Court of Criminal Appeals Opinions

Format: 12/14/2018
Format: 12/14/2018
State of Tennessee v. Lance Loveless
M2017-02048-CCA-R3-CD
Authoring Judge: Judge J. Ross Dyer
Trial Court Judge: Judge Larry J. Wallace

A Humphreys County grand jury charged the defendant, Lance Loveless, with theft of property between $1000.00 and $10,000.00. Following trial, a jury found the defendant guilty of the lesser-included offense of attempted theft of property between $1000.00 and $10,000.00. On appeal, the defendant contends: the State failed to prove attempt, so the proof was insufficient to support the guilty verdict, and the trial court erred when denying his request for judicial diversion. Discerning no error, we affirm the judgment of the trial court.

Humphreys County Court of Criminal Appeals 12/14/18
Brandon Washington v. State of Tennessee
W2017-02126-CCA-R3-PC
Authoring Judge: Judge J. Ross Dyer
Trial Court Judge: Judge J. Robert Carter, Jr.

The petitioner, Brandon Washington, appeals the denial of his post-conviction petition, arguing the post-conviction court erred in finding he received effective assistance of counsel upon the entry of his guilty plea which he argues was entered involuntarily and unknowingly. Following our review, we affirm the denial of the petition and conclude the petitioner has waived any challenge to the entrance of his plea.

Shelby County Court of Criminal Appeals 12/14/18
State of Tennessee v. Ricky Dee May
W2018-00224-CCA-R3-CD
Authoring Judge: Judge J. Ross Dyer
Trial Court Judge: Judge Donald H. Allen

The defendant, Ricky Dee May, pled guilty to the manufacture of marijuana and felony possession of drug paraphernalia and received an effective sentence of two years. On appeal, the defendant contends the trial court erred in imposing the maximum sentence for each offense. After our review, we affirm the trial court’s sentence pursuant to Rule 20 of the Rules of the Court of Criminal Appeals.

Madison County Court of Criminal Appeals 12/14/18
State of Tennessee v. William Ingram
W2017-02343-CCA-R3-CD
Authoring Judge: Judge Norma McGee Ogle
Trial Court Judge: Judge Lee V. Coffee

A Shelby County Criminal Court Jury convicted the Appellant, William Ingram, of aggravated assault, and the trial court sentenced him to six years in the Shelby County workhouse. On appeal, the Appellant challenges the sufficiency of the evidence sustaining his conviction. Upon review, we affirm the judgment of the trial court.

Shelby County Court of Criminal Appeals 12/14/18
Paul Brent Baxter v. State of Tennessee
M2017-01230-CCA-R3-PC
Authoring Judge: Judge J. Ross Dyer
Trial Court Judge: Judge Franklin L. Russell

The petitioner, Paul Brent Baxter, appeals the denial of his post-conviction petition, arguing the post-conviction court erred in finding he received effective assistance of counsel at trial. Within the context of his post-conviction claims, the petitioner argues trial counsel was ineffective for failing to object to the State asking the victim to compare her pain level as a result of the petitioner’s assault to the pain she experienced at other points in her life. Following our review, we affirm the denial of the petition.

Marshall County Court of Criminal Appeals 12/14/18
In re: Rader Bonding Company - dissenting
M2017-01687-CCA-R3-CD
Authoring Judge: Judge Robert H. Montgomery, Jr.
Trial Court Judge: Judge Mark J. Fishburn

I dissent from the majority’s holding that the trial court erred in denying Rader Bonding Company’s motion for exoneration and in denying the motion to alter or amend the judgment of forfeiture.

