Court of Criminal Appeals Opinions

Format: 05/30/2020
Format: 05/30/2020
State of Tennessee v. Carl S. Dixon
E2019-00228-CCA-R3-CD
Authoring Judge: Judge Thomas T. Woodall
Trial Court Judge: Judge Stacy L. Street

Defendant, Carl S. Dixon, was indicted by the Washington County Grand Jury for aggravated assault. Following a jury trial, Defendant was convicted of reckless aggravated assault. Following a sentencing hearing, the trial court sentenced Defendant to serve two years, to be suspended on probation, and ordered Defendant to pay the victim $600 in restitution at the rate of $25 per month. Defendant’s sole issue on appeal is whether the trial court’s order of restitution was proper when Defendant’s only source of income was Social Security Supplemental Security Income. Having reviewed the record and the applicable authority, we affirm the judgment of the trial court.

Washington County Court of Criminal Appeals 03/20/20
State of Tennessee v. Antoine Hinton
W2018-01931-CCA-R3-CD
Authoring Judge: Judge Norma McGee Ogle
Trial Court Judge: Judge John Wheeler Campbell

A Shelby County Criminal Court Jury convicted the Appellant, Antoine Hinton, of first degree felony murder; especially aggravated kidnapping, a Class A felony; aggravated kidnapping, a Class B felony; employing a firearm during the commission of a dangerous felony, a Class C felony; and reckless aggravated assault, a Class D felony, and he received an effective sentence of life plus twenty-eight years in confinement. On appeal, the Appellant contends that the trial court committed reversible error by failing to instruct the jury as provided by State v. White, 362 S.W.3d 559 (Tenn. 2012), and that the evidence is insufficient to support his murder conviction because the underlying felony was complete at the time of the victim’s death. Based upon the oral arguments, the record, and the parties’ briefs, we affirm the Appellant’s convictions and his total effective sentence of life plus twenty-eight years but remand the case to the trial court for amendment of the judgments to reflect that the Appellant’s conviction of aggravated kidnapping in count three is merged into his conviction of especially aggravated kidnapping in count two and for correction of the judgments regarding concurrent and consecutive sentencing.

Shelby County Court of Criminal Appeals 03/19/20
State of Tennessee v. Quintavious Montez Patton and Donte R. Swanier
M2018-01462-CCA-R3-CD
Authoring Judge: Judge Robert W. Wedemeyer
Trial Court Judge: Judge Steve R. Dozier

A Davidson County jury convicted Quintavious Montez Patton of first degree felony murder, voluntary manslaughter, attempted especially aggravated robbery, and attempted aggravated robbery. The jury convicted Donte Ricardo Swanier of first degree felony murder, attempted especially aggravated robbery, and attempted aggravated robbery. The trial court sentenced both Defendants to effective sentences of life in prison. On appeal, Defendant Patton: (1) challenges the trial court’s admission of video evidence; (2) claims his right to a speedy trial was violated; and (3) seeks relief based upon the cumulative effect of the trial court’s errors. Defendant Swanier appeals the trial court’s admission of: (1) rap music; (2) Facebook posts; and (3) prior bad acts. After review, we affirm the trial court’s judgments.

Davidson County Court of Criminal Appeals 03/19/20
Tanya Nicole Slimick v. State of Tennessee
M2019-00458-CCA-R3-PC
Authoring Judge: Judge Robert W. Wedemeyer
Trial Court Judge: Judge Michael W. Binkley

A Williamson County jury convicted the Petitioner, Tanya Nicole Slimick, of first degree premeditated murder. The Petitioner appealed, challenging the sufficiency of the evidence, numerous aspects of the jury instructions, and the State’s use of a demonstrative aid during closing argument. This court affirmed the Petitioner’s convictions. State v. Tanya Nicole Slimick, No. M2014-00747-CCA-R3-CD, 2015 WL 9244888, at *1 (Tenn. Crim. App., at Nashville, Dec. 17, 2015), perm. app. denied (Tenn. Apr. 6, 2016). The Petitioner filed a post-conviction petition alleging that her trial counsel was ineffective. In an amended petition, she added claims challenging the jury instructions and asserting prosecutorial misconduct. Thereafter, the Petitioner abandoned her claims as to ineffective assistance of counsel, and the State filed a motion to dismiss the petition. After a hearing, the post-conviction court dismissed the petition, finding that the remaining allegations had either been waived or previously determined on appeal. On appeal, the Petitioner maintains her challenge to the trial court’s failure to properly charge the jury and assertion of prosecutorial misconduct. For the first time on appeal, she argues that a juror violated the trial court’s instruction not to communicate via social media during the trial. After review, we affirm the post-conviction court’s judgment.

