Court of Criminal Appeals Opinions

Format: 07/16/2019
Format: 07/16/2019
State of Tennessee v. Roger Clayton Davis
E2018-01518-CCA-R3-CD
Authoring Judge: Judge Norma McGee Ogle
Trial Court Judge: Judge Andrew M. Freiberg

The Appellant, Roger Clayton Davis, filed a pro se motion to correct an illegal sentence pursuant to Tennessee Rule of Criminal Procedure 36.1, and the trial court summarily denied the motion. On appeal, the Appellant contends that the trial court erroneously imposed consecutive sentencing and that the sentences imposed by the trial court are illegal because the trial court enhanced his sentences based upon facts not determined by a jury in violation of Blakely v. Washington, 542 U.S. 296 (2004). Upon review of the record and the parties’ briefs, we affirm the judgment of the trial court.

McMinn County Court of Criminal Appeals 07/09/19
State of Tennessee v. Daron Hall
E2018-00699-CCA-R3-CD
Authoring Judge: Judge Timothy L. Easter
Trial Court Judge: Judge Steven Wayne Sword

After a bifurcated jury trial, Defendant, Daron Hall, was found guilty of three counts of possession of a firearm by a felon, one count of aggravated assault, one count of attempted voluntary manslaughter, and two counts of employing a firearm during the commission of a dangerous felony. Defendant received an effective sentence of twentyfive years. After the denial of a motion for new trial, Defendant appeals to this Court arguing: (1) that the trial court erred by instructing the jury on attempted voluntary manslaughter; (2) the trial court erred by admitting the 911 tapes into evidence; and (3) the evidence was insufficient to support the conviction for attempted voluntary manslaughter. After a review, we determine the trial court did not abuse its discretion in admitting the 911 tapes into evidence, and the evidence was sufficient to support the conviction for attempted voluntary manslaughter. However, we remand the matter to the trial court for correction of the judgment forms to reflect the sentences as imposed by the trial court at the sentencing hearing.

Knox County Court of Criminal Appeals 07/08/19
State of Tennessee v. Kevin Todd Parton
E2018-01209-CCA-R3-CD
Authoring Judge: Judge John Everett Williams
Trial Court Judge: Judge G. Scott Green

A jury convicted the Defendant, Kevin Todd Parton, of driving with a blood alcohol content of 0.08 percent or more (“DUI per se”) and driving under the influence of an intoxicant (“DUI”). The trial court merged the convictions and sentenced the Defendant to eleven months and twenty-nine days, with ten days to be served in confinement. The Defendant appeals, asserting that the trial court erred in denying a motion for a mistrial, that the trial court erred in admitting the results of the blood alcohol test, and that the arrest warrant was defective. After a thorough review of the record, we affirm the judgments of the trial court.

Knox County Court of Criminal Appeals 07/08/19
Deanna Whitman v. State of Tennessee
M2018-01701-CCA-R3-CO
Authoring Judge: Judge James Curwood Witt, Jr.
Trial Court Judge: Judge Larry B. Stanley, Jr.

The defendant, Deanna Whitman, appeals the denial of her motion, filed pursuant to Tennessee Rule of Criminal Procedure 36, to correct a clerical error in her judgments. Specifically, the defendant asserts that the judgments fail to adequately reflect the number of pretrial jail credits awarded by the trial court. Discerning no error, we affirm.

Warren County Court of Criminal Appeals 07/08/19
State of Tennessee v. Jaime F. Zarate
E2017-02553-CCA-R3-CD
Authoring Judge: Judge Thomas T. Woodall
Trial Court Judge: Judge Barry A. Steelman
Defendant, Jaime F. Zarate, was convicted of rape of a child by a Hamilton County jury. The trial court imposed a sentence of thirty years at one-hundred percent to be served in the Department of Correction. On appeal, Defendant argues that the evidence was insufficient to support his conviction, that the prosecutor improperly misstated evidence during closing arguments, that the trial court erred by admitting the victim’s statement to her mother and by admitting the 911 call, and that the trial court improperly sentenced him. After a thorough review of the record, we affirm the judgment of the trial court.
 
