Appellate Court Opinions

Format: 04/23/2018
Format: 04/23/2018
Charles McClain v. State of Tennessee
W2017-00306-CCA-R3-PC

The Petitioner, Charles McClain, appeals the Shelby County Criminal Court’s denial of post-conviction relief from his convictions for first degree premeditated murder and especially aggravated kidnapping, for which he received concurrent sentences of life imprisonment and twenty-five years, respectively. On appeal, the Petitioner contends that he was denied effective assistance of counsel because trial counsel failed to object to the introduction of evidence that had been ruled inadmissible. We affirm the denial of post-conviction relief.

Shelby County Court of Criminal Appeals 04/17/18
State of Tennessee v. Andrew De Bose-Maben
W2017-00969-CCA-R3-CD

Andrew De Bose-Maben (“the Defendant”) was convicted by a Shelby County jury of aggravated robbery, for which the trial court imposed a sentence of nine years to serve in the Department of Correction. On appeal, the Defendant contends that the trial court abused its discretion by allowing the State to question the victim about his interaction with the Defendant during a recess at trial. Upon review, we affirm the judgment of the trial court.

Shelby County Court of Criminal Appeals 04/17/18
State of Tennessee v. Cameron Buchanan
W2017-01795-CCA-R3-CD

“The Movant,” Cameron Buchanan, filed a “Motion to Vacate, Correct Clerical Error, and/or, otherwise Set Aside an Illegal Sentence” (“the motion”). The gist of the Movant’s claim is that his fifteen-year sentence for especially aggravated kidnapping in case 98-09641 was ordered to be served concurrently, not consecutively, with his fifteenyear sentence for especially aggravated kidnapping in case 98-09629, and therefore, his effective sentence was twenty-five years, not thirty years. The trial court treated the motion as a Tennessee Rule of Criminal Procedure 36 motion to correct clerical mistakes in the judgments and summarily dismissed the motion finding “that there [we]re no clerical errors as alleged by [the Movant].” We determine that there are clerical errors in the judgments for cases 98-09635 through 98-09639 and case 98-09641. The errors in the judgments also correspond with the language of the “Negotiated Plea Agreement” forms for cases 98-09635 through 98-09639 and case 98-09641. Additionally, the trial court did not address the Movant’s Tennessee Rule of Criminal Procedure 36.1 claim that his sentence was illegal. The judgment summarily dismissing the motion is reversed, and the case remanded for correction of the clerical errors, which may require appointment of counsel and a hearing, and for determination as to whether or not the motion stated a colorable claim under Rule 36.1.

Shelby County Court of Criminal Appeals 04/17/18
Bruce Guy, Jr., et al. v. Tennessee Secondary School Athletic Association
W2018-00082-COA-R3-CV

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

Shelby County Court of Appeals 04/16/18
Shelby County Board of Education, et al. v. Tennessee Secondary School Athletic Association
W2018-00083-COA-R3-CV

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

Shelby County Court of Appeals 04/16/18
State of Tennessee v. Macarthur Rembert, AKA McArthur Brown
M2017-00065-CCA-R3-CD

The Defendant, MacArthur Rembert, also known as McArthur Brown, was convicted by a Davidson County Criminal Court jury of aggravated burglary, a Class C felony, and theft of property valued between $1000 and $10,000, a Class D felony, and was sentenced to an effective term of fifteen years in the Tennessee Department of Correction. On appeal, the Defendant argues that: (1) the trial court erred in denying his motion to suppress because the officer lacked probable cause to place him under arrest and search his vehicle; (2) the trial court erred in denying his motion under State v. Ferguson, 2 S.W.3d 912 (Tenn. 1999), because the State’s loss of surveillance video footage resulted in a fundamentally unfair trial; and (3) the evidence is insufficient to sustain his conviction for theft of property because the State did not present sufficient evidence to establish the value of the stolen goods. After review, we affirm the judgments of the trial court.

Davidson County Court of Criminal Appeals 04/16/18
Kathlene Denise Roberts v. Willie Dino Roberts, Jr.
M2017-00479-COA-R3-CV

Husband appeals the trial court’s decision in this post-divorce marital property dispute, arguing that the trial court erred in finding that certain retirement benefits “matured” in 2012. Discerning no reversible error, we affirm. 

