Court of Criminal Appeals Opinions

Format: 06/03/2020
Format: 06/03/2020
Juan Vargas v. State of Tennessee
M2019-00620-CCA-R3-PC
Authoring Judge: Judge Robert L. Holloway Jr
Trial Court Judge: Judge Cheryl A. Blackburn

A Davidson County jury convicted Petitioner, Juan Vargas, of first degree murder, and the trial court sentenced him to life in prison. Petitioner appealed, and this court affirmed his conviction on direct appeal. Petitioner filed a pro se Post-Conviction Petition, and after a hearing, the post-conviction court denied relief. On appeal, Petitioner argues that ineffective assistance of counsel and prosecutorial misconduct require a new trial. After a thorough review of the record and applicable case law, we affirm the judgment of the post-conviction court.

Davidson County Court of Criminal Appeals 02/26/20
Cortney R. Logan v. State of Tennessee
M2018-01786-CCA-R3-PC
Authoring Judge: Judge Thomas T. Woodall
Trial Court Judge: Judge Seth W. Norman

Petitioner, Cortney R. Logan, was convicted by a Davidson County jury of attempted first degree murder and employing a firearm during the flight or escape from the attempt to commit a dangerous felony. Petitioner received consecutive sentences of 25 years and 6 years for a total effective sentence of 31 years. Petitioner’s convictions and sentences were affirmed on direct appeal. Petitioner sought post-conviction relief, alleging that his trial counsel was ineffective. Following an evidentiary hearing, the post-conviction court denied post-conviction relief. Having reviewed the record and the briefs of the parties, we affirm the judgment of the post-conviction court.

Davidson County Court of Criminal Appeals 02/26/20
State of Tennessee v. Pamela Kidd Hafer
E2018-02076-CCA-R9-CD
Authoring Judge: Judge James Curwood Witt, Jr.
Trial Court Judge: Judge Bob R. McGee

In this interlocutory appeal, the State challenges the ruling of the trial court suppressing the results of toxicology testing conducted on the blood sample that the defendant, Pamela Kidd Hafer, provided to the police. The State asserts that the trial court erred because the defendant voluntarily consented to the warrantless drawing of her blood. In the alternative, the State contends that the trial court should have concluded that the good faith exception to the warrant requirement obviated the need to suppress the challenged evidence. Because the evidence establishes that, under the totality of the circumstances, the defendant twice voluntarily consented to the drawing of her blood, we reverse the judgment of the trial court and remand the case to the trial court for further proceedings consistent with this opinion. Because we have concluded that the defendant voluntarily consented to the warrantless blood draw and because the good faith issue was not fully litigated below, we do not consider the State’s claim that the evidence was admissible via the good faith exception.

Knox County Court of Criminal Appeals 02/26/20
Matthew Whitehair v. State of Tennessee
M2019-00517-CCA-R3-PC
Authoring Judge: Judge Timothy L. Easter
Trial Court Judge: Judge David M. Bragg

Matthew Whitehair, Petitioner, was convicted of one count of simple assault, two counts of aggravated sexual battery, two counts of sexual battery, five counts of attempted incest, one count of incest, one count of statutory rape by an authority figure, and one count of sexual battery by an authority figure. Petitioner was found not guilty of two counts of incest and two counts of statutory rape by an authority figure. His convictions were affirmed on direct appeal. State v. Matthew Whitehair, No. M2014-00883-CCA-R3-CD, 2016 WL 880021, at *1 (Tenn. Crim. App. Mar. 8, 2016), perm. app. denied (Tenn. Oct. 20, 2016). Subsequently, Petitioner filed a timely petition for post-conviction relief in which he alleged various instances of ineffective assistance of trial counsel and appellate counsel, among other things. After a lengthy, multi-day hearing, the post-conviction court denied relief. Petitioner appeals from the denial of post-conviction relief. After our review, we determine that Petitioner has failed to present clear and convincing evidence that he is entitled to relief. Consequently, we affirm the judgment of the post-conviction court.

Rutherford County Court of Criminal Appeals 02/26/20
Ed Loyde v. State of Tennessee
W2018-01740-CCA-R3-PC
Authoring Judge: Judge Norma McGee Ogle
Trial Court Judge: Judge J. Robert Carter, Jr.

