Court of Criminal Appeals Opinions

Format: 08/20/2022
Format: 08/20/2022
State Of Tennessee v. Jennifer Sadie Thompson
M2021-00420-CCA-R3-CD
Authoring Judge: Judge Norma McGee Ogle
Trial Court Judge: Judge J. Curtis Smith

The Appellant, Jennifer Sadie Thompson, filed a pro se motion for correction of sentence pursuant to Rule 36.1, which was denied by the trial court.  On appeal, the Appellant contends that the trial court erred by denying her motion, arguing that the Tennessee Department of Correction failed to apply sentencing credits to which she was entitled.  Upon review, we affirm the judgment of the trial court.  

Franklin County Court of Criminal Appeals 06/06/22
State of Tennessee v. Inman D. Turner
M2020-01729-CCA-R3-CD
Authoring Judge: Judge Norma McGee Ogle
Trial Court Judge: Judge David M. Bragg

In 2019, the Appellee, Inman D. Turner, was charged in the Rutherford County Circuit Court with two counts of criminal sexual conduct and four counts of aggravated rape, Class X felonies, for offenses that allegedly occurred from 1978 to 1982.  The Appellee filed a motion to dismiss the indictment for prosecutorial delay.  The trial court held an evidentiary hearing and granted the motion, and the State appeals.  Based upon the oral arguments, the record, and the parties’ briefs, we affirm the judgment of the trial court.

Rutherford County Court of Criminal Appeals 06/06/22
State of Tennessee v. Timothy Hinson
W2021-00257-CCA-R3-CD
Authoring Judge: Judge Timothy L. Easter
Trial Court Judge: Judge Donald H. Allen

A Madison County jury convicted Defendant, Timothy Hinson, for one count of continuous sexual abuse of a child (“CSAC”), five counts of rape, five counts of aggravated statutory rape, five counts of statutory rape by an authority figure, three counts of sexual battery by an authority figure, and one count of attempted sexual battery by an authority figure. On appeal, Defendant argues that (1) the trial court violated Tennessee Code Annotated section 39-13-518(f) when it failed to dismiss the predicate offenses after merging them into CSAC, (2) the trial court imposed sentences for the predicate offenses in contravention of Tennessee Code Annotated section 39-13-518(f), (3) his convictions in Counts 3 and 11 violate the protections against double jeopardy, and (4) the trial court abused its discretion in enhancing Defendant’s sentence for the CSAC conviction. After review and pursuant to the plain language of Tennessee Code Annotated section 39-13-518(f), we remand the case for resentencing on Counts 4, 8, 12, 15, and 18, and entry of corrected judgment forms in Counts 2, 3, 5, 7, 10, 11, 13, 14, 16, 17, 19, and 20. The judgments of the trial court are otherwise affirmed.

Madison County Court of Criminal Appeals 06/03/22
State of Tennessee v. Antonio Maurice Jackson
M2020-01098-CCA-R3-CD
Authoring Judge: Presiding Judge John Everett Williams
Trial Court Judge: Judge Mark J. Fishburn

The Defendant, Antonio Maurice Jackson, was convicted of three counts of second degree murder and two counts of aggravated assault after a bench trial. The trial court merged the homicide offenses and imposed an aggregate sentence of twenty-five years in prison. On appeal, the Defendant challenges the trial court’s decision to admit the preliminary hearing testimony of a witness; the trial court’s various evidentiary decisions; the trial court’s rulings on self-defense; the trial court’s refusal to require the State to make an election on various charges; the trial court’s decision to convict the Defendant of second degree murder in Count 3 after announcing a verdict of acquittal from the bench and entering it in the minutes; and the sentencing determination. After a thorough review of the record, we conclude that the principles of double jeopardy prohibited the trial court from revisiting its acquittal, and we accordingly reverse the Defendant’s conviction for second degree murder in Count 3. The Defendant’s remaining convictions and sentences are affirmed.

