Court of Criminal Appeals Opinions

Format: 02/20/2018
Format: 02/20/2018
James Allen v. State of Tennessee
E2017-01043-CCA-R3-PC
Authoring Judge: Judge James Curwood Witt, Jr.
Trial Court Judge: Judge Lisa Rice

The petitioner, James Allen, appeals the denial of post-conviction relief from his 2013 Washington County Criminal Court jury convictions of first degree murder and possession of a firearm with intent to employ it during the commission of first degree murder, for which he received a life sentence. In this appeal, the petitioner contends only that he was denied the effective assistance of counsel at trial. Discerning no error, we affirm.

Washington County Court of Criminal Appeals 02/20/18
State of Tennessee v. Christopher M. Mullins
E2017-01087-CCA-R3-CD
Authoring Judge: Judge James Curwood Witt, Jr.
Trial Court Judge: Judge R. Jerry Beck

The defendant, Christopher M. Mullins, appeals the revocation of the six-year probationary sentence imposed for his 2013 conviction of manufacturing .5 grams or more of methamphetamine, arguing that the trial court erred by ordering that he serve the balance of his sentence in confinement. Discerning no error, we affirm.

Sullivan County Court of Criminal Appeals 02/20/18
State of Tennessee v. Terry Sanders
M2017-00905-CCA-R3-CD
Authoring Judge: Judge Robert L. Holloway, Jr.
Trial Court Judge: Judge Larry J. Wallace

Terry Sanders, the Movant, filed a “Motion to Correct Illegal Sentence” pursuant Rule 36.1 of the Tennessee Rules of Criminal Procedure claiming that his sentence was illegal because the State failed to comply with the ten-day notice requirement of intent to seek enhanced punishment, the State intentionally filed an improper notice to interfere with the Movant’s due process rights, and the trial court erred in calculating his prior felony convictions and sentencing him as a career offender. The trial court found that the Movant failed to state a colorable claim and summarily dismissed the motion. We affirm.

Houston County Court of Criminal Appeals 02/20/18
State of Tennessee v. Timothy Mark Hartsfield
M2016-01959-CCA-R3-CD
Authoring Judge: Judge Robert W. Wedemeyer
Trial Court Judge: Judge J. Russell Parkes

In 2016, the Defendant, Timothy Mark Hartsfield, entered a best interest plea to possession of methamphetamine, possession of synthetic marijuana, and unlawful possession of a firearm during the commission of a dangerous felony. The Defendant reserved a certified question of law pursuant to Tennessee Rule of Criminal Procedure 37(b)(2) as to whether the search of the Defendant’s residence was valid based on statements made by the investigating officer in the search warrant application. The trial court sentenced the Defendant to ten years of incarceration. After a thorough review of the record and relevant authorities, we affirm the trial court’s judgment.

Lawrence County Court of Criminal Appeals 02/20/18
State of Tennessee v. Benjamin Tate Brown
M2017-01150-CCA-R3-CD
Authoring Judge: Judge Robert L. Holloway, Jr.
Trial Court Judge: Judge David M. Bragg

The Defendant, Benjamin Tate Brown, was indicted for driving under the influence (DUI), driving while his blood alcohol concentration was .08% or more (DUI per se); and DUI, second offense. Following a bench trial, the Defendant was found guilty of DUI, second offense, and the remaining charges were dismissed. On appeal, the Defendant contends that the trial court erred in not suppressing the evidence because the officer lacked probable cause to stop his vehicle and in finding the offense was a second offense because his convictions were more than ten years apart. Following our review, we affirm the judgments of the trial court.

Rutherford County Court of Criminal Appeals 02/20/18
State of Tennessee v. Antwuan Matias Gordon
M2017-01306-CCA-R3-CD
Authoring Judge: Judge Timothy L. Easter
Trial Court Judge: Judge Forest A. Durard, Jr.

Defendant, Antwuan Matias Gordon, entered an open guilty plea to one count of driving a motor vehicle after having been declared a habitual motor vehicle offender, in violation of Tennessee Code Annotated section 55-10-616. The trial court sentenced Defendant to serve four years in incarceration. On appeal, Defendant argues that the trial court erred by denying an alternative sentence. After a review, we affirm the judgment of the trial court.

