Court of Criminal Appeals Opinions

Format: 06/17/2019
Format: 06/17/2019
State of Tennessee v. Thomas Bishop, Devonte Bonds and Jason Sullivan
E2018-00283-CCA-R3-CD
Authoring Judge: Judge Robert H. Montgomery, Jr.
Trial Court Judge: Judge Bob McGee

In this consolidated appeal, the Defendants, Thomas Bishop, Devonta Bonds, and Jason Sullivan, were convicted by a Knox County Criminal Court jury of attempted second degree murder, a Class B felony, aggravated assault, a Class C felony, and possession of a firearm during the commission of a dangerous felony, a Class D felony. See T.C.A. §§ 39-13-210 (2010) (subsequently amended) (second degree murder), 39-12-101 (2010) (subsequently amended) (criminal attempt), 39-13-102 (Supp. 2011) (subsequently amended) (aggravated assault), 39-17-1324 (2010) (subsequently amended) (firearm possession). The jury likewise determined that the Defendants committed a criminal gang offense, enhancing by one level the felony classifications of the attempted second degree murder and aggravated assault convictions. See id. § 40-35-121 (2010) (subsequently amended). The trial court sentenced Defendant Bishop to thirty-two years for attempted second degree murder, to fifteen years for aggravated assault, and to five years for the firearm violation and ordered consecutive service of the attempted second degree murder and firearm sentences as required by law, for an effective thirty-eight-year sentence. The court sentenced Defendant Bonds to twenty years, to ten years, and to three years, respectively, and ordered consecutive service of the attempted second degree murder and the firearm sentences as required by law, for an effective twenty-three-year sentence. The court sentenced Defendant Sullivan to thirty-five years, to eighteen-years, and to five years, respectively, and ordered consecutive service of the attempted second degree murder and firearm sentences as required by law, for an effective forty-year sentence. The Defendants appealed, in relevant part, challenging the constitutionality of the criminal gang enhancement statute, and this court determined that the statute violated due process of law and remanded the case to the trial court for a new sentencing hearing “based solely on the underlying offenses.” See State v. Bonds, 502 S.W.3d 118, 158, 167 (Tenn. Crim. App. 2016). Upon remand, the trial court sentenced Defendant Bishop to consecutive terms of sixteen years for attempted second degree murder,eight years for aggravated assault, and five years for the firearm violation, for an effective twenty-nine-year sentence. The court sentenced Defendant Bonds to consecutive terms often years, five years, and three years, respectively, for an effective eighteen-year sentence.The court sentenced Defendant Sullivan to consecutive terms of sixteen years, eight years,and five years, respectively, for an effective twenty-nine-year sentence. On appeal, the Defendants contend that the trial court erred by imposing consecutive service of the attempted second degree murder and aggravated assault sentences. We reverse the judgments of the trial court and remand for the entry of modified judgments reflecting concurrent service of the attempted second degree murder and aggravated assault sentences in each Defendant’s case. We likewise remand for the entry of a judgment relative to Defendant Sullivan’s firearm violation.

Knox County Court of Criminal Appeals 06/17/19
State of Tennessee v. Wayne Leonard Yelton
E2018-01436-CCA-R3-CD
Authoring Judge: Judge John Everett Williams
Trial Court Judge: Judge James F. Goodwin, Jr.

The Defendant, Wayne Leonard Yelton, appeals his convictions of rape of a child, three counts of aggravated sexual battery, incest, and attempted incest and his effective sentence of forty-one years. On appeal, the Defendant asserts that the evidence is insufficient to support his convictions and that his sentence is excessive. Upon reviewing the record and the applicable law, we affirm the trial court’s judgments. However, we remand to the trial court for entry of corrected judgments to reflect that the trial court imposed an eleven-year sentence for each aggravated sexual battery conviction in counts three and four and a three-year sentence for the attempted incest conviction in count five.

Sullivan County Court of Criminal Appeals 06/14/19
Joshua L. Hutcherson v. State of Tennessee
W2018-01135-CCA-R3-PC
Authoring Judge: Judge J. Ross Dyer
Trial Court Judge: Judge Kyle Atkins

Following the post-conviction court’s granting of a delayed appeal, the petitioner challenges the trial court’s application of enhancement factor (6) in determining the petitioner’s sentence. After reviewing the record and considering the applicable law, we conclude the post-conviction court did not follow the proper procedures in granting a delayed appeal and remand the case to the post-conviction court for further proceedings consistent with this opinion.