Davidson County Court of Criminal Appeals 06/03/22
State of Tennessee v. Roy Donald Coons, Jr.
M2021-00202-CCA-R3-CD
Authoring Judge: Judge J. Ross Dyer
Trial Court Judge: Judge Monte Watkins

A Davidson County jury convicted the defendant, Roy Donald Coons, Jr., of two counts of second-degree murder, one count of
first-degree felony murder, one count of attempted rape of a child, and one count of aggravated criminal trespass, for which he received an effective sentence of life imprisonment plus twenty-five years.  On appeal, the defendant argues the trial court erred in allowing the admission of the victim’s text messages, in permitting the State to introduce an excessive number of photographs of the victim, and in imposing consecutive sentences.  The defendant also contends the evidence presented at trial was insufficient to support his convictions.  After reviewing the record and considering the applicable law, we affirm the judgments of the trial court.  However, we remand the case for corrected judgment forms in counts one and three.

Davidson County Court of Criminal Appeals 06/03/22
Gary Ray Welden v. State of Tennessee
E2021-00772-CCA-R3-PC
Authoring Judge: Judge Robert H. Montgomery, Jr.
Trial Court Judge: Judge E. Shayne Sexton

The Petitioner, Gary Ray Welden, appeals from the Campbell County Criminal Court’s denial of his petition for post-conviction relief from his conviction for solicitation of a minor to engage in aggravated statutory rape and his one-year sentence. On appeal, the Petitioner contends that the post-conviction court erred by denying relief on his ineffective assistance of counsel claims. We affirm the judgment of the post-conviction court.

Campbell County Court of Criminal Appeals 06/03/22
State of Tennessee v. Kristopher Michael Martin
M2020-01384-CCA-R3-CD
Authoring Judge: Judge D. Kelly Thomas, Jr.
Trial Court Judge: Judge Jill Bartee Ayers

The Defendant, Kristopher Michael Martin, was convicted by a jury of second-degree murder, for which he received a sentence of twenty years. See Tenn. Code Ann. § 39-13-210. On appeal, the Defendant argues that the trial erred in applying enhancement factors and that the trial court erred in failing to consider mitigating factors.  See Tenn. Code Ann. §§ 40-35-113, -13-114.  Following our review, we affirm the judgment of the trial court.

Montgomery County Court of Criminal Appeals 06/03/22
Gregory Arnez Goff v. State of Tennessee
W2021-00929-CCA-R3-PC
Authoring Judge: Judge James Curwood Witt, Jr.
Trial Court Judge: Judge Roy B. Morgan

The petitioner, Gregory Arnez Goff, appeals the denial of his petition for post-conviction relief, which petition challenged his convictions of aggravated robbery and aggravated assault, 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 06/01/22
George John Byrd v. State of Tennessee
E2021-00562-CCA-R3-PC
Authoring Judge: Judge Norma McGee Ogle
Trial Court Judge: Judge Kyle A. Hixson

The Petitioner, George John Byrd, filed a petition for post-conviction relief from his three aggravated rape convictions, his aggravated assault conviction, and the resulting effective sentence of twenty-five years. The Petitioner alleged that his trial counsel was ineffective by “opening the door” to evidence that was detrimental to the Petitioner, inadequately preparing for trial, failing to interview and call certain defense witnesses, and failing to prepare the Petitioner to testify at trial. The post-conviction court denied the petition, and the Petitioner appeals this ruling. Upon review, we affirm the judgment of the postconviction court.

Knox County Court of Criminal Appeals 06/01/22
State of Tennessee v. Mike Settle
W2021-00328-CCA-R3-CD
Authoring Judge: Judge Camille R. McMullen
Trial Court Judge: Judge Kyle C. Atkins

The pro se Pctitioner, Mike Settle, appeals the dismissal of his Tennessee Rule of Criminal Procedure 36.1 claim. Upon our review, we affirm.

Madison County Court of Criminal Appeals 05/31/22
State of Tennessee v. Kenyon Demario Reynolds, Alias
E2021-00066-CCA-R3-CD
Authoring Judge: Judge James Curwood Witt
Trial Court Judge: Judge Bob R. McGee

Aggrieved of his Knox County Criminal Court jury convictions of second degree murder, delivery and sale of a Schedule I controlled substance, and unlawful possession of a firearm, the defendant, Kenyon Demario Reynolds, appeals, arguing that the trial court erred by denying his motion to sever the charges, denying his motion to suppress evidence, providing an incorrect jury instruction, and failing to merge two firearm convictions. Because the trial court erred by failing to merge Counts 13 and 14, we remand the case for merger of those counts and entry of corrected judgment forms. We affirm the trial court’s judgments in all other respects.

