Court of Criminal Appeals Opinions

Format: 11/17/2019
Format: 11/17/2019
Dantario Burgess v. State of Tennessee
W2018-01707-CCA-R3-PC
Authoring Judge: Judge Alan E. Glenn
Trial Court Judge: Judge J. Robert Carter, Jr.

The Petitioner, Dantario Burgess, appeals the denial of his petition for post-conviction relief, arguing that the post-conviction court erred in finding that he received effective assistance of trial counsel. Following our review, we affirm the denial of the petition.

Shelby County Court of Criminal Appeals 08/30/19
State of Tennessee v. Rashida Tyquisha Groomster
M2018-00579-CCA-R3-CD
Authoring Judge: Judge Thomas T. Woodall
Trial Court Judge: Judge Cheryl A. Blackburn

A Davidson County Jury in Case No. 2017-C-1591 convicted Defendant, Rashida Tyquisha Groomster, of theft of property over $1,000 in value. She also pled guilty to theft of property less than $1,000 in value in Case No. 2017-B-1407. The trial court initially imposed an effective one-year sentence to be served in confinement. However, an amended judgment was subsequently entered indicating that Defendant was to serve her effective one-year sentence on community corrections. On appeal, Defendant argues that the evidence was insufficient to support her conviction for theft of property over $1,000 in value, that the trial court improperly denied her request for judicial diversion, and the trial court erred by denying alternative sentencing. After a careful review of the record, we affirm the trial court’s judgments.

Davidson County Court of Criminal Appeals 08/30/19
State of Tennessee v. Dominique Alexander Booker
E2018-00777-CCA-R3-CD
Authoring Judge: Judge Robert W. Wedemeyer
Trial Court Judge: Judge G. Scott Green

In 2017, the Defendant, Dominque Alexander Booker, pleaded guilty to three counts in two separate cases, and the trial court sentenced him to a probationary sentence. In 2018, the Defendant’s probation officer filed a probation violation warrant alleging that the Defendant had violated his probation by committing assault and vandalism and by not notifying his probation officer of the new offenses. After an evidentiary hearing, the trial court revoked the Defendant’s probation sentences for both cases. On appeal, the Defendant contends that the trial court erred when it admitted into evidence the police officer’s recount of the victim’s statements about the assault as an excited utterance over the Defendant’s hearsay objection. After review, we affirm the trial court’s judgment.

Knox County Court of Criminal Appeals 08/30/19
Devin Whiteside v. State of Tennessee
W2018-02051-CCA-R3-PC
Authoring Judge: Judge James Curwood Witt, Jr.
Trial Court Judge: Judge Kyle Atkins

The petitioner, Devin Whiteside, appeals the denial of his petition for post-conviction relief, which petition challenged his guilty-pleaded convictions of aggravated robbery, alleging that his guilty pleas were invalid because 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 08/30/19
State of Tennessee v. Raymon Muhammad
W2018-02141-CCA-R3-CD
Authoring Judge: Judge James Curwood Witt, Jr.
Trial Court Judge: Judge J. Robert Carter, Jr.

The defendant, Raymon Muhammad, appeals his Shelby County Criminal Court jury conviction of first degree murder, challenging the sufficiency of the convicting evidence. Discerning no error, we affirm.

Shelby County Court of Criminal Appeals 08/30/19
State of Tennessee v. Erik Standback
W2018-01804-CCA-R3-CD
Authoring Judge: Judge Robert W. Wedemeyer
Trial Court Judge: Judge James M. Lammey

A Shelby County jury convicted the Defendant, Erik Standback, of attempted second degree murder, aggravated assault, employing a firearm during the commission of a dangerous felony, and reckless endangerment. The trial court imposed an effective sentence of eighteen years in the Tennessee Department of Correction. On appeal, the Defendant asserts that the evidence is insufficient to support his convictions. After review, we affirm the trial court’s judgments.

Shelby County Court of Criminal Appeals 08/30/19
Ronnie Ingram v. State of Tennessee
W2018-01875-CCA-R3-PC
Authoring Judge: Judge J. Ross Dyer
Trial Court Judge: Judge Chris Craft

The petitioner, Ronnie Ingram, appeals the denial of his post-conviction petition, arguing the post-conviction court erred in finding he received the effective assistance of counsel at trial and on appeal. Following our review, we affirm the denial of the petition.

Shelby County Court of Criminal Appeals 08/30/19
Samuel Winkfield v. State of Tennessee
W2018-01873-CCA-R3-ECN
Authoring Judge: Judge Robert H. Montgomery, Jr.
Trial Court Judge: Judge Donald H. Allen

The Petitioner, Samuel Winkfield, appeals the Madison County Circuit Court’s summary dismissal of his petition for a writ of error coram nobis from his second degree murder and tampering with evidence convictions, for which he received an effective sentence of twenty-five years. We affirm the judgment of the coram nobis court.

