Court of Criminal Appeals Opinions

Format: 07/03/2020
Format: 07/03/2020
State of Tennessee v. Earl Harold Crisp
E2019-01223-CCA-R3-CD
Authoring Judge: Judge Timothy L. Easter
Trial Court Judge: Judge G. Scott Green

After presenting with a criminal record that consists of 21 prior felony convictions and 16 prior misdemeanor convictions, Defendant, Earl Harold Crisp, appeals the trial court’s refusal to grant an alternative sentence despite his eligibility for probation. Because the trial court did not abuse its discretion, we affirm the judgment of the trial court.

Knox County Court of Criminal Appeals 06/15/20
State of Tennessee v. Christina Eads
E2019-01958-CCA-R3-CD
Authoring Judge: Judge Timothy L. Easter
Trial Court Judge: Judge Tammy M. Harrington

Defendant, Christina Eads, appeals the revocation of her supervised probation for her simple possession of a Schedule VI drug and possession of drug paraphernalia convictions. After a hearing, the trial court revoked Defendant’s probation and ordered her to serve the remainder of her sentence incarcerated. On appeal, Defendant argues that the trial court abused its discretion. We affirm the judgment of the trial court.

Blount County Court of Criminal Appeals 06/15/20
State of Tennessee v. Marquail Patterson
E2019-01139-CCA-R3-CD
Authoring Judge: Judge Timothy L. Easter
Trial Court Judge: Judge Bobby R. McGee

Marquail Patterson, Defendant, was found guilty by a jury of unlawful possession of a handgun, second degree murder, and five counts of attempted reckless endangerment after a shooting at Studio X in Knoxville in the summer of 2014 during which one person was killed and five people were injured. Defendant received an effective sentence of thirty years in incarceration to be served at 100%. In this delayed appeal, Defendant argues that the evidence was insufficient to support the convictions. After a review, we affirm the judgments of the trial court with respect to Defendant’s convictions for unlawful possession of a handgun and second degree murder. However, we vacate Defendant’s convictions for attempted reckless endangerment because Defendant was convicted of a crime which does not exist. Therefore, those convictions are void. Consequently, the judgments of the trial court are affirmed in part, vacated in part, and remanded.

Knox County Court of Criminal Appeals 06/15/20
Eric L. Parker v. State of Tennessee
E2019-00893-CCA-R3-PC
Authoring Judge: Judge Robert W. Wedemeyer
Trial Court Judge: Judge William K. Rogers

A jury convicted the Petitioner, Eric L. Parker, of aggravated domestic assault by reckless conduct, and the trial court sentenced him as a Range I, standard offender, to four years of incarceration. This court affirmed the Petitioner’s conviction and sentence. State v. Eric L. Parker, No. E2013-02339-CCA-R3-PC, 2014 WL 5483015, at *1 (Tenn. Crim. App., at Knoxville, Oct. 29, 2014), no perm. app. filed. The Petitioner filed a timely petition for post-conviction relief in which he alleged that he had received the ineffective assistance of counsel, which the post-conviction court dismissed after a hearing. After review, we affirm the post-conviction court’s judgment.

Sullivan County Court of Criminal Appeals 06/11/20
State of Tennessee v. Kimberly Miller
M2018-00869-CCA-R3-CD
Authoring Judge: Judge Norma McGee Ogle
Trial Court Judge: Judge Stella L. Hargrove

The Appellant, Kimberly Miller, was convicted of first degree premeditated murder and first degree felony murder. The convictions were merged, and she was sentenced to life imprisonment. On appeal, she challenges the sufficiency of the evidence underlying her convictions. Specifically, the Appellant contends that the evidence “does not show that it was [the Appellant’s] conscious desire to kill the victim in this case, nor that she acted in concert with the shooter, or that she was an active participant in the shooting.” Therefore, she could not be found criminally responsible for the first degree premeditated murder of the victim. The Appellant also contends that “the evidence unquestionably established that [the Appellant] did not share the intent of [the victim’s] assailants nor did she actively participate in any facet of the armed robbery and subsequent shooting”; therefore, she cannot be held criminally responsible for the felony murder of the victim. Upon review, we affirm the judgment of the trial court.