Hamilton County Court of Criminal Appeals 07/05/19
State of Tennessee v. Kevin M. Thompson a/k/a Kevin M. Albert
E2018-91596-CCA-R3-CD
Authoring Judge: Judge Robert W. Wedemeyer
Trial Court Judge: Judge Barry A. Steelman

The Defendant, Kevin M. Thompson, appeals the trial court’s denial of his motion to correct an illegal sentence pursuant to Tennessee Rule of Criminal Procedure 36.1. The Defendant contends that the trial court erred when it ordered him to serve his sentences concurrently rather than consecutively. See State v. Kevin Montrell Thompson, No. E2016-01565-CCA-R3-CD, 2017 WL 262701, at *1 (Tenn. Crim. App., at Knoxville, Jan. 20, 2017), no Tenn. R. App. P. 11 application filed. He further contends that his charge for possession of cocaine should be dismissed because the term “crack” cocaine is not included in the relevant statute. He finally asserts that, even if his sentences have expired, he is entitled to contest his illegal sentence at any time. After review, we affirm the trial court’s judgment.

Hamilton County Court of Criminal Appeals 07/03/19
Phillip Williams v. State of Tennessee
W2018-02074-CCA-R3-PC
Authoring Judge: Judge Timothy L. Easter
Trial Court Judge: Judge Donald H. Allen

Petitioner, Phillip Williams, appeals from the denial of his petition for post-conviction relief. Because Petitioner failed to establish that he received ineffective assistance of counsel and/or that his guilty plea was unknowing and involuntary, we affirm the judgment of the post-conviction court.

Madison County Court of Criminal Appeals 07/03/19
State of Tennessee v. Lawrence Dewayne Stoner
W2018-01230-CCA-R3-CD
Authoring Judge: Presiding Judge John Everett Williams
Trial Court Judge: Judge Charles C. McGinley

The Defendant was convicted by a jury of three counts of tampering with governmental records and three counts of official misconduct after improperly entering jail credits during his employment as lieutenant over corrections in the Benton County Sheriff’s Department. After the verdict, the trial court entered a written order granting the Defendant judgments of acquittal on the three counts of official misconduct and dismissing the counts on the basis that any benefit did not accrue to the Defendant. On appeal, the State argues that the trial court erred in granting the judgments of acquittal. The Defendant asserts that the notice of appeal was untimely and that the trial court properly granted judgments of acquittal. After due consideration, we waive the timely notice of appeal, and we conclude that the trial court erred in its interpretation of the statute. Accordingly, we reverse the granting of judgments of acquittal and remand for further proceedings.

Benton County Court of Criminal Appeals 07/03/19
Christopher Minor v. State of Tennessee
W2018-02073-CCA-R3-PC
Authoring Judge: Judge James Curwood Witt, Jr.
Trial Court Judge: Judge Roy B. Morgan, Jr.

The petitioner, Christopher Minor, appeals the denial of his petition for post-conviction relief, which petition challenged his Madison County Circuit Court jury convictions of felony murder, aggravated robbery, aggravated burglary, aggravated assault, and employing a firearm during the commission of a dangerous felony. In this appeal, the petitioner reiterates his claim that he was deprived of the effective assistance of counsel. Because the petitioner has failed to establish that he is entitled to post-conviction relief, we affirm.

Madison County Court of Criminal Appeals 07/03/19
State of Tennessee v. Coy Jewel Mayberry
E2018-01597-CCA-R3-CD
Authoring Judge: Judge Robert W. Wedemeyer
Trial Court Judge: Judge Carter S. Moore

A Cocke County jury found the Defendant, Coy Jewel Mayberry, guilty of rape of a child, and the trial court sentenced the Defendant to forty years of incarceration. The Defendant contends that the evidence is insufficient to sustain his conviction and that the trial court erred when it imposed the maximum allowable sentence. After a thorough review of the record and applicable law, we affirm the trial court’s judgment.