Montgomery County Court of Appeals 04/16/18
State of Tennessee v. Bradley Craig
E2017-00257-CCA-R3-CD

The Defendant, Bradley Craig, appeals as of right from his conviction for theft of $500 or less. The Defendant argues that the trial court erred in (1) denying the Defendant’s “spoliation motion/objection[,]” (2) ruling that documentary evidence from Walmart.com was inadmissible because it was not authenticated, (3) allowing testimony regarding a store inventory scan concerning the alleged stolen merchandise, (4) denying the Defendant’s motion for new trial, and (5) using “stricken evidence” in its reasoning for imposing a sentence of six months’ incarceration. Following our review, we affirm the judgment of the trial court.

Sullivan County Court of Criminal Appeals 04/16/18
Christopher Conrad Fichtel v. Jill Crowell Fichtel
M2017-00409-COA-R3-CV

This is a post-divorce/parental relocation matter in which the father of two minor children opposed the mother’s intended relocation to Ohio. The father also sought a modification of the parties’ parenting plan regardless of whether the mother was permitted to relocate. The mother filed a cross-petition to modify the parenting plan and child support. After determining that the parties spent substantially equal intervals of time with the child, the court conducted a best-interest analysis to determine whether it was in the children’s best interest to relocate with the mother. The court concluded that it was not in the children’s best interest to relocate and modified child support to reflect the parties’ current incomes. Although the trial court made an explicit finding that the mother had indeed relocated without the children, the trial court never ruled on the parties’ competing claims to modify the original parenting plan or entered a new parenting plan. Having reviewed the record transmitted to us on appeal, we observe that the judgment appealed from is not final. Given the absence of a final judgment, we dismiss the appeal for lack of subject matter jurisdiction.  

Davidson County Court of Appeals 04/13/18
Antonio Crenshaw v. State of Tennessee
W2017-00940-CCA-R3-PC

Antonio Crenshaw (“the Petitioner”) appeals the Shelby County Criminal Court’s denial of post-conviction relief from his conviction of robbery, for which he was sentenced to fifteen years’ incarceration. On appeal, the Petitioner contends that he was denied the effective assistance of counsel during trial. Upon review, we affirm the judgment of the post-conviction court.

Shelby County Court of Criminal Appeals 04/13/18
State of Tennessee v. Kenneth Chandler
W2015-01945-CCA-R3-CD

A Shelby County jury convicted Kenneth Chandler, the Defendant, of aggravated robbery. He received a sentence of eleven years in the Department of Correction. After filing a notice of appeal with this court, the Defendant filed a motion requesting that the court stay his direct appeal so that he might seek coram nobis relief. This court granted the Defendant’s motion to stay his direct appeal, and the Defendant filed a petition for writ of error nobis relief in the trial court. Following a hearing, the coram nobis court found that statements from the Defendant’s fellow inmates were newly discovered evidence but that the evidence was not admissible as substantive evidence at trial and denied relief. On appeal, the Defendant argues that: (1) the evidence was insufficient for a rational juror to have found him guilty beyond a reasonable doubt; (2) the trial court abused its discretion by failing to properly act as the thirteenth juror; and (3) the coram nobis court erred in denying his error coram nobis petition. After a thorough review of the facts and applicable case law, we affirm.

Shelby County Court of Criminal Appeals 04/13/18
State of Tennessee v. Brent Garrett Lambert
W2017-01873-CCA-R3-CD

Defendant, Brent Garrett Lambert, entered an open guilty plea to one count of facilitation of robbery. The trial court sentenced Defendant to a period of four years on judicial diversion. A violation of probation warrant was issued, alleging various grounds for the revocation of probation. After a hearing, Defendant was removed from judicial diversion. The trial court imposed a sentence of four years in incarceration, denying an alternative sentence. Defendant appeals to this Court, arguing that the trial court improperly ordered him to serve his sentence of four years in incarceration. For the following reasons, we affirm the judgment of the trial court.