Marshall County Court of Criminal Appeals 02/20/18
State of Tennessee v. Roger Terry Johnson
M2017-01249-CCA-R3-CD
Authoring Judge: Judge Steve R. Dozier
Trial Court Judge: Judge Timothy L. Easter

Defendant, Roger Terry Johnson, is appealing the trial court’s denial of his motion to correct an illegal sentence filed pursuant to Tennessee Rule of Criminal Procedure 36.1 The State has filed a motion asking this Court to affirm pursuant to Court of Criminal Appeals Rule 20. Said motion is hereby granted.

Davidson County Court of Criminal Appeals 02/16/18
State of Tennessee v. Howard Melton
E2017-00613-CCA-R3-CD
Authoring Judge: Judge James Curwood Witt, Jr.
Trial Court Judge: Judge Bob R, McGee

The defendant, Howard Melton, appeals his Knox County Criminal Court jury conviction of sexual exploitation of a minor, claiming that the trial court erred by improperly admitting certain evidence and that the evidence was insufficient to support his conviction. Discerning no error, we affirm.

Knox County Court of Criminal Appeals 02/16/18
State of Tennessee v. Mena Mekhaen Boutrous
M2017-00835-CCA-R3-CD
Authoring Judge: Judge Timothy L. Easter
Trial Court Judge: Judge Monte Watkins

Defendant, Mena Mekhaen Boutrous, was convicted of two counts of aggravated arson and one count of attempted first degree murder after a bench trial. The trial court merged the two counts of aggravated arson and sentenced Defendant to twenty years for the conviction for aggravated arson and twenty years for the conviction for attempted first degree murder, to be served concurrently. On appeal, Defendant argues that: (1) the trial court erred by excluding evidence of Defendant’s mental health; (2) the evidence was insufficient to support the convictions; and (3) the sentences were excessive. After a review, we affirm the judgments of the trial court.

Davidson County Court of Criminal Appeals 02/16/18
State of Tennessee v. Duran Maszae Lee
E2017-00368-CCA-R3-CD
Authoring Judge: Judge Robert H. Montgomery, Jr.
Trial Court Judge: Judge Donald R. Elledge

The Defendant, Duran Maszae Lee, was convicted by an Anderson County Criminal Court jury of possession with the intent to sell or to deliver more than 0.5 gram of cocaine, a Class B felony. See T.C.A. § 39-17-417(a)(4) (2010) (amended 2012, 2014). The trial court sentenced the Defendant as a Range II, multiple offender to sixteen years’ confinement. On appeal, the Defendant contends that (1) the evidence is insufficient to support his conviction, (2) that the indictment is duplicitous, and (3) the trial court erred by failing to exclude his pretrial statements to the police. We affirm the judgment of the trial court.

Anderson County Court of Criminal Appeals 02/16/18
State of Tennessee v. Matthew George Vogel
E2017-00894-CCA-R3-CD
Authoring Judge: Judge Robert H. Montgomery, Jr.
Trial Court Judge: Judge Tom Greenholtz

The Defendant, Matthew George Vogel, appeals from the Hamilton County Criminal Court’s revocation of probation for his Range I, eight-year sentence for possession with the intent to sell methamphetamine, a Class B felony. See T.C.A. § 39-17-417 (2014). The Defendant contends that the trial court erred in revoking his probation and ordering him to serve the remainder of his sentence in confinement. We affirm the judgment of the trial court.

Hamilton County Court of Criminal Appeals 02/16/18
Darrell M. Anderson v. State of Tennessee
W2017-00922-CCA-R3-PC
Authoring Judge: Judge J. Ross Dyer
Trial Court Judge: Judge Roy B. Morgan, Jr.

The petitioner, Darrell M. Anderson, 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 judgment of the post-conviction court.

