Court of Criminal Appeals Opinions

Format: 10/23/2020
Format: 10/23/2020
State of Tennessee v. Nichole Larae Marlow
E2019-01878-CCA-R3-CD
Authoring Judge: Judge Norma McGee Ogle
Trial Court Judge: Judge E. Shayne Sexton

The Appellant, Nichole Larae Marlow, pled guilty in the Campbell County Criminal Court to possession of contraband in a penal institution, a Class D felony, and received a sevenyear sentence to be served in confinement. On appeal, the Appellant contends that her sentence is excessive and that the trial court erred by denying her request for alternative sentencing. Based upon the record and the parties’ briefs, we affirm the judgment of the trial court.

Campbell County Court of Criminal Appeals 10/23/20
State of Tennessee v. Amanda Jones
W2019-01771-CCA-R3-CD
Authoring Judge: Judge J. Ross Dyer
Trial Court Judge: Judge R. Lee Moore, Jr.

A Dyer County jury found the defendant, Amanda E. Jones, guilty of sale of amphetamine, a Schedule II drug. As a result of her conviction, the trial court sentenced the defendant to six years in the Tennessee Department of Correction, suspended to supervised probation after serving 365 days in confinement. On appeal, the defendant challenges the sufficiency of the evidence to support her conviction. Following our review, we affirm the judgment of the trial court.

Dyer County Court of Criminal Appeals 10/23/20
State of Tennessee v. Larreal Brown and Randall Rowland
W2018-02128-CCA-R3-CD
Authoring Judge: Judge J. Ross Dyer
Trial Court Judge: Judge Lee V. Coffee

After a joint trial, a Shelby County jury found the defendants, Larreal Brown and Randall Rowland, guilty of especially aggravated kidnapping (Count 1), aggravated rape (Counts 2, 3, and 4), aggravated robbery (Count 5), and aggravated assault while acting in concert with two or more others (Count 6). The trial court imposed effective sentences of 120 and 71 years in confinement, respectively. On appeal, Defendant Brown asserts the trial court improperly limited his ability to cross-examine Gage Caulk, a co-defendant, regarding Mr. Caulk’s sentencing exposure, and Defendant Rowland argues the trial court erred by excluding prior inconsistent statements made by the victim and contained in a police report. After our review, we affirm the judgments of the trial court.

Shelby County Court of Criminal Appeals 10/23/20
State of Tennessee v. Kevin Dewayne Golden
W2019-01418-CCA-R3-CD
Authoring Judge: Judge D. Kelly Thomas, Jr.
Trial Court Judge: Judge Roy B. Morgan, Jr.

The Defendant, Kelvin Dewayne Golden, was convicted after a jury trial of rape of a child, and he received a sentence of thirty years. In this appeal as of right, the Defendant contends (1) that the juvenile court erred in transferring him to criminal court, (2) that the trial court erred in denying his motion to dismiss due to a delay in prosecuting the case, and (3) that the evidence was insufficient to support his conviction. Following our review, we affirm the judgment of the trial court.

Madison County Court of Criminal Appeals 10/23/20
Antonio Romero Roberts v. State of Tennessee
E2019-01975-CCA-R3-PC
Authoring Judge: Judge Camille R. McMullen
Trial Court Judge: Judge Barry A. Steelman

Pro se petitioner, Antonio Romero Roberts, appeals the summary dismissal of his petition for post-conviction relief by the Criminal Court for Hamilton County. Upon our review, we affirm.

Hamilton County Court of Criminal Appeals 10/22/20
STATE OF TENNESSEE v. ADAM LEE LOPER
M2019-02258-CCA-R3-CD
Authoring Judge: Judge Alan E. Glenn
Trial Court Judge: Judge Wesley Thomas Bray

On September 30, 2019, the Defendant, Adam Lee Loper, pleaded guilty to theft of more than $2,500. The trial court imposed a
three-year sentence of incarceration. The Defendant argues on appeal that the trial court erred in denying his request for probation. After thorough review, we affirm the judgment of the trial court.