Madison County Court of Criminal Appeals 08/30/19
State of Tennessee v. Douglas Wayne Jackson
M2017-01528-CCA-R3-CD
Authoring Judge: Judge Camille R. McMullen
Trial Court Judge: Judge William R. Goodman, III

A Montgomery County Grand Jury indicted the Defendant with second degree murder (count one), vehicular homicide (count two), aggravated assault (count three), failure to complete boating safety certification (count four), and operating a motorboat without a valid identification number (count five). Pursuant to a plea agreement, the Defendant entered a guilty plea to reckless homicide, a lesser included offense of second degree murder (count one). The plea agreement further provided that the Defendant plead guilty as a Range II, multiple offender pursuant to Hicks v. State, 945 S.W.2d 706, 709 (Tenn. 1997) (holding that a knowing and voluntary guilty plea waives any irregularity as to offender classification or release eligibility), with the trial court to determine the length and manner of service of his sentence. In exchange for the Defendant’s plea of guilty, the State agreed to dismiss the remaining counts in the indictment. Following a sentencing hearing, the trial court imposed a sentence of five-years’ imprisonment. Ten days later, the Defendant filed a motion to modify his sentence pursuant to Rule 35 of the Tennessee Rules of Criminal Procedure. Following a second hearing, the trial court denied relief and imposed the same sentence. In this appeal as of right, the Defendant argues that the trial court erred in sentencing the Defendant and in failing to grant his Rule 35 motion to modify the sentence. Upon our review, we affirm the judgment of the trial court.

Montgomery County Court of Criminal Appeals 08/30/19
State of Tennessee v. Clarence Reed Julian
E2019-00074-CCA-R3-CD
Authoring Judge: Judge Timothy L. Easter
Trial Court Judge: Judge Steven W. Sword

Defendant, Clarence Reed Julian, pled guilty to criminal simulation in exchange for a sentence of two years as a Range II, multiple offender with the manner of service of the sentence to be determined after a sentencing hearing. At the hearing, the trial court denied an alternative sentence, ordering Defendant to serve the sentence in incarceration. Defendant appeals. After a review, we determine there is a clerical error in the judgment form. The judgment form wrongly designates Defendant as a Range I, standard offender and the technical record indicates that Defendant, as a Range I offender, has already received the benefit of Determinate Release from the Department of Correction. We remand for entry of a corrected judgment form, designating Defendant as a Range II, multiple offender, requiring Defendant to complete his sentence as such an offender. Otherwise, we affirm the trial court’s denial of alternative sentencing.

Knox County Court of Criminal Appeals 08/30/19
State of Tennessee v. Randy Champion
W2018-01393-CCA-R3-CD
Authoring Judge: Judge Robert W. Wedemeyer
Trial Court Judge: Judge Paula L. Skahan

A Shelby County jury convicted the Defendant, Randy Champion, of one count of especially aggravated robbery, two counts of attempt to commit second degree murder, two counts of employment of a firearm, one count of attempt to commit especially aggravated robbery, and one count of attempt to commit aggravated robbery. For these convictions, the trial court ordered an effective sentence of twenty-four years in the Tennessee Department of Correction. On appeal, the Defendant asserts that the evidence is insufficient to prove his identity as a perpetrator of the offenses, that the trial court improperly denied his motion for severance, and that the State presented inconsistent theories of prosecution at trial. After review, we affirm the trial court’s judgments.

Shelby County Court of Criminal Appeals 08/29/19
James Walter Grooms, Jr. v. State of Tennessee
E2018-01777-CCA-R3-PC
Authoring Judge: Judge J. Ross Dyer
Trial Court Judge: Judge Thomas J. Wright

The petitioner, James Walter Grooms, Jr., appeals the denial of his post-conviction petition, which petition challenged his conviction for two counts of aggravated assault, arguing the post-conviction court erred in finding he received effective assistance of counsel at trial. After our review of the record, briefs, and applicable law, we affirm the denial of the petition.

Hawkins County Court of Criminal Appeals 08/29/19
State of Tennessee v. Michael Andrew Lethco
E2018-01042-CCA-R3-CD
Authoring Judge: Judge J. Ross Dyer
Trial Court Judge: Judge Sandra Donaghy

The defendant, Michael Andrew Lethco, was convicted of aggravated sexual battery for which he received a nine-year sentence. On appeal, he challenges the sufficiency of the evidence supporting his conviction and asserts the State elicited improper testimony from the victim regarding other instances of abuse which prejudiced the defendant. Upon our thorough review of the record, we affirm the judgment of the trial court.

