Court of Criminal Appeals Opinions

Format: 01/21/2022
Format: 01/21/2022
State of Tennessee v. Jerome Andre McClinton
M2021-00031-CCA-R3-CD
Authoring Judge: Judge Robert L. Holloway, Jr.
Trial Court Judge: Judge Wesley Thomas Bray

Defendant, Jerome Andre McClinton, pled guilty to one count of sale of more than 0.5 grams of methamphetamine.  Pursuant to his plea agreement, the manner of service of his ten-year sentence was to be determined by the trial court.  Following a sentencing hearing, the trial court ordered the sentence to be served in confinement.  On appeal, Defendant contends that the trial court abused its discretion by ordering him to serve his sentence without considering his amenability to correction or potential for rehabilitation.  Following a thorough review, we affirm the judgment of the trial court.  

Putnam County Court of Criminal Appeals 01/20/22
State of Tennessee v. Richard G. Williams, Kipling Colbert, Jr. and Christopher Bassett, Jr.
E2019-02236-CCA-R3-CD
Authoring Judge: Judge Robert W. Wedemeyer
Trial Court Judge: Judge Steven Wayne Sword

A Knox County jury convicted the defendants, Richard G. Williams, Kipling Colbert, Jr., and Christopher Bassett, Jr., of multiple felonies based on the December 17, 2015 shooting death of fifteen-year-old Zaevion Dobson. On appeal, all of the defendants challenge the trial court’s admission of a YouTube video of the defendants rapping. Defendant Bassett appeals the trial court’s denial of the motion to suppress his statement to the police. Defendants Colbert and Williams challenge the sufficiency of the evidence, and Defendant Williams, solely, asserts that the trial court erred when it admitted evidence of his involvement in an April 2016 shooting and that the effect of cumulative errors during the trial warrants appellate relief. After review, we affirm the trial court’s judgments.

Knox County Court of Criminal Appeals 01/18/22
Asata Dia Lowe-El v. State of Tennessee
E2020-01355-CCA-R3-HC
Authoring Judge: Judge Robert H. Montgomery, Jr.
Trial Court Judge: Judge Jeffery Hill Wicks

In this consolidated appeal, the Petitioner, Asata Dia Lowe-El, appeals from the Morgan County Circuit Court’s summary dismissals of his petitions for a writ of habeas corpus and for a writ of error coram nobis. On appeal, the Petitioner contends that the court erred in dismissing the petitions, rather than granting relief. The appeal from the habeas corpus proceeding is dismissed, and we affirm the judgment of the coram nobis court.

Morgan County Court of Criminal Appeals 01/18/22
State of Tennessee v. Justin Kenneth Blankenbaker
M2020-01436-CCA-R3-CD
Authoring Judge: Judge D. Kelly Thomas, Jr.
Trial Court Judge: Judge Cheryl A. Blackburn
The Defendant, Justin Kenneth Blankenbaker, was convicted by a jury of first-degree premeditated murder, arson, and abuse of a corpse, and the trial court imposed an effective sentence of life imprisonment plus five years. On appeal, the Defendant contends that (1) there was insufficient evidence to support his conviction for first-degree murder, specifically, challenging the element of premeditation; and (2) there was insufficient evidence to support his conviction for arson because he did not knowingly damage any structure. Following our review, we affirm.
 
Davidson County Court of Criminal Appeals 01/14/22
State of Tennessee v. Stephen Jacob McKinney
E2020-01730-CCA-R3-CD
Authoring Judge: Judge D. Kelly Thomas, Jr.
Trial Court Judge: Judge Thomas C. Greenholtz