Henderson County Court of Criminal Appeals 06/13/19
State of Tennessee v. Christian Blackwell
W2018-01233-CCA-R3-CD
Authoring Judge: Judge Alan E. Glenn
Trial Court Judge: Judge W. Mark Ward

The Defendant, Christian Blackwell, was convicted by a Shelby County Criminal Court jury of rape of a child, a Class A felony, and sentenced to twenty-five years in the Tennessee Department of Correction. On appeal, he argues the trial court erred in excluding unrelated allegations of sexual abuse made by the victim’s sister, in admitting the victim’s forensic interview into evidence, and that the evidence is insufficient to support his conviction. After review, we affirm the judgment of the trial court.

Shelby County Court of Criminal Appeals 06/13/19
State of Tennessee v. Michael Jerome Lee
E2018-01596-CCA-R3-CD
Authoring Judge: Judge Robert W. Wedemeyer
Trial Court Judge: Judge G. Scott Green

The Defendant, Michael Jerome Lee, pleaded guilty to burglary of a vehicle and simple possession in exchange for an agreed concurrent sentence of five years, with the trial court to determine the manner of service of that sentence. After a hearing, the trial court ordered that the Defendant serve his sentence in confinement. On appeal the Defendant contends that the trial court erred when it denied him an alternative sentence. After review, we affirm the trial court’s judgments.

Knox County Court of Criminal Appeals 06/12/19
State of Tennessee v. Demetrius Bailey
M2018-00018-CCA-R3-CD
Authoring Judge: Judge J. Ross Dyer
Trial Court Judge: Judge Mark J. Fishburn

A Davidson County grand jury indicted the defendant, Demetrius Bailey, with one count of aggravated burglary, one count of employing a firearm during the commission of a dangerous felony, two counts of aggravated robbery, and one count of aggravated assault. Following trial, a jury found the defendant guilty of all counts, and the trial court imposed an effective sentence of eighteen years. On appeal, the defendant challenges the trial court’s evidentiary rulings allowing the admission of a Kal-Tec .380 pistol. After reviewing the record and considering the applicable law, we affirm the judgments of the trial court.

Davidson County Court of Criminal Appeals 06/12/19
State of Tennessee v. Timothy Wayne Woodard
E2017-02308-CCA-R9-CD
Authoring Judge: Judge John Everett Williams
Trial Court Judge: Judge Alex E. Pearson

In this interlocutory appeal, the Defendant, Timothy Wayne Woodard, challenges the district attorney general’s denial of his application for pretrial diversion and the trial court’s affirmance of that denial with respect to his charges for nine counts of removal of government records and nine counts of theft of property valued less than $500. On appeal, the Defendant argues that the district attorney general abused his discretion in denying pretrial diversion and that the trial court erred in finding no abuse of discretion. Upon reviewing the record and the applicable law, we affirm the denial of pretrial diversion.

Hamblen County Court of Criminal Appeals 06/10/19
State of Tennessee v. Jermaine Antwoine Crayton
E2018-07167-CCA-R3-CD
Authoring Judge: Judge Robert W. Wedemeyer
Trial Court Judge: Judge Tom Greenholtz

The Defendant, Jermaine Antwoine Crayton, pleaded guilty to several drug offenses in 2015 and to another drug offense in 2016. The trial court placed the Defendant on probation, and the Defendant’s probation officer filed an affidavit alleging that he violated his probation. After a hearing, the trial court revoked the Defendant’s probation and ordered that he serve the balance of his sentence in confinement. On appeal the Defendant contends that the trial court erred when it ordered that he serve the balance of his sentence in confinement. After review, we affirm the trial court’s judgment.

Hamilton County Court of Criminal Appeals 06/10/19
Denver Joe McMath, Jr. v. State of Tennessee
M2017-02426-CCA-R3-PC
Authoring Judge: Judge J. Ross Dyer
Trial Court Judge: Judge Monte Watkins

The petitioner, Denver Joe McMath, Jr., appeals the denial of his post-conviction petition, arguing the post-conviction court erred in finding he received effective assistance of counsel at trial and on appeal. After our review of the record, briefs, and applicable law, we affirm the denial of the petition.

