Tennessee Administrative Office of the Courts

Appellate Court Opinions

Format: 07/23/2014
Format: 07/23/2014
In Re Brennen T.
M2013-01451-COA-R3-PT

This is a termination of parental rights case. After the Appellants filed a termination petition against Biological Parents, Mother filed a counter-claim for malicious use of process, kidnapping, and perjury. The trial court dismissed the termination petition, but failed to rule on Mother’s counter-claim. Accordingly, we dismiss this appeal for lack of a final judgment.
 

Robertson County Court of Appeals 06/19/14
Jeffrey Wade Myrick v. Gloria Denise Myrick
M2013-01513-COA-R3-CV

The issue presented in this case is whether alimony in futuro was properly terminated by the trial court. The parties entered into a marital dissolution agreement, which provided that Husband/Appellee would pay Wife/Appellant alimony in futuro until death, remarriage, or “until a third person not the Wife’s child, moves into the Wife’s residence.” The marital dissolution agreement was incorporated, by reference, into the final decree of divorce. Thereafter,Wife’s mother moved into Wife’s home,and Husband filed a motion to terminate his support obligation based upon the occurrence of the suspending condition. The trial court granted Husband’s petition, finding that the parties’ agreement for alimony in futuro was contractual in nature and that the unambiguous language mandated cessation of Husband’s support obligation when Wife’s mother moved into Wife’s home. Based upon the provision for attorney’s fees in the parties’ marital dissolution agreement, the trial court also awarded Husband his attorney’s fees and costs. Wife appeals. Discerning no error, we affirm and remand.
 

Sumner County Court of Appeals 06/19/14
Mary Lisa Gaston Luplow v. Martin Duane Luplow
M2013-01399-COA-R3-CV

This is an appeal in a divorce case, where Wife appeals the classification and division of marital property and debt, the calculation of the division of the proceeds from the sale of the marital residence, the dismissal of the contempt petition she filed against Husband, and the failure to award her attorney fees. Husband appeals the classification of certain real property and the division of marital debt; he also requests his fees on appeal. We modify the judgment allocating the marital debt and awarding $16,691 to Wife as alimony in solido; we affirm the judgment in all other respects

Davidson County Court of Appeals 06/19/14
State of Tennessee v. Darren Eugene Fleshman, Alias
E2013-00557-CCA-R3-CD

Darren Eugene Fleshman, alias (“the Defendant”), was convicted of theft 1 of property of at least $10,000 but less than $60,000. Following a sentencing hearing, the trial court sentenced the Defendant to four years, suspended to supervised probation, and ordered him to pay restitution in the amount of $42,815.93. On appeal, the Defendant challenges the following: the trial court’s interpretation of the definition of “owner” under Tennessee Code Annotated section 39-11-106(a)(26) (2006); the sufficiency of the evidence at trial; and the amount of restitution imposed by the trial court. After a thorough review of the record and the applicable law, we affirm the Defendant’s conviction. We, however, vacate the trial court’s order of restitution and remand this matter for a new hearing as to the amount and manner of restitution.

Knox County Court of Criminal Appeals 06/18/14
STATE OF TENNESSEE v. RANDALL GRAINGER
M2012-02545-CCA-R3-CD

Following a bench trial Defendant, Randall Grainger, was convicted of three counts of knowingly violating a condition of community supervision for life, with each condition violated not in itself constituting a criminal offense, in violation of Tennessee Code Annotated section 39-13-526 (a),(b)(1). Each conviction is a Class A misdemeanor. The trial court imposed a sentence of eleven (11) months and twenty-nine (29) days for each conviction and ordered the sentences to be served concurrently with each other. The trial court suspended all of the effective sentence of eleven (11) months and twenty-nine (29) days except for ten (10) days’ incarceration, followed by eleven (11) months and nineteen (19) days of probation. In his appeal Defendant presents two issues for this Court’s review. First, Defendant asserts that the convictions should be reversed and the charges dismissed because Tennessee Code Annotated section 39-13-524(d)(1) violates Article II, section 3 of the Tennessee Constitution. Second, Defendant argues that the conviction based upon his failure to successfully complete sex offender treatment violates his right to due process guaranteed by both the United States Constitution and the Tennessee Constitution. After a thorough review of the record, the parties’ briefs, and the applicable law, we affirm the judgments of the trial court.
 

Davidson County Court of Criminal Appeals 06/18/14
Timothy Barbee v. State of Tennessee
M2013-02123-CCA-R3-PC

Petitioner, Timothy Barbee, pleaded guilty to possession of heroin, a Schedule I controlled substance, with intent to sell, and the trial court sentenced petitioner to the agreed-upon term of eight years at thirty percent release eligibility. In his timely petition for post-conviction relief, petitioner asserts that his guilty plea was not knowingly and voluntarily entered. After an evidentiary hearing, the post-conviction court denied relief. Following our review, we affirm the judgment of the post-conviction court.
 

