Court of Criminal Appeals Opinions

Format: 11/20/2019
Format: 11/20/2019
Courtney Means v. State of Tennessee
W2018-01902-CCA-R3-HC
Authoring Judge: Judge Robert W. Wedemeyer
Trial Court Judge: Judge J. Robert Carter, Jr.

A Shelby County jury convicted the Petitioner, Courtney Means, of three counts of aggravated robbery involving multiple victims, and the trial court sentenced him to an effective twenty-four-year sentence. This court affirmed his convictions and sentence. State v. Courtney Means, W2005-00682-CCA-R3-CD, 2006 WL 709206, at *1 (Tenn. Crim. App., at Jackson, Mar. 21, 2006), perm. app. denied (Tenn. Sept. 5, 2006). The Petitioner unsuccessfully filed a petition for post-conviction relief and a Tennessee Rule of Criminal Procedure 36.1 motion for relief from an illegal sentence. The Petitioner then filed a petition for a writ of habeas corpus alleging that his judgments are void because the court lacked authority to sentence him. After review, we affirm the habeas corpus court’s judgment.

Shelby County Court of Criminal Appeals 10/23/19
State of Tennessee v. William Blake Kobeck
W2018-02234-CCA-R3-CD
Authoring Judge: Judge Norma McGee Ogle
Trial Court Judge: Judge J. Weber McCraw

The Appellant, William Blake Kobeck, pled guilty in the Fayette County Circuit Court to vehicular homicide by recklessness. Pursuant to the plea agreement, he received a four-year sentence to be served on supervised probation with the trial court to determine his request for judicial diversion. After a hearing, the trial court denied judicial diversion. On appeal, the Appellant contends that the trial court erred by denying his request for judicial diversion. Based upon the oral arguments, the record, and the parties’ briefs, we affirm the judgment of the trial court.

Fayette County Court of Criminal Appeals 10/23/19
State of Tennessee v. Talmadge D. Murphy
E2018-00363-CCA-R3-CD
Authoring Judge: Judge Norma McGee Ogle
Trial Court Judge: Judge James F. Goodwin, Jr.

The Appellant, Talmadge D. Murphy, appeals the trial court’s revocation of his probationary sentence, specifically arguing that the trial court abused its discretion by considering evidence not elicited by either party during the hearing.  Upon review, we reverse the judgment of the trial court and remand for a new revocation hearing. 

Sullivan County Court of Criminal Appeals 10/23/19
Rodney Raymond Brewer, Jr. v. State of Tennessee
M2018-01493-CCA-R3-PC
Authoring Judge: Judge D. Kelly Thomas, Jr.
Trial Court Judge: Judge Forest A. Durard, Jr.

The Petitioner, Rodney Raymond Brewer, Jr., appeals from the denial of his petition for post-conviction relief. The Petitioner pled guilty to Class B felony possession of a schedule II controlled substance with the intent to sell in exchange for an agreed-upon Range I sentence of eleven years. On appeal, the Petitioner alleges that he received ineffective assistance due to trial counsel’s (1) failure to effectively investigate and argue the motion to suppress; (2) failure to investigate the Petitioner’s range classification; (3) failure to properly advise him regarding the law of constructive possession; (4) failure to argue for enforcement of the original nine-year plea offer; and (5) failure to file an appeal. After a thorough review of the record, we affirm the judgment of the post-conviction court.

Bedford County Court of Criminal Appeals 10/23/19
State of Tennessee v. Matt D. Polk
M2018-01251-CCA-R3-CD
Authoring Judge: Judge John Everett Williams
Trial Court Judge: Judge David D. Wolfe

The Defendant, Matt D. Polk, was convicted of one count of the sale of 0.5 grams or more of cocaine and one count of the sale less of than 0.5 grams of cocaine. The Defendant received an effective sentence of twenty-five years. On appeal, the Defendant argues that a video recording was not properly authenticated and that the trial court erred in allowing an expert who had not been disclosed to the defense prior to the day of trial to testify. We conclude that the recording was properly authenticated and that the trial court did not abuse its discretion in permitting the testimony, and we affirm the judgments of the trial court.

Dickson County Court of Criminal Appeals 10/23/19
State of Tennessee v. Henry Nicholas Brown
E2018-02135-CCA-R3-CD
Authoring Judge: Judge Camille R. McMullen
Trial Court Judge: Judge Jeffery Hill Wicks

The Defendant-Appellant, Henry Nicholas Brown, entered a guilty plea in the Roane County Criminal Court to aggravated assault (count one), evading arrest (count two), and reckless endangerment (count three), with the trial court to determine the length and manner of service of his sentence.  Following a sentencing hearing, the trial court sentenced the Defendant to six, four, and two years, respectively.  The trial court ordered these sentences to be served consecutively, for an effective sentence of twelve years in the Tennessee Department of Correction. In this appeal as of right, the Defendant contends that the trial court erred in imposing consecutive sentences. Upon our review, we affirm the judgment of the trial court.