Knox County Court of Criminal Appeals 05/31/22
State Of Tennessee v. Vincent Edward Crowson, Jr.
M2021-00321-CCA-R3-CD
Authoring Judge: Judge J. Ross Dyer
Trial Court Judge: Judge David M. Bragg

Following a bench trial, the trial court found the defendant, Vincent Edward Crowson, Jr., guilty of driving under the influence (count 1), driving while his license was suspended because of a conviction for driving under the influence (count 2), possession of a weapon while under the influence of a controlled substance (count 4), being a convicted felon in possession of a firearm (count 5), driving while his license was suspended because of a conviction for driving under the influence, second offense (count 6), and driving under the influence, second offense (count 7).  The trial court imposed an effective twenty-year sentence, and the defendant appealed.  On appeal, the defendant challenges the sufficiency of the evidence supporting his convictions, the constitutionality of the felon in possession of a firearm statute, and several pre-trial rulings of the trial court.  After reviewing the record and considering the applicable law, we affirm the judgments of the trial court.

Rutherford County Court of Criminal Appeals 05/27/22
State of Tennessee v. Nikos Burgins
E2021-00602-CCA-R3-CD
Authoring Judge: Judge D. Kelly Thomas
Trial Court Judge: Judge Bob R. McGee

The Defendant, Nikos Burgins, appeals his conviction for solicitation of first degree murder and corresponding thirty-year sentence. The Defendant argues that (1) the trial court erred by qualifying three law enforcement officers as gang experts; (2) the court erred by allowing a layperson to offer expert testimony about handwriting; (3) the court erred by declining to issue an absent material witness instruction; (4) the court erred by admitting general gang evidence, including testimony regarding unrelated gang violence in a prison; and (5) the court should have granted his motion for judgment of acquittal due to insufficient evidence. After a thorough review of the record, we affirm.

Knox County Court of Criminal Appeals 05/26/22
State of Tennessee v. James Rodney Smith
M2021-00547-CCA-R3-CD
Authoring Judge: Presiding Judge John Everett Williams
Trial Court Judge: Judge Suzanne Lockert-Mash

The Defendant, James Rodney Smith, was convicted of arson following a jury trial, and he was sentenced to four years on probation and ordered to pay $15,000 in restitution.  No appeal was filed, and the Defendant sought post-conviction relief and was permitted to file a delayed motion for a new trial and appeal.  James Rodney Smith v. State, No. M2019-00820-CCA-R3-PC, 2020 WL 3832996, at *6 (Tenn. Crim. App. July 8, 2020) (reversing the post-conviction court’s denial of post-conviction relief and remanding for a hearing on due process tolling), no perm. app. filed.  On appeal of the conviction, the Defendant challenges the sufficiency of the evidence, the unanimity of the jury verdict, and the restitution order.  After review, we affirm the trial court’s judgment.

Houston County Court of Criminal Appeals 05/25/22
Jonathan Robert Leonard v. State of Tennessee
M2021-00535-CCA-R3-PC
Authoring Judge: Presiding Judge John Everett Williams
Trial Court Judge: Judge M. Wyatt Burk

The Petitioner, Johnathan Robert Leonard, sought post-conviction relief from his convictions of three counts of rape of a child, two counts of soliciting sexual exploitation of a minor, and one count of aggravated sexual battery, for which he received an effective ninety-six-year sentence.  Relevant to this appeal, he alleged that counsel was ineffective because counsel failed to adequately meet and confer with him, preserve for appeal several issues related to prosecutorial misconduct during trial proceedings, and appeal his sentence.  See Johnathan Robert Leonard v. State, No. M2018-01737-CCA-R3-PC, 2019 WL 5885085, at *1 (Tenn. Crim. App. Nov. 12, 2019), perm. app. denied (Tenn. Mar. 26, 2020).  Following a hearing, the post-conviction court granted the Petitioner relief in the form of a delayed appeal regarding his claim that counsel was ineffective in failing to appeal his sentence, but this court reversed and remanded for adjudication of the Petitioner’s remaining allegations.  Id. at *9.  On remand, the post-conviction court denied the Petitioner’s remaining claims after a second evidentiary hearing.  The Petitioner appeals, maintaining that counsel failed to adequately meet and confer with him and to preserve for appeal claims related to prosecutorial misconduct.  We affirm the post-conviction court’s judgment.