Davidson County Court of Criminal Appeals 06/18/14
Charles Orlando Fields v. Debra Johnson, Warden
M2013-02484-CCA-R3-HC

The pro se petitioner, Charles Orlando Fields, appeals the Hickman County Circuit Court’s summary dismissal of his petition for writ of habeas corpus, arguing that the sentence he received for his conviction for the sale of a controlled substance within 1000 feet of a school zone is illegal. Following our review, we affirm the dismissal on the grounds that the petitioner failed to state a cognizable claim for habeas corpus relief.

Hickman County Court of Criminal Appeals 06/18/14
Clayton Arden, Surviving Spouse v. Kenya L. Kozawa, M. D.
E2013-01598-COA-R3-CV

The plaintiff, as surviving spouse, appeals the trial court’s dismissal of his health care liability action against the defendant doctor who treated the plaintiff’s wife prior to her death and the hospital wherein the treatment occurred. The trial court granted the defendants’ motions for summary judgment based upon the plaintiff’s failure to strictly comply with the pre-suit notice requirements of Tennessee Code Annotated § 29-26-121 (Supp. 2013). We reverse the trial court’s ruling that the plaintiff had to strictly comply with the provisions of the notice requirement and conclude that the plaintiff substantially complied with said requirement. We affirm, however, the trial court’s ruling that the plaintiff could not rely upon the statutory 120-day extension of the statute of limitations due to his failure to properly serve the notice. We therefore affirm the trial court’s dismissal of the plaintiff’s claims as barred by the statute of limitations.

Monroe County Court of Appeals 06/18/14
STATE OF TENNESSEE v. JACQUELINE M. HIYAMA
M2013-01838-CCA-R3-CD

The appellant, Jacqueline M. Hiyama, was indicted on alternative counts of driving under the influence (DUI) pursuant to Tennessee Code Annotated section 55-10-401(a)(1) and (a)(2). She filed a pretrial motion to suppress all evidence obtained as a result of her arrest, asserting that the arresting officer did not have reasonable suspicion to stop her vehicle. The trial court denied the appellant’s motion. The appellant pled guilty to the indicted offense reserving a certified question of law pursuant to Tennessee Rule of Criminal Procedure 37(b)(2) concerning whether the stop of the appellant’s vehicle by law enforcement was lawful. After review, we conclude that the trial court did not err in denying the appellant’s motion to suppress and affirm the judgment of the trial court.
 

Williamson County Court of Criminal Appeals 06/17/14
Charles Calhoun v. State of Tennessee
M2013-01942-CCA-R3-PC

Petitioner, Charles Deon Calhoun, pled guilty to two counts of aggravated robbery. He then filed a pro se petition for post-conviction relief, alleging ineffective assistance of counsel. The post-conviction court summarily dismissed the petition for failing to state a colorable claim for relief. Petitioner appealed, arguing that the court erred in dismissing his petition without holding an evidentiary hearing and without appointing counsel to assist in presenting his claim. Upon review of the record, we affirm the decision of the post-conviction court dismissing the petition.
 

Davidson County Court of Criminal Appeals 06/17/14
Tavares D. Braden v. State of Tennessee
M2013-01340-CCA-R3-PC

Following a jury trial, petitioner, Tavares D. Braden, was convicted of the sale of less than 0.5 grams of cocaine, possession with intent to sell 0.5 grams or more of cocaine, promoting prostitution, possession of marijuana, and evading arrest, for which he received an effective eighteen-year sentence. Following an unsuccessful direct appeal, he filed a petition for post-conviction relief claiming two instances of ineffective assistance of counsel: (1) failure to advise him of his potential sentence exposure and (2) failure to adequately prepare for trial and prepare a defense. After an evidentiary hearing, the post-conviction court denied relief. Following our review, we affirm the judgment of the post-conviction court.

Davidson County Court of Criminal Appeals 06/17/14
State of Tennessee v. Jonathan T. Deal
E2013-02623-CCA-R3-CD

Jonathan T. Deal (“the Defendant”) filed a motion to correct an illegal sentence. The trial court summarily denied the Defendant’s motion, and this appeal followed. Upon our thorough review of the record and applicable law, we conclude that the Defendant set forth a colorable claim. Accordingly, we remand this matter to the trial court for further proceedings pursuant to Tennessee Rule of Criminal Procedure 36.1.