The Petitioner, Ed Loyde, appeals the Shelby County Criminal Court’s denial of his petition for post-conviction relief from his convictions of rape of a child and aggravated sexual battery and resulting effective sentence of thirty-five years in confinement. On appeal, the Petitioner contends that the post-conviction court erred by denying his petition because he received the ineffective assistance of counsel at trial. Based upon the oral arguments, the record, and the parties’ briefs, we affirm the judgment of the postconviction court.

Shelby County Court of Criminal Appeals 02/25/20
Jamarius Gant v. State of Tennessee
W2019-00147-CCA-R3-PC
Authoring Judge: Judge J. Ross Dyer
Trial Court Judge: Judge Kyle Atkins

The petitioner, Jamarius Gant, appeals the denial of his post-conviction petition, 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.

Madison County Court of Criminal Appeals 02/25/20
David Burrows v. State of Tennessee
W2019-00961-CCA-R3-PC
Authoring Judge: Judge Camille R. McMullen
Trial Court Judge: Judge John W. Campbell

The Petitioner, David Burrows, appeals from the Shelby County Criminal Court’s denial of post-conviction relief from his convictions for first degree premeditated murder, first degree felony murder, and especially aggravated kidnapping. On appeal, the Petitioner argues that trial counsel provided ineffective assistance in failing to discover his intelligence quotient (“IQ”) of 76 and in failing to seek a mental evaluation. We affirm the judgment of the post-conviction court.

Shelby County Court of Criminal Appeals 02/25/20
State of Tennessee v. Daniel Wade Wilson
E2019-00772-CCA-R3-CD
Authoring Judge: Judge Timothy L. Easter
Trial Court Judge: Judge William K. Rogers

Daniel Wade Wilson, Petitioner, challenges the trial court’s denial of his motion filed pursuant to Tennessee Rule of Criminal Procedure 36.1 in which he sought to correct what he alleged was an illegal sentence for felony murder. Petitioner argues that the conviction violated the prohibitions against double jeopardy and that the trial court failed to follow the mandate of this Court after retrial. After a review of the record and the issues, we affirm the judgment of the trial court.

Sullivan County Court of Criminal Appeals 02/24/20
James Edward Bostic, Jr. v. State of Tennessee
M2019-00824-CCA-R3-PC
Authoring Judge: Judge Alan E. Glenn
Trial Court Judge: Judge Steve R. Dozier

The Petitioner, James Edward Bostic, Jr., appeals the post-conviction court’s dismissal of his petition for post-conviction relief and denial of related motions. On appeal, he asserts that the Tennessee Department of Correction refuses to comply with an order by the trial court awarding him jail credit and that the matter should be remanded to the trial court for the trial court to resolve. He also asserts for the first time on appeal that his post-conviction counsel was ineffective because she failed to assist him in his fight for jail credit. After review, we affirm the judgment of the post-conviction court.

Davidson County Court of Criminal Appeals 02/24/20
State of Tennessee v. Nikki Bodie Pate
M2018-02266-CCA-R3-CD
Authoring Judge: Judge Robert W. Wedemeyer
Trial Court Judge: Judge Justin C. Angel

The Defendant, Nikki Bodie Pate, pleaded guilty to two counts of custodial interference. Following a sentencing hearing, the trial court granted the Defendant’s request for judicial diversion and placed the Defendant on probation for eighteen months. On appeal, the State contends that the trial court erred when it granted the Defendant judicial diversion. After a thorough review of the record and applicable law, we reverse the trial court’s judgment and remand for further proceedings consistent with this opinion.

