Tennessee Administrative Office of the Courts

Appellate Court Opinions

Format: 04/18/2015
Format: 04/18/2015
John C. Crim v. State of Tennessee-Concurring in part and dissenting in part
M2014-00948-CCA-R3-PC

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
Fairy Berry v. City of Memphis
W2014-01236-COA-R3-CV

This appeal arises from the trial court’s award of damages stemming from an automobile accident. In 2003, plaintiff was injured when her vehicle was struck by a Memphis Police Department officer’s car in an intersection. After a non-jury trial, the trial court awarded plaintiff damages for pain and suffering and loss of enjoyment of life. The City of Memphis appeals these damages, arguing (1) plaintiff’s expert non-treating physician was not qualified to opine as to emergency room treatment or costs; (2) plaintiff should not recover for her failure to mitigate her damages by exacerbating her injury; and (3) plaintiff’s testimony wherein she explains her ongoing pain did not warrant the amount of damages she was awarded. Discerning no error, we affirm.

Shelby County Court of Appeals 04/13/15
State of Tennessee v. Amber Renee Terry
W2014-01628-CCA-R3-CD

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
Tommy Nunley v. State of Tennessee
W2014-01776-CCA-R3-PC

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
Dericko Jackson v. State of Tennessee
W2014-01453-CCA-R3-CO

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
State of Tennessee v. Marcus Anthony Robey
M2014-00773-CCA-R3-CD

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
State of Tennessee v. George A. Mikita
M2014-00650-CCA-R3-CD

Defendant, George A. Mikita, was implicated in two separate home invasions and charged with various crimes as a result.  Defendant entered guilty pleas to two counts of aggravated burglary, one count of theft of property valued at $1,000 or more, and one count of theft of property valued at $500 or more.  Defendant was sentenced to an effective sentence of thirteen years after a sentencing hearing.  Defendant appeals, challenging the trial court’s imposition of consecutive sentences under a theory dubbed “just desserts.”  After a review, we determine there is no evidence that the trial court abused its discretion in sentencing Defendant to an effective sentence of thirteen years.  Consequently, the judgments of the trial court are affirmed.

Rutherford County Court of Criminal Appeals 04/13/15
Danny Dew v. Rees-Memphis, Inc., et al.
W2013-02528-SC-WCM-WC

An employee filed this action, seeking to compel his former employer to pay for a surgical procedure pursuant to the medical provision of a settlement approved by the Department of Labor and Workforce Development. The trial court granted the employer’s motion to dismiss on the ground that the action was barred by the one-year statute of limitations contained in Tennessee Code Annotated § 50-6-224(a)(3). The employee has appealed, arguing that § 50-6-224 does not apply to actions for post-judgment medical treatment. The employer seeks an award of attorney’s fees pursuant to Tennessee Code Annotated § 20-12-119. 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. We affirm the judgment.

Dyer County Workers Compensation Panel 04/13/15
Johnny L. Smith, et al. v. Metropolitan Government of Nashville and Davidson County
M2014-01325-COA-R3-CV

The plaintiffs sued the Metropolitan Government, claiming that prior citations that had  been issued to them and paid by them were issued without authority and handled by the general sessions court without jurisdiction.  The trial court granted summary judgment in favor of the government.  The plaintiffs appealed, and we affirm. 

Davidson County Court of Appeals 04/13/15
In Re Jordin M.
M2013-02275-COA-R3-JV

In this juvenile court case, Father filed a petition to modify the parenting plan to make him the primary residential parent. At the beginning of the hearing, the parties stipulated that there had been a material change of circumstances. We have concluded that the evidence does not preponderate against the trial court’s determination that it was in the child’s best interest for Mother to be the primary residential parent.

Rutherford County Court of Appeals 04/09/15
State of Tennessee v. Bruce Lamont Smith
M2014-02092-CCA-R3-CD

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. William Valentine
E2014-00522-CCA-R3-CD
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
Frederick Moore v. State of Tennessee
W2014-01740-CCA-R3-ECN

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
John Holmes Peacher-Ryan, et al. v. Heirs At Law of Ruth James Gaylor, et al.
W2013-02801-COA-R3-CV

This is an appeal of the trial court’s adoption of a special master’s report. The trial court referred the case to the special master for determination of the proper heirs of a residuary trust. Because the procedure in the trial court failed to comply with the requirements of Tennessee Rule of Civil Procedure 53, we vacate and remand.