Williamson County Court of Criminal Appeals 03/17/20
Dondre Johnson v. State of Tennessee
W2019-00741-CCA-R3-PC
Authoring Judge: Presiding Judge John Everett Williams
Trial Court Judge: Judge Chris Craft

The Petitioner, Dondre Johnson, was convicted of first degree felony murder and received a life sentence. He filed a post-conviction petition, asserting that he received ineffective assistance of counsel because his trial counsel did not file a motion to suppress the evidence stemming from his seizure. After a thorough review of the record, we affirm the post-conviction court’s judgment denying relief.

Shelby County Court of Criminal Appeals 03/16/20
State of Tennessee v. Stevie Williamson
W2019-00437-CCA-R3-CD
Authoring Judge: Judge Robert H. Montgomery, Jr.
Trial Court Judge: Judge Lee V. Coffee

The Defendant, Stevie Williamson, was convicted by a Shelby County Criminal Court jury of attempt to commit second degree murder, a Class B felony; employing a firearm during the commission of a dangerous felony, a Class C felony; unlawful possession of a handgun by a convicted felon, a Class C felony; and reckless endangerment, a Class E felony. See T.C.A. §§ 39-12-101 (2018) (criminal attempt), 39-13-210 (2018) (second degree murder), 39-17-1324 (2018) (employment of a firearm), 39-17-1307 (2018) (firearm possession by a convicted felon), 39-13-103 (2018) (reckless endangerment). The trial court sentenced the Defendant to consecutive terms of twenty years for attempted second degree murder, fifteen years and twelve years for the firearm convictions, and six years for reckless endangerment, for an effective fifty-three-year sentence. On appeal, the Defendant contends that the trial court erred (1) by admitting evidence of the Defendant’s previous convictions and (2) by imposing consecutive service of the sentences. We affirm the judgments of the trial court.

Shelby County Court of Criminal Appeals 03/16/20
Samuel Gregory Dorsey v. State of Tennessee
M2018-01610-CCA-R3-PC
Authoring Judge: Judge Norma McGee Ogle
Trial Court Judge: Judge Angelita Blackshear Dalton

The Petitioner, Samuel Gregory Dorsey, filed a post-conviction petition seeking relief from his conviction of attempted aggravated sexual battery, alleging that his trial counsel was ineffective and that his guilty plea was not knowingly and voluntarily entered. The post-conviction court denied the petition, and the Petitioner appeals. Upon review, we affirm the judgment of the post-conviction court.

Davidson County Court of Criminal Appeals 03/13/20
State of Tennessee v. Toscar Smith
W2019-00713-CCA-R3-CD
Authoring Judge: Judge Robert H. Montgomery, Jr.
Trial Court Judge: Judge Lee V. Coffee

The Defendant, Toscar Smith, appeals from the Shelby County Criminal Court’s revocation of his nine-year probationary sentence for his conviction for aggravated assault. The Defendant contends that the trial court erred in ordering his sentence into execution. We affirm the judgment of the trial court.

Shelby County Court of Criminal Appeals 03/12/20
State of Tennessee v. Tyran Rollins
W2019-00192-CCA-R3-CD
Authoring Judge: Presiding Judge John Everett Williams
Trial Court Judge: Judge James M. Lammey

A jury convicted the Defendant, Tyran Rollins, of aggravated robbery, and he was sentenced to serve eight and a half years in prison. The Defendant appeals his conviction, asserting that the evidence is insufficient to support the verdict and that the composition of the jury violated his constitutional rights. We conclude that the evidence is sufficient to support the verdict and that the issue regarding the composition of the jury has been waived. The judgment of the trial court is affirmed.

Shelby County Court of Criminal Appeals 03/12/20
State of Tennessee v. Jeffrey Van Garrett
E2018-02228-CCA-R3-CD
Authoring Judge: Judge Thomas T. Woodall
Trial Court Judge: Judge Sandra Donaghy

Defendant, Jeffrey Van Garrett, was charged with one count of possession of oxycodone, a Schedule II substance, with intent to sell or deliver. Defendant filed a motion to suppress, which was denied by the trial court. Thereafter, Defendant entered into a negotiated plea agreement under Rule 11(c) of the Tennessee Rules of Criminal Procedure, in which he pled guilty to the charge with an agreed four-year sentence as a Range I offender to be served on probation. Defendant attempted to reserve three certified questions of law under Rule 37(b)(2)(A) of the Tennessee Rules of Criminal Procedure, challenging the trial court’s denial of the motion to suppress. After review, we conclude that this Court does not have jurisdiction to address the certified questions because the certification did not meet the requirements of State v. Preston, 759 S.W.2d 647 (Tenn. 1988). The appeal is, therefore, dismissed.

