Tennessee Administrative Office of the Courts

Appellate Court Opinions

Format: 08/21/2014
Format: 08/21/2014
State of Tennessee v. Janet Lynn Jared
M2013-01739-CCA-R3-CD

Appellant, Janet Lynn Jared, was convicted of theft over $10,000.  She was sentenced to six years, with the sentence to be served on probation if she paid restitution of over $82,000 to her victims.  To satisfy the judgment, she sold the family farm, but the sale resulted in net proceeds of only about $48,000.  The State subsequently filed a motion to order that the remaining amount of restitution be paid.  After several hearings, the Criminal Court ordered that Appellant pay the remainder of her obligation at the rate of $500 a month.  Appellant does not challenge the amount of restitution ordered by the Criminal Court, but she contends on appeal that the Court erred by ordering a payment schedule without considering her means and ability to pay, in violation of Tennessee Code Annotated section 40-35-304(d).  The State asks us to dismiss this appeal because under Tennessee Rule of Appellate Procedure 3(b) there is no appeal as of right from a decision to modify the conditions of probation.  We agree with the State.  This appeal is dismissed.

Putnam County Court of Criminal Appeals 07/29/14
State of Tennessee v. Terry Scott Yarbrough
M2013-02125-CCA-R3-CD

Appellant, Terry Scott Yarbrough, pleaded guilty to driving under the influence (“DUI”), first offense, and received a sentence of eleven months, twenty-nine days, with all but forty-eight hours suspended to supervised probation.  As a condition of the plea agreement, appellant reserved the right to certify a question of law challenging the trial court’s denial of a motion to suppress.  Following our review, we conclude that we do not have jurisdiction to address the certified question of law because it does not comply with the strict requirements of Tennessee Rule of Criminal Procedure 37(b)(2) and State v. Preston, 759 S.W.2d 647 (Tenn. 1988).  Accordingly, the appeal is dismissed.

Davidson County Court of Criminal Appeals 07/29/14
Scott Clevenger v. State of Tennessee
E2013-01786-CCA-R3-PC

In this appeal, the Petitioner, Scott Clevenger, contends that he received ineffective assistance of counsel at trial. Specifically, he alleges that trial counsel failed to meet with him an adequate amount of times and failed to give him a copy of the discovery materials so that he could make an informed decision about his case. After considering the record and the applicable authorities, we affirm the judgment of the post-conviction court.

Grainger County Court of Criminal Appeals 07/29/14
State of Tennessee v. Pedro Ignacio Hernandez
M2013-01321-CCA-R3-CD

The defendant, Pedro Ignacio Hernandez, appeals from his Davidson County Criminal Court jury convictions of three counts of rape of a child, one count of attempted rape of a child, and five counts of aggravated sexual battery, claiming that the trial court erred by deeming him competent to stand trial; that the trial court erred by denying a motion to suppress his pretrial statement to police; that the trial court erred by denying a motion to suppress the results of DNA testing conducted using DNA that was unconstitutionally obtained; that the trial court erred by allowing the State to present evidence that the defendant displayed a photograph of his genitalia to the victim; that the evidence was insufficient to support two of the defendant’s convictions of rape of a child; that dual convictions of rape of a child in count one and aggravated sexual battery in count twelve were prohibited by principles of due process; and that the trial court erred by imposing consecutive sentences and by sentencing the defendant as a Range II offender.  Because the trial court erroneously imposed a Range II sentence for the defendant’s convictions of rape of a child in violation of constitutional ex post facto protections, the sentence for each conviction of rape of a child is modified from a sentence of 28 years to a sentence of 25 years.  The judgments of the trial court are affirmed in all other respects.