Shelby County Court of Appeals 04/09/15
Kenneth Marino v. Board of Administration City of Memphis Retirement System
W2015-00069-COA-R3-CV

The order appealed is not a final judgment. Consequently, we must dismiss this appeal for lack of jurisdiction.

Shelby County Court of Appeals 04/09/15
Willard William Wright v. State of Tennessee
M2014-01498-CCA-R3-PC

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

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
In Re Tennessee Walking Horse Forfeiture Litigation
W2013-02804-COA-R3-CV

This case arises out of an appeal by the State of Tennessee, from an Order dismissing a Complaint for Judicial Forfeiture. The trial court granted Appellees’, the purported owners of two Tennessee Walking Horses, motion to dismiss for failure to comply with Tennessee Code Annotated Sections 39-14-210(f) and 39-11-707(c). We vacate and remand.

Fayette County Court of Appeals 04/08/15
In Re: Destin R.
M2013-02156-COA-R3-JV

In this grandparent visitation case the mother of the child appeals the grant of the petition to establish grandparent visitation privileges. We vacate the judgment and remand the case for entry of an order in compliance with Tenn. Rule Civ. P. 52.01.

Wilson County Court of Appeals 04/08/15
State of Tennessee v. Paul Williams aka Paul Williams EL
W2014-00231-CCA-R3-CD

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
Charles Steven Shivers v. State of Tennessee
M2014-00455-CCA-R3-PC

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
State of Tennessee v. Dennis Karr
E2014-01245-CCA-R3-CD

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
Michael Morgan v. Superior Catering Services, et al.
E2014-00005-COA-R3-CV

The underlying claim in this appeal concerns age discrimination. The action was filed initially against a single defendant. Three additional defendants were later added, but the plaintiff served process for them on the attorney for the initial defendant, instead of the individual defendants, a fact about which the added defendants learned only a few days prior to the trial. The trial ensued after the court refused to grant a continuance. A jury found all the defendants liable. The trial court awarded the plaintiff $70,000. The defendants collectively filed a motion for a new trial and raised the issues of insufficient service and the inadmissibility of direct evidence. In its first order, the trial court granted the defendants' motion for a new trial. The plaintiff thereafter filed a motion to alter or amend, after which the court reversed its prior ruling granting the new trial and reinstated the jury verdict. The defendants appeal. We reverse.

Hamilton County Court of Appeals 04/07/15
State of Tennessee v. Latickia Tashay Burgins
E2014-02110-SC-R8-CO

We granted review in this case to determine whether Tennessee’s bail revocation statute, Tennessee Code Annotated section 40-11-141(b), is constitutional, and if so, to establish the procedure to be followed in bail revocation proceedings. A Knox County grand jury returned a presentment against the defendant for simple possession of marijuana. The defendant posted bond and was released. Subsequently, a Knox County grand jury issued a nineteen-count presentment against the defendant, charging her with multiple crimes, including attempted first degree murder, employing a firearm during the commission of a dangerous felony, attempted especially aggravated robbery, attempted carjacking, and aggravated assault. The trial court, pursuant to Tennessee Code Annotated section 40 11 141(b), granted the State’s motion to revoke the defendant’s bail. The Court of Criminal Appeals reversed, holding that the statute violated article I, section 15 of the Tennessee Constitution. We hold that the Tennessee Constitution guarantees a defendant the right to pretrial release on bail, but this right is not absolute. A defendant may forfeit her right to bail by subsequent criminal conduct. Before pretrial bail can be revoked, the defendant is entitled to an evidentiary hearing. We remand this case to the trial court for further proceedings consistent with this opinion.  

Knox County Supreme Court 04/07/15
Town of Collierville, et al. v. Town of Collierville Board of Zoning, et al.
W2013-02752-COA-R3-CV

The Town of Collierville, Tennessee, passed an ordinance prohibiting the construction of new billboards. The Town, through its Development Department, asserted that two billboards erected prior to the passage of the ordinance were illegal and ordered that they be removed. The owner of the billboards appealed the removal order to the Board of Zoning Appeals, which did not affirm the order. The Town and the Development Department petitioned for writ of certiorari, seeking judicial review of the decision of the Board of Zoning Appeals. The Shelby County Chancery Court dismissed the petition for lack of standing. We conclude that the Town and the Development Department have standing. Therefore, we reverse the judgment of the trial court and remand for proceedings consistent with this opinion.

Shelby County Court of Appeals 04/07/15