Tennessee Administrative Office of the Courts

Appellate Court Opinions

Format: 06/29/2016
Format: 06/29/2016
State of Tennessee v. Terrell Burgess
W2015-01138-CCA-R3-CD

The Appellant, Terrell Burgess, appeals as of right from the Shelby County Criminal Court's summary denial of his Tennessee Rule of Criminal Procedure 36.1 motion to correct an illegal sentence. The Appellant contends that his motion stated a colorable claim for relief; therefore, the trial court erred in summarily denying the motion. Discerning no error, we affirm the judgment of the trial court.

Shelby County Court of Criminal Appeals 06/22/16
State of Tennessee v. Joshua Andrew Mansfield
W2015-01663-CCA-R3-CD

The Defendant-Appellant, Joshua Andrew Mansfield, entered a guilty plea to possession of marijuana with intent to sell or deliver in exchange for a sentence of one year of incarceration at thirty percent release eligibility and a $2,000 fine. As a condition of his plea, Mansfield reserved a certified question of law challenging the denial of his motion to suppress, which alleged that he was unconstitutionally seized and detained. Following our review, we affirm the judgment of the trial court.

Haywood County Court of Criminal Appeals 06/22/16
State of Tennessee v. Quadarius Deshun Martin
W2015-01095-CCA-R3-CD

The Defendant, Quadarius Deshun Martin, was convicted by a Madison County jury of two counts of aggravated assault, a Class C felony. See T.C.A. § 39-13-102. Following a sentencing hearing, the trial court imposed an effective sentence of five years in the Tennessee Department of Correction (TDOC). On appeal, the Defendant argues that the trial court misapplied the statutory enhancement and mitigation factors and improperly denied him an alternative sentence. Upon review, we affirm the judgments of the trial court.

Madison County Court of Criminal Appeals 06/22/16
State of Tennessee v. Jessica Scronce
W2016-00066-CCA-R3-CD

The Defendant, Jessica Scronce, pleaded guilty to theft of property valued between $10,000 and $60,000. Pursuant to the plea agreement, the trial court sentenced the Defendant to six years as a Range I, standard offender. The sentence was suspended after 120 days to be served on weekends. A violation of probation warrant was subsequently issued, and, after a hearing, the trial court revoked the Defendant's probation and ordered service of the balance of the sentence in confinement. The Defendant appeals the trial court's order that she serve her sentence in confinement. We affirm the trial court's judgment.

Hardeman County Court of Criminal Appeals 06/22/16
Demarcus Ant-Juan Nelson v. State of Tennessee
E2015-01247-CCA-R3-PC

DeMarcus Ant-Juan Nelson (“the Petitioner”) filed a pro se petition for post-conviction relief which included a request for permission to file a delayed application to appeal to the Tennessee Supreme Court pursuant to Tennessee Rule of Appellate Procedure 11 and other post-conviction relief claims. The post-conviction court entered a single order that granted the delayed appeal and dismissed the remaining claims. On appeal, the Petitioner argues that the post-conviction court erred when the court did not stay his remaining post-conviction claims pursuant to Tennessee Supreme Court Rule 28 until after the final disposition of the delayed appeal. After a review of the record and applicable law, the judgment of the post-conviction court is reversed in part, and this case remanded for further proceedings consistent with this opinion.

Knox County Court of Criminal Appeals 06/22/16
Commercial Painting Company, Inc. v. The Weitz Company, LLC, et al.
W2013-01989-COA-R3-CV

A subcontractor and general contractor executed a subcontract for a continuing care retirement community. The subcontractor filed a complaint against the general contractor and asserted claims for breach of contract and misrepresentation. The contractor filed a motion for partial summary judgment with respect to the claims for misrepresentation, which the trial court granted. The breach of contract claims were tried and the trial court awarded the subcontractor some damages, but less than the subcontractor sought. The subcontractor appealed the trial court‘s judgment granting the contractor‘s motion for partial summary judgment. We conclude the subcontractor stated claims for intentional or negligent misrepresentation and that the trial court erred in dismissing these claims. We reverse the trial court‘s judgment granting the contractor‘s motion for partial summary judgment and remand the case for further proceedings.

