Tennessee Administrative Office of the Courts

Appellate Court Opinions

Format: 08/03/2015
Format: 08/03/2015
State of Tennessee v. Ramone Hunter
W2014-01389-CCA-R3-CD

The defendant, Ramone Hunter, appeals his Shelby County Criminal Court jury convictions of aggravated robbery and aggravated burglary, claiming that the evidence adduced at trial was insufficient to support his convictions. Discerning no error, we affirm.

Shelby County Court of Criminal Appeals 07/15/15
State of Tennessee v. Randy Shawn Moore
E2014-01790-CCA-R3-CD

The Defendant-Appellant, Randy Shawn Moore, entered guilty pleas to two counts of aggravated assault and received an effective sentence of 8 years with the manner of service to be determined by the trial court. On appeal, the Defendant-Appellant argues that the trial court abused its discretion in denying his application for judicial diversion. Upon our review, we affirm the judgment of the trial court.

Knox County Court of Criminal Appeals 07/15/15
State of Tennessee v. Chad M. Nichol
M2014-01474-CCA-R3-CD

The Defendant, Chad M. Nicol, pleaded guilty to passing a worthless check of more than $500. The trial court sentenced him as a career offender to serve six years in the Tennessee Department of Correction. On appeal, the Defendant contends that the trial court erred when it sentenced him as a career offender. He further contends that the trial court erred when it ordered his sentence to be served consecutively to his sentence for another conviction and when it ordered him to serve his sentence in confinement. After a thorough review of the record and the applicable authorities, we affirm the trial court’s judgment.

Wilson County Court of Criminal Appeals 07/14/15
Julie T. Hatchett v. William Glenn Hatchett
W2013-00984-COA-R3-CV

The issues presented in this case arise from a dispute over attorney fees between Wife and her former attorney that arose following Wife’s reconciliation with Husband in the underlying divorce. The trial court entered several orders related to the fee dispute and held the attorney in contempt for her failure to comply with those orders. On appeal, we conclude that the trial court erred in retaining jurisdiction over the fee dispute between Wife and her attorney after the Husband and Wife reconciled and expressed their desire that the case be dismissed. We therefore vacate the trial court’s orders related to the fee dispute. We also vacate the trial court’s order holding Wife’s attorney in contempt and dismiss this appeal.

Fayette County Court of Appeals 07/14/15
Jeffery G. Douglas v. State of Tennessee, et al.
W2014-00831-COA-R3-CV

The trial court granted motions to dismiss and for summary judgment in favor of defendants. Plaintiff/Appellant appealed. Due to the deficiencies in Appellant's brief on appeal, we conclude that Appellant waived consideration of any issues on appeal and hereby dismiss the appeal.

Madison County Court of Appeals 07/14/15
Philander Butler v. State of Tennessee
W2014-01366-CCA-R3-CO

The defendant, Philander Butler, appeals the summary dismissal of his Rule 36.1 Motion to Correct an Illegal Sentence. The trial court summarily dismissed the motion, finding that the challenged 1989 and 1990 sentences had expired and that “the intent of Rule 36.1 was not to revive old cases.” On appeal, the defendant argues that the rule states that he may challenge an illegal sentence “at any time.” He also argues that because he erroneously filed his motion in the wrong division of the Criminal Court for Shelby County that the trial court did not have jurisdiction to deny his motion. Following our review, we affirm the judgment of the trial court.

Shelby County Court of Criminal Appeals 07/14/15
Philander Butler v. State of Tennessee-Dissenting
W2014-01366-CCA-R3-CO

For reasons stated in State v. Kevin M. Thompson, No. E2014-01358-CCA-R3-CD, 2015 WL 1548852 (Tenn. Crim. App. Apr. 1, 2015), and State v. Sean Blake, No. W2014-00856-CCA-R3-CO, 2015 WL 112801 (Tenn. Crim. App. Jan. 8, 2015), I would remand this matter to the trial court for appointment of counsel if the Defendant is indigent and an evidentiary hearing pursuant to Tennessee Rule of Criminal Procedure 36.1. Accordingly, I respectfully dissent.

