Court of Criminal Appeals Opinions

Format: 10/30/2014
Format: 10/30/2014
State of Tennessee v. Dana Crumley
M2013-02502-CCA-R3-CD
Authoring Judge: Judge Robert H. Montgomery, Jr.
Trial Court Judge: Judge Stella L. Hargrove

The Defendant, Dana Crumley, appeals the Maury County Circuit Court’s order denying her motion for a reduced sentence.  The Defendant contends that the trial court abused its discretion.  We affirm the judgment of the trial court.

Maury County Court of Criminal Appeals 10/30/14
Theodore James Nugent v. State of Tennessee
M2014-00014-CCA-R3-PC
Authoring Judge: Judge James Curwood Witt, Jr.
Trial Court Judge: Judge Cheryl Blackburn

The petitioner, Theodore James Nugent, appeals the Davidson County Criminal Court’s denial of his timely petition for post-conviction relief, which petition challenged his 2012 guilty-pleaded convictions of domestic assault and aggravated stalking on the grounds that his trial counsel was ineffective and that his guilty pleas were unknowing and involuntary.  Because the record supports the decision of the post-conviction court, we affirm that court’s order.

Davidson County Court of Criminal Appeals 10/30/14
Jeffrey Wayne Robertson v. State of Tennessee
M2013-02023-CCA-R3-CO
Authoring Judge: Judge Alan E. Glenn
Trial Court Judge: Judge Jim T. Hamilton

The petitioner, Jeffery Wayne Robertson, was convicted in 1998 of first degree premeditated murder and sentenced to life imprisonment.  His conviction was affirmed on direct appeal.  State v. Robertson, 130 S.W.3d 842, 844 (Tenn. Crim. App. 2003).  Subsequently, he filed a petition for post-conviction relief, one of the issues raised being that trial counsel was ineffective for not challenging “expert testimony about the results of a Comparative Bullet Lead Analysis (‘CBLA’) performed on evidence gathered by law enforcement.”  Jeffrey Wayne Robertson v. State, No. M2007-01378-CCA-R3-PC, 2009 WL 277073, at *9 (Tenn. Crim. App. Feb. 5, 2009), perm. app. denied (Tenn. June 15, 2009).  Unsuccessful with that argument, he then raised a similar claim in a petition for writ of error coram nobis, the denial of which is the basis for this appeal.  In that petition, he again focused on the CBLA evidence at his trial, pointing this time to the “newly discovered evidence” that the FBI “suspended performing ‘bullet lead analysis’ in 2004 and ceased entirely performing such examinations and providing such testimony in 2005.”  The coram nobis court denied the petition, concluding that the CBLA evidence issue had previously been argued and the only newly discovered evidence was the fact that the FBI was no longer using the test.  Following our review of the record, we affirm the dismissal of the petition.

Lawrence County Court of Criminal Appeals 10/30/14
State of Tennessee v. Jamayl Stoudemire
E2013-02054-CCA-R3-CD
Authoring Judge: Judge Thomas T. Woodall
Trial Court Judge: Judge Don W. Poole

Defendant, Jamayl Stoudemire, was charged by indictment with three counts of attempted first degree premeditated murder (Counts One through Three), three counts of aggravated assault (Counts Four through Six), and employing a firearm during the commission of a dangerous felony (Count Seven). Defendant entered a best interest plea of guilty to three counts of aggravated assault, a Class C felony, as charged in Counts Four, Five, and Six. The remaining counts of the indictment were dismissed. The parties agreed that the three counts would run concurrently with the trial court to determine length and manner of service. At the sentencing hearing, the trial court sentenced Defendant to five years for each conviction of aggravated assault to be served concurrently in the Department of Correction as a Range I offender. The trial court also denied Defendant’s request to be placed on judicial diversion. Defendant raises two issues on appeal. He argues that his five-year sentence is excessive and that the trial court should have ordered judicial diversion. After a thorough review of the record and the parties’ briefs, we affirm the judgments of the trial court.

Hamilton County Court of Criminal Appeals 10/29/14
State of Tennessee v. Adrian R. Brown
E2014-00673-CCA-R3-CD
Authoring Judge: Judge John Everett Williams
Trial Court Judge: Judge Carroll L. Ross

The appellant, Adrian R. Brown, was convicted in 1995 of three counts of the sale of less than 0.5 grams of cocaine, a Class C felony, and one count of the sale of more than 0.5 grams of cocaine, a Class B felony. The appellant was given concurrent sentences of eight years’ imprisonment for the Class B felony and six years’ imprisonment for each Class C felony. The appellant entered the community corrections program, and he was recommended for a transfer to probation one year later. In October 2003, shortly before his eight-year sentence was set to expire, a violation of probation affidavit was completed. However, the petition for revocation of the appellant’s probation was dismissed in 2005. The appellant now challenges his sentences as illegal, asserting that he did not receive the pretrial jail credits to which he was entitled. After a thorough review of the record, we conclude that the issue is moot, and accordingly, the trial court properly dismissed the appellant’s motion to correct his sentence.