Putnam County Court of Criminal Appeals 10/22/20
State of Tennessee v. Edward Rudolph Wyse, Jr.
E2019-01454-CCA-R3-CD
Authoring Judge: Judge James Curwood Witt, Jr.
Trial Court Judge: Judge James L. Gass

The defendant, Edward Rudolph Wyse, Jr., appeals his 2019 Cocke County Circuit Court jury convictions of rape and incest, challenging the denial of the motion to suppress his statement to the police, the sufficiency of the convicting evidence, and the propriety of the sentence. The trial court did not err by denying the defendant’s motion to suppress the statement. Sufficient evidence supports the defendant’s conviction of incest, and that conviction is affirmed. Because the State failed to produce any evidence that the defendant used force or coercion to accomplish the sexual penetration of the victim, we reverse the conviction of rape and dismiss that charge. Because the trial court erroneously failed to consider probation as a sentencing alternative and because our dismissal of the rape charge impacts the defendant’s eligibility for other sentencing alternatives, we reverse the sentencing decision of the trial court and remand the case for a new sentencing hearing for the conviction of incest.

Cocke County Court of Criminal Appeals 10/20/20
STATE OF TENNESSEE v. CHRISTOPHER MCLAWHORN
M2018-02152-CCA-R3-CD
Authoring Judge: Judge Robert H. Montgomery.Jr.
Trial Court Judge: Judge Steve R. Dozier

The Defendant, Christopher McLawhorn, was convicted by a Davidson County Criminal Court jury of first degree premeditated murder, first degree felony murder; especially aggravated burglary, a Class B felony; and two counts of theft of property valued at $1000 or less, Class A misdemeanors. See T.C.A. §§ 39-13-202 (first degree murder) (2014) (subsequently amended), 39-14-404 (2018) (especially aggravated burglary), 39-14-146 (2014) (subsequently amended) (theft). The trial court merged the first degree murder convictions and imposed a life sentence. Following a sentencing hearing, the court imposed a sentence of twelve years as a Range I offender for especially aggravated burglary, to be served consecutively to the life sentence. The court imposed sentences of eleven months and twenty-nine days for each of the two theft convictions and ordered them to be served consecutively to each other and concurrently to the life sentence. On appeal, the Defendant contends that the evidence is insufficient to support his convictions and that the trial court erred in denying his motion to suppress and admitting evidence obtained from a search of his cell phone. We affirm the judgments of the trial court.

Davidson County Court of Criminal Appeals 10/20/20
State of Tennessee v. Jeffery Siler
E2020-00468-CCA-R3-CD
Authoring Judge: Judge Robert L. Holloway, Jr.
Trial Court Judge: Judge Bobby R. McGee

Jeffery Siler, Defendant, appeals the trial court’s summary dismissal of his Tennessee Rule of Criminal Procedure 36 motion to correct a clerical error in the trial court’s order revoking Defendant’s probation. Defendant claims that the revocation order erroneously failed to award 622 days’ jail credit for the time Defendant served on a concurrent federal sentence while his state court sentence was suspended and Defendant was on unsupervised probation. Defendant’s probationary period ran from the date of his state court convictions until the date the probation revocation warrant was issued. This probationary period encompassed the 622 days Defendant was incarcerated on the concurrent federal sentence. Because Defendant’s probation was revoked before his probationary period expired, Defendant was not entitled to credit upon reinstatement of the original state court sentence. State v. Hunter, 1 S.W.3d 643, 644 (Tenn. 1999). Therefore, there is no clerical error in the revocation order. We affirm the trial court’s summary denial of the Rule 36 motion.

Knox County Court of Criminal Appeals 10/19/20
Brandon Harris v. State of Tennessee
W2019-00996-CCA-R3-PC
Authoring Judge: Judge Camille R. McMullen
Trial Court Judge: Judge Lee V. Coffee

The Petitioner, Brandon Harris, appeals from the denial of post-conviction relief arguing that trial counsel was ineffective in failing to investigate and call witnesses, failing to present expert testimony of mental impairment, and failing to object to the State’s certification of a voice recognition expert. Upon review, we affirm the judgment of the post-conviction court.