Monroe County Court of Criminal Appeals 03/11/20
Jeffrey McCoy v. State of Tennessee
W2019-00574-CCA-R3-PC
Authoring Judge: Presiding Judge John Everett Williams
Trial Court Judge: Judge Clayburn Peeples

The Petitioner, Jeffrey McCoy, pleaded guilty to theft of property valued at $10,000 or more and one count of burglary of a building other than a habitation. The trial court imposed a twelve-year effective sentence to be served consecutively to a previous sentence in South Carolina. The Petitioner appeals the post-conviction court’s summary dismissal of his pro se petition for post-conviction relief. The Petitioner maintains that the post-conviction court erred in finding that the petition was barred by the statute of limitations. The State concedes error. After a review of the record and applicable law, we reverse the judgment of the post-conviction court and remand for appointment of counsel and further proceedings consistent with the Post-Conviction Procedure Act.

Gibson County Court of Criminal Appeals 03/11/20
William Boatwright v. State of Tennessee - concurring in part and dissenting in part
E2018-02185-CCA-R3-PC
Authoring Judge: Judge Thomas T. Woodall
Trial Court Judge: Judge G. Scott Green

I concur with the majority opinion in its analysis that Petitioner was denied effective assistance of counsel. Petitioner’s counsel failed to raise specific issues regarding the lack of sufficient evidence to sustain two convictions, and the issues had merit. However, I disagree with the majority opinion’s conclusion as to the relief to which Petitioner is entitled. This is a unique post-conviction case. I am unable to recall ever before reviewing an appeal wherein the petitioner is entitled to post-conviction relief because, following a thorough review of the evidence at trial taken in the light most favorable to the State, it is clearly shown that the evidence was insufficient to sustain the convictions of especially aggravated robbery of one victim and aggravated robbery of another victim. Petitioner’s counsel failed to make the appropriate argument for judgment of acquittal at the close of the State’s case and failed to argue the issue in the direct appeal to this court. That failure established deficient performance. The review of the evidence at trial, the result of which is stated above, clearly established prejudice to Petitioner as a result of counsel’s deficient performance. Reversing the judgment of the post-conviction court is appropriate. However, remanding the matter to the trial court for Petitioner to have the opportunity to file a motion for new trial denies Petitioner the relief to which he is entitled. As will be discussed herein, it may also be in violation of Petitioner’s constitutional rights to be protected from double jeopardy.

Knox County Court of Criminal Appeals 03/10/20
William Boatwright v. State of Tennessee
E2018-02185-CCA-R3-PC
Authoring Judge: Judge Robert H. Montgomery, Jr.
Trial Court Judge: Judge G. Scott Green

The Petitioner, William Boatwright, appeals from the Knox County Criminal Court’s denial of his petition for post-conviction relief from his especially aggravated robbery, aggravated robbery, aggravated burglary, and two aggravated assault convictions, for which he is serving a forty-seven-year sentence. The Petitioner contends that he received the ineffective assistance of counsel. We conclude that the Petitioner received the ineffective assistance of counsel, reverse the judgment of the post-conviction court, and remand this case for a limited motion for a new trial regarding the sufficiency of the evidence issues addressed in the appeal.

Knox County Court of Criminal Appeals 03/10/20
William Matney Putman v. State of Tennessee
E2019-01608-CCA-R3-PC
Authoring Judge: Judge Timothy L. Easter
Trial Court Judge: Judge Lisa Rice

Over twenty-five years ago, William Matney Putman, Petitioner, pled guilty to first-degree felony murder, attempted robbery, and aggravated robbery. He was sentenced to an effective sentence of life without the possibility of parole. See William Matney Putman v. State, No. E2004-02192-CCA-R3-CD, 2005 WL 1996634, at *1 (Tenn. Crim. App. Aug. 18, 2005), perm. app. denied, (Tenn. Dec. 19, 2005) (“Putman I”). The postconviction court summarily dismissed Petitioner’s second petition for post-conviction relief. After review, we affirm pursuant to Rule 20 of the Rules of the Court of Criminal Appeals.