Davidson County Court of Criminal Appeals 07/29/14
State of Tennessee v. Burton W. Webb
E2013-02107-CCA-R3-CD

The Defendant, Burton W. Webb, pleaded guilty to three counts of reckless aggravated assault, Class D felonies, two counts of vehicular assault, Class D felonies, and driving under the influence (DUI) second offense, a Class A misdemeanor. See T.C.A. §§ 39-13-102, 39-13-106, 55-10-401 (2010). The trial court merged the DUI conviction with the vehicular assault convictions and sentenced the Defendant as a Range I, standard offender to two years for each reckless aggravated assault conviction and to three years for each vehicular assault conviction. The court ordered consecutive service of the vehicular assault convictions, for an effective six-year sentence. On appeal, the Defendant contends that the trial court erred (1) by applying certain enhancement factors to the vehicular assault convictions, (2) by denying alternative sentencing, and (3) by ordering consecutive sentences. Although we conclude that the trial court erroneously applied two enhancement factors, the lengths and the manner of service of the sentences are proper. We also conclude that the trial court erred by failing to state its factual findings underlying its conclusion that consecutive sentences were warranted pursuant to State v. Wilkerson, 905 S.W.2d 933, 938 (Tenn. 1995). We remand the case in order for the court to state its factual findings on the record.

Hamilton County Court of Criminal Appeals 07/29/14
State of Tennessee v. Bobby Charles Farley Jr.
W2013-02055-CCA-R3-CD

A jury convicted the Defendant, Bobby Charles Farley, Jr., of driving under the influence (“DUI”); unlawful carrying of a weapon; violating the financial responsibility law; and violating the seatbelt law. After a hearing, the trial court imposed an effective sentence of eleven months, twenty-nine days, to be served in the county jail. In this direct appeal, the Defendant challenges the sufficiency of the evidence underlying his DUI offense and the trial court’s instructions to the jury. Upon our thorough review of the record and applicable law, we affirm the trial court’s judgments.

Madison County Court of Criminal Appeals 07/29/14
State of Tennessee v. Michael Jarrod Brady
W2013-02784-CCA-R3-CD

A jury convicted the defendant, Michael Jarrod Brady, of aggravated robbery, a Class B felony. The defendant’s sole issue on appeal is a challenge to the sufficiency of the evidence. Because we find that the evidence is sufficient to sustain the verdict, we affirm the judgment of the trial court.

Madison County Court of Criminal Appeals 07/29/14
Christopher Scott Chapman v. Henry Steward, Warden
W2013-02361-CCA-R3-HC

The Petitioner, Christopher Scott Chapman, appeals as of right from the Lake County Circuit Court’s dismissal of his petition for a writ of habeas corpus. The Petitioner contends that he was denied pretrial jail credits. Discerning no error, we affirm the judgment of the habeas corpus court.

Lake County Court of Criminal Appeals 07/29/14
Milton L. Kirk Jr. v. State of Tennessee
W2013-00544-CCA-R3-PC

Milton L. Kirk, Jr., (“the Petitioner”) was convicted by a jury of sale of .5 grams or more of cocaine. The Petitioner then pleaded guilty to tampering with evidence and possession with intent to sell or deliver cocaine. The trial court sentenced the Petitioner to an effective sentence of sixteen years’ incarceration. The Petitioner subsequently filed for postconviction relief, which the post-conviction court denied following an evidentiary hearing. The Petitioner now appeals, arguing that he received ineffective assistance of counsel at trial and that his guilty plea was constitutionally invalid. Upon our thorough review of the record and the applicable law, we affirm the judgment of the post-conviction court.

Dyer County Court of Criminal Appeals 07/29/14
Richard Jeremiah Garrett, Jr. v. Renee Michelle Elmore
M2013-01564-COA-R3-JV

