Court of Criminal Appeals Opinions

Format: 08/20/2022
Format: 08/20/2022
Akeem Goodman v. State of Tennessee
E2021-00914-CCA-R3-PC
Authoring Judge: Judge John W. Campbell, Sr.
Trial Court Judge: Judge Kyle A. Hixson

The Petitioner, Akeem Goodman, appeals the Knox County Criminal Court’s denial of his post-conviction petition, seeking relief from his convictions of attempted first degree murder and especially aggravated robbery and resulting effective forty-four-year sentence. On appeal, the Petitioner contends that he received the ineffective assistance of counsel because trial counsel failed to prepare for trial adequately, failed to advise him about his case, failed to interview multiple witnesses, and failed to call a witness to testify at trial. After review, we affirm the judgment of the post-conviction court.

Knox County Court of Criminal Appeals 07/14/22
George Ellis Clark v. State of Tennessee
W2021-01391-CCA-R3-PC
Authoring Judge: Judge Timothy L. Easter
Trial Court Judge: Judge Roy B. Morgan, Jr.

George Ellis Clark, Petitioner, sought post-conviction relief on the basis that the trial court lacked jurisdiction to impose a sentence because of a violation of the Interstate Agreement on Detainers (“IAD”). The post-conviction court dismissed the petition on the basis that the IAD provided a statutory right, not a constitutional right and, therefore, not a proper basis for post-conviction relief. Petitioner appealed. Because Petitioner has failed to present an adequate record for this Court’s review, we dismiss the appeal.

Madison County Court of Criminal Appeals 07/14/22
State of Tennessee v. Corey Young
W2020-01173-CCA-R3-CD
Authoring Judge: Presiding Judge John Everett Williams
Trial Court Judge: Judge W. Mark Ward

A jury convicted the Defendant, Corey Young, of possession of three hundred grams or more of methamphetamine with the intent to sell in a school zone, a Class A felony; possession of three hundred grams or more of methamphetamine with the intent to deliver in a school zone, a Class A felony; two counts of possession of a firearm with the intent to go armed during the commission of or attempt to commit a dangerous felony, a Class D felony; and two counts of possession of a firearm after having been convicted of a felony drug offense, a Class C felony. He received an effective sentence of forty-one years. On appeal, the Defendant challenges the sufficiency of the evidence and asserts that his right to confront witnesses was violated. After a thorough review of the record, we affirm the Defendant’s convictions and remand for correction of the judgment forms.

Shelby County Court of Criminal Appeals 07/14/22
State of Tennessee v. Roy Thomas Rogers, Jr.
W2021-00807-CCA-R3-CD
Authoring Judge: Judge Robert W. Wedemeyer
Trial Court Judge: Judge Clayburn L. Peeples

A Gibson County jury convicted the Defendant, Roy Thomas Rogers, Jr., of initiating the manufacture of methamphetamine, promoting the manufacture of methamphetamine, possession of drug paraphernalia, and criminal impersonation. The trial court sentenced the Defendant to an effective sentence of twelve years. On appeal, the Defendant argues that: (1) the trial court improperly admitted evidence, (2) the evidence was insufficient to support his convictions, and (3) the trial court improperly sentenced him. After review, we affirm the trial court’s judgments.

Gibson County Court of Criminal Appeals 07/14/22
Rickey R. Jordan v. State of Tennessee
W2021-00441-CCA-R3-PC
Authoring Judge: Judge James Curwood Witt, Jr.
Trial Court Judge: Judge J. Robert Carter, Jr.

The petitioner, Rickey R. Jordan, appeals the denial of his petition for post-conviction relief, which petition challenged his 2020 Shelby County Criminal Court guilty-pleaded convictions of aggravated robbery and aggravated assault, arguing that he was deprived of the effective assistance of counsel. Discerning no error, we affirm.

Shelby County Court of Criminal Appeals 07/14/22
Cortez Bennett v. Kevin Genovese, Warden
W2021-01507-CCA-R3-HC
Authoring Judge: Judge James Curwood Witt, Jr.
Trial Court Judge: Judge Mark L. Hayes

The petitioner, Cortez Bennett, appeals the summary denial of his petition for writ of habeas corpus, which petition challenged his Lake County Circuit Court Jury convictions of first degree murder, attempted first degree murder, and especially aggravated robbery, arguing that he is entitled to habeas corpus relief on grounds that the sentence imposed for his conviction of first degree murder was imposed in direct contravention of a statute, that the count alleging attempted first degree murder was void, and that his convictions of especially aggravated robbery violate double jeopardy principles. Discerning no error, we affirm.