Shelby County Court of Criminal Appeals 10/16/20
State of Tennessee v. Carl Allen
W2019-02162-CCA-R3-CD
Authoring Judge: Judge Timothy L. Easter
Trial Court Judge: Judge Lee V. Coffee

Defendant, Carl Allen, is appealing the trial court’s denial of his motion to correct illegal sentence filed pursuant to Tennessee Rule of Criminal Procedure 36.1. After a thorough review of the record, we affirm the judgment of the trial court.

Shelby County Court of Criminal Appeals 10/16/20
Corey Mitchell v. State of Tennessee
W2019-02267-CCA-R3-PC
Authoring Judge: Judge Camille R. McMullen
Trial Court Judge: Judge John W. Campbell

Following the reversal and remand of this case for a new evidentiary hearing, Corey Mitchell v. State, No. W2016-01818-CCA-R3-PC, 2018 WL 3005379, at *7 (Tenn. Crim. App. June 14, 2018), the post-conviction court again denied relief to the Petitioner, Corey Mitchell. In this appeal, the Petitioner argues that he received ineffective assistance of counsel, that his guilty plea was unknowing and involuntary, and that his plea should be withdrawn to correct manifest injustice. We affirm the judgment of the post-conviction court.

Shelby County Court of Criminal Appeals 10/16/20
State of Tennessee v. Ronald Davis
W2019-01315-CCA-R3-CD
Authoring Judge: Judge Robert W. Wedemeyer
Trial Court Judge: Judge Jennifer Johnson Mitchell

The Defendant, Ronald Davis, appeals the trial court’s revocation of his three-year probationary sentence for identity theft. The trial court determined that the Defendant’s failure to report to his probation officer violated the terms of his probation sentence and ordered the Defendant to serve his sentence. The Defendant asserts that the trial court’s revocation of his probation sentence was an abuse of discretion because he “was trying to connect with his probation officer.” The record supports the trial court’s finding that the Defendant failed to report to his probation officer during a six-month period. Based upon this evidence, we conclude that revocation of the probation sentence was not an abuse of discretion.

Shelby County Court of Criminal Appeals 10/16/20
State of Tennessee v. Robert Glen Gray
W2019-01806-CCA-R3-CD
Authoring Judge: Judge Robert W. Wedemeyer
Trial Court Judge: Judge J. Weber McCraw

A McNairy County jury convicted the Defendant, Robert Glen Gray, of two counts of delivery of methamphetamine weighing .5 grams or more. The trial court sentenced the Defendant to a total effective sentence of twenty-five years. On appeal, the Defendant contends that the evidence is insufficient to support his convictions. After review, we affirm the trial court’s judgments.

McNairy County Court of Criminal Appeals 10/16/20
State of Tennessee v. Nelson P. Troglin
E2020-00129-CCA-R3-CD
Authoring Judge: Judge Robert H. Montgomery, Jr.
Trial Court Judge: Judge Thomas W. Graham

The Defendant, Nelson P. Troglin, appeals from the Bledsoe County Circuit Court’s denial of his motion to correct an illegal sentence. See Tenn. R. Crim. P. 36.1. He contends that the trial court erred in denying relief on the basis that he was illegally convicted of the offense of attempted first degree felony murder. We affirm the judgment of the trial court.

Bledsoe County Court of Criminal Appeals 10/16/20
Darrell A. Cooper v. State of Tennessee
E2019-02132-CCA-R3-PC
Authoring Judge: Judge Robert H. Montgomery, Jr.
Trial Court Judge: Judge G. Scott Green

The Petitioner, Darrell A. Cooper, appeals from the Knox County Criminal Court’s denial of his petition for post-conviction relief from his 2016 convictions for two counts of aggravated robbery, two counts of aggravated kidnapping, and one count of possession of a firearm while being a convicted felon, for which he is serving a twenty-year sentence. The Petitioner contends that he received the ineffective assistance of counsel, rendering his guilty pleas involuntary. We remand the case to the post-conviction court for the entry of an order setting forth findings of facts and conclusions of law in compliance with Tennessee Code Annotated section 40-30-111(b) (2018).