Carter County Court of Criminal Appeals 03/09/20
State of Tennessee v. Carrington Owens
M2018-01830-CCA-R3-CD
Authoring Judge: Judge Robert H. Montgomery, Jr.
Trial Court Judge: Judge William R. Goodman, III

The Defendant, Carrington Owens, was convicted by a Montgomery County Circuit Court jury of four counts of rape of a child, a Class A felony; twenty-three counts of especially aggravated sexual exploitation of a minor, a Class B felony; and twelve counts of aggravated sexual battery of a child less than thirteen years of age, a Class B felony. See T.C.A. §§ 39-13-522 (Supp. 2007, 2010, Supp. 2011) (rape of a child), 39-17-1005 (2006) (subsequently amended) (especially aggravated sexual exploitation of a minor), 39-13-504 (2018) (aggravated sexual battery). He is serving an effective thirty-seven-year sentence for his convictions. On appeal, he contends that the trial court erred in denying his motion to suppress evidence from a search of his home and that he was denied the right to confront his accuser face-to-face. We affirm the judgments of the trial court.

Montgomery County Court of Criminal Appeals 03/09/20
Carey R. Faught v. State of Tennessee
E2019-00436-CCA-R3-PC
Authoring Judge: Judge Robert H. Montgomery, Jr.
Trial Court Judge: Judge Bobby R. McGee

The Petitioner, Carey R. Faught, appeals from the Knox County Criminal Court’s denial of his petition for post-conviction relief from his jury trial convictions of aggravated burglary, employing a firearm during a dangerous felony, reckless endangerment, two counts of attempted aggravated robbery, and two counts of especially aggravated robbery, and his effective forty-eight-year sentence. He contends that the post-conviction court erred in denying relief on his claim that he received the ineffective assistance of counsel because counsel failed to challenge an impermissibly suggestive photograph lineup. We affirm the judgment of the post-conviction court.

Knox County Court of Criminal Appeals 03/09/20
Mark A. Crites v. State of Tennessee
M2018-02060-CCA-R3-PC
Authoring Judge: Judge Robert W. Wedemeyer
Trial Court Judge: Judge Joseph A. Woodruff

A Williamson County jury convicted the Petitioner, Mark A. Crites, of aggravated robbery, and the trial court sentenced him as a multiple offender to twelve years of incarceration. The Petitioner appealed, and this court affirmed the conviction and sentence. See State v. Mark A. Crites, No. M2014-00383-CCA-R3-CD, 2015 WL 3508042 (Tenn. Crim. App., at Nashville, June 4, 2015), perm. app. denied (Tenn. Sept. 17, 2015). The Petitioner filed a post-conviction petition, claiming he received the ineffective assistance of counsel. After a hearing, the post-conviction court denied relief. The Petitioner appeals the denial, maintaining that his counsel was ineffective. After review, we affirm the post-conviction court’s judgment.

Williamson County Court of Criminal Appeals 03/09/20
State of Tennessee v. Freddie L. Smith
E2019-00999-CCA-R3-CD
Authoring Judge: Judge Robert H. Montgomery, Jr.
Trial Court Judge: Judge Steven Wayne Sword

The Defendant, Freddie L. Smith, was convicted upon his guilty pleas of four counts of identity theft, a Class D felony. See T.C.A. § 39-14-150 (2018). The Defendant pleaded guilty as a Range II offender and agreed to an effective eight-year sentence. The manner of service of his sentence was reserved for the trial court’s determination. On appeal, the Defendant contends that the trial court erred by imposing incarceration rather than an alternative sentence. We affirm the judgments of the trial court.

Knox County Court of Criminal Appeals 03/06/20
State of Tennessee v. John C. Elrod
M2019-01399-CCA-R3-CD
Authoring Judge: Judge Robert W. Wedemeyer
Trial Court Judge: Judge Larry B. Stanley, Jr.

The Defendant, John C. Elrod, appeals the trial court’s order imposing confinement after finding a violation of his probation. In two separate cases, the Defendant pleaded guilty to multiple offenses, and the trial court sentenced him to an effective sentence of seven years of probation. In May 2019, the trial court issued a probation violation warrant based upon allegations that the Defendant had violated the terms of his probation by testing positive for amphetamines and methamphetamines on November 27, 2018 and January 24, 2019. After a hearing, the trial court revoked his probation and ordered him to serve the balance of his sentence in confinement. On appeal, the Defendant asserts that the trial court abused its discretion when it revoked his probation and when it ordered him to serve his sentence in confinement. After review, we affirm the trial court’s judgment.