Marshall County Court of Criminal Appeals 05/25/22
State of Tennessee v. Ronald Edward Boykin, Jr.
M2020-00558-CCA-R3-CD
Authoring Judge: Judge Robert H. Montgomery, Jr.
Trial Court Judge: Judge Cheryl A. Blackburn

The Defendant, Ronald Edward Boykin, Jr., pleaded guilty in the Davidson County Criminal Court to four counts of sexual battery by an authority figure. Pursuant to the plea agreement, he was sentenced to concurrent fifteen-year sentences in the Tennessee Department of Correction with release eligibility after serving thirty percent of the sentences. The Defendant was also required to register as a sex offender and to be subject to community supervision for life. Thereafter, the Defendant filed a motion to correct his
sentence pursuant to Tennessee Rule of Criminal Procedure 36.1, alleging that “[t]he trial court erred in holding that the lifetime community supervision portion of [the Defendant’s] ,sentence is legal, where the statutory authority for that provision mandates lifetime supervision for certain offenses but not the offenses for which [the Defendant] was convicted.” The trial court denied the motion, and the Defendant appeals. We reverse the judgment of the trial court and remand the case for entry of corrected judgments of conviction.

Davidson County Court of Criminal Appeals 05/24/22
Harold Allen Vaughn v. State of Tennessee
W2021-00354-CCA-R3-PC
Authoring Judge: Judge J. Ross Dyer
Trial Court Judge: Judge Donald H. Allen

The petitioner, Harold Allen Vaughn, appeals the post-conviction court’s dismissal of his petition for post-conviction relief, arguing the post-conviction court erred in relying on our supreme court’s decision in Cordarius Maxwell v. State, No. 2018-00318-SC-R11-PC (Tenn. Sept. 3, 2019) (order) and finding his petition procedurally deficient. Upon our review of the record, the applicable law, and the briefs of the parties, we affirm the dismissal.

Madison County Court of Criminal Appeals 05/23/22
State of Tennessee v. Glenn Roby, Jr. And Kevyn Deshawn Allen
M2020-00301-CCA-R3-CD
Authoring Judge: Judge Norma McGee Ogle
Trial Court Judge: Judge Steve Dozier

A Davidson County Criminal Court Jury convicted the Appellants, Glenn Roby, Jr., and Kevyn Deshawn Allen, of first degree premediated murder, and the trial court sentenced them to life in confinement.  On appeal, Roby contends that the trial court erred by allowing proof of a robbery and shooting that occurred just hours prior to the events in this case, that the trial court erred by allowing the State to play portions of a witness’s recorded interview for the jury as a prior inconsistent statement, that the trial court erred by denying his petition for a writ of error coram nobis, and that he was denied his right to subpoena witnesses.  Allen contends that the evidence is insufficient to support his conviction and that the trial court erred by denying his severance motion.  In addition, both Appellants contend that the trial court erred by allowing inflammatory crime scene and autopsy photographs into evidence.  Based upon the oral arguments, the record, and the parties’ briefs, we find no reversible error and affirm the judgments of the trial court.

Davidson County Court of Criminal Appeals 05/23/22
State of Tennessee v. Roy Michael Ford
E2021-00780-CCA-R3-CD
Authoring Judge: Judge Timothy L. Easter
Trial Court Judge: Judge E. Shayne Sexton

Roy Michael Ford, Defendant, was indicted for several offenses in relation to the death of Scotty Brogan, the victim. Defendant sought severance of the second degree murder charge from the remaining offenses. The trial court granted the request and Defendant proceeded to trial on the second degree murder charge. After a jury trial, Defendant was found guilty of second degree murder and sentenced to 17 years in incarceration. Defendant appeals, arguing that: (1) the evidence was insufficient to support the second degree murder conviction; (2) the trial court erred in admitting a photograph of the deceased victim; (3) the trial court improperly permitted a witness to testify about what she would have done had she been in Defendant’s position; and (4) his sentence is excessive. After a review of the record, we affirm the judgment of the trial court.