Lake County Court of Criminal Appeals 07/14/22
Darryl Claxton v. State of Tennessee
W2021-01240-CCA-R3-PC
Authoring Judge: Judge James Curwood Witt, Jr.
Trial Court Judge: Judge Chris Craft

The petitioner, Darryl Claxton, appeals the denial of his petition for post-conviction relief, which petition challenged his 2015 Shelby County Criminal Court Jury conviction of first degree murder, arguing that he was deprived of the effective assistance of counsel at trial. Discerning no error, we affirm.

Shelby County Court of Criminal Appeals 07/14/22
Randall Ward v. State of Tennessee
W2021-01224-CCA-R3-PC
Authoring Judge: Judge James Curwood Witt, Jr.
Trial Court Judge: Judge Donald H. Allen

The petitioner, Randall Ward, appeals the denial of his petition for post-conviction relief, which petition challenged his 2018 Madison County Circuit Court jury convictions of possession with the intent to sell and deliver cocaine and possession of drug paraphernalia, alleging that he was deprived of the effective assistance of counsel. Discerning no error, we affirm the denial of post-conviction relief.

Madison County Court of Criminal Appeals 07/14/22
Marcus Levy v. State of Tennessee
W2021-00891-CCA-R3-PC
Authoring Judge: Judge James Curwood Witt, Jr.
Trial Court Judge: Judge Paula L. Skahan

The petitioner, Marcus Levy, appeals the denial of his petition for post-conviction relief, which petition challenged his conviction of first degree murder, alleging that he was deprived of the effective assistance of counsel. Discerning no error, we affirm the denial of post-conviction relief.

Shelby County Court of Criminal Appeals 07/14/22
Donald J. Vaughn v. State of Tennessee
M2021-01180-CCA-R3-PC
Authoring Judge: Judge James Curwood Witt Jr.
Trial Court Judge: Judge Mark J. Fishburn

The petitioner, Donald J. Vaughn, appeals the denial of his petition for post-conviction relief, which petition challenged his
guilty-pleaded convictions of aggravated rape, alleging that his guilty pleas were invalid because he was deprived of the effective assistance of counsel. Because the issue was previously determined, we affirm the denial of post-conviction relief.

Davidson County Court of Criminal Appeals 07/14/22
State of Tennessee v. Willie Hooper, Sr.
W2021-01069-CCA-R3-CD
Authoring Judge: Judge Timothy L. Easter
Trial Court Judge: Judge Glenn Ivy Wright

Willie Hooper, Sr., Defendant, was convicted of one count of rape of a child and one count of aggravated sexual battery after a jury trial. He was sentenced to an effective sentence of twenty-five years at 100% for the convictions. After the denial of a motion for new trial, Defendant appeals, challenging the sufficiency of the evidence to support his convictions. After a review, we affirm the judgments of the trial court.

Shelby County Court of Criminal Appeals 07/13/22
Alina F. Sherlin v. State of Tennessee
E2021-00770-CCA-R3-PC
Authoring Judge: Judge Timothy L. Easter
Trial Court Judge: Judge Andrew M. Freiberg

Alina F. Sherlin, Petitioner, was indicted for first degree murder in 2013. After a jury trial, Petitioner was convicted of second degree murder and sentenced to 15 years in incarceration. Her conviction and sentence were affirmed by this Court on appeal. State v. Alina Frankie Sherlin, No E2017-01225-CCA-R3-CD, 2018 WL 3561728, at *1 (Tenn. Crim. App. July 24, 2018), perm. app. denied (Tenn. Dec. 7, 2018). Petitioner sought postconviction relief on the basis of ineffective assistance of counsel and also challenged the search and seizure of her property. After a hearing, the post-conviction court denied relief. Petitioner appealed to this Court. After a review, we affirm the denial of post-conviction relief.

Bradley County Court of Criminal Appeals 07/13/22
State of Tennessee v. Ida Veronica Thomas
M2021-00817-CCA-R3-CD
Authoring Judge: Judge Robert W. Wedemeyer
Trial Court Judge: Judge Angelita Blackshear Dalton

The Defendant, Ida Veronica Thomas, pleaded guilty to theft of property valued at $60,000 or more, but less than $250,000 and, pursuant to a plea agreement, the trial court ordered the Defendant to serve twelve years on community corrections.  At a subsequent restitution hearing, the trial court imposed a restitution amount of $151,385, to be paid at a rate of $75 per month.  The Defendant appealed, and this court affirmed the case in part, but remanded the case for the trial court to order a presentence report and determine the restitution amount, distinct from the pecuniary loss, by considering the Defendant’s financial resources and ability to pay.  State v. Ida Veronica Thomas, No. M2019-02137-CCA-R3-CD, 2021 WL 286736, at *1 (Tenn. Crim. App., at Nashville, Jan. 28, 2021).  On remand, the trial court ordered a restitution amount of $92,225 to be paid monthly according to a graduated payment schedule.  The Defendant now appeals from the trial court’s order of restitution.  Finding no error, we affirm the judgment of the trial court.