Sequatchie County Court of Criminal Appeals 02/24/20
State of Tennessee v. Harley Crosland
M2017-01232-CCA-R3-CD
Authoring Judge: Judge Camille R. McMullen
Trial Court Judge: Judge Joseph A. Woodruff

The State appealed the trial court’s application of the Criminal Savings Statute to the Defendant’s conviction for “Theft over $500,” arguing that the court improperly imposed a misdemeanor sentence for the Defendant’s guilty plea to Class E felony theft and that the amendments to the theft grading statute changed the elements of the offense, rather than the punishment for the offense. See T.C.A. §§ 39-14-103 (2014) (generic theft statute), 39-14-105 (2014) (amended 2017) (theft grading statute). Upon review, a majority of this court dismissed the appeal after concluding that the State had no appeal as of right under Tennessee Rule of Appellate Procedure 3 or Tennessee Code Annotated section 40-35-402. State v. Harley Crosland, No. M2017-01232-CCA-R3-CD, 2018 WL 3092903 (Tenn. Crim. App. June 21, 2018), perm. app. granted and case remanded, No. M2017-01232-SC-R11-CD (Tenn. Dec. 5, 2019) (order). On December 5, 2019, the Tennessee Supreme Court granted the State’s application for permission to appeal and remanded the case to this court for reconsideration in light of the supreme court’s opinion in State v. Menke, No. M2017-00597-SC-R11-CD, ___ S.W.3d ___, 2019 WL 6336427 (Tenn. Nov. 27, 2019). Harley Crosland, No. M2017-01232-SC-R11-CD (Tenn. Dec. 5, 2019) (order). Upon further review, we affirm the trial court’s imposition of a sentence of eleven months and twenty-nine days for the Defendant’s theft conviction, we reverse the portion of the judgment stating that this theft conviction is a Class E felony, and we remand the case to the trial court for entry of a corrected judgment form reflecting that the Defendant’s amended offense and conviction offense are theft of property valued at $1,000 or less and that this theft conviction constitutes a Class A misdemeanor.

Lewis County Court of Criminal Appeals 02/24/20
State of Tennessee v. James Arnold Demoss
M2017-02353-CCA-R3-CD
Authoring Judge: Judge Norma McGee Ogle
Trial Court Judge: Judge David D. Wolfe

The Appellant, James Arnold Demoss, pled guilty to aggravated burglary, a Class C felony, and driving on a revoked license, fourth offense, a Class A misdemeanor. Pursuant to the plea agreement, the trial court was to determine the length and manner of service of the sentences. After a sentencing hearing, the trial court sentenced the Appellant as a Range II, multiple offender to ten years in confinement for aggravated burglary and to a concurrent sentence of eleven months, twenty-nine days for driving on a revoked license, fourth offense. On appeal, the Appellant contends that the trial court erred by denying his request for alternative sentencing. Based upon the record and the parties’ briefs, we affirm the judgments of the trial court.

Dickson County Court of Criminal Appeals 02/24/20
Derrick Wade v. State of Tennessee
W2019-00432-CCA-R3-PC
Authoring Judge: Presiding Judge John Everett Williams
Trial Court Judge: Judge Kyle Atkins

Pursuant to a plea agreement, the Petitioner, Derrick Wade, received an effective thirty-year sentence for his convictions for two counts of second degree murder, two counts of especially aggravated robbery, and attempted first degree murder. The Petitioner filed a timely post-conviction petition, which was denied after a hearing. On appeal, the Petitioner asserts that he received the ineffective assistance of trial counsel and that his pleas were not entered knowingly or voluntarily because he was under duress due to the circumstances of his plea. After a thorough review of the record, we discern no error and affirm the post-conviction court’s judgment.

Madison County Court of Criminal Appeals 02/21/20
State of Tennessee v. Morrieo Allen
W2018-01339-CCA-R3-CD
Authoring Judge: Judge Thomas T. Woodall
Trial Court Judge: Judge Chris Craft

Defendant, Morrieo Allen, was indicted for the offense of first degree felony murder in the perpetration of robbery. At the conclusion of the State’s case-in-chief, Defendant moved for a judgment of acquittal, asserting that the State failed to prove venue in Shelby County and that the evidence was insufficient to support a conviction. The trial court denied Defendant’s motion. A jury found Defendant guilty as charged, and the trial court sentenced Defendant to life in prison. On appeal, Defendant argues that (1) the trial court erred by denying his motion for judgment of acquittal when the proof at trial was insufficient to prove venue in Shelby County; and (2) that there was insufficient evidence to support his conviction. Having reviewed the record on appeal and applicable law, we find no error. The judgment of the trial court is therefore affirmed.