Maury County Court of Criminal Appeals 06/11/20
State of Tennessee v Jorge Pena
M2018-02082-CCA-R3-CD
Authoring Judge: Judge Camille R. McMullen
Trial Court Judge: Judge Royce Taylor

The Defendant-Appellant, Jorge Pena, was convicted of three counts of rape of a child and three counts of aggravated sexual battery, for which he received an effective sentence of forty years imprisonment. The sole issue presented for our review is whether the trial court erred in qualifying a local police officer as an expert in Spanish language translation and admitting his translation of pretextual phone calls between the Defendant and the victim’s mother at trial. Upon review, we affirm the judgments of the trial court.

Rutherford County Court of Criminal Appeals 06/11/20
Jamar Scott v. State of Tennessee
M2019-00014-CCA-R3-ECN
Authoring Judge: Judge Alan E. Glenn
Trial Court Judge: Judge Seth W. Norman

The Petitioner, Jamar Scott, appeals the denial of his petition for writ of error coram nobis, alleging that he has newly discovered evidence of innocence. Following our review, we affirm the judgment of the error coram nobis court denying the petition.

Davidson County Court of Criminal Appeals 06/11/20
State of Tennessee v. Octavious Wright
W2019-00559-CCA-R3-CD
Authoring Judge: Judge Camille R. McMullen
Trial Court Judge: Judge Jennifer Johnson Mitchell

The Shelby County Grand Jury indicted the Defendant-Appellant, Octavious Wright, for the rape of A.B., a person more than three years of age but less than thirteen years of age (Count 1); the aggravated sexual battery of A.B., a person less than thirteen years old (Count 2); the rape of A.G., a person more than three years of age but less than thirteen years of age (Count 3); and the aggravated sexual battery of A.G., a person less than thirteen years of age (Count 4). Prior to trial, the charges pertaining to the two victims, A.B. and A.G., were severed, and the trial proceeded as to Counts 1 and 2. After the proof was presented at trial, the trial court instructed the jury that the offense of aggravated sexual battery charged in Count 2 was a lesser included offense of rape of a child charged in Count 1, and a nolle prosequi was entered as to Count 2. At the conclusion of trial, the jury convicted Wright as charged in Count 1, and the trial court subsequently imposed a thirty-five-year sentence. On appeal, Wright argues: (1) the trial court erred in excluding from evidence a Tennessee Child Protective Services investigative report on the grounds that the report was inadmissible hearsay, not relevant, and speculative; and (2) the exclusion of this investigative report violated his due process right to present a defense. We affirm the judgment of the trial court.

Shelby County Court of Criminal Appeals 06/10/20
State of Tennessee v. Tony Levon Johnson, Jr.
W2019-00738-CCA-R3-CD
Authoring Judge: Judge Alan E. Glenn
Trial Court Judge: Judge Donald H. Allen

The Defendant, Tony Levon Johnson, Jr., was convicted by a Madison County jury of burglary of a vehicle, a Class E felony, and theft of property under $1,000, a Class A misdemeanor. The trial court sentenced him to an effective term of two years, with 240 days of “shock incarceration” in the Madison County Jail before release to Community Corrections. On appeal, the Defendant argues, and the State agrees, that the trial court erred in ordering a sentence of continuous confinement before release to Community Corrections. Because the Defendant’s sentence of continuous confinement is prohibited by Tennessee Code Annotated section 40-35-122, we reverse the sentence of incarceration, modify the sentence to Community Corrections, and remand to the trial court for entry of judgments in accordance with this opinion.

