape of a child is modified from a sentence of 28 years to a sentence of 25 years.  The judgments of the trial court are affirmed in all other respects.

Davidson County Court of Criminal Appeals 07/29/14
State of Tennessee v. Burton W. Webb
E2013-02107-CCA-R3-CD

The Defendant, Burton W. Webb, pleaded guilty to three counts of reckless aggravated assault, Class D felonies, two counts of vehicular assault, Class D felonies, and driving under the influence (DUI) second offense, a Class A misdemeanor. See T.C.A. §§ 39-13-102, 39-13-106, 55-10-401 (2010). The trial court merged the DUI conviction with the vehicular assault convictions and sentenced the Defendant as a Range I, standard offender to two years for each reckless aggravated assault conviction and to three years for each vehicular assault conviction. The court ordered consecutive service of the vehicular assault convictions, for an effective six-year sentence. On appeal, the Defendant contends that the trial court erred (1) by applying certain enhancement factors to the vehicular assault convictions, (2) by denying alternative sentencing, and (3) by ordering consecutive sentences. Although we conclude that the trial court erroneously applied two enhancement factors, the lengths and the manner of service of the sentences are proper. We also conclude that the trial court erred by failing to state its factual findings underlying its conclusion that consecutive sentences were warranted pursuant to State v. Wilkerson, 905 S.W.2d 933, 938 (Tenn. 1995). We remand the case in order for the court to state its factual findings on the record.

Hamilton County Court of Criminal Appeals 07/29/14
State of Tennessee v. Bobby Charles Farley Jr.
W2013-02055-CCA-R3-CD

A jury convicted the Defendant, Bobby Charles Farley, Jr., of driving under the influence (“DUI”); unlawful carrying of a weapon; violating the financial responsibility law; and violating the seatbelt law. After a hearing, the trial court imposed an effective sentence of eleven months, twenty-nine days, to be served in the county jail. In this direct appeal, the Defendant challenges the sufficiency of the evidence underlying his DUI offense and the trial court’s instructions to the jury. Upon our thorough review of the record and applicable law, we affirm the trial court’s judgments.

Madison County Court of Criminal Appeals 07/29/14
State of Tennessee v. Michael Jarrod Brady
W2013-02784-CCA-R3-CD

A jury convicted the defendant, Michael Jarrod Brady, of aggravated robbery, a Class B felony. The defendant’s sole issue on appeal is a challenge to the sufficiency of the evidence. Because we find that the evidence is sufficient to sustain the verdict, we affirm the judgment of the trial court.

Madison County Court of Criminal Appeals 07/29/14
Christopher Scott Chapman v. Henry Steward, Warden
W2013-02361-CCA-R3-HC

The Petitioner, Christopher Scott Chapman, appeals as of right from the Lake County Circuit Court’s dismissal of his petition for a writ of habeas corpus. The Petitioner contends that he was denied pretrial jail credits. Discerning no error, we affirm the judgment of the habeas corpus court.

Lake County Court of Criminal Appeals 07/29/14
Milton L. Kirk Jr. v. State of Tennessee
W2013-00544-CCA-R3-PC

Milton L. Kirk, Jr., (“the Petitioner”) was convicted by a jury of sale of .5 grams or more of cocaine. The Petitioner then pleaded guilty to tampering with evidence and possession with intent to sell or deliver cocaine. The trial court sentenced the Petitioner to an effective sentence of sixteen years’ incarceration. The Petitioner subsequently filed for postconviction relief, which the post-conviction court denied following an evidentiary hearing. The Petitioner now appeals, arguing that he received ineffective assistance of counsel at trial and that his guilty plea was constitutionally invalid. Upon our thorough review of the record and the applicable law, we affirm the judgment of the post-conviction court.

Dyer County Court of Criminal Appeals 07/29/14
Richard Jeremiah Garrett, Jr. v. Renee Michelle Elmore
M2013-01564-COA-R3-JV

The father of the parties’ four-year-old child appeals the permanent parenting plan established by the juvenile court judge; specifically, he challenges the designation of Mother as the primary residential parent, the parenting schedule, the income imputed to each parent, and child support he is ordered to pay. He also contends Mother waived her right to a de novo rehearing of an earlier “order” by the magistrate, which favored Father, as she did not file a timely request for a de novo hearing; therefore, the juvenile court judge was without authority to conduct a de novo hearing or to enter judgment contrary to the magistrate’s order. We have determined the magistrate’s “order” was not a final judgment because the magistrate never prepared “findings and recommendations in writing,” which are to be provided to the juvenile court judge, as is expressly required by Tenn. Code Ann. § 37-1-107(d). Following the de novo hearing before the juvenile court judge, Mother was named the primary residential parent and she was awarded 218 days of parenting time; Father was awarded 147 days. In calculating child support, the trial court found that Mother was attending college part-time but that she was voluntarily unemployed and imputed income to her based on federal minimum wage. The court found that Father’s evidence concerning his modest income was unreliable and imputed income to Father pursuant to Tenn. Comp. R. & Regs. 1240-02-04-.04(3)(a)(2)(iv). The court additionally afforded Mother a day care credit of $516 per month and set child support pursuant to the guidelines based upon the above findings. Father appeals. Finding no error, we affirm.

Montgomery County Court of Appeals 07/29/14
Circle C Construction, LLC v. D. Sean Nilsen, Et Al.
M2013-02330-COA-R3-CV

The issue in this case is whether a tolling agreement between the parties precludes the application of the savings statute set forth in Tenn. Code Ann. § 28-1-105(a). We agree with the trial court that the tolling agreement does preclude application of the savings statute and that the plaintiff’s legal malpractice action is barred by the termination date established in the agreement.

Davidson County Court of Appeals 07/29/14
Mark L. Peck v. State of Tennessee, et al
E2013-01760-CCA-R3-ECN

The petitioner, Mark L. Peck, appeals the denial of his petition for writ of error coram nobis, arguing that newly discovered evidence of the unreliability of an FBI agent’s firearms testimony entitles him to a new trial. Following our review, we affirm the denial of the petition.

Sullivan County Court of Criminal Appeals 07/28/14
State of Tennessee v. Michael Anthony Skettini
E2013-02780-CCA-R3-CD

The Defendant, Michael Anthony Skettini, appeals as of right from the Blount County Circuit Court’s revocation of his probation and order of confinement for one year. The Defendant contends that the trial court abused its discretion in revoking his probation based upon the “limited evidence” of driving under the influence (DUI) presented at the revocation hearing and that a “lesser period of split confinement . . . would have been more reasonable” under the circumstances. Following our review, we affirm the trial court’s revocation of the Defendant’s probationary sentences and order of confinement.

Blount County Court of Criminal Appeals 07/28/14
State of Tennessee v. Anthony Antonio Cole
W2013-02161-CCA-R3-CD

Anthony Antonio Cole (“the Defendant”) was convicted by a jury of driving under the influence, driving without a license, violation of the financial responsibility law, violation of the registration law, and failure to yield the right of way. Following a sentencing hearing, the trial court ordered the Defendant to serve a total effective sentence of twelve months and twenty-nine days in confinement. In this direct appeal, the Defendant challenges the sufficiency of the evidence supporting his convictions for driving under the influence, driving without a license, and failure to yield the right of way. Upon our thorough review of the record and applicable law, we affirm the judgments of the trial court.

Madison County Court of Criminal Appeals 07/28/14