Polk County Court of Criminal Appeals 06/17/14
State of Tennessee v. William Creggar Snodgrass
E2013-01741-CCA-R3-CD

Appellant, William Creggar Snodgrass, was convicted of attempted rape, a Class C felony. The trial court sentenced appellant to eight years to be served in the Tennessee Department of Correction. On appeal, appellant argues that: (1) the trial court erroneously instructed the jury regarding flight; (2) the trial court erred in allowing testimony from an unsequestered witness; and (3) the evidence at trial was insufficient to support his conviction. Following our review of the parties’ briefs, the record, and the applicable law, we affirm the judgment of the trial court.

Knox County Court of Criminal Appeals 06/17/14
In Re Kason C. Et Al.
M2013-02624-COA-R3-PT

Father appeals the termination of his parental rights to his two children. The juvenile court found the Department of Children’s Services established four grounds for termination of father’s parental rights: 1) parent sentenced to ten or more years for any criminal act and the children are under eight years of age pursuant to Tenn. Code Ann. § 36-1-113(g)(6); 2) parent sentenced to more than two years for conduct against a child or sibling/half-sibling of the child who is the subject of the petition pursuant to Tenn. Code Ann. § 36-1-113(g)(5);
3) abandonment by wanton disregard pursuant to Tenn. Code Ann. §§ 36-1-113(g)(1) and 36-1-102(1)(A)(iv); and 4) substantial noncompliance with the permanency plan pursuant to Tenn. Code Ann. § 36-1-113(g)(2). The juvenile court also found that termination of Father’s rights was in the children’s best interest. Father appealed. We affirm.

Rutherford County Court of Appeals 06/17/14
In Re Aaliyah R.
M2013-01882-COA-R3-PT

Mother appeals the termination of her parental rights. The trial court found four grounds for termination of Mother’s parental rights: substantial noncompliance with the requirements of the permanency plan, failure to support financially, failure to provide a suitable home, and persistence of conditions; the court also determined that termination was in the best interest of the child. Mother appeals arguing the evidence is insufficient to establish any of the grounds and that termination was in the child’s best interest. We have determined that the evidence clearly and convincingly supported two of the grounds, that of substantial noncompliance with the requirements of the permanency plan and persistence of conditions. We have also determined that termination was in the child’s best interest. Therefore, we affirm the termination of Mother’s parental rights.

Rutherford County Court of Appeals 06/17/14
Jay Wilfong v. CRK Real Estate , LLC, Et Al
M2013-00188-COA-R3-CV

This case arose out of a contract for the sale of real estate. The contract included a provision requiring the buyer to make “commercially reasonable efforts” to sell the property, and to split any profits with the seller if the property was resold within 36 months. The buyer did not sell the property, and the seller brought suit, raising numerous claims, including breach of contract, breach of fiduciary duty, violations of the Real Estate Settlement Practices Act (RESPA), the Truth in Lending Act (TILA), the Fair Debt Collection Practice Act, the Consumer Protection Act, RICO, wrongful foreclosure, promissory fraud, civil conspiracy, collusion, intentional infliction of emotional distress, constructive trust, conversion and unjust enrichment. After a hearing, the trial court granted the buyer’s motion to dismiss thirteen of the seller’s claims, denied the motion to dismiss another six of his claims, and certified its order as final for the purposes of appeal under Tenn. R. Civ. P. 54.02. We affirm the trial court.
 

Wilson County Court of Appeals 06/17/14
Tina Wilder v. Union County Board of Education
E2013-02459-COA-R3-CV

This appeal arises from the dismissal of a tenured teacher. The Union County Board of Education (“the Board”) dismissed Tina Wilder (“Wilder”) following an incident involving underage drinking at Wilder’s lake cabin. Wilder, contesting her dismissal, filed a petition for writ of certiorari in the Chancery Court for Union County (“the Trial Court”). The Trial Court concluded that the evidence sustained Wilder’s dismissal. Wilder raises several issues on appeal. We hold, inter alia, that Wilder was afforded due process, that the Trial Court applied the correct standard of review, and that the evidence supported the Trial Court’s decision. We affirm the judgment of the Trial Court.