The father of the parties’ four-year-old child appeals the permanent parenting plan established by the juvenile court judge; specifically, he challenges the designation of Mother as the primary residential parent, the parenting schedule, the income imputed to each parent, and child support he is ordered to pay. He also contends Mother waived her right to a de novo rehearing of an earlier “order” by the magistrate, which favored Father, as she did not file a timely request for a de novo hearing; therefore, the juvenile court judge was without authority to conduct a de novo hearing or to enter judgment contrary to the magistrate’s order. We have determined the magistrate’s “order” was not a final judgment because the magistrate never prepared “findings and recommendations in writing,” which are to be provided to the juvenile court judge, as is expressly required by Tenn. Code Ann. § 37-1-107(d). Following the de novo hearing before the juvenile court judge, Mother was named the primary residential parent and she was awarded 218 days of parenting time; Father was awarded 147 days. In calculating child support, the trial court found that Mother was attending college part-time but that she was voluntarily unemployed and imputed income to her based on federal minimum wage. The court found that Father’s evidence concerning his modest income was unreliable and imputed income to Father pursuant to Tenn. Comp. R. & Regs. 1240-02-04-.04(3)(a)(2)(iv). The court additionally afforded Mother a day care credit of $516 per month and set child support pursuant to the guidelines based upon the above findings. Father appeals. Finding no error, we affirm.

Montgomery County Court of Appeals 07/29/14
Circle C Construction, LLC v. D. Sean Nilsen, Et Al.
M2013-02330-COA-R3-CV

The issue in this case is whether a tolling agreement between the parties precludes the application of the savings statute set forth in Tenn. Code Ann. § 28-1-105(a). We agree with the trial court that the tolling agreement does preclude application of the savings statute and that the plaintiff’s legal malpractice action is barred by the termination date established in the agreement.

Davidson County Court of Appeals 07/29/14
Mark L. Peck v. State of Tennessee, et al
E2013-01760-CCA-R3-ECN

The petitioner, Mark L. Peck, appeals the denial of his petition for writ of error coram nobis, arguing that newly discovered evidence of the unreliability of an FBI agent’s firearms testimony entitles him to a new trial. Following our review, we affirm the denial of the petition.

Sullivan County Court of Criminal Appeals 07/28/14
State of Tennessee v. Michael Anthony Skettini
E2013-02780-CCA-R3-CD

The Defendant, Michael Anthony Skettini, appeals as of right from the Blount County Circuit Court’s revocation of his probation and order of confinement for one year. The Defendant contends that the trial court abused its discretion in revoking his probation based upon the “limited evidence” of driving under the influence (DUI) presented at the revocation hearing and that a “lesser period of split confinement . . . would have been more reasonable” under the circumstances. Following our review, we affirm the trial court’s revocation of the Defendant’s probationary sentences and order of confinement.

Blount County Court of Criminal Appeals 07/28/14
State of Tennessee v. Anthony Antonio Cole
W2013-02161-CCA-R3-CD

Anthony Antonio Cole (“the Defendant”) was convicted by a jury of driving under the influence, driving without a license, violation of the financial responsibility law, violation of the registration law, and failure to yield the right of way. Following a sentencing hearing, the trial court ordered the Defendant to serve a total effective sentence of twelve months and twenty-nine days in confinement. In this direct appeal, the Defendant challenges the sufficiency of the evidence supporting his convictions for driving under the influence, driving without a license, and failure to yield the right of way. Upon our thorough review of the record and applicable law, we affirm the judgments of the trial court.

Madison County Court of Criminal Appeals 07/28/14
State of Tennessee v. Dennis Butler
W2013-01397-CCA-R3-CD

Dennis Butler (“the Defendant”) pleaded guilty to one count of sale of cocaine. Pursuant to the plea agreement, the Defendant was sentenced to four years suspended to probation. Upon the filing of a probation revocation warrant, the Defendant was taken into custody, and a revocation hearing was held. At the conclusion of the hearing, the trial court revoked the Defendant’s probation and ordered him to serve his original sentence in confinement. The Defendant timely appealed the trial court’s ruling. Upon a thorough review of the record, we affirm the trial court’s judgment.

Shelby County Court of Criminal Appeals 07/28/14
State of Tennessee v. Norman Branch
W2013-00964-CCA-R3-CD

A jury convicted the Defendant, Norman Branch, of theft of $500 or less and intentionally evading arrest in a motor vehicle. After a hearing, the trial court imposed an effective sentence of six years, eleven months, and twenty-nine days, to be served in the workhouse. In this direct appeal, the Defendant contends the following: (1) the trial court erred in allowing him to be impeached with twelve prior convictions; (2) the trial court erred in excluding certain of his testimony as inadmissible hearsay; (3) the evidence was not sufficient to support his evading arrest conviction; (4) the trial court provided an improper jury instruction on the evading arrest charge; (5) the trial court erred in sentencing him as a career offender; and (6) cumulative error entitles him to a new trial. Upon our thorough review of the record and applicable law, we affirm the trial court’s judgments.