Davidson County Court of Criminal Appeals 06/10/19
State of Tennessee v. Raymond Dana Canter
M2018-01183-CCA-R3-CD
Authoring Judge: Judge J. Ross Dyer
Trial Court Judge: Judge Suzanne Lockert-Mash

The defendant, Raymond Dana Canter, entered an open plea to ten counts of felony theft, one count of failure to appear, one count of simple possession of marijuana, one count of aggravated burglary, one count of felony vandalism, and two counts of evading arrest. The trial court sentenced the defendant to an effective sentence of thirteen years of incarceration in the Tennessee Department of Correction. On appeal, the defendant challenges the trial court’s imposition of consecutive sentencing. Upon our review of the record, arguments of the parties, and pertinent authorities, we affirm the judgments of the trial court. However, we remand the case for a corrected judgment in 2016-CR-512.

Dickson County Court of Criminal Appeals 06/10/19
Stanley Williams v. State of Tennessee
W2018-01269-CCA-R3-PC
Authoring Judge: Presiding Judge John Everett Williams
Trial Court Judge: Judge James M. Lammey

The Petitioner, Stanley Williams, was denied post-conviction relief for his convictions for first degree premeditated murder, attempted first degree premeditated murder, and employing a firearm in the commission of a dangerous felony and his aggregate sentence of life in prison plus thirty years. On appeal, the Petitioner alleges that trial counsel was ineffective for failing to request a severance of his trial from his co-defendant’s trial, failing to communicate and investigate, failing to challenge the chain of custody of certain evidence, and failing to cross-examine witnesses. He also requests relief pursuant to the writ of error coram nobis based on recanted testimony. After a thorough review of the record, we discern no error and affirm the post-conviction court’s judgment.

Shelby County Court of Criminal Appeals 06/07/19
State of Tennessee v. Sangria Venturia Baker, Jr.
W2018-00732-CCA-R3-CD
Authoring Judge: Judge Timothy L. Easter
Trial Court Judge: Judge Donald H. Allen

Defendant, Sangria Venturia Baker, Jr., was convicted of two counts of aggravated assault, one count of felony evading arrest, one count of possession of an imitation controlled substance with intent to sell or deliver, one merged count of possession of marijuana with intent to sell or deliver, one count of possession of drug paraphernalia, and one count of resisting arrest. On appeal, Defendant challenges the sufficiency of the evidence supporting his convictions and argues that the trial court erred by denying his motion in limine to exclude mention of the subject matter of the warrant the officers were serving at the time of this incident and by denying his request for a jury instruction on misdemeanor reckless endangerment as a lesser-included offense of aggravated assault. Because the evidence was insufficient to establish that the white powder substance found in the back of Defendant’s vehicle met the statutory definition of an imitation controlled substance, we reverse and vacate Defendant’s conviction for possession of an imitation controlled substance with intent to sell or deliver. In all other respects, we affirm the judgments of the trial court and remand the case for the imposition of a sentence in Count 6, which merged into Count 7.

Madison County Court of Criminal Appeals 06/07/19
State of Tennessee v. Justin Patrick Kiser
E2018-00696-CCA-R3-CD
Authoring Judge: Judge James Curwood Witt, Jr.
Trial Court Judge: Judge Steven W. Sword

The defendant, Justin Patrick Kiser, appeals his Knox County Criminal Court jury convictions of facilitation of aggravated burglary and theft of property valued at $500 or less, arguing that the trial court erred by permitting the State’s fingerprint expert to testify that another examiner had verified his conclusions; by admitting into evidence a document showing the work performed by the second, non-testifying analyst; and by denying his motion for a mistrial after the prosecutor relied on the verification of the nontestifying analyst during closing argument. He also claims that the evidence was insufficient to support his conviction of facilitation of aggravated burglary because the State failed to establish that he did not intend to promote or assist in the burglary or to benefit from its proceeds and that the trial court erred by denying his bid for judicial diversion. Discerning no reversible error, we affirm the judgments of the trial court.

