Tennessee Administrative Office of the Courts

Appellate Court Opinions

Format: 08/20/2014
Format: 08/20/2014
John R. Wills, Jr. v. The City of Memphis, et al.
W2013-01861-COA-R3-CV

Landowner filed a petition for writ of certiorari in the Chancery Court of Shelby County, seeking review of the City of Memphis City Council’s decision to deny the landowner’s petition to subdivide his Belle Meade Subdivision lot into two lots. The trial court reversed the City Council’s decision, finding that the landowner had satisfied the requirements for subdivision under the Uniform Development Code, and remanded the case for rehearing before the City Council. On remand, the City Council’s review was limited to the record established at the previous hearing. For the reasons discussed herein, we affirm in part and vacate in part, and remand to the trial court with instructions to remand to the City Council for reconsideration.

Shelby County Court of Appeals 08/13/14
State of Tennessee v. Daryl Bobo
W2013-02008-CCA-R3-CD

Appellant stands convicted of possession with intent to sell 0.5 grams or more of cocaine in a drug-free school zone, a Class A felony, and possession with intent to sell 0.5 ounce or more of marijuana in a drug-free school zone, a Class D felony. The trial court sentenced appellant as a Range III, persistent offender to sixty years for his cocaine conviction and twelve years for his marijuana conviction, to be served concurrently. On appeal, appellant argues that the evidence at trial was insufficient to support his convictions. Following our review of the briefs, the record, and the applicable law, we affirm the judgments of the trial court.

Shelby County Court of Criminal Appeals 08/13/14
State of Tennessee v. Kevin Cortez Chrystak
W2013-01219-CCA-R3-CD

The Defendant, Kevin Cortez Chrystak, appeals from the Madison County Circuit Court’s order affirming his conviction for violation of the implied consent statute. See Tenn. Code Ann. § 55-10-406. In the trial court, the Defendant raised a statutory interpretation argument concerning the mandatory blood draw provision of the implied consent law. On appeal, the Defendant argues that the mandatory provision is unconstitutional, violating his Fourth Amendment Rights, and that he did not violate the implied consent law when he presented for the mandatory blood draw. The Defendant has waived his constitutional argument on appeal. However, pursuant to principles of statutory construction, we agree with the Defendant that he did not violate the implied consent law when his blood was obtained via the mandatory provisions. Following our review, we reverse the order of the trial court upholding the implied consent violation and dismiss the charge.

Madison County Court of Criminal Appeals 08/13/14
State of Tennessee v. Quincey Bernard Dotson
W2013-02058-CCA-R3-CD

The defendant, Quincey Bernard Dotson, was convicted by a Madison County Criminal Court jury of aggravated assault, a Class C felony, and sentenced to a term of ten years as a Range II offender in the Tennessee Department of Correction. On appeal, he challenges the sufficiency of the evidence and the trial court’s failure to apply any mitigating factors in determining his sentence. After review, we affirm the judgment of the trial court.

Madison County Court of Criminal Appeals 08/13/14
Milburn L. Edwards v. State of Tennessee
W2013-01886-CCA-R3-PC

The Petitioner, Milburn L. Edwards, appeals the Shelby County Criminal Court’s summary dismissal of his second pro se petition for post-conviction relief. After reviewing the record in this case, we conclude that the summary dismissal of the petition was proper and that this case meets the criteria for affirmance pursuant to Rule 20 of the Rules of the Court of Criminal Appeals. Accordingly, we affirm the judgment of the post-conviction court.

Shelby County Court of Criminal Appeals 08/13/14
Charles Orlando Fields v. State of Tennessee
W2013-02516-CCA-R3-PC

The pro se petitioner, Charles Orlando Fields, appeals the denial of his motion to reopen his post-conviction petition. Because he failed to comply with the statutory requirements for seeking review of a dismissal of a motion to reopen a post-conviction petition, we dismiss the appeal.