Shelby County Court of Criminal Appeals 07/28/14
Darrell Trigg v. Little Six Corporation et al.
E2013-01929-COA-R9-CV

The issue in this wrongful termination action is the enforceability of an arbitration clause in an agreement between the plaintiff employee and his former employer. Plaintiff executed an employment agreement in 2007. Employer terminated plaintiff without cause in April 2012. He brought this action alleging common law retaliatory discharge and violations of the Tennessee Public Protection Act and the Tennessee Human Rights Act. Employer filed a motion to compel arbitration. Plaintiff argued that the arbitration clause is unenforceable because it is unconscionable due to the “excessive” and “prohibitive” costs of arbitration. The trial court found that the agreement had been freely negotiated and was neither a contract of adhesion nor unconscionable. We affirm the judgment of the trial court enforcing the agreement and ordering arbitration.

Hawkins County Court of Appeals 07/28/14
Edna Lee Weaver v. Diversicare Leasing Corp. et al.
E2013-01560-COA-R3-CV

Edna Lee Weaver (“plaintiff”) was employed as a bookkeeper for the Briarcliff Health Care Center, a nursing home facility in Oak Ridge. After plaintiff’s employment was terminated, she brought this action against her former employer alleging (1) common law retaliatory discharge; (2) violation of the Tennessee Public Protection Act, (“TPPA”), Tenn. Code Ann. § 50-1-304 (2008 & Supp. 2013); and (3) violation of the Tennessee Human Rights Act (“THRA”), Tenn. Code Ann. § 4-21-301 (2011). The trial court granted the employer summary judgment on the ground that plaintiff failed to show a causal link between the conduct alleged to be protected, i.e., speaking out against alleged harassment and discrimination against other Briarcliff employees, and her termination. The court further held that the employer established legitimate, non-discriminatory reasons for plaintiff’s termination, and that plaintiff failed to present any evidence tending to show that there were genuine issues of material fact as to whether these reasons were pretextual. We affirm.

Anderson County Court of Appeals 07/28/14
Woodrow Beamer, Jr. v. Agatha Thomas a/k/a Jean T. Beamer
W2013-01279-COA-R3-CV

This appeal involves dismissal of a complaint. The plaintiff filed this declaratory judgment action, seeking a declaration that the 30-year marriage of his deceased father was void. The plaintiff asserted in the complaint that the allegedly void marriage interfered with his right to inherit from his deceased father. The defendant widow of the deceased father filed a motion to dismiss, asserting that she and the deceased father had resided in Mississippi for over 30 years and asked the trial court to dismiss the petition for lack of personal and subject matter jurisdiction. The trial court found that jurisdiction over the matter was proper in Mississippi and dismissed the complaint for lack of subject matter jurisdiction. We vacate the order of dismissal and remand for preliminary factual findings necessary for effective appellate review of the trial court’s decision.

Shelby County Court of Appeals 07/28/14
Lisa Doyle v. Town of Oakland
W2013-02078-COA-R3-CV

This is an appeal from a dismissal for improper service of process. The plaintiff filed a complaint against the defendant municipality. The summons and complaint were served on the municipality’s finance director. In its answer, the municipality asserted improper service of process for failure to serve either the municipality’s chief executive or its city attorney. Later, the municipality filed a motion for summary judgment. The motion asserted that, because service of process was insufficient under Tenn. R. Civ. P. 4.04, the complaint was time-barred under the applicable statute of limitations. The trial court granted summary judgment in favor of the municipality. The plaintiff appeals. Discerning no error, we affirm.