The Defendant, Stephen Jacob McKinney, pled guilty in the Hamilton County Criminal Court to vehicular homicide by intoxication, a Class B felony, in exchange for an eightyear sentence with the method and manner of service to be left to the trial court’s determination. Following a sentencing hearing, the trial court concluded that the Defendant was ineligible for probation pursuant to Tennessee Code Annotated section 40- 35-303(a), which includes vehicular homicide by intoxication as one of the conviction offenses for which probation is not available. The trial court, therefore, sentenced the Defendant as a Range I, standard offender to eight years in the Department of Correction at thirty percent release eligibility. On appeal, the Defendant argues that the trial court erred by not construing Tennessee Code Annotated section 40-35-303(a) in conjunction with Tennessee Code Annotated section 39-13-213(b)(2)(B), which provides that a defendant convicted of a first offense vehicular homicide by intoxication must serve a mandatory minimum sentence of forty-eight hours of incarceration before release from confinement on probation. The Defendant contends that the statutes are not in conflict if the release from confinement in the vehicular homicide statute is interpreted as release on parole. Based on our review, we conclude that the clearly worded intent of the legislature, as expressed in Tennessee Code Annotated section 40-35-303(a), was to remove vehicular homicide by intoxication as an offense for which probation is available. Accordingly, we affirm the judgment of the trial court.

Hamilton County Court of Criminal Appeals 01/13/22
State of Tennessee v. Noreeldeen I. Abdulkarim
M2020-00502-CCA-R3-CD
Authoring Judge: Judge Robert H. Montgomery, Jr.
Trial Court Judge: Judge Steve Dozier

The Defendant, Noreeldeen I. Abdulkarim, appeals from the Davidson County Criminal Court’s denial of his motion to withdraw his guilty plea to attempted aggravated rape, for which he is serving a twelve-year sentence as a Range II offender. On appeal, he contends that the trial court erred in denying his motion to withdraw his guilty plea because (1) the plea was not knowingly and voluntarily entered and (2) he received the ineffective assistance of counsel. Both claims relate to his allegation that he was not advised that being listed on the sex offender registry and being subject to community supervision for life would be a consequence of the guilty plea. Because the trial court did not abuse its discretion in denying the motion to withdraw the guilty plea, we affirm the judgment of the trial court.

Davidson County Court of Criminal Appeals 01/13/22
Jessica R. Adkins v. State of Tennessee
E2020-01213-CCA-R3-PC
Authoring Judge: Judge D. Kelly Thomas, Jr.
Trial Court Judge: Judge Lisa Rice

The Petitioner, Jessica R. Adkins, appeals the denial of her petition for post-conviction relief from her conviction and resulting life sentence for felony murder in the perpetration of aggravated child neglect. The Petitioner’s conviction was based on her failure to seek medical treatment for her two-month-old daughter, who sustained blunt force trauma while in the care of the child’s father, Russell Dean Long, who was tried with the Petitioner. In this appeal, the Petitioner argues that the post-conviction court erred in finding that she received effective assistance of trial counsel. The State argues that the post-conviction court lacked jurisdiction to consider the petition because it was filed outside the one-year statute of limitations and the Petitioner “made no efforts to show that she complied with the requirements of Tenn. R. Sup. Ct. 28 § 2(G) by delivering her pro se petition to the appropriate prison official within the time fixed for filing.” Because the post-conviction court treated the petition as timely from the outset of the hearing, thereby preempting any proof the Petitioner may have presented to show that she delivered her petition to the appropriate prison official for mailing within the time for filing of the petition, we remand to the post-conviction court for an evidentiary hearing on the timeliness of the petition.

Washington County Court of Criminal Appeals 01/13/22
State of Tennessee v. Bradley Dwight Bowen
M2020-01311-CCA-R3-CD
Authoring Judge: Judge Robert H. Montgomery, Jr.
Trial Court Judge: Judge William R. Goodman, III

The Defendant, Bradley Dwight Bowen, appeals from the Montgomery County Circuit Court’s revocation of his effective nine-year split confinement sentence for convictions for child neglect and possession of methamphetamine. He contends that the trial court abused its discretion in ordering him to serve his sentence. We affirm the judgment of the trial court.

Montgomery County Court of Criminal Appeals 01/13/22
State of Tennessee v. Timothy Prink
W2020-01271-CCA-R3-CD
Authoring Judge: Presiding Judge John Everett Williams
Trial Court Judge: Judge Glenn Ivy Wright

The Defendant, Timothy Prink, appeals the trial court’s summary denial of his motion to correct an illegal sentence pursuant to Tennessee Rule of Criminal Procedure 36.1 in which he challenged his fifteen-year sentence resulting from his attempted first degree murder conviction and his four life sentences resulting from four first degree murder convictions. After review, we affirm the trial court’s judgment.