Roane County Court of Criminal Appeals 10/22/19
State of Tennessee v. Elizabeth Lynn Schmitz
M2018-01270-CCA-R3-CD
Authoring Judge: Judge Camille R. McMullen
Trial Court Judge: Judge Larry J. Wallace

A Humphreys County jury convicted the Defendant-Appellant, Elizabeth Lynn Schmitz, of failure to have a license to operate a pawnshop in violation of Tennessee Code Annotated section 45-6-205, a Class A misdemeanor, for which she received a probationary sentence of eleven-months and twenty-nine days. In this appeal as of right, the Defendant argues that the trial court erred by not providing her a court reporter during trial and that the evidence was insufficient to sustain her conviction. Upon review, we affirm the judgment of the trial court.

Humphreys County Court of Criminal Appeals 10/22/19
State of Tennessee v. Nicholas Tyler Beckham
M2018-02027-CCA-R3-CD
Authoring Judge: Judge Robert L. Holloway, Jr.
Trial Court Judge: Judge Larry J. Wallace

The Cheatham County Grand Jury indicted Nicholas Tyler Beckham, Defendant, on twenty-three counts of aggravated sexual exploitation of a minor. Pursuant to a plea agreement, Defendant pled guilty to counts one through five, with an agreed sentence of five years on each count, counts one through four to be served consecutively, with count five to run concurrently to count four, for an effective sentence of twenty years at thirty percent, with the manner of service to be determined by the court. The remainder of the counts were dismissed. Following a sentencing hearing, the trial court ordered Defendant to serve his sentence in the Tennessee Department of Correction. On appeal, Defendant claims the trial court abused its discretion when it denied alternative sentencing for Defendant. After a thorough review of the record and applicable case law, we affirm the judgments of the trial court.

Cheatham County Court of Criminal Appeals 10/22/19
State of Tennessee v. Nathaniel David Labrecque - Concurring/Dissenting
M2018-01587-CCA-R3-CD
Authoring Judge: Judge Norma McGee Ogle
Trial Court Judge: Judge Amanda McClendon

I agree with the majority’s conclusion that the trial court’s restitution order must be reversed. I write separately, however, to address the State’s indicting the Defendant for, and the Defendant’s ultimately pleading guilty to, two counts of failure to yield the right of way resulting in serious bodily injury. I conclude that under plain error, the Defendant’s dual convictions violate principles of double jeopardy.

Davidson County Court of Criminal Appeals 10/22/19
State of Tennessee v. Nathaniel David Labrecque
M2018-01587-CCA-R3-CD
Authoring Judge: Judge Robert H. Montgomery, Jr.
Trial Court Judge: Judge Amanda McClendon

The Defendant, Nathaniel David Labrecque, pleaded guilty to two counts of failure to yield the right of way causing serious bodily injury. See T.C.A. §§ 55-8-129, 55-8-197(a)(3) (2018). He received an effective sentence of six months’ incarceration, and the trial court ordered the Defendant to pay restitution in the amount of $500,000. On appeal, the Defendant contends that the trial court erred by (1) ordering restitution without assessing his ability to pay and (2) ordering restitution when there was no evidence substantiating the victims’ losses. We affirm the Defendant’s convictions, but we reverse the trial court’s restitution order and remand for entry of amended judgments.

Davidson County Court of Criminal Appeals 10/22/19
State of Tennessee v. Rudolfo Valentin Gonzalez, II
M2018-01846-CCA-R3-CD
Authoring Judge: Judge Alan E. Glenn
Trial Court Judge: Judge Jill Bartee Ayers

On August 1, 2018, the Defendant, Rudolfo Valentin Gonzalez II, pleaded guilty to aggravated assault and aggravated burglary. The trial court sentenced him as a Range I, standard offender to concurrent three-year sentences, and the Defendant was released on supervised probation. The Defendant argues on appeal that the trial court erred in denying his request for judicial diversion. After thorough review, we affirm the sentencing decision of the trial court.

Montgomery County Court of Criminal Appeals 10/21/19
State of Tennessee v. Geary N. Jackson, SR.
M2019-00180-CCA-R3-CD
Authoring Judge: Judge Robert L. Holloway Jr
Trial Court Judge: Judge Brody N. Kane

Defendant, Geary N. Jackson, Sr., pled guilty to three counts of sale of oxymorphone, a Class C felony. Following a hearing, the trial court sentenced Defendant as a career offender to consecutive fifteen-year sentences. On appeal, Defendant asserts that his sentence is excessive and not in conformity with the purposes of the Sentencing Act. Upon review, we affirm the judgments of the trial court.