Madison County Court of Criminal Appeals 04/13/18
State of Tennessee v. Walter Andrew Ware
W2017-01350-CCA-R3-CD

Nearly nine years ago, Defendant, Walter Andrew Ware, committed aggravated child abuse, aggravated child neglect and aggravated child endangerment on his two-month-old infant daughter. He was sentenced to a sixteen year sentence, to be served at 100%. Defendant now appeals from the trial court’s denial of his motion to correct an illegal sentence filed pursuant to Tennessee Rule of Criminal Procedure 36.1. We affirm the judgment of the trial court.

Obion County Court of Criminal Appeals 04/13/18
State of Tennessee v. Chris Basham
W2017-00684-CCA-R3-CD

The defendant, Chris Basham, appeals his convictions for improper display of registration plates, tampering with or fabricating evidence, simple possession of methamphetamine, simple possession of hydrocodone, and simple possession of alprazolam, for which he received an effective three-year sentence. On appeal, the defendant contends the trial court erred when not suppressing the evidence collected during the search of his car, and the prosecution failed to prove chain of custody. Following our consideration of the arguments of the parties, record, briefs, and applicable law, we affirm the judgments of the trial court.

Obion County Court of Criminal Appeals 04/13/18
Gevon C. Patton v. State of Tennessee
E2017-00886-CCA-R3-PC

The Petitioner, Gevon C. Patton, appeals the Hamblen County Criminal Court’s denial of his petition for post-conviction relief from his 2013 convictions for criminally negligent homicide and especially aggravated kidnapping and his effective twenty-five-year sentence. The Petitioner contends that he received the ineffective assistance of counsel and requests that his case be transferred to another trial court judge upon remand for a new trial. We affirm the judgment of the post-conviction court.

Hamblen County Court of Criminal Appeals 04/13/18
500 Block, LLC v. Donald Bosch
E2016-02449-COA-R3-CV

This case was brought by the landlord of a building that was leased to a limited liability company for purposes of operating a restaurant; the restaurant failed, and the company defaulted on its obligations under the lease and took bankruptcy. The landlord filed suit to recover damages from four persons who had signed agreements guaranteeing performance of the lease to the extent of the guarantors’ interest in the lessee. The case proceeded to trial against one guarantor and, after a bench trial, the court dismissed the action, finding that the guaranty lacked consideration and that the guaranty was invalid and unenforceable because only the guarantor signed it. On appeal, the landlord contends that the trial court erred in both respects. Upon a de novo review of the record, we reverse the judgment of the trial court and remand the case for entry of a judgment against the guarantor in the amount of $60,037.97 and for a determination of interest on the judgment.

Knox County Court of Appeals 04/12/18
State of Tennessee v. Susan Marie Taylor
M2017-01526-CCA-R3-CD

The defendant, Susan Marie Taylor, appeals the order of the trial court revoking her probation and ordering her to serve her original four-year sentence in confinement. Upon review of the record, we conclude the trial court did not abuse its discretion in finding the defendant violated the terms of her probation and the imposed sentence is proper. Accordingly, the judgment of the trial court is affirmed.

Bedford County Court of Criminal Appeals 04/12/18
State of Tennessee v. Kenneth Fleming
W2016-01017-CCA-R3-CD

The Defendant, Kenneth Fleming, appeals as of right from his convictions for two counts of aggravated robbery and one count of evading arrest. The Defendant argues that the trial court erred: (1) by giving an improper jury instruction and allowing the case to be presented to the jury when there was insufficient proof to establish venue and jurisdiction; (2) by failing to give a jury instruction on lost or destroyed evidence; (3) by allowing the State to enter a silver handgun and blue toboggan into evidence; (4) by not providing a curative instruction when a witness testified as to other crimes similar to the crime in this case; (5) by allowing the State to make improper comments during closing arguments and by giving an improper curative instruction to the jury; and (6) by sentencing the Defendant partially consecutively. Following our review, the judgments are affirmed.

Shelby County Court of Criminal Appeals 04/12/18
James Chronicles Cobb v. State of Tennessee
W2017-01828-CCA-R3-PC

Petitioner, James Chronicles Cobb, appeals the denial of his petition for post-conviction relief. Petitioner argues that he received ineffective assistance of counsel and that his guilty plea was unknowing and involuntary. After a review of the record and the briefs of the parties, we determine Petitioner has failed to establish that he received ineffective assistance of counsel and Petitioner’s guilty plea was knowingly and voluntarily entered. Accordingly, the judgment of the post-conviction court is affirmed.