Madison County Court of Criminal Appeals 06/10/20
Arturo Cardenas, Jr. v. State of Tennessee
M2019-00899-CCA-R3-HC
Authoring Judge: Judge Camille R. McMullen
Trial Court Judge: Judge Jennifer Smith

Pro se petitioner, Arturo Cardenas, Jr., appeals the summary dismissal of his “Petition for Writ of Habeas Corpus and/or Post Conviction Relief.” Upon our review, we affirm.

Davidson County Court of Criminal Appeals 06/10/20
State of Tennessee v. Terry Bradford Whitaker
W2019-00583-CCA-R3-CD
Authoring Judge: Judge Alan E. Glenn
Trial Court Judge: Judge Charles C. McGinley

The Defendant, Terry Bradford Whitaker, was convicted by a Hardin County Circuit Court jury of premeditated first-degree murder and sentenced to life imprisonment. On appeal, he argues that the trial court erred in denying his motion to suppress DNA evidence and that the evidence is insufficient to sustain his conviction. After review, we affirm the judgment of the trial court.

Hardin County Court of Criminal Appeals 06/09/20
Marvin T. Dickerson v. State of Tennessee
W2019-00840-CCA-R3-PC
Authoring Judge: Judge Alan E. Glenn
Trial Court Judge: Judge Paula L. Skahan

The Petitioner, Marvin T. Dickerson, appeals the denial of his petition for post-conviction relief, arguing that he received ineffective assistance of counsel in various matters related to his sentencing. After review, we affirm the denial of the petition.

Shelby County Court of Criminal Appeals 06/09/20
State of Tennessee v. Kimberly Ann Lennon
W2019-01008-CCA-R3-CD
Authoring Judge: Judge Robert H. Montgomery, Jr.
Trial Court Judge: Judge Kyle Atkins

The Defendant, Kimberly Ann Lennon, was convicted by a Henderson County Circuit Court Jury of driving under the influence, a Class A misdemeanor. See T.C.A. § 55-10-401 (2017). The trial court sentenced her to eleven months and twenty-nine days at 75% service, to be served on probation, supervised by the community corrections program, after two days’ jail service. On appeal, the Defendant contends that the evidence is insufficient to support her conviction. We affirm the judgment of the trial court, and we remand the case for correction of a clerical error on the judgment form.

Henderson County Court of Criminal Appeals 06/09/20
State of Tennessee v. Odell Glass
E2019-00965-CCA-R3-CD
Authoring Judge: Judge James Curwood Witt, Jr.
Trial Court Judge: Judge Bob R. McGee

The defendant, Odell Glass, appeals his Knox County Criminal Court jury convictions of possession of a firearm by a convicted felon, felony murder, and reckless homicide, challenging the admission of testimony from the medical examiner regarding muzzle distance, the admission of surveillance video, and the sufficiency of the convicting evidence. Discerning no error, we affirm.

Knox County Court of Criminal Appeals 06/09/20
State of Tennessee v. Joseph Brennan
E2019-01186-CCA-R3-CD
Authoring Judge: Judge D. Kelly Thomas
Trial Court Judge: Judge James L. Gass

The Defendant, Joseph Brennan, appeals as of right from the Sevier County Circuit Court’s revocation of his probation and reinstatement of the remainder of his six-year sentence for aggravated assault. Although the Defendant acknowledges that he violated the terms of his probationary sentence, he submits that the trial court abused its discretion by requiring him to serve the balance of his sentence in custody given his expressed desire for drug treatment and need for rehabilitation. Following our review, we affirm the judgment of the trial court.

Sevier County Court of Criminal Appeals 06/09/20
State of Tennessee v. Timothy Cole Moose
E2019-00648-CCA-R3-CD
Authoring Judge: Judge Thomas T. Woodall
Trial Court Judge: Judge Andrew Freiberg

Defendant, Timothy Cole Moose, was charged with one count of possession of a firearm by a convicted felon in an indictment returned by the Monroe County Grand Jury. Following a jury trial, he was found guilty of the lesser included offense of attempted possession of a firearm by a convicted felon. The trial court sentenced defendant to a sixyear sentence as a career offender. In this appeal, Defendant’s sole issue is a challenge to the sufficiency of the evidence to support the convictions. After a thorough review of the record and the briefs of the parties, we affirm the judgment of the trial court.