Wilson County Court of Criminal Appeals 10/21/19
State of Tennessee v. Khyree Thompson
E2018-01481-CCA-R3-CD
Authoring Judge: Judge Timothy L. Easter
Trial Court Judge: Judge Don W. Poole

Defendant, Khyree Thompson, appeals his convictions of first-degree felony murder and attempted especially aggravated robbery, for which he received an effective sentence of life in prison. On appeal, Defendant argues that the evidence is insufficient to support his convictions and that the State committed prosecutorial misconduct during its closing argument. Upon our review of the record, we affirm the judgments of the trial court.

Hamilton County Court of Criminal Appeals 10/18/19
State of Tennessee v. Norman Lee Follis
E2018-01667-CCA-R3-CD
Authoring Judge: Judge Timothy L. Easter
Trial Court Judge: Judge Donald Ray Elledge

Defendant, Norman Lee Follis, appeals his convictions of first degree murder and theft of property, for which he was sentenced to life imprisonment without the possibility of parole. On appeal, Defendant challenges the trial court’s denial of a motion to suppress his statement and the sufficiency of the evidence to support the first degree murder conviction. Because the trial court did not abuse its discretion in denying the motion to suppress and the evidence was sufficient to support the first degree murder conviction, we affirm the judgments of the trial court.

Anderson County Court of Criminal Appeals 10/18/19
State of Tennessee v. James William Ray A.K.A. James William Ray, JR
M2018-01765-CCA-R3-CD
Authoring Judge: Judge Norma McGee Ogle
Trial Court Judge: Judge Steve R. Dozier

The Appellant, James William Ray a.k.a. James William Ray, Jr., entered best interest guilty pleas to multiple counts of aggravated burglary, theft, and burglary of a motor vehicle. The trial court sentenced the Appellant as a Range II, multiple offender to a total effective sentence of twenty years. On appeal, the Appellant contends that the trial court erred in determining the length of the individual sentences and in imposing consecutive sentencing. Upon review, we affirm the judgments of the trial court.

Davidson County Court of Criminal Appeals 10/18/19
Juan Jose Reyes v. State of Tennessee
M2018-01075-CCA-R3-PC
Authoring Judge: Judge Thomas T. Woodall
Trial Court Judge: Judge David A. Patterson

Petitioner, Juan Jose Reyes, was convicted by a jury for the offense of rape of a child and received a sentence of thirty-two years. He appeals the denial of his petition for post-conviction relief in which he alleged ineffective assistance of counsel at trial. After a thorough review of the record, we conclude that Petitioner has failed to show that his trial counsel rendered ineffective assistance of counsel, and we accordingly affirm the judgment of the post-conviction court.

DeKalb County Court of Criminal Appeals 10/18/19
State of Tennessee v. Christopher Levi Parker
E2018-01306-CCA-R3-CD
Authoring Judge: Judge Camille R. McMullen
Trial Court Judge: Judge Barry A. Steelman

The Defendant-Appellant, Christopher Levi Parker, was convicted by a Hamilton County jury of first-degree premeditated murder and sentenced to life in prison. In this appeal as of right, he raises the following issues for our review: (1) whether the evidence is sufficient to support the Defendant’s conviction of first-degree premeditated murder; and (2) whether the trial court erred in allowing the State to admit proof that the Defendant stole a gun that was consistent with the murder weapon the night before he shot and killed the victim. Upon our review, we affirm the judgment of the trial court.

Hamilton County Court of Criminal Appeals 10/17/19
Yogonda Abdula Corley v. State of Tennessee
M2018-01568-CCA-R3-PC
Authoring Judge: Judge Thomas T. Woodall
Trial Court Judge: Judge Cheryl A. Blackburn

Petitioner, Yogonda Abdula Corley, appeals from the post-conviction court’s denial of his petition for post-conviction relief. Petitioner contends that his trial counsel provided ineffective assistance by failing to develop a record at trial that was adequate for appellate review. Having reviewed the record and the briefs of the parties, we affirm the denial of post-conviction relief.

Davidson County Court of Criminal Appeals 10/17/19
State of Tennessee v. Rachael Underwood
E2018-02009-CCA-R3-CD
Authoring Judge: Judge Camille R. McMullen
Trial Court Judge: Judge Rex Henry Ogle

Defendant-Appellant, Rachael Underwood, appeals from the Sevier County Circuit Court’s order revoking her probation. She originally pled guilty to attempted delivery of a Schedule I controlled substance and driving on a suspended license. She received a sixyear suspended sentence, after service of 180 days in jail. In this appeal, the Defendant claims that the trial court erred in revoking her probation. Upon review, we affirm the judgment of the trial court. 