Davidson County Court of Criminal Appeals 12/14/18
In re: Rader Bonding Company
M2017-01687-CCA-R3-CD
Authoring Judge: Presiding Judge John Everett Williams
Trial Court Judge: Judge Mark J. Fishburn

In this appeal, we must determine whether the Appellant, Rader Bonding Company (“Rader”), remained obligated as surety for the $7,500 bond set for the Defendant, Saul Aldaba-Arriaga, for a charge of driving under the influence of an intoxicant (“DUI”), second offense, and his $2,500 bond for a charge of driving on a revoked license when the State later obtained an indictment that increased the severity of the Defendant’s misdemeanor charge of DUI second offense to a felony charge of DUI fourth offense and included additional charges. After the Defendant failed to appear in court on the indicted charges, the trial court initiated forfeiture proceedings and entered a final judgment of forfeiture against the Defendant and Rader following a hearing. We conclude that based on the specific and unique circumstances of this case, Rader’s obligation under the bonding agreement for the $7,500 bond on the Defendant’s DUI second offense charge in general sessions court did not extend to the indicted charge of DUI fourth offense and that as a result, the trial court erred in entering a judgment of final forfeiture against Rader on the $7,500 bond. We further conclude that Rader’s obligation for the $2,500 bond on the Defendant’s charge of driving on a revoked license in general sessions court continued when the Defendant was indicted for the same offense and that the trial court did not abuse its discretion in denying Rader’s request for exoneration. Accordingly, the trial court’s judgment is affirmed in part and reversed in part, and this case is remanded for further proceeding in accordance with this opinion.

Davidson County Court of Criminal Appeals 12/14/18
State of Tennessee v. Carl Allen aka Artie Perkins
W2017-01118-CCA-R3-CD
Authoring Judge: Judge Norma McGee Ogle
Trial Court Judge: Judge Paula L. Skahan

The Appellant, Carl Allen, appeals the Shelby County Criminal Court’s granting a motion filed by the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation (TBI) to intervene in this case and the court’s vacating a portion of a previous order in which the court determined that the Appellant was required to register as a sexual offender as opposed to a violent sexual offender in the TBI’s sexual offender registry (SOR). Based upon the oral arguments, the record, and the parties’ briefs, we conclude that the appeal must be dismissed.

Shelby County Court of Criminal Appeals 12/13/18
State of Tennessee v. Joseph Proffitt
W2017-01958-CCA-R3-CD
Authoring Judge: Presiding Judge John Everett Williams
Trial Court Judge: Judge Glenn Ivy Wright

The Defendant, Joseph Proffitt, was convicted of two counts of attempted second degree murder, three counts of aggravated assault, and two counts of employing a firearm during the attempted murders. He received an effective sentence of fourteen years. On appeal, the Defendant challenges only his convictions for attempted second degree murder, arguing that the evidence is insufficient to support the verdicts. Upon reviewing the record and applicable law, we affirm the Defendant’s convictions.

Shelby County Court of Criminal Appeals 12/13/18
State of Tennessee v. Arvester Brown
W2017-02547-CCA-R3-CD
Authoring Judge: Presiding Judge John Everett Williams
Trial Court Judge: Judge John Wheeler Campbell

The Defendant, Arvester Brown, appeals his convictions for felony murder and especially aggravated robbery, for which he received an effective sentence of life imprisonment. On appeal, the Defendant contends that (1) the trial court erred in failing to declare a mistrial due to the behavior of one of the State’s witnesses; (2) the trial court erred in excluding evidence that the victim had agreed to carry out a “hit” on the Defendant; and (3) the State made improper statements during closing arguments. Upon reviewing the record and the applicable law, we affirm the judgments of the trial court.

Shelby County Court of Criminal Appeals 12/13/18
State of Tennessee v. Jacob Erwin Branch
M2017-01448-CCA-R3-CD
Authoring Judge: Judge Alan E. Glenn
Trial Court Judge: Judge Franklin L. Russell

The Defendant, Jacob Erwin Branch, was convicted by a Marshall County jury of two counts of rape of a child, a Class A felony, and contributing to the delinquency of a minor, a Class A misdemeanor, and was sentenced by the trial court to an effective term of twenty-eight years at 100% in the Department of Correction. On appeal, the Defendant challenges the sufficiency of the evidence in support of his child rape convictions. Following our review, we affirm the judgments of the trial court. However, we note the verdict forms indicate the jury found the Defendant not guilty on the charges of rape and aggravated sexual battery, but the judgment forms indicate those charges were dismissed. We therefore remand for entry of corrected judgment forms as to these charges.