Shelby County Court of Criminal Appeals 01/12/22
State of Tennessee v. Vincent Williams
W2020-01500-CCA-R3-CD
Authoring Judge: Judge D. Kelly Thomas, Jr.
Trial Court Judge: Judge Chris Craft

The Defendant, Vincent Williams, was convicted by a jury of attempted first-degree murder, employing a firearm during the commission of a dangerous felony, and aggravated assault, for which he received an effective forty-year sentence. On appeal, the Defendant argues that the trial court committed plain error when it prevented him from introducing evidence of the victim’s bias and that the evidence was insufficient to establish his identity as the perpetrator. Following our review, we affirm the judgments of the trial court.

Shelby County Court of Criminal Appeals 01/12/22
State of Tennessee v. Jim George Conaser
M2020-01354-CCA-R3-CD
Authoring Judge: Judge Robert H. Montgomery, Jr.
Trial Court Judge: Judge Steve R. Dozier

The Defendant, Jim George Conaser, was convicted by a Davidson County Criminal Court jury of aggravated assault with a deadly weapon, a Class C felony, for which he is serving a twelve-year sentence as a Range III, persistent offender. See T.C.A. § 39-13- 102(a)(1)(A)(iii) (Supp. 2017) (subsequently amended). On appeal, he contends that the evidence is insufficient to support his conviction and that the trial court erred in admitting hearsay evidence. We affirm the judgment of the trial court.

Davidson County Court of Criminal Appeals 01/12/22
Dewey Abbott III v. State of Tennessee
M2020-00500-CCA-R3-PC
Authoring Judge: Judge Robert H. Montgomery, Jr.
Trial Court Judge: Judge David M. Bragg

The Petitioner, Dewey Abbott III, appeals from the Rutherford County Circuit Court’s denial of his petition for post-conviction relief from his second degree murder conviction and his agreed upon fifteen-year sentence. On appeal, the Petitioner contends that the
post-conviction court erred by denying relief on his ineffective assistance of counsel claims. We affirm the judgment of the
post-conviction court.

Rutherford County Court of Criminal Appeals 01/11/22
State of Tennessee v. Jermaine Elvey Crawford
W2020-01203-CCA-R3-CD
Authoring Judge: Judge Timothy L. Easter
Trial Court Judge: Judge Donald E. Parish

Defendant, Jermaine Elvey Crawford, appeals from the revocation of his probationary sentences in Carroll County Circuit Court case 14-CR-115 and Henry County Circuit Court case 15793. By agreement between the parties, a combined hearing was held on the probation violation warrants in both cases. Defendant asserts that there was no substantial evidence that he violated his probation. Based on the record and the parties’ briefs, we affirm the judgments of the trial courts.

Henry County Court of Criminal Appeals 01/11/22
Jeremy Jones v. State of Tennessee
W2020-01743-CCA-R3-PC
Authoring Judge: Judge Timothy L. Easter
Trial Court Judge: Judge Glenn Ivy Wright

Jeremy Jones, Petitioner, was convicted of attempted first degree murder, aggravated assault, employing a firearm during the commission of a dangerous felony, and being a convicted felon in possession of a firearm. His convictions were affirmed on appeal. State v. Jeremy Jones, No. W2015-01528-CCQA-R3-CD, 2016 WL 7654954 (Tenn. Crim. App. Sept. 26, 2016), perm. app. denied (Tenn. Jan. 20, 2017). Petitioner sought post-conviction relief on various grounds, including ineffective assistance of counsel based on trial counsel’s lack of communication and trial strategy. After a hearing, the post-conviction court denied relief and dismissed the petition. We affirm the judgment of the post-conviction court.

Shelby County Court of Criminal Appeals 01/11/22
State of Tennessee v. Timothy M. Dawson
E2020-01525-CCA-R3-CD
Authoring Judge: Judge James Curwood Witt, Jr.
Trial Court Judge: Judge Jeffery Hill Wicks

The defendant, Timothy M. Dawson, appeals his Loudon County Criminal Court jury conviction of theft of property valued at $10,000 or more but less than $60,000, arguing that he is entitled to a new trial on grounds that he was incapacitated during the Momon colloquy. See Momon v. State, 18 S.W.3d 152 (Tenn. 1999). Discerning no error, we affirm.