Monroe County Court of Criminal Appeals 08/29/19
State of Tennessee v. Robert Jason Allison
M2017-02367-CCA-R3-CD
Authoring Judge: Judge Thomas T. Woodall
Trial Court Judge: Judge Mark J. Fishburn

Defendant, Robert Jason Allison, was indicted for two counts of delivery of marijuana; possession with intent to distribute over ten pounds of marijuana in a drug-free school zone; possession of a firearm during the commission of a dangerous felony; and two counts of money laundering. Following a jury trial, at which Defendant represented himself, he was convicted as charged. Following a sentencing hearing, the trial court imposed partial consecutive sentencing resulting in an effective 25-year sentence. In this appeal as of right, Defendant contends that: 1) the evidence was insufficient to support his convictions for money laundering; 2) the indictment conflated two subsections of the money laundering statute; 3) the trial court failed to instruct the jury on all of the elements of money laundering; 4) Defendant’s convictions for money laundering violate double jeopardy; 5) the money laundering statute is unconstitutionally vague; 6) Defendant was deprived his right to a speedy trial; 7) the trial court erred by denying Defendant’s motion to suppress evidence seized as a result of his warrantless arrest; 8) the trial court erred by denying Defendant’s motion to suppress evidence seized as a result of a search warrant; 9) the trial court erred in finding that Defendant waived his right to the assistance of counsel at trial; 10) the trial court abused its discretion in ordering consecutive sentencing; and 11) Defendant’s fines are excessive. Having reviewed the entire record and the briefs of the parties, we find no error and affirm the judgments of the trial court.

Davidson County Court of Criminal Appeals 08/29/19
Giovanne Treymane Johnson a.k.a. Giovoanne Treymane Johnson v. State of Tennessee
M2018-00755-CCA-R3-PC
Authoring Judge: Judge Thomas T. Woodall
Trial Court Judge: Judge Jill Bartee Ayers

Petitioner, Giovoanne Treymane Johnson, appeals the denial of his post-conviction petition, arguing that the post-conviction court erred in finding that he received the effective assistance of counsel at trial. More specifically, he argues that trial counsel rendered deficient performance by failing to file a motion to sever his trial from that of his co-defendant and for failing to challenge the admission of his co-defendant’s inculpatory statement. Having reviewed the record and the briefs of the parties, we affirm the judgment of the post-conviction court.

Montgomery County Court of Criminal Appeals 08/29/19
Adayse Gaddy v. State of Tennessee
M2018-01272-CCA-R3-PC
Authoring Judge: Judge Robert H. Montgomery, Jr.
Trial Court Judge: Judge Seth Norman

The Petitioner, Adayse Gaddy, appeals from the Davidson County Criminal Court’s denial of his petition for post-conviction relief from his 2015 guilty plea to possession with the intent to sell or to deliver less than one-half gram of cocaine, for which he is serving a
ten-year sentence. The Petitioner contends that he received the ineffective assistance of counsel and that his guilty plea was unknowingly and involuntarily entered. We affirm the judgment of the post-conviction court.

Davidson County Court of Criminal Appeals 08/29/19
State of Tennessee v. William Robert Goodwin
E2018-01683-CCA-R3-CD
Authoring Judge: Judge Camille R. McMullen
Trial Court Judge: Judge Bobby R. McGee

The Defendant-Appellant, William Robert Goodwin, appeals from the order of the Knox County Criminal Court revoking his probation and ordering him to serve the balance of his sentence in confinement. In this appeal, the Defendant concedes that he violated his probation; however, he contends the trial court abused its discretion in ordering confinement because his probation violations were minor, he had established a stable life and work history, and he had compelling family reasons to remain on probation. Upon our review, we affirm the judgment of the trial court.

Knox County Court of Criminal Appeals 08/29/19
State of Tennessee v. Jonathan David Schelfe
M2018-01604-CCA-R3-CD
Authoring Judge: Judge Camille R. McMullen
Trial Court Judge: Judge Dee David Gay

Pro se Petitioner, Jonathan David Schelfe, appeals from the denial of his motion for correction of an illegal sentence pursuant to Rule 36.1 of the Tennessee Rules of Criminal Procedure. Following our review, we affirm.

Sumner County Court of Criminal Appeals 08/29/19
State of Tennessee v. Anthony T. Tollis
E2018-01695-CCA-R3-CD
Authoring Judge: Judge Robert W. Wedemeyer
Trial Court Judge: Judge Barry A. Steelman

The Defendant, Anthony T. Tollis, entered a plea of nolo contendre to sexual exploitation of a minor. The Defendant reserved a certified question of law pursuant to Tennessee Rule of Criminal Procedure 37(b)(2) as to whether the search of the Defendant’s computer was lawful based on the search warrant. After a thorough review of the record and relevant authorities, we affirm the trial court’s judgment.