Davidson County Court of Criminal Appeals 07/13/22
John A. Purcell v. State of Tennessee
E2021-00996-CCA-R3-PC
Authoring Judge: Judge Jill Bartee Ayers
Trial Court Judge: Judge Stacy L. Street

Petitioner, John A. Purcell, appeals the dismissal of his post-conviction petition for being untimely filed. On appeal, he asserts that he received ineffective assistance of trial counsel before entering his guilty plea and that the post-conviction court erred by not conducting a complete evidentiary hearing before dismissing his petition as untimely. Having reviewed the record and the parties’ briefs, we affirm the judgment of the post-conviction court.

Washington County Court of Criminal Appeals 07/13/22
Blackthorn House, LLC v. First Volunteer Bank
E2021-00346-COA-R3-CV
Authoring Judge: Judge John W. McClarty
Trial Court Judge: Chancellor Jeffrey M. Atherton

This dispute involves a lender bank’s deed of trust for a leasehold interest related to real property on Lookout Mountain, Tennessee. After the trial court found, inter alia, that the deed of trust was no longer in effect and the bank’s interest in it ceased when the lease terminated, the lender appealed. The contractual issues before us are between the lender bank and the borrower’s landlord. We affirm the ruling of the trial court.

Hamilton County Court of Criminal Appeals 07/12/22
Thomas Edward Clardy v. State of Tennessee
M2021-00566-CCA-R3-ECN
Authoring Judge: Judge Robert W. Wedemeyer
Trial Court Judge: Judge Jennifer Smith

For a 2005 shooting, a Davidson County jury convicted the Petitioner, Thomas Edward Clardy, of one count of first degree premeditated murder, two counts of attempted first degree premeditated murder, and three counts of reckless endangerment. The trial court imposed a life sentence. On December 8, 2020, the Petitioner filed a petition for a writ of error coram nobis, alleging newly discovered evidence in the form of an affidavit showing that he did not participate in the crime. The Petitioner acknowledged that he did not file the petition within the applicable statute of limitations but said he was entitled to an equitable tolling. The State agreed, and it asked the trial court for an equitable tolling and to hear the case on its merits. The coram nobis court, noting that it was not bound by the State’s concession, dismissed the petition as untimely. After review, we conclude that the coram nobis court erred and that the Petitioner is entitled to an equitable tolling of the statute of limitations. As such, we reverse and remand to the coram nobis court for a hearing on the Petitioner’s error coram nobis claims.

Davidson County Court of Criminal Appeals 07/12/22
Michael Lewis Freeman v. State of Tennessee
E2021-01039-CCA-R3-PC
Authoring Judge: Judge Jill Bartee Ayers
Trial Court Judge: Judge Steven Wayne Sword

Petitioner, Michael Lewis Freeman, appeals the denial of his post-conviction petition. Specifically, Petitioner alleges that trial counsel was ineffective for failing to advise him to testify at trial in support of his claim of self-defense. Following our review of the entire record and the briefs of the parties, we affirm the judgment of the post-conviction court.

Knox County Court of Criminal Appeals 07/12/22
State of Tennessee v. Kadrean J. Brewster
E2021-00793-CCA-R3-CD
Authoring Judge: Judge Jill Bartee Ayers
Trial Court Judge: Judge Kyle A. Hixson

Defendant, Kadrean J. Brewster, pled guilty to possession with the intent to sell more than 0.5 grams of cocaine. He was sentenced to eight-years split between one year in confinement and the remainder of the sentence on probation. Following revocation hearings, Defendant’s probation was revoked and Defendant was ordered to serve the balance of his sentence in confinement. On appeal, Defendant contends the trial court abused its discretion in revoking his probation and ordering him to serve the sentence in confinement. Following our review of the entire record and the briefs of the parties, we affirm the judgment of the trial court.

Knox County Court of Criminal Appeals 07/11/22
State of Tennessee v. Denzel Washington
E2021-00153-CCA-R3-CD
Authoring Judge: Judge Jill Bartee Ayers
Trial Court Judge: Judge G. Scott Green

Defendant, Denzel Washington, was convicted following a jury trial of possession of heroin with intent to sell or deliver within 1,000 feet of a childcare agency (Count 1), possession of fentanyl with intent to sell or deliver within 1,000 feet of a childcare agency (Count 2), possession of marijuana (Count 3) and delivery of heroin within 1,000 feet of a childcare agency (Count 4). The trial court ordered Defendant to serve an effective nineyear sentence. On appeal, Defendant argues that the evidence was insufficient to support his convictions and that his convictions in Counts 1 and 2 should have merged. Following our review of the entire record and the parties’ briefs, we affirm the judgments of the trial court.