Shelby County Court of Criminal Appeals 07/14/15
State of Tennessee v. Nickelle N. Jackson
W2014-02445-CCA-R3-CD

In 1993, the Defendant, Nickelle N. Jackson, pleaded guilty to three counts of aggravated robbery, one count of unlawful carrying a weapon, one count of theft of property valued between $10,000 and $60,000, and two counts of theft of property valued over $500. In accordance with the plea agreement, the trial court sentenced the Defendant as a Range II, multiple offender, to a total effective sentence of twelve years in confinement. In 2014, the Defendant filed a motion to correct an illegal sentence pursuant to Tennessee Rule of Criminal Procedure 36.1, which the trial court summarily dismissed based upon its finding that the Defendant’s illegal sentence had expired in 2006. On appeal, the Defendant contends that the trial court erred when it dismissed his motion because his sentence contravenes the Tennessee Criminal Sentencing Reform Act of 1989. He explains that the trial court erred when it ordered his sentences to run concurrently because he had been released from jail on bail for some of the offenses when he committed the other offenses, which would require consecutive sentencing. After review, and for the reasons stated below, we reverse the trial court’s judgment and remand the case for appointment of counsel and a hearing on the Defendant’s Rule 36.1 motion.

Shelby County Court of Criminal Appeals 07/14/15
State of Tennessee v. Jerome Maurice Teats
M2012-01232-SC-R11-CD

We granted review in this case to determine whether a trial judge is required to give a jury instruction based on our decision in State v. White, 362 S.W.3d 559 (Tenn. 2012), when a defendant is tried on charges of kidnapping and robbery of different victims. The defendant and an accomplice forced their way into the back door of a restaurant, threatened the employees at gunpoint, and ordered them into a back storage area. While the accomplice guarded these employees, the defendant forced the restaurant manager to take him to the cash drawer, where he took the restaurant’s money. The defendant was indicted for aggravated robbery of the store manager and four counts of especially aggravated kidnapping of the other four employees. A jury convicted the defendant of all charges. On appeal, the defendant asserted that the trial judge’s failure to give the White jury instruction was reversible error. The Court of Criminal Appeals affirmed the convictions. We hold that a White jury instruction is not required when a defendant is charged with the offenses of kidnapping and robbery of different victims.

Davidson County Supreme Court 07/14/15
State of Tennessee v. Jerome Maurice Teats- Concurring
M2012-1232-SC-R11-CD

I concur in Chief Justice Lee’s well-written majority opinion in this case. Under the law as it currently stands in Tennessee, the majority has correctly analyzed the issue presented. I write separately to note the same concerns expressed by Justice Bivins in his separate concurrence in our recent decision State v. Alston, namely, concerns about the far-reaching constitutional holding in the case that gives rise to this issue, this Court’s 1991 decision State v. Anthony, 817 S.W.2d 299 (Tenn. 1991). See State v. Alston, No. E2012-00431-SC-R11-CD, --- S.W.3d ---, 2015 WL 2155690, at *9-10 (Tenn. May 5, 2015)(Bivins, J., concurring) (citing Anthony, 817 S.W.2d at 299).

Davidson County Supreme Court 07/14/15
State of Tennessee v. Jerome Maurice Teats - Dissenting
M2012-01232-SC-R11-CD

A majority of this Court has determined that when a defendant is charged with the offenses of kidnapping and robbery as to different victims during a single criminal episode, the jury is not entitled to an instruction, pursuant to State v. White, 362 S.W.3d 559 (Tenn. 2012), that in order to convict on the kidnapping charge it must first determine whether the removal or confinement of the kidnapping victim is “essentially incidental” to the contemporaneous robbery of another victim. Because I cannot agree with my colleagues that the White instruction is never applicable to these circumstances, I respectfully dissent.

Davidson County Supreme Court 07/14/15
State of Tennessee v. Ricco R. Williams
W2013-01897-SC-R11-CD

This appeal presents the issue of whether a trial judge is required to give a jury instruction based on our decision in State v. White, 362 S.W.3d 559 (Tenn. 2012), when a defendant is tried on charges of kidnapping and robbery of different victims. The defendant, along with two accomplices, broke into a family’s home while they were sleeping. Brandishing weapons, the intruders forced the family members to remain in the living room while they ransacked the home. The intruders later fled with money and jewelry. At trial, a White jury instruction was neither requested nor given. The jury convicted the defendant of numerous charges, including five counts of especially aggravated kidnapping of the husband, wife, and three children; aggravated burglary of the husband’s residence; and two counts of aggravated robbery of the husband and wife. The Court of Criminal Appeals affirmed the convictions for especially aggravated kidnapping, aggravated burglary, and one count of aggravated robbery as to the husband and modified the conviction of aggravated robbery of the wife to aggravated assault. On review, we remanded the case for consideration in light of White. The Court of Criminal Appeals affirmed the convictions of especially aggravated kidnapping as to the three children, but, in light of White and State v. Cecil, 409 S.W.3d 599 (Tenn. 2013), reversed the convictions of especially aggravated kidnapping as to the husband and wife and remanded those charges for a new trial. In this appeal, the defendant asserts that the trial court’s failure to give a White jury instruction as to the remaining three convictions for the especially aggravated kidnapping of the children constituted reversible error. In accordance with our opinion in State v. Teats, __S.W.3d__, No. M2012 01232 SC R11 CD (Tenn. 2015) released contemporaneously with this opinion, we hold that the White jury instruction was not required as to the offenses of especially aggravated kidnapping of the three children.