Obion County Court of Criminal Appeals 08/13/14
State of Tennessee v. Phillip Harris
W2013-01028-CCA-R3-CD

The Defendant-Appellant, Phillip Harris, was indicted by a Shelby County Criminal Court Grand Jury for six counts of attempted second degree murder and one count of unlawful employment of a firearm during the attempt to commit a dangerous felony. Following a jury trial, Harris was convicted of one count of attempted second degree murder (count two), five counts of misdemeanor reckless endangerment (counts one, three, four, five, and six), and one count of unlawful employment of a firearm during the attempt to commit a dangerous felony (count seven). The trial court sentenced Harris to twelve years for the attempted second degree murder conviction and to a mandatory consecutive sentence of six years for the unlawful employment of a firearm during the attempt to commit a dangerous felony. The court also imposed sentences of eleven months and twenty-nine days for each of the reckless endangerment convictions and ordered these sentences served concurrently with the sentence for attempted second degree murder. On appeal, Harris argues: (1) the evidence is insufficient to sustain his convictions, and (2) his sentence is excessive. Upon review, we affirm the convictions and remand for resentencing as to the conviction for attempted second degree murder.

Shelby County Court of Criminal Appeals 08/13/14
State of Tennessee v. Rodriquez Jones
W2014-00193-CCA-R3-CD

Appellant, Rodriquez Jones, was convicted of aggravated sexual battery and sentenced to ten years in the Tennessee Department of Correction. On appeal, he argues that the evidence was insufficient to support his conviction and that the assistant district attorney general committed prosecutorial misconduct during closing arguments. Following our review, we affirm the judgment of the trial court; however, we must remand this matter to the trial court to correct the judgment form.

Shelby County Court of Criminal Appeals 08/13/14
State of Tennessee v. David Morrow
W2014-00338-CCA-R3-CO

Appellant pleaded guilty to failure to appear and unlawful possession of a controlled substance with intent to sell or deliver. Appellant later filed a Motion to Correct Illegal Sentences pursuant to Tennessee Rule of Criminal Procedure 36.1, which the trial court summarily dismissed. On appeal, appellant argues that the trial court erred by summarily dismissing his motion without appointing counsel after he had stated a colorable claim for relief. The State concedes that this case should be remanded to the trial court because appellant stated a colorable claim for relief pursuant to Rule 36.1. Following our review of the parties’ briefs, the record, and the applicable law, we reverse the trial court’s judgment and remand for proceedings consistent with this opinion.

Shelby County Court of Criminal Appeals 08/13/14
Joe Ross v. State of Tennessee
W2013-02555-CCA-R3-HC

The Petitioner, Joe Ross, appeals the Shelby County Criminal Court’s denial of his petition for writ of habeas corpus. The Petitioner entered guilty pleas to five counts of aggravated robbery, four counts of especially aggravated kidnapping, and one count of aggravated rape, for which he received an effective sentence of 25 years confinement. On appeal, the Petitioner argues that his sentence is illegal on the face of the judgment because it does not include mandatory supervision for life. Because the Petitioner’s judgment does not reflect the statutory requirement of mandatory lifetime community supervision, we conclude that the judgment for aggravated rape is illegal and void. We vacate the Petitioner’s sentence for aggravated rape and remand to the habeas court for an evidentiary hearing to determine whether the illegal sentence was a bargained-for element of the Petitioner’s plea agreement.

Shelby County Court of Criminal Appeals 08/13/14
State of Tennessee v. Michael Smith
W2013-01190-CCA-R3-CD