McMinn County Court of Criminal Appeals 10/29/14
State of Tennessee v. Quinisha Renee Brabson
E2013-02335-CCA-R3-CD
Authoring Judge: Judge John Everett Williams
Trial Court Judge: Judge Rebecca J. Stern

The defendant, Quinisha Renee Brabson, was convicted after a jury trial of second degree murder, a Class A felony. On appeal, the defendant challenges the sufficiency of the evidence, asserting that the defendant should either have been acquitted as acting in selfdefense or convicted only of the lesser-included offense of voluntary manslaughter. After a thorough review of the record, we conclude that the evidence was sufficient to support the verdict, and we accordingly affirm the judgment of the trial court.

Hamilton County Court of Criminal Appeals 10/29/14
State of Tennessee v. Eric Parker
E2013-02339-CCA-R3-CD
Authoring Judge: Judge John Everett Williams
Trial Court Judge: Judge Robert H. Montgomery, Jr.

The defendant, Eric Parker, was convicted after a jury trial of aggravated domestic assault by reckless conduct, a Class D felony, and he was sentenced by the trial court to four years’ imprisonment. On appeal, the defendant asserts that: (1) the evidence was insufficient to support the verdict; (2) the proof at trial constituted a variance from or constructive amendment to the indictment; (3) the trial court erred in denying his motions related to a continuance to allow for expert testimony; (4) the trial court erred in not giving a corrective instruction regarding improper prosecutorial argument; (5) the trial court erred in admitting certain evidence at sentencing; and (6) the trial court misapplied enhancement and mitigating factors and improperly refused alternative sentencing. After a thorough review of the record, we discern no error and affirm the trial court’s judgment.

Sullivan County Court of Criminal Appeals 10/29/14
State of Tennessee v. Randy Ray Ramsey
E2013-01951-CCA-R3-CD
Authoring Judge: Judge Thomas T. Woodall
Trial Court Judge: Judge Ben W. Hooper, II

A Cocke County Jury convicted Defendant, Randy Ray Ramsey, of second-degree murder. He received a sentence of twenty-five years to be served concurrently with a federal sentence for drug-related convictions. On appeal, Defendant argues that the evidence was insufficient to support his conviction for second degree murder and that the trial court improperly sentenced him. After a thorough review, we affirm the judgment of the trial court.

Cocke County Court of Criminal Appeals 10/29/14
Michael J. Shipp v. State of Tennessee
M2014-00065-CCA-R3-PC
Authoring Judge: Judge Roger A. Page
Trial Court Judge: Judge Robert L. Jones

Petitioner, Michael J. Shipp, stands convicted of first degree premeditated murder and aggravated robbery and is serving an effective life sentence in the Tennessee Department of Correction.  In his post-conviction petition, petitioner claimed that he did not receive effective assistance of counsel at trial because his attorney failed to seek suppression of his statement to the police.  The post-conviction court denied relief.  Following our review, we affirm the judgment of the post-conviction court.

Maury County Court of Criminal Appeals 10/29/14
Nelson V. Plana v. State of Tennessee
M2014-00359-CCA-R3-PC
Authoring Judge: Judge James Curwood Witt, Jr.
Trial Court Judge: Senior Judge Paul Summers

The petitioner, Nelson V. Plana, appeals the denial of his petition for post-conviction relief, which petition challenged the petitioner’s 2004 Montgomery County Circuit Court jury convictions of two counts of first degree murder.  In this appeal, the petitioner claims entitlement to post-conviction relief based upon the allegedly ineffective assistance of his trial counsel.  Discerning no error, we affirm.

Montgomery County Court of Criminal Appeals 10/29/14
State of Tennessee v. Robert A. Bass
M2013-02717-CCA-R3-CD
Authoring Judge: Judge Robert H. Montgomery, Jr.
Trial Court Judge: Judge Stella L. Hargrove

The Defendant, Robert A. Bass, was convicted by a Maury County Circuit Court jury of assault, a Class A misdemeanor.  See T.C.A. § 39-13-101(a)(2) (2014).  The trial court sentenced the Defendant to eleven months, twenty-nine days on probation.   On appeal, the Defendant contends that the trial court erred by failing to instruct the jury regarding self-defense.  We reverse the judgment of the trial court and remand for a new trial.