Cocke County Court of Criminal Appeals 07/02/19
Joe Michael Turner v. State of Tennessee
E2018-01871-CCA-R3-ECN
Authoring Judge: Judge Robert W. Wedemeyer
Trial Court Judge: Judge Bobby R. McGee

A Knox County jury convicted the Petitioner, Joe Michael Turner, of two counts of aggravated rape, one count of especially aggravated kidnapping, three counts of aggravated kidnapping, and one count of aggravated assault, and the trial court imposed an effective sentence of 100 years. In 2017, the Petitioner filed a writ of error coram nobis, claiming newly discovered evidence in the form of a letter from the District Attorney’s office notifying him of a police officer’s misconduct. The trial court dismissed the petition finding the Petitioner had not presented a colorable claim. The Petitioner appeals, maintaining that he is entitled to relief. After review, we affirm the trial court.

Knox County Court of Criminal Appeals 07/02/19
Yasin Solomon Hawkins v. State of Tennessee
M2018-02155-CCA-R3-ECN
Authoring Judge: Judge Robert W. Wedemeyer
Trial Court Judge: Judge Mark J. Fishburn

After a bench trial, a trial judge convicted the Petitioner, Yasin Solomon Hawkins, of aggravated robbery and sentenced him as a career offender to thirty years in the Tennessee Department of Correction. The Petitioner appealed his conviction presenting only the issue of whether the trial court erred when it denied his motion to suppress his statement to police. This Court affirmed the trial court’s judgment. State v. Yasin S. Hawkins, No. M2017-02439-CCA-R3-CD, 2018 WL 4520949 (Tenn. Crim. App., at Nashville, Sept. 20, 2018), perm. app. denied (Tenn. Jan. 16, 2019). The Petitioner then filed a timely petition for writ of error coram nobis alleging that his arrest warrants were newly discovered evidence and that they were procedurally flawed and invalid. The trial court summarily dismissed the petition finding that the arrest warrants were not newly discovered evidence and that, even if the warrants were flawed, any defect was cured by the indictments. After review, we affirm the trial court’s judgment.

Davidson County Court of Criminal Appeals 07/02/19
State of Tennessee v. Larry Charles Hefner, Jr.
E2018-01164-CCA-R3-CD
Authoring Judge: Judge Robert L. Holloway, Jr.
Trial Court Judge: Judge Bobby R. McGee

Defendant, Larry Charles Hefner, Jr., was convicted following a jury trial of Class D felony burglary. The trial court sentenced Defendant as a career offender to twelve years to be served on community corrections. On appeal, Defendant claims that “burglary is applicable only to entry into buildings ‘not open to the public,’” that the trial court failed to instruct the jury on the lesser included offense of attempted theft, and that the trial court failed to properly instruct the jury as to the elements of burglary. After a thorough review of the record, the briefs, and applicable law, we affirm the judgment of conviction.

Knox County Court of Criminal Appeals 07/02/19
State of Tennessee v. Jamar Laquinn Fraizer
E2018-00202-CCA-R3-CD
Authoring Judge: Judge Robert H. Montgomery, Jr.
Trial Court Judge: Judge G. Scott Green

The Defendant, Jamar Laquinn Frazier, was convicted by a Knox County Criminal Court jury of first degree premeditated murder. See T.C.A. § 39-13-202 (2014). He received a life sentence. On appeal, the Defendant contends that (1) the evidence is insufficient to support his conviction, (2) the trial court erred by admitting evidence in violation of the Tennessee Rules of Evidence, and (3) the trial court erred by providing a jury instruction on flight. Although we conclude that the evidence is sufficient to support the Defendant’s conviction, we conclude that the trial court erred by admitting evidence related to the Defendant’s previous gun possession and to the Defendant’s possible involvement in the killing of a witness to the shooting in this case. We reverse the judgment of the trial court and remand the case for a new trial.