Madison County Court of Criminal Appeals 04/12/18
Marilyn (Reso) Ramsey v. Warren A. Reso, Jr.
E2017-01305-COA-R3-CV

This is a post-divorce case dealing with numerous issues of interpretation of the parties’ marital dissolution agreement and permanent parenting plan. The plaintiff wife appealed one portion of the on-going case. We affirm the ruling of the trial court.

Knox County Court of Appeals 04/11/18
In Re: Conservatorship For Ralph C. Williams
E2017-00777-COA-R3-CV

This is a conservatorship action in which the wife sought appointment as her husband’s conservator. Following a hearing, the court found that the husband was fully disabled and in need of a conservator to manage his personal and financial affairs. The court appointed the wife to serve in that capacity and awarded her spousal support. We affirm.

Loudon County Court of Appeals 04/11/18
In Re: Roderick R. Et Al.
E2017-01504-COA-R3-PT

This is a termination of parental rights case. Upon the petition of the Tennessee Department of Children’s Services, the trial court terminated the parental rights of both the mother and father of two children. Clear and convincing evidence supports each ground relied upon by the trial court and the trial court’s conclusion that termination of both parents’ parental rights is in the children’s best interest. Accordingly, we affirm.

Sevier County Court of Appeals 04/11/18
State of Tennessee v. Christopher Minor
W2016-00348-SC-R11-CD

We granted this appeal to clarify the interplay among appellate review preservation requirements, the plain error doctrine, and the retroactive application of new rules. We conclude that a new rule applies retroactively to cases pending on direct review when the new rule is announced but does so subject to other jurisprudential concepts, such as appellate review preservation requirements and the plain error doctrine. Accordingly, the Court of Criminal Appeals’ decision in State v. Bonds, 502 S.W.3d 118 (Tenn. Crim. App. 2016), perm. app. denied (Tenn. Aug. 18, 2016), declaring the criminal gang offense statute, see Tenn. Code Ann. § 40-35-121(b) (2014), unconstitutional applies to the defendant’s appeal because it was pending on direct review when Bonds was decided. Nevertheless, we evaluate the defendant’s entitlement to relief by applying the plain error doctrine because the defendant failed to challenge the constitutionality of the statute in the trial court. We conclude that the defendant has established the criteria necessary to obtain relief pursuant to the plain error doctrine. Therefore, we reverse that portion of the Court of Criminal Appeals’ decision denying the defendant relief and vacate the defendant’s convictions under the criminal gang offense statute. We remand this matter to the trial court for resentencing on the defendant’s remaining convictions in accordance with the sentencing classification ranges established by the specific statutes creating the offenses, without any classification or sentence enhancement pursuant to the criminal gang offense statute.

Madison County Supreme Court 04/11/18
State of Tennessee v. Christopher Minor - Concurring
W2016-00348-SC-R11-CD

Christopher Minor was sentenced to serve additional time in prison for violations of the criminal gang offense statute, Tennessee Code Annotated section 40-35-121(b) (2014). While his case was on appeal, the Court of Criminal Appeals in State v. Bonds, 502 S.W.3d 118, 157 (Tenn. Crim. App. 2016), declared that a portion of the criminal gang offense statute was unconstitutional. Today, the Court vacates Mr. Minor’s convictions for violating the criminal gang offense statute. It is only fair that Mr. Minor should not have to serve additional time in prison for violating a statute that an appellate court declared unconstitutional while his appeal was pending. 

Madison County Supreme Court 04/11/18
State of Tennessee v. Kenneth O. Williams
W2017-01623-CCA-R3-CD

The Defendant, Kenneth O. Williams, entered a guilty plea to second degree murder and was sentenced to thirty years in prison. The Defendant filed a motion to correct his sentence under Tennessee Rule of Criminal Procedure 36.1, asserting that the trial court was without jurisdiction to sentence him as a Range II, multiple offender or to enhance his sentence above the minimum in the sentencing range. The trial court denied the motion for failure to state a colorable claim, and the Defendant appeals. After a thorough review of the record, we conclude that the Defendant has not articulated a colorable claim that his sentence is illegal, and we affirm the judgment of the trial court.

Shelby County Court of Criminal Appeals 04/11/18