Lauderdale County Supreme Court 07/14/15
State of Tennessee v. Ricco R. Williams - Dissenting
W2013-01897-SC-R11-CD

A majority of this Court has determined that when a defendant is charged with the offenses of kidnapping and robbery as to different victims during a single criminal episode, the jury is not entitled to an instruction, pursuant to State v. White, 362 S.W.3d 559 (Tenn. 2012), that in order to convict on the kidnapping charge it must first determine whether the removal or confinement of the kidnapping victim is “essentially incidental” to the contemporaneous robbery of another victim. Because I cannot agree with my colleagues that the White instruction is never applicable to these circumstances, for the reasons set forth in my separate opinion filed today in State v. Teats, No. M2012-01232-SC-R11-CD, I must respectfully dissent.

Lauderdale County Supreme Court 07/14/15
Catherine Marie Schmalzer Dick v. Douglas Charles Dick
M2013-02461-COA-R3-CV

This is an appeal from a final decree of divorce. Appellant Husband and Appellee Wife have one minor child. The trial court’s final decree of divorce included a division of marital property previously agreed to in a consent order, which also included an agreement regarding the sale of the marital residence. The trial court also ordered Husband to pay Wife’s COBRA benefits for three months. Concurrently with the entry of the final decree of divorce, the trial court entered a permanent parenting plan naming Wife as primary residential parent of the parties’ minor child. The trial court found Husband guilty of four counts of criminal contempt for failure to comply with an interim parenting order, and ordered him to pay five thousand dollars in attorney’s fees arising from wife’s petition for criminal contempt. In addition, the trial court ordered Husband to pay Wife’s attorney an additional twenty thousand dollars toward her attorney’s fees. We affirm in part, reverse in part, vacate in part, and remand for further proceedings in accordance with this opinion.

Williamson County Court of Appeals 07/14/15
Carol A. Molloy v. Michael J. Hrisko, et al
M2014-01351-COA-R3-CV

Landowner had a contract to sell two five-acre parcels of her 38.29 acres. Some of her neighbors heard about the sale and discussed it with a lawyer, who sent a letter to the real estate broker whose firm represented the buyers and the seller. The letter informed the broker of a purported restriction on the property whereby there could be only one house per twenty acres. The buyers subsequently pulled out of the contract. The landowner sued three neighbors, the attorney, and his law firm for tortious interference with contract, intentional interference with business relationship, libel of title, and civil conspiracy. The trial court granted the defendants’ motion for summary judgment. We affirm.  

Giles County Court of Appeals 07/14/15
In re Jamel H. et al.
E2014-02539-COA-R3-PT

This is a termination of parental rights case in which the Tennessee Department of Children's Services filed a petition to terminate the parental rights of the mother to her two minor children and of the father to his minor child that he shared with the mother. Following a bench trial, the trial court found that clear and convincing evidence existed to support the termination of the mother's parental rights on the statutory grounds of abandonment for failure to visit, abandonment for failure to provide a suitable home, and failure to comply with the requirements contained in the permanency plan. The court found that clear and convincing evidence existed to support the termination of the father's parental rights on the statutory grounds of abandonment for failure to provide a suitable home and failure to comply with the requirements contained in the permanency plan. The court also found that termination of each parent's rights was in the best interest of the children. The parents appeal. We affirm the court's termination of the mother's parental rights but reverse the court's termination of the father's parental rights.

Hamilton County Court of Appeals 07/13/15
State of Tennessee v. Roderick Dewayne Crosby
M2014-00914-CCA-R3-CD

The defendant, Roderick Dewayne Crosby, was convicted of four counts of aggravated kidnapping, Class B felonies, three counts of aggravated robbery, Class B felonies, one count of burglary, a Class C felony, one count of aggravated assault, a Class C felony, and one count of possession of a firearm with the intent to go armed during the commission of a dangerous felony, a Class D felony.  The trial court imposed an effective sentence of thirty-four years.  On appeal, the defendant contends that the evidence is insufficient to support his convictions for aggravated kidnapping; the trial court erred in denying his motion to suppress a photographic lineup identification; and that the trial court erroneously applied an enhancement factor and erred by imposing consecutive sentencing.  After reviewing the briefs, the record, and the applicable law, we affirm the judgments of the trial court but remand the case for resentencing for the firearm offense and for the entry of a corrected judgment.