Knox County Court of Criminal Appeals 06/06/19
State of Tennessee v. Tairon Slappey
E201801380-CCA-R3-CD
Authoring Judge: Judge Robert L. Holloway, Jr.
Trial Court Judge: Judge G. Scott Green

Tairon Slappey, Defendant, pled guilty to one count of aggravated assault and one count of domestic assault with a recommendation from the State that he receive concurrent sentences of three years as a Range I offender for aggravated assault and eleven months and twenty-nine days for domestic assault. The manner and method of service were to be determined by the trial court. Following a sentencing hearing, the trial court ordered Defendant to serve three years in the Tennessee Department of Correction. After a thorough review of the record, we affirm the judgments of the trial court.

Knox County Court of Criminal Appeals 06/06/19
State of Tennessee v. Sterling Panchikal
W2018-00826-CCA-R3-CD
Authoring Judge: Presiding Judge John Everett Williams
Trial Court Judge: Judge Chris Craft

The Defendant, Sterling Panchikal, caused a traffic accident which resulted in one death and several injuries. She entered guilty pleas to reckless homicide, three counts of reckless endangerment, and possession of marijuana. The Defendant sought but was denied judicial diversion for her offenses, and she was sentenced to six years of probation, with thirty days to be served incarcerated. On appeal, she argues that the trial court was mistaken about the nature of one of the offenses to which she was pleading guilty and that the trial court erred in denying diversion. Because the record reflects that the trial court believed that the Defendant was pleading guilty to vehicular homicide as a result of reckless conduct rather than reckless homicide, we vacate the judgments and the denial of diversion, and we remand the case to the trial court for further proceedings.

Shelby County Court of Criminal Appeals 06/05/19
State of Tennessee v. Darrell Partin and Chanda Partin
M2017-02381-CCA-R3-CD
Authoring Judge: Presiding Judge John Everett Williams
Trial Court Judge: Judge Gary McKenzie

The Defendants, Darrell Partin and Chanda Partin, were indicted for theft in connection with Mr. Partin’s employment at Tennessee Master Restoration (“TMR”), and the case proceeded to a bench trial. During trial, the Defendants discovered that the State had failed to produce documents in the possession of TMR which supported the Defendants’ theory of the case. After a continuance, the trial court concluded that the failure to produce the documents was a violation of Tennessee Rule of Criminal Procedure 16 and of the duty to disclose exculpatory material under Brady v. Maryland, 373 U.S. 83 (1963). The trial court then granted a mistrial and dismissed the charges with prejudice based on the Rule 16 violation. The State appeals. After a thorough review of the record, we conclude that the trial court abused its discretion in dismissing the charges, and we remand for further proceedings.

Putnam County Court of Criminal Appeals 06/05/19
Marcus Ward Strong v. State of Tennessee
E2018-00286-CCA-R3-PC
Authoring Judge: Judge Camille R. McMullen
Trial Court Judge: Judge Alex E. Pearson

The Petitioner, Marcus Ward Strong, appeals the denial of his petition for post-conviction relief, arguing that he received ineffective assistance of counsel and that his guilty pleas were unknowing and involuntary. We affirm the judgment of the post-conviction court.

Greene County Court of Criminal Appeals 06/05/19
State of Tennessee v. Troy Jones
M2018-00200-CCA-R3-CD
Authoring Judge: Judge Camille R. McMullen
Trial Court Judge: Judge Mark J. Fishburn

The Defendant-Appellant, Troy Jones, was convicted by a Davidson County jury of three counts of aggravated burglary and one count of sexual battery, for which he received an effective sentence of five years’ imprisonment. See Tenn. Code Ann. §§ 39-14-403, 39- 13-505. On appeal, the Defendant argues that (1) the trial court erred in allowing the State to introduce extrinsic evidence to impeach his statement to police, (2) the evidence is insufficient to support his convictions, and (3) the trial court improperly sentenced him. Following our review, we affirm the judgments of the trial court.

Davidson County Court of Criminal Appeals 06/05/19
Teddy Ogle v. State of Tennessee
E2018-01522-CCA-R3-PC
Authoring Judge: Judge Robert L. Holloway, Jr.
Trial Court Judge: Judge Rex H. Ogle

Messrs. Teddy and Terry Ogle filed a “Petition for Rule 60(b)” relief. Mr. Ronnie Ray Ogle filed a “Petition for Writ of Habeas Corpus and/or Motion for Correction of [I]llegal Sentence and Amended Motion for Relief from Judgment.” The trial court treated the pleadings as petitions for post-conviction relief and dismissed the petitions because they were filed well after the statute of limitations. This court consolidated the three appeals. After a thorough review of the record and applicable law, we affirm the judgments of the trial court.