A Shelby County jury found the Defendant, Michael Smith, guilty of aggravated assault and evading arrest. The trial court sentenced the Defendant to ten years for the aggravated assault conviction and eleven months and twenty-nine days for the evading arrest conviction. The trial court ordered the sentences to run consecutively. The Defendant asserts that: (1) the trial court committed plain error by failing to compel an election in count one; (2) the indictment for aggravated assault fails to state an offense; (3) the trial court improperly allowed the victim to testify about the Defendant’s prior bad acts; (4) the trial court improperly denied the Defendant’s request for a mistrial after the State explored the Defendant’s conviction and defense in an unrelated case; (5) the trial court committed plain error when it failed to compel the State to provide the trial court an audio recording of the victim’s statement; (6) the trial court improperly instructed the jury on flight; (7) the trial court improperly ruled that the Defendant’s prior convictions could be used for impeachment purposes should he testify at trial; (8) the evidence is insufficient to sustain his conviction for evading arrest; (9) the trial court abused its discretion when it denied the Defendant’s request to sit at counsel table; and (10) his sentence is excessive. After a thorough review of the record and the applicable law, we affirm the trial court’s judgments.

Shelby County Court of Criminal Appeals 08/13/14
Richard W. Gibbs, Et Al. v. Clint Gilleland, et al.
M2014-00275-COA-r3-CV

Plaintiffs brought this action against Rutherford County when the county prohibited them from building a home on undeveloped property because the property was below the Base Flood Elevation requirements established by the county. Plaintiffs contend the county had an affirmative duty under Article XIX, Section 19, of the Rutherford County Zoning Resolution to notify them, prior to their purchase of the property, that the property was below the Base Flood Elevation requirements, and the county breached that duty. In response to the complaint, the county filed a motion to dismiss for failure to state a claim based on the immunity provisions under the Tennessee Governmental Tort Liability Act, specifically Tennessee Code Annotated § 29-20-205(1), (3)-(4). The trial court granted the county’s motion to dismiss for failure to state a claim based on governmental immunity. Having determined that the county’s alleged acts or omissions were discretionary, not operational, the county has immunity; thus, we affirm the dismissal of this action.

Rutherford County Court of Appeals 08/13/14
State of Tennessee v. Jeremy Jones Davis
M2013-02668-CCA-R3-CD

The defendant appeals a jury verdict of guilty of aggravated burglary and theft, alleging the evidence was insufficient as a matter of law.  The defendant also alleges the trial court imposed an excessive sentence. Finding no error, we affirm the judgment of the trial court.

Marshall County Court of Criminal Appeals 08/12/14
Gladys Ramirez v. Aaron M. Schwartz
M2013-02285-COA-R3-CV

This case arises from a personal injury lawsuit in which a plaintiff sought damages for injuries she sustained in a car accident. The defendant driver requested documents from plaintiff’s healthcare provider. The healthcare provider failed to produce all of the requested documents and was held in civil contempt. As sanctions, the trial court, inter alia, discharged the healthcare provider’s fees for medical services charged to the plaintiff and held the provider in violation of certain chiropractic regulations.  On appeal, the healthcare provider asserts that the trial court lacks authority to discharge the healthcare provider’s fees or to find it in violation of the chiropractic regulations. We agree that the trial court erred, and we vacate that portion of the trial court’s order discharging the fees for medical services and finding a violation of the chiropractic regulations.

Davidson County Court of Appeals 08/12/14
Marchelle Buman, Executor of the Estate of Kenneth Jenkins v. Alycia D. Gibson, P.A., Thomas Paul Evans, M.D., Andrew H. Lundberg, M.D., and Paris Surgical Specialists, PLLC
W2013-01867-COA-R3-CV

This is a health care liability action involving a physician’s duties when supervising a physician’s assistant. The plaintiff alleged the supervising physician negligently supervised a physician’s assistant which resulted in the eventual amputation of the plaintiff’s leg. The physician moved for summary judgment, contending that he complied with all statutory duties. The plaintiff responded to this motion and simultaneously moved to amend her complaint to allege that the physician was vicariously liable for the negligent actions of the physician’s assistant. The trial court denied the plaintiff’s request to amend her complaint and granted the physician’s motion for summary judgment. Discerning no error, we affirm.

Henry County Court of Appeals 08/11/14
Jamar McField v. State of Tennessee
E2013-02434-CCA-R3-PC

The petitioner, Jamar McField, appeals the denial of his petition for post-conviction relief, which challenged his 2009 Hamilton County Criminal Court jury convictions of felony murder and aggravated child abuse. In this appeal, the petitioner claims that he was deprived of the effective assistance of counsel at trial. Discerning no error, we affirm the denial of post-conviction relief.
 