Davidson County Court of Criminal Appeals 07/13/15
State of Tennessee v. Ashley Altman
M2014-00086-CCA-R3-CD

The defendant, Ashley Altman, appeals her Giles County Circuit Court jury convictions of manufacturing marijuana, possession of a firearm during the commission of a dangerous felony, and possession of drug paraphernalia, claiming that the trial court erred by refusing to suppress evidence obtained during a search of her residence and that the evidence was insufficient to support her conviction of possession of a firearm during the commission of a dangerous felony.  We affirm the convictions and sentences but remand for correction of clerical errors in one of the judgments.

Giles County Court of Criminal Appeals 07/13/15
Leonard Rowe v. Hamilton County Board of Education et al.
E2014-01978-COA-R3-CV

In this breach of contract action, the plaintiff appeals the trial court's grant of summary judgment to the defendants on res judicata grounds. The plaintiff in his complaint alleged that the defendant school district and defendant school superintendent breached a contract with him for continuing employment as a certified public school teacher. Upon consideration of competing motions for summary judgment, the trial court found that the plaintiff had no enforceable contract with the defendants and that his claim was identical to that asserted in at least one previous lawsuit decided on the merits. The court therefore concluded that the action was barred by the doctrine of res judicata. Discerning no reversible error, we affirm.

Hamilton County Court of Appeals 07/13/15
Ewing Green, IV v. State of Tennessee
M2014-01239-CCA-R3-PC

The petitioner, Ewing Green, IV, appeals the denial of his petition for post-conviction relief.  He pled guilty to second degree murder, a Class A felony, especially aggravated robbery, a Class A felony, and tampering with evidence, a Class C felony.  Pursuant to the agreement, he was sentenced to an effective forty-year sentence in the Tennessee Department of Correction.  On appeal, the petitioner contends that his plea was not entered knowingly and voluntarily because he was denied his right to the effective assistance of counsel.  Specifically, he contends that trial counsel was ineffective in failing to review discovery with him and by misleading the petitioner with regard to the consecutive nature of the sentences.  Following review of the record, we affirm the judgment of the post-conviction court.

Davidson County Court of Criminal Appeals 07/13/15
State of Tennessee v. Katherine Louise Holmes
M2014-00420-CCA-R3-CD

The defendant, Katherine Louise Holmes, was convicted of attempted first degree (premeditated) murder, a Class A felony.  The trial court imposed a sentence of twenty-two years.  On appeal, she argues that the evidence was insufficient to sustain her conviction; that the trial court unduly restricted her cross-examination of a witness; that the trial court erred in revoking her bond; that the trial court erroneously did not permit surrebuttal evidence; and that the trial court improperly enhanced her sentence.  Following our review of the briefs, the record, and the applicable law, we affirm the judgment of the trial court.

Davidson County Court of Criminal Appeals 07/13/15
Ralph T. O'Neal, III v. State of Tennessee
M2015-00319-CCA-R3-PC

Petitioner, Ralph T. O’Neal III, appeals the trial court’s order summarily dismissing his pro se petition for post-conviction, habeas corpus, and error coram nobis relief.  We find that this case meets the criteria for affirmance pursuant to Rule 20 of the Rules of the Court of Criminal Appeals.  Accordingly, the judgment of the trial court is affirmed.

Davidson County Court of Criminal Appeals 07/13/15
Shane Michael Grogger v. State of Tennessee
M2014-01615-CCA-R3-PC

Petitioner, Shane Michael Grogger, appeals the denial of his petition for post-conviction relief.  He argues that his trial counsel provided ineffective assistance by failing to adequately investigate Petitioner’s mental health issues and by failing to raise the rejection of a requested jury instruction as an issue on direct appeal.  After a careful review of the record, the decision of the post-conviction court is affirmed.

Overton County Court of Criminal Appeals 07/13/15
Dyanna Wilson v. City of Memphis
W2014-01822-COA-R3-CV

This appeal results from the trial court's order reversing the City of Memphis Civil Service Commission's decision to terminate the employment of one of its employees. We vacate the judgment of the trial court and remand for further proceedings.

Shelby County Court of Appeals 07/13/15
Steven D. Hill v. State of Tennessee
M2014-00999-CCA-R3-PC

A Maury County jury convicted petitioner, Steven D. Hill, of aggravated arson, aggravated burglary, and theft over $1,000. The trial court sentenced him to an effective term of twenty years. He unsuccessfully appealed his convictions to this court and subsequently filed a petition for post-conviction relief. The post-conviction court denied relief. On appeal, petitioner alleges that he received ineffective assistance of counsel on direct appeal. Following our review, we affirm the judgment of the post-conviction court.

Maury County Court of Criminal Appeals 07/10/15