Shelby County Court of Appeals 06/20/16
Damon Hawks v. Lisa Christian, et al.
M2015-02200-SC-R3-WC

In this workers’ compensation case, the employee sustained an injury in the course of his employment when he fell off a roof. His employer denied the employee’s claim for workers’ compensation benefits pursuant to Tennessee Code Annotated section 50-6-110 because the employee failed to use a required safety appliance. The trial court found that the employee provided a valid excuse for failing to wear the required equipment and awarded benefits. The employer has appealed. Pursuant to Tennessee Supreme Court Rule 51, 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. We reverse the judgment of the trial court.

Montgomery County Workers Compensation Panel 06/20/16
Vanderbilt Mortgage and Finance, Inc. v. Phillip W. Vandergriff et al.
E2015-01121-COA-R3-CV

The plaintiff lender filed this action to quiet title to certain real property and regain possession of said property from its current occupants, one of whom owed a debt to the lender that originated in 1996. At the time of the making of the indebtedness, the debtor executed a deed of trust regarding the subject property to secure the debt. The property was subsequently sold at a delinquent tax sale in 2008. The tax sale purchaser later conveyed title to the property back to the debtor in 2012. Upon the debtor’s failure to make timely payments to the lender in 2013, the lender foreclosed on the subject property pursuant to the 1996 deed of trust.

Anderson County Court of Appeals 06/17/16
Cash America International, Inc. v. Geico General Insurance Co.
M2015-01946-COA-R3-CV

Insurance company filed garnishment action in general sessions court against employer garnishee. The sheriff served an hourly employee at one of the employer garnishee’s retail locations. Employer garnishee did not appear in the garnishment action, and the general sessions court entered judgment. Employer garnishee filed this action in the chancery court collaterally attacking the general sessions judgment based on improper service. The chancery court granted summary judgment in favor of employer garnishee. Discerning no error, we affirm.

Davidson County Court of Appeals 06/17/16
In re Anicia B.
E2015-01424-COA-R3-PT

The trial court terminated Mother's parental rights based on the grounds of abandonment by failure to visit, abandonment by failure to provide a suitable home, substantial noncompliance with the permanency plan, and persistent conditions and based on the trial court's finding that it was in the child's best interest to terminate Mother's parental rights. Mother appealed. We affirm.

Sullivan County Court of Appeals 06/16/16
In re Quadavon H. et al.
E2015-02001-COA-R3-PT

Mother appeals the termination of her parental rights to two children, asserting that the evidence does not sustain the grounds of abandonment by failure to support and persistence of conditions as found by the court and does not support the finding that termination of Mother's rights was in the children's best interest. Upon our review, the record clearly and convincingly supports the grounds found by the court, as well as the finding that termination of Mother's rights is in the children's best interest; consequently, we affirm the judgment.

Knox County Court of Appeals 06/16/16
State of Tennessee v. William Jermaine Stripling
E2015-01554-CCA-R3-CD

William Jermaine Stripling (“the Defendant”) was convicted of two counts of sale of less than .5 grams of cocaine in a drug-free zone and two counts of delivery of less than .5 grams of cocaine in a drug-free zone. His convictions merged, leaving him with one conviction for sale of less than .5 grams of cocaine in a drug-free zone. In a bifurcated proceeding, the Defendant's sentence was enhanced pursuant to the criminal gang offenses enhancement statute, Tennessee Code Annotated section 40-35-121. On appeal, the Defendant argues that the criminal gang offenses enhancement statute is facially unconstitutional. Specifically, the Defendant contends that the criminal gang offenses enhancement statute violates due process because it is overly broad and void for vagueness and that it violates his First Amendment right to free association and expression. Additionally, the Defendant argues there was insufficient evidence to support his convictions. Upon review, we conclude that the criminal gang offenses enhancement statute is unconstitutional because it violates substantive due process. However, we hold that the evidence was sufficient to support the Defendant's convictions of sale and delivery of less than .5 grams of cocaine within a drug-free zone. The judgments of the trial court are affirmed in part, modified in part, and reversed in part.