Fayette County Court of Appeals 07/28/14
Teddy Wayne Wilcutt v. CAM Electric Systems, et al.
W2013-00772-WC-R3-WC

An employee sustained work-related injuries to his head, neck, and shoulders after being struck by a falling ladder. The trial court awarded the employee 60% permanent partial disability to the body as a whole. The employer appealed, arguing that the employee failed to prove causation. After carefully reviewing the record, we affirm the trial court’s judgment.

Obion County Workers Compensation Panel 07/28/14
Cedric Dickerson v. State of Tennessee
W2013-01766-CCA-R3-PC

Cedric Dickerson (“the Petitioner”) was convicted by a jury of first degree felony murder and aggravated robbery. The trial court sentenced the Petitioner to life without the possibility of parole for his first degree felony murder conviction and eleven years for his aggravated robbery conviction and ordered the sentences to run concurrently. On direct appeal, this Court affirmed the trial court’s judgments. See State v. Cedric Dickerson, No. 02C01-9802-CR-00051, 1999 WL 74213, at *4 (Tenn. Crim. App. Feb. 17, 1999). The Petitioner subsequently filed for post-conviction relief, which the post-conviction court denied following a post-conviction hearing. The Petitioner now appeals, arguing that “the Eighth Amendment should prohibit life without parole sentences for juvenile offenders.” Upon our thorough review of the record and the applicable law, we affirm the post-conviction court’s decision denying relief.

Shelby County Court of Criminal Appeals 07/28/14
Jonathan Everett v. State of Tennessee
W2013-02033-CCA-R3-PC

A Shelby County jury convicted Petitioner, Jonathan Everett, of one count of second degree murder, one count of attempted voluntary manslaughter, and one count of reckless endangerment. He received an effective sentence of twenty-nine years, eleven months, and twenty-nine days for those offenses. This court affirmed the verdict and sentence on direct appeal. See State v. Jonathan Everett, W2008-01578-CCA-R3-CD, 2011 WL 1304893 (Tenn. Crim. App. at Jackson, Apr. 4, 2011). Petitioner subsequently filed a petition for post-conviction relief, alleging ineffective assistance of counsel at trial and on direct appeal. The Post-Conviction Court denied his petition. We affirm the decision of the Post-Conviction Court.

Shelby County Court of Criminal Appeals 07/28/14
State of Tennessee v. Jonathan L. Henderson
W2013-01247-CCA-R3-CD

A Madison County Jury convicted Defendant, Jonathan Henderson, of rape of a child and aggravated sexual battery. He received concurrent sentences of twenty-five years for the rape conviction and ten years for aggravated sexual battery. On appeal, Defendant argues: (1) that the evidence was insufficient to support his convictions; (2) that the proof at trial did not establish venue; and (3) that his sentence was excessive. After a thorough review, we affirm the judgments of the trial court.

Madison County Court of Criminal Appeals 07/28/14
State of Tennessee v. Jedarrius Isabell
W2013-00435-CCA-R3-CD

The defendant, Jedarrius Isabell, was convicted by a Shelby County Criminal Court jury of attempted first degree murder, a Class A felony; aggravated assault, a Class C felony; three counts of reckless endangerment with a deadly weapon, Class E felonies; and employment of a firearm during the commission of a dangerous felony, a Class C felony, and was sentenced to an effective term of twenty-six years in the Department of Correction. On appeal, he argues that: (1) the jury was exposed to extraneous prejudicial information and outside influence; (2) the trial court improperly communicated with a deliberating jury outside the presence of the defendant and counsel; (3) the failure to name the predicate felony in the indictment for employment of a firearm during the commission of a dangerous felony voids the conviction; (4) felony reckless endangerment is not a lesser-included offense of aggravated assault as charged in Counts 3 and 4 of the indictment; (5) double jeopardy bars his convictions for felony reckless endangerment in Counts 3, 4, and 5; (6) the trial court erred in failing to define “recklessly” in its jury instructions; and (7) the evidence is insufficient to sustain his convictions. After review, we affirm the judgments of the trial court.

Shelby County Court of Criminal Appeals 07/28/14