Marshall County Court of Criminal Appeals 12/12/18
Bruce Elliott v. State of Tennessee
M2018-00808-CCA-R3-HC
Authoring Judge: Judge Alan E. Glenn
Trial Court Judge: Judge John D. Wootten, Jr.

The pro se Petitioner, Bruce Elliott, appeals the summary dismissal of his petition for writ of habeas corpus. Following our review, we affirm the dismissal of the petition.

Trousdale County Court of Criminal Appeals 12/12/18
State of Tennessee v. Donald Lyndon Madewell
M2018-00183-CCA-R3-CD
Authoring Judge: Judge D. Kelly Thomas, Jr.
Trial Court Judge: Judge Larry B. Stanley, Jr.

The Defendant, Donald Lyndon Madewell, was convicted by a jury of promoting the manufacture of methamphetamine. On appeal, he challenges the denial of his motion to suppress, asserting that he lacked common authority over the hotel room and could not provide valid consent to search. He also alleges that evidence was insufficient to support his conviction. After our review, we affirm the judgment of the trial court.

Warren County Court of Criminal Appeals 12/12/18
Domnick Doria v. State of Tennessee
M2017-02024-CCA-R3-PC
Authoring Judge: Judge D. Kelly Thomas, Jr.
Trial Court Judge: Judge William R. Goodman, III

The Petitioner, Domnick Doria, appeals from the Montgomery County Circuit Court’s denial of his petition for post-conviction relief. The Petitioner contends that he received ineffective assistance of counsel because (1) original counsel forced the Petitioner to participate in a television interview prior to trial that caused the State to “cut off” plea negotiations; and (2) trial counsel failed to call the Petitioner’s mother and his ex-wife to testify at trial. Discerning no error, we affirm the judgment of the post conviction court.

Montgomery County Court of Criminal Appeals 12/12/18
Joan Elizabeth Hall v. State of Tennessee
M2017-01621-CCA-R3-ECN
Authoring Judge: Judge Thomas T. Woodall
Trial Court Judge: Judge Forest A. Durard, Jr.

Petitioner, Joan Elizabeth Hall, appeals the denial of her petition for a writ of error coram nobis based upon newly discovered evidence. After thoroughly reviewing the record and applicable authorities, we affirm the error coram nobis court’s judgment.

Lincoln County Court of Criminal Appeals 12/12/18
State of Tennessee v. Rodricus Antwan Johnson
W2018-00950-CCA-R3-CD
Authoring Judge: Judge Robert L. Holloway, Jr.
Trial Court Judge: Judge Chris Craft

Rodricus Antwan Johnson, Movant, filed a Tennessee Rule of Criminal Procedure 36.1 motion seeking correction of what he claimed was an illegal sentence because the trial court applied enhancement factors that were required by Blakely v. Washington, 542 U.S. 296 (2004) to be determined by the jury. The trial court summarily dismissed the motion for failure to state a colorable claim. Discerning no error, we affirm.

Shelby County Court of Criminal Appeals 12/11/18
Darrell Malone v. State of Tennessee
W2018-00524-CCA-R3-PC
Authoring Judge: Judge Robert H. Montgomery, Jr.
Trial Court Judge: Judge Paula Skahan

The Petitioner, Darrell Malone, appeals the Shelby County Criminal Court’s summary dismissal of his petition for post-conviction relief from his 2016 conviction for attempt to commit rape and his four-year sentence. The Petitioner contends that the post-conviction court erred by determining that his petition was untimely. We reverse the judgment of the post-conviction court and remand the case for consideration of the issues raised in the petition.