Knox County Court of Criminal Appeals 06/16/16
State of Tennessee v. William Jermaine Stripling - concurring
E2015-01554-CCA-R3-CD
I concur in the majority opinion, but respectfully, I write separately to address the remand that the majority believes is mandated by the order filed and published by the supreme court in State v. Marquize Berry, No. W2014-00785-SC-R11-CD (Tenn. Nov. 16, 2015) (order).
 
Knox County Court of Criminal Appeals 06/16/16
State of Tennessee v. James Dustin Samples
E2015-01909-CCA-R3-CD

The Defendant, James Dustin Samples, pleaded guilty in Bradley County Criminal Court to driving under the influence and received a sentence of eleven months and twenty-nine days, which the trial court suspended to supervised probation following seven days’ incarceration. Pursuant to his plea agreement, the Defendant reserved a certified question of law concerning the trial court’s denial of his Motion to Suppress evidence of the Defendant’s intoxication obtained following the stop of his vehicle. Following our review, we affirm the judgment of the trial court.

Bradley County 06/16/16
State of Tennessee v. Timothy Allen Johnson
M2015-01160-CCA-R3-CD

A Davidson County jury convicted the Defendant, Timothy Allen Johnson, of sale of less than .5 grams of cocaine in a drug-free school zone.  On appeal, the Defendant contends that the evidence is insufficient to sustain his conviction.  After a thorough review of the record and applicable authorities, we affirm the trial court’s judgment.

Davidson County Court of Criminal Appeals 06/15/16
Amanda Gilreath, et al. v. Chattanooga-Hamilton County Hospital Authority, et al.
E2015-02058-COA-R3-CV

This is a medical malpractice action1 in which the plaintiffs filed suit against the defendant hospital. The defendant hospital requested summary judgment. The trial court granted summary judgment and dismissed the action. We affirm.

Hamilton County Court of Appeals 06/15/16
State of Tennessee v. Rico Cortez Bevins
M2015-01922-CCA-R3-CD

The defendant, Rico Cortez Bevins, pleaded guilty to three counts of the sale or delivery of a Schedule II controlled substance, and the Montgomery County Circuit Court sentenced him as a Range II, multiple offender to a term of six years’ imprisonment.  On appeal, the defendant challenges the manner of service of his sentence.  We affirm the convictions and sentence but remand for correction of clerical errors in the judgments.

Montgomery County Court of Criminal Appeals 06/15/16
State of Tennessee v. Bendale Romero
E2015-00860-CCA-R3-CD
Bendale Romero (“the Defendant”) stands convicted of attempted first degree murder, employing a firearm during the commission of a dangerous felony, and aggravated assault for the August 10, 2013 shooting of Nathan Kelso. The Defendant, along with his co-defendant, Joshua Johnson, were tried jointly but have pursued separate appeals in this court. On appeal, the Defendant argues that the trial court erred when (1) it allowed the jury to hear a 911 call under the excited utterance exception to the hearsay rule and (2) it ruled that, if the Defendant called a witness to testify that the victim had been the first aggressor in the past, the State could use a portion of the 911 tape, previously excluded by the trial court, in which the caller stated that he knew the shooter because he was the person who shot him in the eye last year. Upon review, we affirm the judgments of the trial court.
 
Knox County Court of Criminal Appeals 06/15/16
State of Tennessee v. Jerrie Coleman
W2015-01925-CCA-R3-CD

The Defendant, Jerrie Coleman, was convicted by a Carroll County Circuit Court jury of aggravated burglary, a Class C felony, vandalism of property valued at more than $500 but less than $1000, a Class E felony, possession of less than one-half ounce of marijuana, a Class A misdemeanor, and possession of drug paraphernalia, a Class A misdemeanor. See T.C.A. §§ 39-14-403(a) (2014) (aggravated burglary), 39-14-408(a) (2010) (amended 2015) (vandalism), 39-17-418(a) (2010) (amended 2014, 2016) (possession of a controlled substance), 39-17-425(a)(1) (2010) (amended 2012) (possession of drug paraphernalia). The trial court sentenced the Defendant to an effective four years. On appeal, the Defendant contends that (1) the evidence is insufficient to support his convictions, (2) his speedy trial rights were violated by an investigatory delay, and (3) the arrest warrant was not supported by probable cause, the arresting officers committed an illegal entry of the house during the arrest, and the officers violated the Defendant's Miranda rights. We affirm the judgments of the trial court.