Knox County Court of Criminal Appeals 07/01/19
State of Tennessee v. Dominic Rodriguez
M2018-01811-CCA-R3-CD
Authoring Judge: Judge Robert L. Holloway, Jr.
Trial Court Judge: Judge William R. Goodman, III

The trial court convicted Defendant, Dominic Rodriguez, of one count of sexual battery following a bench trial. On appeal, Defendant argues that this court should reweigh the evidence because the State presented insufficient evidence for a rational juror to have found Defendant guilty beyond a reasonable doubt. After a thorough review of the facts and applicable case law, we affirm.

Montgomery County Court of Criminal Appeals 07/01/19
State of Tennessee v. Cordarious Franklin
W2017-00680-CCA-R3-CD
Authoring Judge: Judge Thomas T. Woodall
Trial Court Judge: Judge Lee V. Coffee

Defendant, Cordarious Franklin, was convicted of rape of a child, aggravated sexual battery, and child abuse. The trial court imposed consecutive sentences of forty years for rape of a child, twelve years for aggravated sexual battery, and eleven months, twentynine days for child abuse. On appeal, Defendant raises the following issues: (I) whether the trial court erred by admitting the victim’s forensic interview; (II) whether the evidence was sufficient to support Defendant’s convictions; (III) whether the trial court erred in denying Defendant’s request to review the victim’s medical records; (IV) whether the trial court erred by failing to give the jury a Ferguson instruction; (V) whether a juror’s questions amounted to extraneous prejudicial information; (VI) whether Defendant’s sentence was improper; and (VII) whether there was plain error due to an ex parte conversation between the State and the trial court and by the trial court’s exclusion of Defendant’s family from the courtroom during the victim’s testimony. After review, we conclude there is structural constitutional error by the trial court excluding the public from the courtroom and therefore reverse the judgments and remand for a new trial.

Shelby County Court of Criminal Appeals 06/28/19
State of Tennessee v. Michael Green
E2018-00350-CCA-R3-CD
Authoring Judge: Judge Robert H. Montgomery, Jr.
Trial Court Judge: Judge Steven W. Sword

The Defendant, Michael Green was convicted by a Knox County Criminal Court jury of two counts of aggravated kidnapping, a Class B felony, and two counts of attempted aggravated kidnapping, a Class C felony. T.C.A. §§ 39-12-101(a)(1)-(3) (2018) (criminal attempt); 39-13-304(a) (2018) (aggravated kidnapping). The trial court merged the convictions into a single aggravated kidnapping judgment and sentenced the Defendant, a Range II offender, to fifteen years to be served at 100%. On appeal, the Defendant contends that (1) the evidence is insufficient to support a conviction of aggravated kidnapping or attempted aggravated kidnapping, (2) the trial court erred in denying his motion to dismiss the case due to the lack of a preliminary hearing or for a delayed preliminary hearing, (3) the court erred in denying his motion to suppress his pretrial statement, and (4) the court erred in denying his request for a jury instruction pursuant to State v. White, 362 S.W.3d 559, 578 (Tenn. 2012). Upon review, we affirm the judgment of the trial court.

Knox County Court of Criminal Appeals 06/28/19
State of Tennessee v. Anthony Martin, Alias
E2018-01066-CCA-R3-CD
Authoring Judge: Judge D. Kelly Thomas, Jr.
Trial Court Judge: Judge G. Scott Green

The Defendant, Anthony Martin, alias, appeals his jury conviction for rape of a child. In this direct appeal, the Defendant alleges that the trial court erred when it allowed the State to question him about facts underlying a statutory rape by an authority figure conviction as a prior inconsistent statement. Following our review of the record and the applicable authorities, we affirm the judgment of the trial court.