Maury County Court of Criminal Appeals 10/29/14
State of Tennessee v. Dana Keith Woods
W2010-02409-CCA-R3-PC
Authoring Judge: Judge Camille R. McMullen
Trial Court Judge: Judge Donald H. Allen

The Petitioner, Dana Keith Woods, appeals the post-conviction court’s denial of relief from his convictions for first degree premeditated murder, felony murder, aggravated burglary, especially aggravated kidnapping, aggravated assault, and attempted first degree murder. The trial court merged the convictions for first degree premeditated murder and felony murder and also merged the convictions for attempted first degree murder and aggravated assault. For his convictions, the Petitioner received an effective sentence of life without the possibility of parole plus fifty years. On appeal, the Petitioner argues that he received ineffective assistance of trial counsel. Upon our review, we affirm the judgment of the postconviction court.

Madison County Court of Criminal Appeals 10/28/14
State of Tennessee v. Dannaer Beard
W2013-00502-CCA-MR3-CD
Authoring Judge: Judge Robert L. Holloway
Trial Court Judge: Judge W. Mark Ward

A Shelby County jury found Appellant Dannaer Beard guilty of criminal attempt: second degree murder and two counts of aggravated assault. The trial court sentenced him to an effective term of twelve years' imprisonment. Appellant now challenges the sufficiency of the evidence to sustain his conviction for criminal attempt: second degree murder. Appellant also argues that the trial judge erred in not merging the two aggravated assault convictions. Because a jury could find that Appellant’s stabbing of the victim was a substantial step in a knowing attempt to kill Mr. Moore, we affirm the criminal attempt conviction. Additionally, we find that the two aggravated assault charges arose from a single incident, and we remand the case for entry of a single judgment noting merger of the two offenses in counts 2 and 3.

Shelby County Court of Criminal Appeals 10/28/14
State of Tennessee v. Racris Thomas
W2013-00851-CCA-R3-CD
Authoring Judge: Judge Norma McGee Ogle
Trial Court Judge: Judge Lee V. Coffee

A Shelby County Criminal Court Jury convicted the appellant, Racris Thomas, of two counts of especially aggravated kidnapping, one count of aggravated robbery, one count of attempted aggravated robbery, and one count of being a convicted felon in possession of a handgun. The trial court imposed a total effective sentence of seventy years in the Tennessee Department of Correction. On appeal, the appellant contends that the evidence is not sufficient to sustain his convictions and that the trial court erred by refusing to declare a mistrial after the jury instructions revealed that the felony underlying the charge for being a felon in possession of a handgun was a prior aggravated robbery. Upon review, we affirm the judgments of the trial court.

Shelby County Court of Criminal Appeals 10/27/14
Michael Bo Heath v. State of Tennessee
E2014-00590-CCA-R3-PC
Authoring Judge: Judge Robert H. Montgomery
Trial Court Judge: Judge R. Jerry Beck

The Petitioner, Michael Bo Heath, appeals the Sullivan County Circuit Court’s denial of his petition for post-conviction relief from his convictions for second degree murder and three counts of tampering with or fabricating evidence and his effective twenty-seven-year sentence. The Petitioner contends that he received the ineffective assistance of counsel. We affirm the judgment of the post-conviction court.

Sullivan County Court of Criminal Appeals 10/27/14
State of Tennessee v. Lee Ann Lynch
E2014-00246-CCA-R3-CD
Authoring Judge: Judge Robert H. Montgomery
Trial Court Judge: Judge David R. Duggan

The Defendant, Lee Ann Lynch, appeals the Blount County Circuit Court’s order revoking her community corrections sentence for her conviction for promotion of methamphetamine manufacture and ordering her four-year sentence into execution. The Defendant contends that the trial court abused its discretion by revoking her community corrections sentence. We affirm the judgment of the trial court.

Blount County Court of Criminal Appeals 10/27/14
State of Tennessee v. Corey M. Willis
M2014-00252-CCA-R3-CD
Authoring Judge: Judge Norma McGee Ogle
Trial Court Judge: Judge James G. Martin, III

The defendant, Corey M. Willis, was charged with various driving under the influence (DUI) offenses.  He filed a motion to suppress, alleging that the police lacked reasonable suspicion to perform the traffic stop.  The trial court granted the motion, and the State appeals.  Upon review, we affirm the trial court’s ruling.

Williamson County Court of Criminal Appeals 10/27/14
John J. Kratochvil v. James M. Holloway, Warden
M2014-00600-CCA-R3-HC
Authoring Judge: Judge Norma McGee Ogle
Trial Court Judge: Judge J. Randall Wyatt, Jr.

The petitioner, John J. Kratochvil, filed a petition for a writ of habeas corpus, seeking relief from his conviction of second degree murder.  The habeas corpus court denied the petition, and the petitioner appeals.  Upon review, we affirm the judgment of the habeas corpus court.