Jefferson County Court of Criminal Appeals 06/04/19
State of Tennessee v. Gary Barnett
W2018-01027-CCA-R3-CD
Authoring Judge: Judge Robert L. Holloway, Jr.
Trial Court Judge: Judge John Wheeler Campbell

Following a trial, a Shelby County jury found Defendant, Gary Barnett, guilty of rape of a child and aggravated sexual battery, for which he received an effective sentence of thirty years’ incarceration in the Tennessee Department of Correction. On appeal, Defendant contends that: (1) the trial court erred in admitting into evidence the forensic interview of the victim; (2) the trial court erred in restricting defense counsel’s cross-examination of two witnesses; and (3) the evidence is insufficient to support his convictions. Following a thorough review, we affirm the judgments of the trial court.

Shelby County Court of Criminal Appeals 06/03/19
State of Tennessee v. Gregory Scott Wilburn
E2018-01325-CCA-R3-CD
Authoring Judge: Judge D. Kelly Thomas, Jr.
Trial Court Judge: Judge Tammy M. Harrington

The Defendant, Gregory Scott Wilburn, appeals as of right from the Blount County Circuit Court’s revocation of his probation. The Defendant contends that the trial court abused its discretion in ordering the remainder of his sentence to be served in confinement. Discerning no error, we affirm the judgment of the trial court.

Blount County Court of Criminal Appeals 06/03/19
State of Tennessee v. Jasper L. Vick
W2018-01616-CCA-R3-CD
Authoring Judge: Judge Alan E. Glenn
Trial Court Judge: Judge Paula L. Skahan

The pro se Appellant, Jasper L. Vick, appeals the Shelby County Criminal Court’s dismissal of his motion to correct an illegal sentence. The State has filed a motion requesting that this Court affirm the lower court’s denial of relief pursuant to Rule 20 of the Rules of the Court of Criminal Appeals. Because the Appellant has failed to establish that his sentence is illegal, we conclude that the State’s motion is well-taken. Accordingly, we affirm the summary dismissal of the motion.

Shelby County Court of Criminal Appeals 05/31/19
Joseph E. Suggs v. State of Tennessee
M2018-01147-CCA-R3-HC
Authoring Judge: Judge Camille R. McMullen
Trial Court Judge: Judge Angelita Blackshear Dalton

The Petitioner, Joseph E. Suggs, acting pro se, appeals from the summary dismissal of his petition for writ of habeas corpus by the Davidson County Criminal Court, claiming his judgments of conviction for rape of a child are void because they lack the required
file-stamp. After review, we affirm the judgment of the habeas corpus court.

Davidson County Court of Criminal Appeals 05/28/19
State of Tennessee vs. Michael Freeman
E2018-00778-CCA-R3-CD
Authoring Judge: Judge D. Kelly Thomas, Jr.
Trial Court Judge: Judge Steven W. Sword

The Defendant, Michael Freeman, appeals his second degree murder conviction, alleging that (1) the trial court improperly denied his motion to suppress his police statement because he made an unequivocal request for a lawyer; (2) that the evidence was insufficient to support his conviction; and (3) that the trial court erred by issuing a flight instruction to the jury. Following our review of the record and the applicable authorities, we conclude that the Defendant’s issues do not entitle him to relief. Accordingly, the judgment of the trial court is affirmed. 

Knox County Court of Criminal Appeals 05/24/19
State of Tennessee v. Jeremy Garrett
W2018-01223-CCA-R3-CD
Authoring Judge: Judge Robert W. Wedemeyer
Trial Court Judge: Judge Glenn Ivy Wright

In 2007, a Shelby County jury found the Defendant, Jeremy Garrett, guilty of aggravated robbery, felony murder, and especially aggravated robbery. In 2018, the Defendant filed a motion pursuant to Tennessee Rule of Criminal Procedure 36.1, seeking to correct an illegal sentence. The trial court summarily denied Rule 36.1 relief. On review, having determined that the Defendant has failed to state a colorable claim for Rule 36.1 relief, we affirm the judgment of the trial court.

Shelby County Court of Criminal Appeals 05/23/19