Shelby County Court of Criminal Appeals 02/21/20
Edward Lee Hood, Jr. v. State of Tennessee
W2019-00598-CCA-R3-ECN
Authoring Judge: Presiding Judge John Everett Williams
Trial Court Judge: Judge Kyle Atkins

The Petitioner, Edward Lee Hood, Jr., appeals the coram nobis court’s dismissal of his petition for writ of error coram nobis in which he challenged his 2009 convictions of two counts of rape of a child and two counts of incest. After a review of the record and applicable law, we affirm the judgment of the coram nobis court.

Henderson County Court of Criminal Appeals 02/21/20
State of Tennessee v. Glenn Fred Glatz - separate opinion
E2019-00431-CCA-R3-CD
Authoring Judge: Judge Thomas T. Woodall
Trial Court Judge: Judge James L. Gass

I join in the majority opinion except that portion of the opinion which examines the issue of evidence admitted in violation of Tennessee Rule of Evidence 404(b). This issue is waived. The State correctly argues it is waived. Defendant acknowledges the issue is waived, but seeks relief in plain error review.

Sevier County Court of Criminal Appeals 02/21/20
State of Tennessee v. Glenn Fred Glatz
E2019-00431-CCA-R3-CD
Authoring Judge: Judge James Curwood Witt, Jr.
Trial Court Judge: Judge James L. Gass

The defendant, Glenn Fred Glatz, appeals his Sevier County Circuit Court jury convictions of attempted sexual exploitation of a minor and contributing to the delinquency of a minor, arguing that the evidence was insufficient to support his convictions and that the trial court erred by admitting certain testimony into evidence. Because the evidence was insufficient to support the defendant’s conviction of attempted sexual exploitation of a minor, that count is reversed, and the charge is dismissed. We affirm the defendant’s conviction of contributing to the delinquency of a minor.

Sevier County Court of Criminal Appeals 02/21/20
Anthony Dowlen v. State Of Tennessee
M2019-00631-CCA-R3-PC
Authoring Judge: Judge J. Ross Dyer
Trial Court Judge: Judge David M. Bragg

The petitioner, Anthony Dowlen, appeals the summary dismissal of his petition for post-conviction relief, arguing the petition stated a colorable claim for relief and the post-conviction court erred in dismissing the petition without the appointment of counsel. Following our review, we find the trial court erred in dismissing the petition as it stated a colorable claim thus warranting the appointment of counsel. Accordingly, we reverse the order of summary dismissal and remand the case for further proceedings pursuant to the
Post-Conviction Procedure Act.

Rutherford County Court of Criminal Appeals 02/21/20
State of Tennessee v. Jeremy Randall C. Ledbetter
M2018-00846-CCA-R3-CD
Authoring Judge: Judge Robert H. Montgomery, Jr.
Trial Court Judge: Judge Steve R. Dozier

The Defendant, Jeremy Randall C. Ledbetter, was convicted by a Davidson County Criminal Court jury of two counts of rape of a child, a Class A felony; two counts of aggravated sexual battery, a Class B felony; two counts of soliciting sexual exploitation of a minor, a Class B felony; and one count of exploitation by displaying sexual acts to a minor, a Class C felony. See T.C.A. §§ 39-13-522 (2018) (rape of a child), 39-13-504 (2018) (aggravated sexual battery), 39-13-529(a) (soliciting sexual exploitation of a minor) (Supp. 2011, Supp. 2012, Supp. 2013), 39-13-529(b)(1) (displaying sexual acts to a minor). The Defendant is serving an effective eighty-one years for the convictions. On appeal, he contends that (1) the evidence is insufficient to support his convictions, (2) the State’s election of offenses was inadequate, (3) the trial court erred in denying his motion for a severance, (4) the court erred in admitting evidence, and (5) his sentence is excessive. We affirm the judgments of the trial court.

Davidson County Court of Criminal Appeals 02/20/20
Jamaal Mayes v. State of Tennessee
E2019-00282-CCA-R3-PC
Authoring Judge: Judge Timothy L. Easter
Trial Court Judge: Judge Don W. Poole

Petitioner, Jamaal Mayes, appeals the dismissal of his petition for post-conviction relief from his 2003 guilty-pleaded conviction for attempted rape of a child. Petitioner argues that the statute of limitations should be tolled on due process grounds to assert a laterarising claim, namely that he did not become aware that he was subject to community supervision for life until more than ten years after his plea. After a hearing, the postconviction court dismissed the petition as untimely. Upon review, we affirm the judgment of the post-conviction court.