Union County Court of Appeals 06/16/14
State of Tennessee v. Glenn Climer, Jr.
M2013-00651-CCA-R3-CD

Appellant, Glenn Climer, Jr., was indicted by the Rutherford County Grand Jury with attempted second degree murder, attempted aggravated child abuse, child abuse, assault, and resisting arrest. Appellant was convicted of attempted voluntary manslaughter, attempted aggravated child abuse, child abuse, assault, and resisting arrest. As a result, he was sentenced to a total effective sentence of twenty-six years, eleven months, and twenty-nine days. After the denial of a motion for new trial, Appellant sought this appeal. On appeal, the following issues are presented for our review: (1) whether the evidence is sufficient to support Appellant’s convictions for attempted voluntary manslaughter, attempted aggravated child abuse, and child abuse; (2) whether the trial court erred by allowing counsel for the State to present an improper argument; (3) whether Appellant’s conviction for child abuse violates double jeopardy; and (4) whether the trial court properly sentenced Appellant. After a review of the issues raised on appeal, this Court determines that the evidence was sufficient to support the offenses; Appellant waived any issue with regard to improper argument by failing to object at trial; Appellant’s convictions do not violate double jeopardy; and the trial court did not abuse its discretion in sentencing Appellant. Consequently, the judgments of the trial court are affirmed.
 

Rutherford County Court of Criminal Appeals 06/16/14
David Frazier v. State of Tennessee
E2013-02563-CCA-R3-CD

The Defendant, David Frazier, appeals as of right from the Polk County Criminal Court’s summary dismissal of his motion to correct an illegal sentence. See Tenn. R. Crim. P. 36.1. The Defendant contends that the trial court erred by dismissing his motion without a hearing. The State concedes that the trial court erred. Following our review, we reverse the judgment of the trial court and remand the case for a hearing on the Defendant’s motion.

Polk County Court of Criminal Appeals 06/16/14
Kathy D. Palmore v. Linda K. Neal, Et Al.
M2013-02153-COA-R3-CV

Former employee brought an action for retaliatory discharge and intentional interference with employment. The trial court dismissed the complaint pursuant to Tenn. R. Civ. P. 12.02(6). Having determined the complaint failed to state a claim upon which relief can be granted, we affirm the dismissal.

Wilson County Court of Appeals 06/12/14
Terry R. Whitefield v. State of Tennessee
M2013-02029-CCA-R3-PC

The petitioner, Terry R. Whitefield, appeals the denial of post-conviction relief from his 2012 Davidson County Criminal Court
guilty-pleaded convictions of aggravated sexual battery, for which he received a sentence of 16 years’ incarceration. In this appeal, the petitioner contends that he was denied the effective assistance of counsel and that his guilty pleas were not knowingly and voluntarily entered. Discerning no error, we affirm.

Davidson County Court of Criminal Appeals 06/12/14
State of Tennessee v. Christopher Lee Richardson
M2013-01178-CCA-R3-CD

The defendant, Christopher Lee Richardson, appeals his Bedford County Circuit Court jury convictions of attempted theft of property valued at $1,000 or more but less than $10,000; disorderly conduct; simple possession of a Schedule IV controlled substance; resisting arrest; simple possession of a Schedule VI controlled substance; and attempted promotion of the manufacture of methamphetamine, claiming that the trial court erred by failing to grant his motion to sever the counts of the indictment; that the trial court erred by refusing to disqualify a juror; that the evidence is insufficient to support his convictions of attempted theft of property and attempted promotion of the manufacture of methamphetamine; and that the sentence is excessive. Discerning no error, we affirm the judgments of the trial court.

Bedford County Court of Criminal Appeals 06/12/14
State of Tennessee v. Paul Epps
W2013-02194-CCA-R3-CD

The Defendant, Paul Epps, appeals the trial court’s revocation of his probation and reinstatement of his original two-year sentence in the Department of Correction. On appeal, the Defendant argues that the record does not contain substantial evidence to show that a violation of probation occurred and that the trial court erred in failing to consider a disposition other than incarceration after revoking his probation. Upon our review, we affirm the judgment of the trial court.

Fayette County Court of Criminal Appeals 06/12/14
Guy Graves v. State of Tennessee
W2013-01288-CCA-R3-PC

The Petitioner, Guy Graves, appeals from the denial of post-conviction relief by the Madison County Circuit Court. He was convicted of two counts of burglary and received an effective sentence of twenty-four years in the Tennessee Department of Correction. On appeal, the Petitioner argues that he received ineffective assistance of counsel. Upon review, we affirm the judgment of the post-conviction court.

Madison County Court of Criminal Appeals 06/12/14
State of Tennessee v. Billy Joe Harris
W2013-02310-CCA-R3-CD

Following a bench trial, the Defendant-Appellant, Billy Joe Harris, was convicted in the Obion County Circuit Court of violation of the sexual offender registry, a Class E felony. See T.C.A. § 40-39-208 (2012). The trial court imposed a one-year sentence with ninety days to be served in the county jail and the balance to be served on community corrections. The sole issue presented for our review is whether the evidence is sufficient to support the conviction. Upon review, we affirm the judgment of the trial court.

Obion County Court of Criminal Appeals 06/12/14