Hamilton County Court of Criminal Appeals 08/11/14
State of Tennessee v. Charles T. Fletcher, Jr.
E2013-01131-CCA-R3-CD

The Defendant-Appellant, Charles T. Fletcher, Jr., was charged with the offense of aggravated assault, a Class C felony. See T.C.A. § 39-13-102(a)(1)(A)(iii). While in Johnson County General Sessions Court, the Defendant- Appellant executed a waiver of his right to counsel, a waiver of his right to a preliminary hearing, and a waiver of his right to be tried only upon presentment or indictment of a grand jury. In Johnson County Criminal Court, he repeatedly informed the trial court that he had waived his right to counsel, that he had represented himself in a criminal case before, and that he wished to represent himself in this case. On the day of trial, the Defendant-Appellant signed a waiver of his right to be tried only upon presentment or indictment of a grand jury. The same day, the prosecutor and the Defendant-Appellant signed an information charging the Defendant-Appellant with aggravated assault. A Johnson County Criminal Court jury subsequently convicted the Defendant-Appellant as charged, and the trial court imposed a three-year probationary sentence. In this appeal, the Defendant-Appellant argues: (1) he failed to knowingly and voluntarily waive his right to counsel because (a) he was not informed of his charges, potential penalties, and rights and (b) because the trial court never inquired as to his competency to represent himself; (2) he failed to knowingly and voluntarily waive his right to be tried only upon presentment or indictment of a grand jury because he was unable to read the waiver, to have the assistance of counsel, or to have the court explain his right to presentment and indictment; (3) the trial court erred in failing to continue the case or to appoint counsel or advisory counsel when it became obvious that he could not properly represent himself; (4) the trial court erred in denying his motion to set aside the jury verdict; and (5) the cumulative errors caused by the absence of counsel and his inability to represent himself were so prejudicial as to deny his right to a fair trial and due process. Upon review, we reverse the judgment of the trial court, vacate the Defendant-Appellant’s conviction, and remand the matter to the trial court for proceedings consistent with this opinion.

Johnson County Court of Criminal Appeals 08/11/14
State of Tennessee v. Marvin Harold Dorton, II
E2013-01580-CCA-R3-CD

The Defendant-Appellant, Marvin Harold Dorton, II, was charged with two counts of sale or delivery of a Schedule II controlled substance (counts 1 and 2), possession of a Schedule IV controlled substance with the intent to sell or deliver (count 3), and possession of a Schedule II controlled substance with the intent to sell or deliver (count 4). A Greene County Criminal Court jury convicted the Defendant-Appellant as charged, and the trial court sentenced him as a Range I, standard offender to concurrent sentences of six years for each of his convictions in counts 1 and 2, four years for his conviction in count 3, and six years for his conviction in count 4, for an effective sentence of six years in confinement. On appeal, the Defendant-Appellant argues: (1) the trial court erred in failing to instruct the jury in all four counts on the inference of casual exchange pursuant to Tennessee Code Annotated section 39-17-419; (2) the trial court erred in failing to instruct the jury in counts 1 and 2 on the lesser included offense of casual exchange pursuant to Code section 39-17-418(a); (3) the evidence is insufficient to sustain his convictions in counts 3 and 4 because the State failed to prove that he possessed the drugs found in a safe; and (4) his sentence is excessive. Upon review, we remand the case for entry of corrected judgments in counts 1, 2, 3, and 4 to reflect that the trial court resentenced the Defendant-Appellant on May 3, 2013, after the presentence investigation report was amended, even though the Defendant-Appellant’s sentence did not change from the original sentence imposed. In all other respects, the judgments of the trial court are affirmed.