Shelby County Court of Criminal Appeals 12/11/18
Victor Thompson v. State of Tennessee
W2017-00679-CCA-R3-PC
Authoring Judge: Judge Thomas T. Woodall
Trial Court Judge: Judge Clayburn Peeples

Petitioner, Victor Thompson, appeals the denial of his post-conviction petition. Petitioner argues that he was denied the right to testify at trial, and trial counsel was ineffective for failing to request a Momon hearing. Following a review of the briefs of the parties and the entire record, we affirm the judgment of the post-conviction court.

Gibson County Court of Criminal Appeals 12/11/18
Brent Allen Blye v. State of Tennessee
E2017-02176-CCA-R3-PC
Authoring Judge: Judge Camille R. McMullen
Trial Court Judge: Judge William K. Rogers

In 2006, the Petitioner, Brent Allen Blye, was convicted by a jury of various drug offenses, and later entered guilty pleas to several other unrelated offenses, for which he received an effective sentence of thirty years’ confinement. State v. Brent Allen Blye, No. E2008-00976-CCA-R3-CD, 2011 WL 529515, at *1 (Tenn. Crim. App. Feb. 14, 2011), perm. app. denied (Tenn. May 25, 2011). On direct appeal, this court determined that the issues raised pertaining to his jury convictions were waived based on trial counsel’s failure to timely file a motion for new trial and reviewed those convictions for sufficiency of the evidence only. His remaining issues, pertaining to his guilty pleas, were reviewed and affirmed. The Petitioner later filed a post-conviction petition seeking relief based on trial counsel’s failure to timely file a motion for new trial and ineffective assistance of trial counsel based on failure to assert a certain defense theory. After conducting a full evidentiary hearing as to both issues, the post-conviction court denied relief, a decision which was later reversed, in part, by this court. Brent A. Blye v. State, No. E2012-02626-CCA-R3-PC, 2013 WL 3973468 (Tenn. Crim. App. Aug. 5, 2013), no perm. app. filed. In that case, this court remanded to the post-conviction court on the issue of the delayed appeal, id. at *12; however, we affirmed the court’s denial of the Petitioner’s claim of ineffective assistance of trial counsel based on his failure to pursue a certain defense theory. The Petitioner was granted a delayed appeal on remand and filed a timely motion for new trial, which was denied by the trial court. Upon review of the delayed appeal, we affirmed the Petitioner’s felony drug convictions, but reversed and remanded his misdemeanor drug convictions for a new trial. State v. Brent Allen Blye, No. E2014-00220-CCA-R3-CD, 2015 WL 4575279 (Tenn. Crim. App. July 30, 2015), perm. app. denied (Tenn. Jan. 14, 2016). The Petitioner subsequently filed a “second” petition for post-conviction relief, the subject of this appeal, alleging ineffective assistance of trial counsel, which was summarily dismissed by the post-conviction court. After an exhaustive review of the record and the applicable law, we affirm the judgment of the post-conviction court.

Sullivan County Court of Criminal Appeals 12/11/18
State of Tennessee v. Stephen Doantae Lester
E2017-02154-CCA-R3-CD
Authoring Judge: Judge Timothy L. Easter
Trial Court Judge: Judge Thomas C. Greenholtz

Defendant, Stephen Doantae Lester, was convicted of felony murder and especially aggravated robbery. On appeal, Defendant argues that the evidence is insufficient to support his convictions; that the trial court erred by admitting evidence of Defendant’s gang affiliation and rank; that Defendant was deprived of a fair trial by statements made by the State during closing arguments and by juror misconduct; that the trial court erred in failing to instruct the jury on certain lesser-included offenses; and that the cumulative effect of these errors deprived Defendant of a fair trial. Upon our review of the record, we affirm the judgments of the trial court.