Knox County Court of Criminal Appeals 07/06/22
State of Tennessee v. Wallace Wade Tidwell
E2021-00711-CCA-R3-CD
Authoring Judge: Judge Robert L. Holloway, Jr.
Trial Court Judge: Judge Donald Ray Elledge

Following a trial, an Anderson County jury convicted Defendant, Wallace Wade Tidwell, of aggravated robbery, and Defendant was sentenced, as a career offender, to thirty years’ incarceration. On appeal, Defendant contends that the trial court erred in sentencing him as a career offender because the State failed to file a proper notice under Tennessee Code Annotated section 40-35-202(a). Defendant further contends that the trial court committed per se reversible error by instructing jurors that they could not question witnesses. Following a thorough review, we affirm the judgment of the trial court.

Anderson County Court of Criminal Appeals 07/05/22
State of Tennessee v. Dana Baker DISSENT
W2021-00498-CCA-R3-CD
Authoring Judge: Judge Timothy L. Easter
Trial Court Judge: Judge Roy B. Morgan, Jr.

I agree with the majority opinion that any alleged Fourth Amendment violation does not bar Defendant’s conviction. I respectfully disagree that the evidence did not show that Defendant intentionally prevented or obstructed the service of the criminal summons and recklessly assaulted officer Kelly Mason.

Madison County Court of Criminal Appeals 07/05/22
State of Tennessee v. Dana Baker
W2021-00498-CCA-RE-CD
Authoring Judge: Judge James Curwood Witt, Jr.
Trial Court Judge: Judge Roy B. Morgan, Jr.

The defendant, Dana Baker, challenges his Madison County Circuit Court convictions of one count of assault, see T.C.A. § 39-13-101(a)(1), and one count of obstructing or preventing the service of process, see id. § 39-16-602(c), on grounds that an alleged Fourth Amendment violation prohibited his convictions and that the evidence was insufficient to support his convictions. Because the evidence was insufficient to support either of the defendant’s convictions, the convictions are reversed, and the charges are dismissed.

Madison County Court of Criminal Appeals 07/05/22
State of Tennessee v. Toby Dunn
E2021-00343-CCA-R3-CD
Authoring Judge: Judge Robert L. Holloway
Trial Court Judge: Judge James L. Gass

The Cocke County Grand Jury indicted Defendant, Toby Dunn, for attempted first degree murder in count one, aggravated assault in count two, employment of a firearm during the commission of a dangerous felony in count three, and possession of a firearm during the commission of a dangerous felony in count four. A jury found Defendant guilty in count one of the lesser-included offense of attempted second degree murder and guilty as charged in all other counts. At sentencing, the trial court merged counts one and two and merged counts three and four. The court sentenced Defendant to twelve years’ incarceration with a thirty percent release eligibility in count one and to a consecutive six years’ incarceration with a 100 percent release eligibility in count three. On appeal, Defendant argues that the trial court erred by limiting cross-examination of the victim, by excluding a video of the victim, and by admitting Defendant’s prior bad act. He also argues that the State failed to establish the chain of custody for the firearm, that the evidence was insufficient to support his convictions, and that his sentence was excessive. After a thorough review, we affirm the judgments of the trial court.

Cocke County Court of Criminal Appeals 07/05/22
State of Tennessee v. Robert Daniel Owens, Jr.
E2021-00814-CCA-R3-CD
Authoring Judge: Presiding Judge John Everett Williams
Trial Court Judge: Judge Thomas C. Greenholtz

The Defendant, Robert Daniel Owens, Jr., pleaded guilty to one count each of aggravated burglary, domestic assault, assault, and aggravated stalking, and he received an effective sentence of four years on supervised probation after service of eleven months, twenty-nine days in confinement, followed by a consecutive sentence of two years on unsupervised probation. A revocation warrant was issued, and following a hearing, the trial court found that the Defendant violated the conditions of his probation, revoked his probation, and ordered him to serve his sentences in confinement. On appeal, the Defendant contends that the trial court abused its discretion by ordering him to serve his sentences in confinement. Following our review, we affirm the judgment of the trial court.

Hamilton County Court of Criminal Appeals 07/01/22
State of Tennessee v. Patricia Kaye Wilkey
E2021-00549-CCA-R3-CD
Authoring Judge: Presiding Judge John Everett Williams
Trial Court Judge: Judge J. Curtis Smith

The Defendant, Patricia Kaye Wilkey, appeals her conviction of first degree premeditated murder, for which she received a sentence of life imprisonment. On appeal, the Defendant asserts that (1) the evidence is insufficient to support her conviction; (2) the trial court improperly limited defense counsel’s cross-examination of the State’s witnesses; (3) the trial court erred in admitting hearsay statements; (4) the State made improper comments during closing arguments; and (5) the trial court imposed an excessive sentence. Upon reviewing the record, the parties’ briefs and oral arguments, and the applicable law, we affirm the judgment of the trial court.

Rhea County Court of Criminal Appeals 07/01/22