Greene County Court of Criminal Appeals 08/11/14
Cha Yang v. Nissan North America, Inc. et al.
M2012-01196-SC-WCM-WC

The employee suffered bilateral shoulder injuries in January and March of 2008. After undergoing separate surgeries on each shoulder, the employee agreed to a voluntary buyout of his employment. Later, he filed suit for workers’ compensation benefits. The trial court awarded temporary total disability benefits and assessed a 90% permanent partial disability award after determining that the employee’s permanent partial disability benefits were not capped at one and one-half times the impairment rating. The employer appealed and, pursuant to Tennessee Supreme Court Rule 51, the case was referred to a Special Workers’ Compensation Appeals Panel. The Panel ruled that the employee’s benefits should have been capped at one and one-half times his impairment rating and reduced the award of permanent partial disability benefits to 37.5%. We granted the employee’s motion for full Court review and have determined that because the employee acted reasonably by accepting the voluntary buyout for reasons related to his work injuries, the award for permanent partial disability is not subject to the one-and-one-half-times cap. The judgment of the Panel is, therefore, modified to the extent that the trial court’s award for permanent partial disability benefits is reinstated, but otherwise affirmed.

Rutherford County Supreme Court 08/11/14
Michael Brandon Adams v. Eric Qualls, Warden
M2014-00174-CCA-R3-HC

The Appellant, Michael Brandon Adams, appeals the trial court’s summary dismissal of his petition for habeas corpus relief.  The judgment of the trial court is affirmed.

Davidson County Court of Criminal Appeals 08/11/14
In Re: Christian G.
W2013-02269-COA-R3-CV

Father appeals the Juvenile Court’s ruling with regard to custody of his minor child. Because the court did not comply with Rule 52.01 of the Tennessee Rules of Civil Procedure, we vacate its judgment and remand the matter for entry of an order with appropriate findings of fact and conclusions of law.

Shelby County Court of Appeals 08/11/14
In Re: Christian G.
W2013-02269-COA-R3-CV

Father appeals the Juvenile Court’s ruling with regard to custody of his minor child. Because the court did not comply with Rule 52.01 of the Tennessee Rules of Civil Procedure, we vacate its judgment and remand the matter for entry of an order with appropriate findings of fact and conclusions of law.

Shelby County Court of Appeals 08/11/14
State of Tennessee v. Keyonna Nicole Wooten
M2014-00253-CCA-R3-CD

The appellant, Keyonna Nicole Wooten, pled guilty in the Lincoln County Circuit Court to one count of selling one-half gram or more of a Schedule II controlled substance and one count of delivering one-half gram or more of a Schedule II controlled substance.  After a sentencing hearing, the trial court merged the latter conviction into the former and sentenced the appellant as a Range I, standard offender to nine years, six months in confinement.  On appeal, the appellant contends that her sentence is excessive and that the trial court erred by denying her request for alternative sentencing.  Based upon the record and the parties’ briefs, we affirm the judgment of the trial court.

Lincoln County Court of Criminal Appeals 08/08/14
State of Tennessee v. Darryl Alan Walker
E2013-01914-CCA-R3-CD

Darryl Alan Walker (“the Defendant”) was convicted by a jury of driving under the influence (“DUI”) and unlawfully carrying another person on a motorcycle. Following a sentencing hearing, the Defendant received a total effective sentence of eleven months and twenty-nine days, suspended to supervised probation after the service of sixty days. In this direct appeal, the Defendant asserts that the trial court erred in denying his motion to suppress the results of a warrantless mandatory blood alcohol test, arguing that the mandatory blood withdrawal provision of the implied consent statute is unconstitutional and that the term “injury” within that provision is unconstitutionally vague. The Defendant also asserts that the trial court erred in denying his motion to suppress certain statements he made to police. After a thorough review of the record and the applicable law, we affirm the judgments of the trial court.

Greene County Court of Criminal Appeals 08/08/14
Eric Holmes v. Shelby County Sheriff's Office, et al.
W2013-02349-COA-R3-CV

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

Shelby County Court of Appeals 08/08/14