Hamilton County Court of Criminal Appeals 12/10/18
State of Tennessee vs. Reuben Eugene Mitchell - concurring in part, dissenting in part
E2017-01739-CCA-R3-CD
Authoring Judge: Judge John Everett Williams
Trial Court Judge: Judge Steve W. Sword

I agree with the majority’s conclusion that the evidence was sufficient to support the Defendant’s arson conviction. I respectfully dissent from the majority’s conclusion that the evidence is insufficient to support the Defendant’s conviction for filing a false insurance claim.

Knox County Court of Criminal Appeals 12/07/18
State of Tennessee v. Reuben Eugene Mitchell
E2017-01739-CCA-R3-CD
Authoring Judge: Judge Robert W. Wedemeyer
Trial Court Judge: Judge Steve W. Sword

A Knox County jury convicted the Defendant, Reuben Eugene Mitchell, of arson and filing a false insurance claim valued between $10,000 and $60,000, and the trial court sentenced him to four years of probation. On appeal, the Defendant contends that the evidence is insufficient to sustain his convictions. After review, we conclude that the evidence is insufficient to sustain the Defendant’s conviction for filing a false insurance claim, and we vacate the judgment and dismiss that charge. We affirm the Defendant’s conviction for arson.

Knox County Court of Criminal Appeals 12/07/18
Angel Geovanna Hurtado v. State of Tennessee
M2017-00908-CCA-R3-PC
Authoring Judge: Judge Thomas T. Woodall
Trial Court Judge: Judge Mark J. Fishburn

A Davidson County jury convicted Petitioner, Angel Geovanna Hurtado, of three counts of aggravated child abuse, one count of child neglect, and one count of reckless aggravated assault. She was sentenced to serve twenty-five years in the Tennessee Department of Correction. The judgment was affirmed on direct appeal. State v. Angel Geovanna Hurtado, No. M2014-00180-CCA-R3CD, 2014 WL 7417763 (Tenn. Crim. App. Dec. 30, 2014). Petitioner filed a timely petition for post-conviction relief. Following an evidentiary hearing, the post-conviction court dismissed the petition. Petitioner has appealed, asserting that she is entitled to relief based upon her trial counsel’s ineffective assistance of counsel. Following a review of the briefs of the parties and the entire record, we affirm the judgment of the post-conviction court.

Davidson County Court of Criminal Appeals 12/06/18
State of Tennessee v. Wayford Demonbreum, Jr.
M2017-01844-CCA-R3-CD
Authoring Judge: Judge Thomas T. Woodall
Trial Court Judge: Judge Brody N. Kane

Defendant, Wayford Demonbreum, Jr., appeals the denial of his Motion for Correction or Reduction of Sentence filed pursuant to Tennessee Rule of Criminal Procedure 35. In this appeal, Defendant argues that his sentence should be reduced because his plea agreement stated the offense to which he pleaded guilty as attempted possession of marijuana in an amount less than 70 pounds, which is a Class E felony. T.C.A. § 39-17-417(i)(13); T.C.A. § 39-12-107(a). The State responds that the trial court did not abuse its discretion in denying Defendant’s motion, having determined that the plea agreement was erroneous, and Defendant understood that he was pleading guilty to the offense of attempted possession of marijuana in an amount more than 70 pounds, a Class C felony, for which Defendant was sentenced as a Range I offender to six years. Upon our review, we affirm the judgment of the trial court.

Wilson County Court of Criminal Appeals 12/06/18
State of Tennessee v. Kayla Marie Anderson
M2018-00015-CCA-R3-CD
Authoring Judge: Judge John Everett Williams
Trial Court Judge: Judge David L. Allen

The Defendant, Kayla Marie Anderson, pled nolo contendere to theft of property valued over five hundred dollars for her role in arranging a drug transaction during which the victim was robbed. The Defendant preserved as certified questions several issues related to her arrest, her interview, and the search of her telephone pursuant to two separate warrants. Because the record reveals the existence of inculpatory evidence not derived from the arrest, interview, or search, we determine that the questions are not dispositive and dismiss the appeal.

Maury County Court of Criminal Appeals 12/06/18