Hamilton County Court of Criminal Appeals 02/20/20
Bradley David Townsend v. State of Tennessee
E2018-01052-CCA-R3-PC
Authoring Judge: Judge Norma McGee Ogle
Trial Court Judge: Judge Jeffery Hill Wicks

The Petitioner, Bradley Townsend, appeals the Roane County Criminal Court’s denial of his petition for post-conviction relief from his two convictions of aggravated sexual battery, a Class B felony, and resulting sentence of eight years. On appeal, he contends that he received ineffective assistance of counsel because trial counsel failed to request jury instructions on certain lesser-included offenses. Based upon the oral arguments, the record, and the parties’ briefs, we conclude that the Petitioner received the ineffective assistance of counsel with regard to his conviction of aggravated sexual battery in count twenty-one. Therefore, we reverse the judgment of the post-conviction court as to that count and remand the case to the trial court for further proceedings consistent with this opinion.

Roane County Court of Criminal Appeals 02/20/20
State of Tennessee v. Garrick Graham
E2018-02162-CCA-R3-CD
Authoring Judge: Judge Norma McGee Ogle
Trial Court Judge: Judge James F. Goodwin, Jr.

The Petitioner, Garrick Graham, filed a pro se motion to correct an illegal sentence pursuant to Tennessee Rule of Criminal Procedure 36.1. The Sullivan County Criminal Court granted the motion in part and denied the motion in part, and the Petitioner appeals the trial court’s denial. Based upon our view of the record and the parties’ briefs, we affirm the judgment of the trial court.

Sullivan County Court of Criminal Appeals 02/20/20
Gerald McEwen v. State of Tennessee
W2019-00560-CCA-R3-PC
Authoring Judge: Judge Camille R. McMullen
Trial Court Judge: Judge Paula L. Skahan

The Petitioner, Gerald McEwen, appeals the Shelby County Criminal Court’s denial of post-conviction relief from his convictions for first degree premeditated murder and attempted first degree murder, for which he received an effective sentence of life without parole. In this appeal, the Petitioner argues that trial counsel was ineffective in failing to adequately cross-examine an eyewitness and in failing to formally move for a mistrial following alleged improper conduct by the prosecutrix. Upon review, we affirm the judgment of the post-conviction court.

Shelby County Court of Criminal Appeals 02/19/20
State of Tennessee v. Reginald Parnell
W2019-00247-CCA-R3-CD
Authoring Judge: Judge Camille R. McMullen
Trial Court Judge: Judge W. Mark Ward

On March 24, 2015, a Shelby County Grand Jury indicted the Defendant-Appellant, Reginald Parnell, for two counts of aggravated assault. On May 21, 2018, the day he was set for trial, the Defendant accepted a plea agreement and entered an Alford plea to each count of aggravated assault in exchange for a concurrent term of three years’ probation. On June 15, 2018, represented by newly retained counsel, the Defendant filed a motion to withdraw his guilty plea, which was denied by the trial court following a hearing. On appeal, the Defendant argues that the trial court abused its discretion in denying the Defendant’s motion to withdraw his guilty plea. Upon our review, we affirm.

Shelby County Court of Criminal Appeals 02/19/20
Vernon Walton v. State of Tennessee
W2019-00379-CCA-R3-PC
Authoring Judge: Judge Robert H. Montgomery, Jr.
Trial Court Judge: Judge J. Robert Carter, Jr.

The Petitioner, Vernon Walton, appeals from the Shelby County Criminal Court’s denial of his petition for post-conviction relief from his December 5, 2016 guilty plea conviction of attempted first degree murder, for which he is serving a sixteen-year sentence. He contends that the post-conviction court erred in denying relief based upon his claims of ineffective assistance of counsel and entry of an involuntary guilty plea. We affirm the judgment of the post-conviction court.

Shelby County Court of Criminal Appeals 02/19/20