Sevier County Court of Criminal Appeals 10/17/19
State of Tennessee v. William Prichard
W2019-00270-CCA-R3-CD
Authoring Judge: Judge Timothy L. Easter
Trial Court Judge: Judge J. Weber McCraw

Defendant, William Prichard, was convicted by a jury of aggravated assault resulting in death. The trial court sentenced Defendant to a term of fifteen years. On appeal, Defendant argues that the evidence was insufficient to sustain his conviction of aggravated assault and that Defendant should be granted a new trial because the finding of the jury is against the weight of the evidence presented, and the trial judge failed to act as the thirteenth juror. After conducting a full review of the record, we affirm the judgment of the trial court.

Hardeman County Court of Criminal Appeals 10/17/19
State of Tennessee v. Thomas R. Boykin
W2018-01207-CCA-R3-CD
Authoring Judge: Judge Robert L. Holloway, Jr.
Trial Court Judge: Judge Clayburn Peeples

A Gibson County jury convicted Thomas R. Boykin, Defendant, of two counts of aggravated child abuse of a child under eight years of age. The trial court sentenced Defendant as a Range II multiple offender to consecutive thirty-five-year sentences at 100%. In this delayed direct appeal, Defendant challenges his convictions, claiming the trial court improperly admitted evidence, cumulative error, and insufficiency of the evidence. Defendant also challenges his sentences, claiming improper use of sentencing enhancement factors and consecutive sentencing factors. After a thorough review of the record and applicable case law, we affirm the judgments of the trial court and remand for entry of corrected judgments.

Gibson County Court of Criminal Appeals 10/17/19
State of Tennessee v. Martez Wheeler
W2018-02218-CCA-R3-CD
Authoring Judge: Judge Alan E. Glenn
Trial Court Judge: Judge James M. Lammey

The pro se Defendant, Martez Wheeler, appeals the trial court’s summary dismissal of his motion to correct an illegal sentence, pursuant to Tennessee Rule of Criminal Procedure 36.1. After thorough review, we affirm the judgment of the trial court.

Shelby County Court of Criminal Appeals 10/17/19
Richard Wayne Peacock, Jr. v. State of Tennessee
M2018-02220-CCA-R3-PC
Authoring Judge: Judge John Everett Williams
Trial Court Judge: Judge Forest A. Durard, Jr.

The Petitioner, Richard Wayne Peacock, Jr., appeals the post-conviction court’s denial of his petition for post-conviction relief in which he challenged his conviction for initiating the process to manufacture methamphetamine. On appeal, the Petitioner alleges that he received ineffective assistance of counsel based on trial counsel’s failure to negotiate a more favorable plea. After a review of the record and applicable law, we affirm the post-conviction court’s judgment.

Bedford County Court of Criminal Appeals 10/15/19
State of Tennessee v. Julie Paul
E2019-00256-CCA-R3-CD
Authoring Judge: Judge Robert W. Wedemeyer
Trial Court Judge: Judge Tammy M. Harrington

The Defendant, Julie Paul, appeals the trial court’s order imposing confinement after finding a violation of her probation sentence. In July 2018, the Defendant pleaded guilty to felony possession of methamphetamine in exchange for an effective six-year sentence and a $2,000 fine. The Defendant received a partially suspended sentence with 180 days of split confinement to be followed by an alcohol and drug evaluation upon her release. A probation violation warrant was issued alleging multiple violations and, after a hearing, the trial court revoked the Defendant’s probation sentence, ordering additional split confinement of one year. On appeal, the Defendant asserts that the trial court abused its discretion when it ordered service of one year of confinement. After review, we affirm the trial court’s judgment.

Blount County Court of Criminal Appeals 10/15/19
State of Tennessee v. Johnny Morgan Dye
M2018-01191-CCA-R3-CD
Authoring Judge: Judge John Everett Williams
Trial Court Judge: Judge Larry J. Wallace

A jury convicted the Defendant, Johnny Morgan Dye, of vehicular homicide through intoxication and vehicular homicide through reckless conduct, and the Defendant received an effective sentence of twelve years in confinement after the offenses were merged. The Defendant appeals, challenging the sufficiency of the evidence with respect to the vehicular homicide through intoxication conviction, arguing that the trial court erred in allowing certain expert testimony, and asserting that the trial court committed reversible error in the admission of evidence. After a thorough review of the record, we conclude that the evidence is sufficient and that the trial court did not err in its evidentiary decisions. The judgments of the trial court are affirmed.

Dickson County Court of Criminal Appeals 10/15/19