Monroe County Court of Criminal Appeals 06/09/20
Brandon D. Theus v. State of Tennessee
W2019-01120-CCA-R3-PC
Authoring Judge: Judge Robert H. Montgomery, Jr.
Trial Court Judge: Judge Roy B. Morgan, Jr.

The Petitioner, Brandon D. Theus, appeals the Madison County Circuit Court’s denial of his petition for post-conviction relief from his 2016 conviction for unlawful possession of a firearm by a convicted felon. The Petitioner contends that he received the ineffective assistance of counsel. We affirm the judgment of the post-conviction court.

Madison County Court of Criminal Appeals 06/05/20
State of Tennessee v. David Byron Alexander, Jr.
W2019-00839-CCA-R3-CD
Authoring Judge: Judge Robert H. Montgomery, Jr.
Trial Court Judge: Judge Donald Allen

The Defendant, David Byron Alexander, Jr., was convicted by a Henderson County Circuit Court jury of aggravated assault, a Class C felony; two counts of vandalism valued at $1000 or less, a Class A misdemeanor; aggravated criminal trespass, a Class A misdemeanor; and domestic assault, a Class A misdemeanor. See T.C.A. §§ 39-13-102 (2018) (aggravated assault); 39-14-408 (2018) (vandalism); 39-14-105 (2018) (grading); 39-14-406 (2018) (aggravated criminal trespass); 39-13-111 (2018) (domestic assault). The trial court sentenced the Defendant to eleven months, twenty-nine days for each misdemeanor conviction and to six years for aggravated assault. The court ordered concurrent service of the misdemeanor sentences and consecutive service with the six-year sentence, for an effective sentence of six years, eleven months, and twenty-nine days. The court, likewise, ordered the Defendant to serve his effective sentence consecutively to a six-year sentence imposed in an unrelated drug case. On appeal, the Defendant contends that (1) the evidence is insufficient to support his convictions and (2) his sentence is excessive. We affirm the judgments of the trial court.

Henderson County Court of Criminal Appeals 06/05/20
State of Tennessee v. William Grant Morgan, Alias
E2018-02245-CCA-R3-CD
Authoring Judge: Judge D. Kelly Thomas
Trial Court Judge: Judge G. Scott Green

A Knox County jury convicted the Defendant, William Grant Morgan, alias, of first degree premeditated murder and possession of drug paraphernalia. He received concurrent terms of life imprisonment and eleven months and twenty-nine days, respectively. In this appeal as of right, the Defendant raises the following issues: (1) whether the evidence was sufficient to sustain the Defendant’s murder conviction, specifically, challenging the element of premeditation; (2) whether the trial court failed to ensure that the Defendant voluntarily and knowingly waived certain defenses against the advice of his attorneys; (3) whether the trial court erred in admitting an autopsy photograph depicting the multiple cuts to the victim’s throat; and (4) whether the trial court committed plain error by admitting evidence that the Defendant invoked his right to remain silent. After our review of the record, we affirm the judgments of the trial court.

Knox County Court of Criminal Appeals 06/05/20
State of Tennessee v. Melvin Terry
E2019-01780-CCA-R3-CD
Authoring Judge: Judge J. Ross Dyer
Trial Court Judge: Judge David Duggan

The defendant, Melvin Terry, appeals the order of the trial court revoking his probation and ordering him to serve his original ten-year sentence in confinement. Upon review of the record, we conclude the trial court did not abuse its discretion in finding the defendant violated the terms of his probation, and the imposed sentence is proper. Accordingly, the judgment of the trial court is affirmed.