Knox County Court of Criminal Appeals 06/28/19
Steven Douglas Fish v. State of Tennessee
E2018-01545-CCA-R3-HC
Authoring Judge: Judge Timothy L. Easter
Trial Court Judge: Judge David Reed Duggan

Petitioner, Steven Douglas Fish, appeals the habeas corpus court’s dismissal of his petition for habeas corpus relief. We conclude that Petitioner is not entitled to habeas corpus relief because Petitioner’s judgment is not void and that Petitioner is not entitled to post-conviction relief because his petition was filed outside of the statute of limitations period. Accordingly, we affirm the judgment of the habeas corpus court.

Blount County Court of Criminal Appeals 06/27/19
State of Tennessee v. Mario Walls
W2018-00527-CCA-R3-CD
Authoring Judge: Judge Norma McGee Ogle
Trial Court Judge: Judge Chris Craft

A Shelby County Criminal Court Jury convicted the Appellant, Mario Walls, of attempted second degree murder, and the trial court imposed a sentence of thirty years in the Tennessee Department of Correction. On appeal, the Appellant challenges the sufficiency of the evidence sustaining his conviction, contending that the proof did not show he was aware his conduct was reasonably certain to result in the victim’s death. Upon review, we affirm the judgment of the trial court.

Shelby County Court of Criminal Appeals 06/27/19
State of Tennessee v. Damarcus C. Nelson
W2018-00951-CCA-R3-CD
Authoring Judge: Judge D. Kelly Thomas, Jr.
Trial Court Judge: Judge Lee Moore

The Defendant, Damarcus C. Nelson, appeals as of right from the Dyer County Circuit Court’s revocation of his probation and reinstatement of the remainder of his four-year sentence for solicitation of aggravated assault. On appeal, the Defendant asserts that the trial court abused its discretion because the State failed to establish by a preponderance of the evidence that he violated the law or participated in gang-related activity, and he maintains that the remaining “technical” violations did not warrant incarceration. Following our review, we affirm the judgment of the trial court.

Dyer County Court of Criminal Appeals 06/26/19
State of Tennessee v. Derrick Williamson
W2018-01441-CCA-R3-CD
Authoring Judge: Judge James Curwood Witt, Jr.
Trial Court Judge: Judge Donald H. Allen

The defendant, Derrick Williamson, appeals the Madison County Circuit Court’s denial of alternative sentencing for his jury conviction of child abuse. Discerning no error, we affirm.

Madison County Court of Criminal Appeals 06/26/19
David G. Andrews v. Jonathan Lebo, Warden
W2018-01965-CCA-R3-HC
Authoring Judge: Judge Robert H. Montgomery, Jr.
Trial Court Judge: Judge Joe H. Walker, III

The Petitioner, David G. Andrews, appeals the Lauderdale County Circuit Court’s summary dismissal of his petition for habeas corpus relief from his 2017 conviction for robbery and his ten-year sentence. He contends that the judgment is void. We affirm the judgment of the habeas corpus court.

Lauderdale County Court of Criminal Appeals 06/26/19
State of Tennessee v. Katelyn Bateman
M2018-01933-CCA-R3-CD
Authoring Judge: Judge D. Kelly Thomas, Jr.
Trial Court Judge: Judge Larry J. Wallace

The Defendant, Katelyn Bateman, appeals as of right from the Cheatham County Circuit Court’s order revoking her community corrections sentence and ordering the Defendant to serve the remainder of her sentence in confinement. The Defendant argues that the trial court abused its discretion in ordering the sentence served in confinement rather than permitting a furlough to the drug court program. Following our review, we affirm the order of the trial court.

Cheatham County Court of Criminal Appeals 06/26/19
State of Tennessee v. Daversea A. Fitts
M2018-00750-CCA-R3-CD
Authoring Judge: Judge Robert W. Wedemeyer
Trial Court Judge: Judge Dee David Gay

A Sumner County jury convicted the Defendant, Daversea A. Fitts, of first degree premeditated murder, and the trial court imposed a sentence of life imprisonment. On appeal, the Defendant challenges the sufficiency of the evidence, asserting that the State failed to sufficiently corroborate accomplice testimony presented at trial. After review, we affirm the trial court’s judgment.

Sumner County Court of Criminal Appeals 06/26/19