Hamilton County Court of Criminal Appeals 08/29/19
State of Tennessee v. Richard Williams
E2018-01460-CCA-R3-CD
Authoring Judge: Judge Robert L. Holloway, Jr.
Trial Court Judge: Judge Steven Wayne Sword

Richard Williams, Defendant, was indicted on two counts of attempted first degree murder, one count of attempted first degree murder where the victim suffered serious bodily injury, and two counts of employing a firearm during the commission of a dangerous felony. Following a jury trial, Defendant was convicted on all counts as charged and received a total effective sentence of thirty-six years in the Tennessee Department of Correction. On appeal, Defendant challenges the sufficiency of the evidence. After a thorough review of the record, we affirm the trial court’s judgments.

Knox County Court of Criminal Appeals 08/28/19
State of Tennessee v. Gary Lee Bragg
E2018-01789-CCA-R3-CD
Authoring Judge: Judge Robert H. Montgomery, Jr.
Trial Court Judge: Judge Bob R. McGee

The Defendant, Gary Lee Bragg, was convicted by a Knox County Criminal Court jury of two counts of aggravated burglary, a Class C felony; possession of burglary tools, a Class A misdemeanor; and two counts of drug possession, a Class A misdemeanor. See T.C.A. § 39- 14-403 (2018); 39-14-701 (2018), 39-17-418 (2018). The trial court sentenced the Defendant as a Range III, persistent offender to twelve years for each aggravated burglary conviction and to eleven months, twenty-nine days for each misdemeanor conviction. The court ordered consecutive service of the aggravated burglary sentences, for an effective twenty-four-year sentence. On appeal, the Defendant contends that (1) the evidence is insufficient to support one of the aggravated burglary convictions and (2) the trial court erred by imposing consecutive sentencing. We affirm the judgments of the trial court.

Knox County Court of Criminal Appeals 08/28/19
State of Tennessee v. Randy Earl Edwards
M2018-02247-CCA-R3-CD
Authoring Judge: Judge James Curwood Witt, Jr.
Trial Court Judge: Judge Angelita Blackshear Dalton

The defendant, Randy Earl Edwards, appeals the Davidson County Criminal Court’s order revoking his probation and ordering him to serve the balance of his 10-year sentence for the sale of less than .5 grams of cocaine in confinement. Discerning no error, we affirm.

Davidson County Court of Criminal Appeals 08/28/19
James Bostic, Jr. v. State of Tennessee
M2018-01369-CCA-R3-PC
Authoring Judge: Judge James Curwood Witt, Jr.
Trial Court Judge: Judge Steve Dozier

The petitioner, James Bostic, Jr., appeals the denial of his petition for post-conviction relief, which petition challenged the revocation of the community corrections placement for his 2014 guilty-pleaded conviction of the sale of cocaine. In this appeal, the petitioner claims entitlement to post-conviction relief on grounds that he was deprived of the effective assistance of counsel at the community corrections revocation hearing. Discerning no error, we affirm.

Davidson County Court of Criminal Appeals 08/28/19
State of Tennessee v. Nathaniel A. Rhodes
M2018-00136-CCA-R3-CD
Authoring Judge: Judge Camille R. McMullen
Trial Court Judge: Judge Brody N. Kane

The Defendant-Appellant, Nathaniel A. Rhodes, entered guilty pleas to one count of TennCare fraud in case number 15-CR-1060 and to one count of sale of Alprazolam in case number 15-CR-1061, with the trial court to determine the range, length, and manner of service of his sentences following a sentencing hearing. See Tenn. Code Ann. §§ 71-5-2601(a)(5)(A), 39-17-417. Thereafter, the trial court imposed two consecutive ten-year sentences in confinement. On appeal, Rhodes argues that the trial court imposed an excessive sentence. After reviewing the record in this case, we affirm the judgment of the trial court but remand the case for entry of corrected judgments as specified in this opinion.

Wilson County Court of Criminal Appeals 08/28/19
State of Tennessee v. Rickey Driver
W2018-02114-CCA-R3-CD
Authoring Judge: Judge J. Ross Dyer
Trial Court Judge: Judge J. Weber McCraw

A Fayette County jury convicted the defendant, Rickey Driver, of violating the requirements of the sexual offender registry due to his failure to report during 2016. The trial court imposed a six-year sentence which was suspended after 120 days of service. On appeal, the defendant challenges the sufficiency of the evidence supporting his conviction. Following our review of the record and pertinent authorities, we affirm the judgment of the trial court.

Fayette County Court of Criminal Appeals 08/27/19