Warren County Court of Criminal Appeals 03/06/20
State of Tennessee v. Tonica Alvarado aka Tonica Beckham
W2019-00144-CCA-R3-CD
Authoring Judge: Judge Alan E. Glenn
Trial Court Judge: Judge Charles C. McGinley

The pro se Defendant, Tonica Alvarado aka Tonica Beckham, appeals the trial court’s denial of her motion to correct a clerical error on her probation revocation order pursuant to Tennessee Rule of Criminal Procedure 36.1. After review, we remand the case for further findings.

Hardin County Court of Criminal Appeals 03/05/20
State of Tennessee v. Michael Eugene Rutherford
E2019-01319-CCA-R3-CD
Authoring Judge: Judge James Curwood Witt, Jr.
Trial Court Judge: Judge Steven Wayne Sword

The defendant, Michael Eugene Rutherford, appeals his Knox County Criminal Court guilty-pleaded convictions of aggravated assault, simple possession, driving under the influence (“DUI”), vandalism, and violating the financial responsibility law, arguing that the trial court erred by imposing a fully incarcerative sentence. Discerning no error, we affirm.

Knox County Court of Criminal Appeals 03/05/20
State of Tennessee v. Greg Patterson
W2018-01799-CCA-R3-CD
Authoring Judge: Judge D. Kelly Thomas, Jr.
Trial Court Judge: Judge Joseph H. Walker, III

The Defendant, Greg Patterson, was involved in dependent and neglect proceedings in juvenile court and tested positive for methamphetamine in a drug screen ordered by that court. He was, thereafter, charged with attempted aggravated child neglect for exposing his two-year-old child to methamphetamine. The trial court denied the Defendant’s pretrial motion to suppress the drug screen results, and a jury ultimately convicted the Defendant as charged. On appeal, the Defendant submits that the trial court erred by denying his suppression motion because he did not voluntarily consent to a search and, moreover, because the special needs exception to the warrant requirement does not apply. Following our review, we conclude that the search was constitutionally reasonable as a special needs exception. Accordingly, the judgment of the trial court is affirmed.

Lauderdale County Court of Criminal Appeals 03/05/20
State of Tennessee v. Blake Gregg
E2019-00843-CCA-R3-CD
Authoring Judge: Judge James Curwood Witt, Jr.
Trial Court Judge: Judge James F. Goodwin, Jr.

The defendant, Blake Gregg, appeals from his Sullivan County Criminal Court guiltypleaded convictions in multiple case numbers of possession of methamphetamine, two counts of possession with intent to sell .5 grams or more of methamphetamine, possession of oxycodone, possession of buprenorphine, possession of clonazepam, introduction of contraband into a penal institution, domestic assault, aggravated domestic assault, evading arrest, driving under the influence (“DUI”), two counts of driving on a suspended license, one count of second or subsequent offense of driving on a suspended license, driving while in possession of methamphetamine, theft of property valued at $1,000 or more but less than $2,500, four counts of possession of drug paraphernalia, running a stop sign, violating the vehicle light law, and two counts of violating the financial responsibility law. In this appeal, the defendant asserts that the trial court erred by ordering that he serve the 10-year sentence imposed in case number S68680 in confinement. Discerning no error, we affirm.

Sullivan County Court of Criminal Appeals 03/05/20
State of Tennessee v. Tavaris Markee Golden
W2018-01956-CCA-R3-CD
Authoring Judge: Judge Norma McGee Ogle
Trial Court Judge: Judge Donald H. Allen

A Madison County Circuit Court Jury convicted the Appellant, Tavaris Markee Golden, of aggravated assault, a Class C felony, employing a firearm during the commission of or attempt to commit a dangerous felony, a Class C felony, and attempted voluntary manslaughter, a Class D felony, and he received an effective twelve-year sentence. On appeal, the Appellant contends that the trial court erred by refusing to merge the attempted voluntary manslaughter conviction into the aggravated assault conviction and that the merger would have negated his conviction of employing a firearm during the commission of a dangerous felony and the six-year sentence he received for the offense. Based upon the record and the parties’ briefs, we affirm the judgments of the trial court.

Madison County Court of Criminal Appeals 03/05/20
State of Tennessee v. Aaron Frank Britton
E2019-01104-CCA-R3-CD
Authoring Judge: Judge James Curwood Witt, Jr.
Trial Court Judge: Judge Steven Wayne Sword

The defendant, Aaron Frank Britton, appeals his Knox County Criminal Court guiltypleaded conviction of aggravated assault, arguing that the trial court erred by imposing a fully incarcerative sentence. Discerning no error, we affirm.

Knox County Court of Criminal Appeals 03/05/20