Blount County Court of Criminal Appeals 06/05/20
State of Tennessee v. Monterio Funzie
W2018-02222-CCA-R3-CD
Authoring Judge: Judge Thomas T. Woodall
Trial Court Judge: Judge W. Mark Ward

Defendant, Monterio Funzie, was indicted by the Shelby County Grand Jury for sexual battery by an authority figure and sexual battery. According to the judgment, Defendant pleaded guilty to sexual battery, and the remaining charge was dismissed on motion of the State. Following a sentencing hearing, the trial court sentenced Defendant as a multiple offender to three years to be served in a workhouse. On appeal, Defendant contends that the trial court abused its discretion by denying his request for judicial diversion and that his sentence is excessive. Following our review, we affirm the judgment of the trial court.

Shelby County Court of Criminal Appeals 06/03/20
Joey Lee v. State of Tennessee
W2019-00691-CCA-R3-PC
Authoring Judge: Judge Camille R. McMullen
Trial Court Judge: Judge W. Mark Ward

The Petitioner, Joey Lee, appeals from the Shelby County Criminal Court’s denial of post-conviction relief from his conviction for aggravated robbery. On appeal, the Petitioner argues that his trial counsel provided ineffective assistance in failing to challenge the victim’s identification of the Petitioner after she sat next to him in court at a suppression hearing without recognizing that he was one of the men who robbed her and in failing to challenge the prosecutor’s actions, in suggesting to the victim that she was sitting next to her aggressor, as prosecutorial misconduct. Following our review, we affirm the judgment of the post-conviction court.

Shelby County Court of Criminal Appeals 06/03/20
State of Tennessee v. Ashley Wright
E2018-01402-CCA-R3-CD
Authoring Judge: Judge Thomas T. Woodall
Trial Court Judge: Judge G. Scott Green

Defendant, Ashley Donielle Wright, entered guilty pleas to five counts of identity theft and one count of misdemeanor theft. Pursuant to the plea agreement, she was to receive an effective sentence of two years, with the manner of service to be determined by the trial court. After a hearing, the trial court denied judicial diversion and sentenced Defendant to serve forty-eight hours in confinement and the remainder of the agreedupon sentence on supervised probation. Defendant appeals, asserting that the trial court erred in denying diversion and in ordering confinement. Because the record reflects that the trial court did not make necessary factual finding or indicate on the record the sentencing considerations that warranted imposition of the sentence, we reverse the judgments and remand for the trial court to make adequate factual findings, engage in the requisite legal analysis, and impose judgments in accordance with the mandated statutory and common law considerations and in conformity with the plea agreement.

Knox County Court of Criminal Appeals 06/03/20
State of Tennessee v. Patrick Carmody
E2018-02115-CCA-R3-CD
Authoring Judge: Judge Norma McGee Ogle
Trial Court Judge: Judge Barry A. Steelman

A Hamilton County Criminal Court Jury convicted the Appellant, Patrick Carmody, of first degree felony murder and especially aggravated robbery, a Class A felony, and the trial court sentenced him to concurrent terms of life and twenty-two years, respectively. On appeal, the Appellant contends that the evidence is insufficient to support his convictions because the only evidence against him was that of co-conspirators and accomplices and that the trial court erred by allowing the State to introduce evidence about his ownership of a gun. Based upon the record and the parties’ briefs, we affirm the judgments of the trial court.

Hamilton County Court of Criminal Appeals 06/03/20
Howard Brackson Carrier v. State of Tennessee
E2019-01004-CCA-R3-PC
Authoring Judge: Judge Alan E. Glenn
Trial Court Judge: Judge William K. Rogers

The Petitioner, Howard Brackson Carrier, appeals the Sullivan County Criminal Court’s denial of his petition for post-conviction relief, asserting that he received ineffective assistance of counsel and that he is entitled to cumulative error relief. After thorough review, we affirm the denial of the petition.

Sullivan County Court of Criminal Appeals 06/03/20