Claiborne County Court of Criminal Appeals 05/19/22
Romilus Caraway v. State of Tennessee
W2021-00360-CCA-R3-PC
Authoring Judge: Judge Camille R. McMullen
Trial Court Judge: Judge Lee V. Coffee

In this appeal, the sole issue presented for our review by the Petitioner, Romilus Caraway, is whether the post-conviction court abused its discretion in dismissing his petition for post-conviction relief based on an abuse of judicial process for failure to prosecute. We affirm.

Shelby County Court of Criminal Appeals 05/19/22
State of Tennessee v. Norris Ray
W2021-01060-CCA-R3-CD
Authoring Judge: Judge Timothy L. Easter
Trial Court Judge: Judge Chirs Craft

Norris Ray, Defendant, appeals after the summary dismissal of a motion filed pursuant to Tennessee Rule of Criminal Procedure 36.1 in which Defendant argued that his life sentence was illegal for several different reasons. After a review, we affirm the judgment of the trial court.

Shelby County Court of Criminal Appeals 05/19/22
Quartez Gary v. State of Tennessee
W2021-00315-CCA-R3-PC
Authoring Judge: Judge Robert W. Wedemeyer
Trial Court Judge: Judge Paula Skahan

A Shelby County jury convicted the Petitioner, Quartez Gary, of attempted first degree murder and employment of a firearm during the commission of a dangerous felony. The trial court imposed a sentence of twenty-three years in the Tennessee Department of Correction. On appeal, this court affirmed the judgments. State v. Quartez Gary, No. W2017-01495-CCA-R3-CD, 2018 WL 3689143 (Tenn. Crim. App. July 31, 2018), no perm. app. filed. The Petitioner timely filed a pro se post-conviction petition and an amended petition through appointed counsel. The post-conviction court denied relief. On appeal, the Petitioner asserts that he received the ineffective assistance of counsel at trial. After review, we affirm the post-conviction court’s judgment.

Shelby County Court of Criminal Appeals 05/19/22
Joshua Allen Felts v. State of Tennessee
M2020-01688-CCA-R3-PC
Authoring Judge: Judge Robert H. Montgomery Jr.
Trial Court Judge: Judge Monte Watkins
The Petitioner, Joshua Allen Felts, appeals from the Davidson County Criminal Court’s denial of post-conviction relief from his convictions for three counts of theft and two counts of attempted theft. On appeal, the Petitioner contends that the post-conviction court erred by denying relief on his ineffective assistance of trial counsel claims. We reverse the postconviction court’s judgment and remand the case for further proceedings.
 
Davidson County Court of Criminal Appeals 05/19/22
State of Tennessee v. Demetris Lovell Merriweather
M2021-01278-CCA-R3-CD
Authoring Judge: Judge John W. Campbell, Sr.
Trial Court Judge: Judge Robert T. Bateman

The Defendant, Demetris Lovell Merriweather, appeals the Montgomery County Circuit Court’s summary denial of his pro se motion to correct an illegal sentence pursuant to Tennessee Rule of Criminal Procedure 36.1.  After review, we affirm the judgment of the trial court.

Montgomery County Court of Criminal Appeals 05/19/22
Calvin Douglas v. State of Tennessee
W2021-01401-CCA-R3-ECN
Authoring Judge: Judge Timothy L. Easter
Trial Court Judge: Judge Carolyn W. Blackett

Petitioner, Calvin Douglas, appeals from the Shelby County Criminal Court’s summary dismissal of his petition for writ of error coram nobis, in which he alleged the existence of newly discovered evidence. Petitioner argues that due process requires tolling of the statute of limitations. Upon review, we determine that the petition was properly dismissed and affirm the judgment of the coram nobis court.

Shelby County Court of Criminal Appeals 05/18/22