Davidson County Court of Criminal Appeals 10/27/14
State of Tennessee v. Omar Robinson
E2014-00393-CCA-R3-CD
Authoring Judge: Judge Roger A. Page
Trial Court Judge: Judge Carroll L. Ross

Appellant, Omar Robinson, pleaded guilty to two counts of possession of cocaine with intent to sell and two counts of simple possession of marijuana. Appellant later filed a motion to correct an illegal sentence pursuant to Tennessee Rule of Criminal Procedure 36.1, which the trial court summarily dismissed, holding that appellant’s sentence had expired. On appeal, appellant argues that the trial court erred by summarily dismissing his motion because an illegal sentence may be challenged at any time pursuant to Rule 36.1. The State concedes that this case should be remanded to the trial court. Following our review of the parties’ briefs, the record, and the applicable law, we reverse the trial court’s judgment and remand for proceedings consistent with this opinion.

Loudon County Court of Criminal Appeals 10/22/14
State of Tennessee v. Caleb Lawrence Mullins
W2013-02691-CCA-R3-CD
Authoring Judge: Judge Robert W. Wedemeyer
Trial Court Judge: Judge Donald H. Allen

The Defendant, Caleb Lawrence Mullins, pleaded guilty to second degree murder, theft of property, and tampering with evidence. The trial court sentenced him to serve an effective sentence of thirty-seven years in the Tennessee Department of Correction. On appeal, the Defendant contends that the trial court misapplied one enhancement factor and two consecutive sentencing factors. After a thorough review of the record and the applicable authorities, we affirm the trial court’s judgments.

Madison County Court of Criminal Appeals 10/22/14
O'Neal Johnson v. State of Tennessee
W2013-02313-CCA-R3-PC
Authoring Judge: Judge Alan E. Glenn
Trial Court Judge: Judge Chris Craft

The petitioner, O’Neal Johnson, appeals the post-conviction court’s denial of his petition for post-conviction relief, arguing that he received the ineffective assistance of counsel. After review, we affirm the denial of the petition.

Shelby County Court of Criminal Appeals 10/21/14
State of Tennessee v. John Brent
W2013-01252-CCA-R3-CD
Authoring Judge: Judge Alan E. Glenn
Trial Court Judge: Judge Paula Skahan

The defendant, John Brent, was convicted of aggravated robbery and aggravated burglary, for which he was sentenced, respectively, to thirty years at 100% and fifteen years at 45%, the sentences to be served concurrently. On appeal, he argues that he is entitled to a new trial because the court erred in allowing into evidence a photograph of a pair of scissors which were similar to those in the victim’s home; that the evidence was insufficient to support either of his convictions; and that his sentence is excessive. Following our review, we conclude that the defendant’s claims are without merit and affirm the judgments of the trial court.

Shelby County Court of Criminal Appeals 10/21/14
State of Tennessee v. Delquan Bolton
W2013-00539-CCA-R3-CD
Authoring Judge: Judge Alan E. Glenn
Trial Court Judge: Judge Chris Craft

The defendant, Delquan Bolton, was convicted by a Shelby County Criminal Court jury of rape of a child, a Class A felony, and aggravated sexual battery, a Class B felony. He was sentenced to terms of twenty-five years and ten years, respectively, to be served concurrently in the Department of Correction. On appeal, he argues that the trial court erred in admitting character evidence and that the evidence is insufficient to sustain his convictions. After review, we affirm the judgments of the trial court.

Shelby County Court of Criminal Appeals 10/21/14
State of Tennessee v. Cynthia Gail Harvey
M2013-02391-CCA-R3-CD
Authoring Judge: Judge D. Kelly Thomas, Jr.
Trial Court Judge: Judge George C. Sexton

The Defendant, Cynthia Gail Harvey, appeals from her Humphreys County jury conviction for felony theft, (1) challenging the trial court’s denial of her motion to dismiss for lack of a speedy trial and (2) contending that she received ineffective assistance of counsel at trial. Upon considering the relevant authorities and the record, we affirm the judgment of the trial court.

Humphreys County Court of Criminal Appeals 10/21/14
State of Tennessee v. Ibrahim Talafhah
M2013-01556-CCA-R3-CD
Authoring Judge: Judge Robert H. Montgomery, Jr.
Trial Court Judge: Judge David Earl Durham

The Defendant, Ibrahim Talafhah, was convicted after a bench trial in the Wilson County Criminal Court of harassment, a Class A misdemeanor.  See T.C.A. § 39-17-308(a)(2) (2014).  The trial court sentenced the Defendant to serve ten days in jail with the balance of his eleven-month, twenty-nine-day sentence to be served on probation.  On appeal, the Defendant contends that the trial court erred by denying him his constitutional right to a jury trial.  We conclude that the Defendant was denied his right to a jury trial, and we reverse the judgment of the trial court and remand the case for a new trial.

Wilson County Court of Criminal Appeals 10/21/14