Carroll County Court of Criminal Appeals 06/15/16
State of Tennessee v. John Pierce Lankford
M2015-00676-CCA-R3-CD

Appellant, John Pierce Lankford, appeals the trial court’s summary denial of his petition for post-conviction relief and the execution of his original sentence following a revocation of his suspended sentence on Community Corrections.  Because Appellant was not appointed an attorney and afforded an opportunity to amend his petition for post-conviction relief, we reverse the summary denial of his petition and remand for further proceedings.  However, because the trial court did not abuse its discretion by ordering Appellant to serve his original sentence in confinement, we affirm the judgment of the trial court in this regard.

Sumner County Court of Criminal Appeals 06/14/16
State of Tennessee v. Bobby Waddle
E2015-02310-CCA-R3-CD

The defendant, Bobby Waddle, 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 2012 Washington County Criminal Court guilty-pleaded convictions of aggravated burglary, theft of property valued at $10,000 or more but less than $60,000, and theft of property valued at $1,000 or more but less than $10,000. Discerning no error, we affirm.

Washington County Court of Criminal Appeals 06/14/16
State of Tennessee v. Devin Lamar Jamison
E2015-01894-CCA-R3-CD

Aggrieved of his Knox County Criminal Court jury convictions of aggravated assault, possession with intent to sell more than one-half ounce of marijuana in a drug free school zone, evading arrest, resisting arrest, driving with a suspended license, failing to comply with the financial responsibility law, and violating the safety belt requirement and vehicle registration requirements, the defendant, Devin Lamar Jamison, appeals. In this appeal, the defendant claims that the trial court erred by refusing to admit a video recording into evidence, that the trial court erred by imposing a fine greater than $10 for the safety belt violation, and that the court erred by imposing consecutive sentences. Because the trial court erred by taxing the costs associated with the safety belt violation to the defendant, we remand that count to the trial court for the entry of a corrected judgment. We affirm the judgments of the trial court in all other respects.

Knox County Court of Criminal Appeals 06/14/16
Kenneth Watts v. State of Tennessee
E2015-01151-CCA-R3-PC

The petitioner, Kenneth Watts, appeals the denial of post-conviction relief from his 2009 Knox County Criminal Court jury convictions of vandalism and theft of property, for which he received a sentence of 15 years. In this appeal, the petitioner contends only that he was denied the effective assistance of counsel. Discerning no error, we affirm.

Knox County Court of Criminal Appeals 06/14/16
State of Tennessee v. Darrin Dewayne Dickerson
W2015-00752-CCA-R3-CD

An Obion County jury convicted the Defendant, Darrin Dewayne Dickerson, of casual exchange of marijuana, casual exchange of methamphetamine, and delivery of less than 0.5 grams of a Schedule II controlled substance, methamphetamine, within 1,000 feet of a drug-free school zone, a Class C felony. The trial court merged the two methamphetamine convictions, and it sentenced the Defendant to an effective sentence of three years. On appeal, the Defendant contends: (1) the evidence is insufficient to support his convictions; (2) that juror misconduct warrants a new trial; (3) the trial court erred when it sentenced him; and (4) the cumulative effect of the errors requires that he be given a new trial. After review, we affirm the trial court’s judgments.

Obion County Court of Criminal Appeals 06/13/16
Keith C. Celebrezze v. Robin Ruben Flores, et al.
E2016-00813-COA-R3-CV

The final judgment from which the pro se appellant seeks to appeal was entered on March 22, 2016. The Notice of Appeal received by the Clerk and Master on April 19, 2016, was submitted via facsimile transmission. The appellant subsequently filed a second Notice of Appeal on May 31, 2016, more than thirty (30) days after entry of the March 22, 2016 judgment. Because the second Notice of Appeal was not timely filed, and the first Notice of Appeal submitted by facsimile transmission was insufficient to invoke the jurisdiction of this Court, we have no jurisdiction to consider this appeal.

Hamilton County Court of Appeals 06/13/16