Loudon County Court of Criminal Appeals 01/10/22
State of Tennessee v. Kemontea Dovon McKinney
M2020-00950-CCA-R3-CD
Authoring Judge: Judge James Curwood Witt, Jr.
Trial Court Judge: Judge William R. Goodman, III

The defendant, Kemontea Dovon McKinney, appeals his Robertson County Circuit Court jury convictions of aggravated robbery, first degree premeditated murder, first degree felony murder, and theft, arguing that the trial court erred by admitting his pretrial statement into evidence, that the evidence was insufficient to support his convictions, and that the evidence established that he acted in self-defense.  Because the trial court erred by admitting the defendant’s statement into evidence and because the error was not harmless beyond a reasonable doubt, the defendant’s convictions are reversed and remanded for a new trial.  Because the evidence was insufficient to support a conviction of first degree premeditated murder but sufficient to support a conviction of second degree murder, that conviction must be modified to one of second degree murder.  The evidence was sufficient to support the jury verdicts of felony murder, aggravated robbery, and theft.  Accordingly, we remand the case to the trial court for a new trial on two counts of felony murder, one count of second degree murder, one count of aggravated robbery, and, one count of theft of property.

Robertson County Court of Criminal Appeals 01/05/22
Timothy Lee Armstrong v. State of Tennessee
M2021-00264-CCA-R3-HC
Authoring Judge: Judge Jill Bartee Ayers
Trial Court Judge: Judge Michael Wayne Collins

Petitioner, Timothy Lee Armstrong, appeals from the Trousdale County Circuit Court’s dismissal of his fourth petition for writ of habeas corpus. Petitioner alleges the trial court lacked jurisdiction to convict and to sentence him because the indictment was not filed by the court clerk, that the judgments against him are void because they do not contain a filestamp date and that the trial court erred by dismissing his petition before he was allowed additional time to file a response to the State’s motion to dismiss. Following our review of the entire record and the briefs of the parties, we affirm the judgment of the trial court.

Trousdale County Court of Criminal Appeals 01/05/22
State of Tennessee v. Terry Lee McAnulty
W2021-00382-CCA-R3-CD
Authoring Judge: Judge James Curwood Witt, Jr.
Trial Court Judge: Judge Joseph H. Walker, III

The defendant, Terry Lee McAnulty, appeals his Tipton County Circuit Court jury conviction of aggravated vehicular homicide, arguing that the evidence was insufficient to establish that his intoxication was the proximate cause of the accident that caused the death of the victim. Discerning no error, we affirm.

Tipton County Court of Criminal Appeals 01/04/22
State of Tennessee v. Adam Dewayne Holmes
E2021-00326-CCA-R3-CD
Authoring Judge: Judge James Curwood Witt, Jr.
Trial Court Judge: Judge Steven W. Sword

The defendant, Adam Dewayne Holmes, appeals his Knox County Criminal Court jury convictions of facilitation of possession with intent to sell heroin, facilitation of possession with intent to deliver heroin, possession with intent to sell less than .5 grams of cocaine in a drug-free zone, possession with intent to deliver less than .5 grams of cocaine in a drugfree zone, and simple possession, arguing that the evidence was insufficient to support his convictions and that the trial court erred by denying his motion to suppress the results of what he alleges to be an unlawful vehicle search. Discerning no error, we affirm.

Knox County Court of Criminal Appeals 01/04/22
State of Tennessee v. Edwin Alfonso Reeves
E2021-00015-CCA-R3-CD
Authoring Judge: Judge Robert H. Montgomery, Jr.
Trial Court Judge: Judge Kyle A. Hixson