Knox County Court of Criminal Appeals 10/16/20
James Kelly v. State of Tennessee
E2020-00759-CCA-R3-PC
Authoring Judge: Judge. D. Kelly Thomas, Jr.
Trial Court Judge: Judge Andrew M. Freiberg

The pro se Petitioner, James Kelly, appeals as of right from the Bradley County Criminal Court’s order summarily denying his pro se pleading that the trial court treated as a petition for post-conviction relief. The State has filed a motion to affirm the trial court’s judgment pursuant to Rule 20 of the Rules of the Tennessee Court of Criminal Appeals. Following our review, we conclude that the State’s motion is well-taken and affirm the judgment of the trial court.

Bradley County Court of Criminal Appeals 10/16/20
State of Tennessee v. Gil Jackson Groseclose
E2019-01721-CCA-R3-CD
Authoring Judge: Judge Norma McGee Ogle
Trial Court Judge: Judge James F. Goodwin, Jr.

The Appellant, Gil Jackson Groseclose, pled guilty in the Sullivan County Criminal Court to driving under the influence (DUI) and DUI, per se, and the trial court convicted him after a bench trial of DUI, second offense. The trial court merged the convictions, Class A misdemeanors, and sentenced the Appellant to eleven months, twenty-nine days to be served as one hundred twenty days in jail followed by supervised probation. On appeal, the Appellant claims that the evidence is insufficient to support his conviction of DUI, second offense, because the judgment of conviction for his prior DUI was void and that the trial court erred by ordering confinement of more than the mandatory minimum sentence in jail. Based upon the oral arguments, the record, and the parties’ briefs, we affirm the judgments of the trial court.

Sullivan County Court of Criminal Appeals 10/15/20
State of Tennessee v. Adonis Donnell Holbrooks
M2019-02099-CCA-R3-CD
Authoring Judge: Judge Timothy L. Easter
Trial Court Judge: Judge Mark J. Fishburn

Adonis Donnell Holbrooks, Defendant, was indicted by the Davidson County Grand Jury in a superseding indictment for one count of attempted rape of a child, one count of solicitation of a minor, one count of especially aggravated sexual exploitation of a minor, and one count of sexual exploitation of a minor via electronic means. After a jury trial, Defendant was convicted as charged. As a result of the convictions, Defendant received an effective sentence of twelve years in incarceration with 100% release eligibility. The trial court denied a motion for new trial and motion to reconsider the denial of the motion for new trial. Defendant appealed, arguing that the evidence was insufficient to support the convictions for attempted rape of a child and especially aggravated sexual exploitation of a minor. After a thorough review, we affirm the judgments of the trial court.

Davidson County Court of Criminal Appeals 10/14/20
STATE OF TENNESSEE v. PATRICK DEAN ARMSTRONG
M2019-01487-CCA-R3-CD
Authoring Judge: Judge Robert L. Holloway, Jr.
Trial Court Judge: Judge M. Wyatt Burk

The Marshall County Grand Jury indicted Patrick Dean Armstrong, Defendant, for one count of first degree premeditated murder in the death of the victim, James Dockery. Following a trial, the jury convicted Defendant of the lesser-included offense of aggravated assault resulting in death. The trial court denied alternative sentencing, citing the seriousness of the offense and the need for deterrence, and sentenced Defendant as a Range I standard offender to five years and six months’ incarceration at seventy-five percent release eligibility. Following a review of the record and applicable case law, we affirm the conviction and the length of the sentence. However, we hold that the trial court erred in denying alternative sentencing. Following de novo review, Defendant’s sentence is modified to one year in confinement to be followed by four years and six months’ supervised probation, and the case is remanded to the trial court for the entry of an amended judgment consistent with this opinion.