The Defendant, Edwin Alfonso Reeves, was convicted by a Knox County Criminal Court jury of Count I, criminally negligent homicide, a Class E felony; and Count II, possession with the intent to sell or deliver a Schedule II controlled substance in a drug-free zone, a Class C felony. See T.C.A. §§ 39-13-212 (2018) (criminally negligent homicide); 39-17- 417(a)(4), (c)(2)(A) (2018) (subsequently amended) (possession with intent to sell or deliver a Schedule II controlled substance); 39-17-432 (b)(1)(B) (establishing drug-free zones) (2018) (subsequently amended). The Defendant also pleaded guilty to Count III, possession with intent to sell or deliver a Schedule II controlled substance in a drug-free zone. The court sentenced the Defendant to serve two years for criminally negligent homicide, four years for one possession conviction, and three years for the other possession conviction. The court imposed the sentences consecutively to each other, for an effective nine-year sentence, to be served consecutively to a sentence the Defendant was serving at the time of sentencing. On appeal, the Defendant contends that the evidence is insufficient to support his convictions in Counts I and II of criminally negligent and homicide possession of a Schedule II drug, and that the court abused its discretion in imposing consecutive sentences. We affirm the judgments of the trial court.

Knox County Court of Criminal Appeals 12/30/21
State of Tennessee v. Timothy Howard Smartt
E2021-00125-CCA-R3-CD
Authoring Judge: Judge Curwood Witt, Jr.
Trial Court Judge: Judge Thomas C. Greenholtz

The defendant, Timothy Howard Smartt, challenges the revocation of his community corrections placement on grounds that the sentence in case number 277012 expired before the issuance of the revocation warrant and that the court erred by ordering that he serve the balance of the total remaining sentences in confinement. Discerning no error, we affirm.

Hamilton County Court of Criminal Appeals 12/30/21
State of Tennessee v. Gary Dewayne Glasgow
E2020-00196-CCA-R3-CD
Authoring Judge: Judge Norma McGee Ogle
Trial Court Judge: Judge Alex E. Pearson

The Appellant, Gary Dewayne Glasgow, was convicted in the Hamblen County Criminal Court of aggravated assault, a Class C felony, and was sentenced to eight years in confinement. On appeal, the Appellant contends that the trial court committed plain error by ruling he could not introduce the victim’s prior inconsistent statement into evidence and that the trial court erred by using an out-of-state conviction to enhance his sentencing range. Based upon the record and the parties’ briefs, we find no reversible error and affirm the judgment of the trial court.

Hamblen County Court of Criminal Appeals 12/29/21
State of Tennessee v. Deandre Marrece Ellis
M2020-01451-CCA-R3-CD
Authoring Judge: Judge Robert L. Holloway, Jr.
Trial Court Judge: Judge Jill Bartee Ayers

A Montgomery County jury convicted Defendant, Deandre Marrece Ellis, of second degree murder, tampering with evidence, and possession of a weapon by a convicted felon with a predicate felony involving force or violence, for which the trial court imposed an effective sentence of fifty-one years’ incarceration. In this direct appeal, Defendant challenges the sufficiency of the evidence as it relates to his conviction for tampering with evidence. He asserts that, when he placed the murder weapon in water inside a toilet tank in a friend’s apartment, he intended only to conceal his possession of the gun and that the State failed to prove that his intent was to hinder the police investigation by impairing the gun’s “verity, legibility, or availability as evidence.” Following a thorough review, we affirm Defendant’s conviction for tampering with evidence.

Montgomery County Court of Criminal Appeals 12/22/21
State of Tennessee v. Stephen D. Anderson
E2020-01272-CCA-R3-CD
Authoring Judge: Judge Camille R. McMullen
Trial Court Judge: Judge Carter Scott Moore

The Appellant, the State of Tennessee, appeals the Cocke County Circuit Court order granting the Defendant’s motion to dismiss his indictment. On appeal, the State contends that the trial court erred in dismissing the indictment “in the interest of justice.” Upon review, we remand for entry of corrected judgments but otherwise affirm the trial court’s dismissal of the indictment.

Cocke County Court of Criminal Appeals 12/22/21
Ronald David Harris v. State of Tennessee
M2020-01619-CCA-R3-PC
Authoring Judge: Judge J. Ross Dyer
Trial Court Judge: Judge David M. Bragg

The petitioner, Ronald David Harris, appeals the denial of his post-conviction petition, arguing the post-conviction court erred in finding he received the effective assistance of counsel in conjunction with his guilty pleas. Following our review, we affirm the post-conviction court’s denial of the petition.

Rutherford County Court of Criminal Appeals 12/22/21