Marshall County Court of Criminal Appeals 10/13/20
State of Tennessee v. Jacob Brown, II
E2019-01462-CCA-R3-CD
Authoring Judge: Judge Curwood Witt, Jr.
Trial Court Judge: Judge Steven W. Sword

The defendant, Jacob Brown, II, appeals the Knox County Criminal Court’s order setting aside an expunction order. As conceded by the State, the trial court lacked jurisdiction to set aside the order, and we vacate the trial court’s judgment

Knox County Court of Criminal Appeals 10/13/20
Kyle Richard Freemon v. State of Tennessee
M2019-02220-CCA-R3-PC
Authoring Judge: Judge Robert W. Wedemeyer
Trial Court Judge: Judge David M. Bragg

In 2018, the Petitioner, Kyle Richard Freemon, pleaded guilty to sexual battery by an authority figure, a Class C felony, and the trial court sentenced him to six years of incarceration, suspended after the service of six months. The Petitioner filed a petition for post-conviction relief in which he alleged that his guilty plea was not knowingly and voluntarily entered because he had received the ineffective assistance of counsel. The post-conviction court dismissed the petition, and the Petitioner appeals. After review, we affirm the post-conviction court’s judgment.

Rutherford County Court of Criminal Appeals 10/13/20
Billy F. Johnson, III v. State of Tennessee
M2019-00910-CCA-R3-ECN
Authoring Judge: Judge Alan E. Glenn
Trial Court Judge: Judge Jennifer Smith

The pro se Petitioner, Billy F. Johnson, III, appeals the denial of his petition for writ of error coram nobis, alleging that he is entitled to relief based on newly discovered evidence of insanity. Following our review, we affirm the judgment of the coram nobis court denying the petition.

Davidson County Court of Criminal Appeals 10/13/20
STATE OF TENNESSEE v. RICHARD JOSEPH DURICK
M2019-01155-CCA-R3-CD
Authoring Judge: Judge Robert L. Holloway, Jr.
Trial Court Judge: Judge Deanna B. Johnson

Pursuant to a plea agreement, Richard Joseph Durick (“Defendant”) pled guilty to one count each of attempted aggravated sexual exploitation of a minor and attempted sexual exploitation of a minor in exchange for an effective sentence of three years, with the manner of service to be determined by the trial court. Following a sentencing hearing, the trial court ordered Defendant to serve his sentence in confinement. On appeal, Defendant contends that the trial court abused its discretion by imposing a sentence of confinement, arguing that: (1) the trial court committed plain error in considering polygraph results and reports based on polygraph results when sentencing Defendant; (2) the trial court failed to consider Defendant’s presumption of eligibility for probation; (3) the trial court failed to consider all of the factors under Tennessee Code Annotated section 40-35-103(1)(A)-(C); and (4) the trial court inappropriately considered factors used to determine length of sentence when determining the manner of service of his sentence. Defendant further contends that the trial court erred by denying his subsequently filed motion for a reduction of sentence pursuant to Rule 35 of the Tennessee Rules of Criminal Procedure. Upon review, we affirm the judgments of the trial court.

Williamson County Court of Criminal Appeals 10/13/20
Demetree Harris v. State of Tennessee
E2019-01827-CCA-R3-PC
Authoring Judge: Judge D. Kelly Thomas, Jr.
Trial Court Judge: Judge Bob R. McGee

The Petitioner, Demetree Harris, appeals as of right from the Knox County Criminal Court’s denial of his petition for post-conviction relief, wherein he challenged his two guilty-pleaded convictions for aggravated robbery. See Tenn. Code Ann § 39-14-402. The Petitioner contends that he entered an unknowing and involuntary guilty plea as a result of the ineffective assistance of defense counsel because the Petitioner had not reviewed all of the discovery materials. Following our review, we affirm the judgment of the post-conviction court.

Knox County Court of Criminal Appeals 10/13/20