Madison County Court of Criminal Appeals 02/15/18
Rodney Smith v. State of Tennessee
W2017-00406-CCA-R3-PC
Authoring Judge: Judge J. Ross Dyer
Trial Court Judge: Judge James M. Lammey

The petitioner, Rodney Smith, appeals the denial of post-conviction relief from his Shelby County Criminal Court convictions for attempted especially aggravated robbery, aggravated burglary, employment of a firearm during the commission of a dangerous felony, convicted felon in possession of a handgun, and convicted felon in possession of a firearm. On appeal, the petitioner alleges he received ineffective assistance of counsel due to trial counsel’s failure to call a material witness at trial. Discerning no error, we affirm the judgment of the post-conviction court.

Shelby County Court of Criminal Appeals 02/15/18
State of Tennessee v. Brandon Cole-Pugh
W2017-00469-CCA-R3-CD
Authoring Judge: Judge J. Ross Dyer
Trial Court Judge: Judge Donald H. Allen

Following a jury trial, the defendant, Brandon Cole-Pugh, was convicted of being a felon in possession of a handgun and sentenced to eight years. On appeal, the defendant challenges the trial court’s denial of his request for an instruction on the defense of necessity. Having thoroughly reviewed the record, we conclude the trial court did not err in denying the defendant’s request on the defense of necessity.

Madison County Court of Criminal Appeals 02/15/18
State of Tennessee v. Ernest Butler aka Antonio Butler
W2017-00136-CCA-R3-CD
Authoring Judge: Judge Alan E. Glenn
Trial Court Judge: Judge Lee V. Coffee

The Defendant, Ernest Butler, aka Antonio Butler, was convicted of first degree felony murder and being a convicted felon in possession of a firearm. He was sentenced to life imprisonment and fifteen years, respectively, to be served consecutively. On appeal, he argues that the evidence is insufficient to sustain the murder conviction. We disagree and affirm the judgments.

Shelby County Court of Criminal Appeals 02/15/18
State of Tennessee v. Deredious Otis, Brashard Gibbs and Carlos Key
W2016-01261-CCA-R3-CD
Authoring Judge: Judge Alan E. Glenn
Trial Court Judge: Judge James M. Lammey

Defendants Deredious Otis and Carlos Key each were convicted of one count of first degree premeditated murder and two counts of attempted first degree murder, and Defendant Brashard Gibbs was convicted of one count of first degree premeditated murder, five counts of attempted first degree murder, and three counts of employing a firearm during the commission of a dangerous felony. Defendants Otis and Key each were sentenced to life for their first degree murder conviction and twenty-five years for each of their attempted first degree murder convictions, with all sentences to be served consecutively. Defendant Gibbs was sentenced to life for the first degree murder conviction, twenty-five years for each of the five counts of attempted first degree murder, and six years for each of the three counts of employing a firearm during the commission of a dangerous felony, with all sentences to be served consecutively. On appeal, all three Defendants argue that the evidence is insufficient to support the verdicts and that the trial court erred in consolidating the indictments; and Defendants Otis and Gibbs argue that the court erred in sentencing. Following our review, we affirm the judgments of the trial court.

Shelby County Court of Criminal Appeals 02/15/18
De'Quon Letray Boyd v. State of Tennessee
E2017-00891-CCA-R3-PC
Authoring Judge: Judge James Curwood Witt, Jr.
Trial Court Judge: Judge Barry A. Steelman

The petitioner, De’quon Letray Boyd, appeals the denial of his petition for post-conviction relief, which petition challenged the petitioner’s 2011 convictions of attempted first degree premeditated murder, premeditated murder, felony murder, two counts of aggravated assault, reckless endangerment, and aggravated criminal trespass. In this appeal, the petitioner argues that he was deprived of the effective assistance of counsel at trial. We affirm the denial of post-conviction relief.

Hamilton County Court of Criminal Appeals 02/15/18
State of Tennessee v. Terance P. Bradley, aka Terrance P. Bradley
M2017-00376-CCA-R3-CD
Authoring Judge: Judge Alan E. Glenn
Trial Court Judge: Judge Cheryl A. Blackburn

The Defendant, Terance P. Bradley, aka Terrance P. Bradley, was convicted by a Davidson County Criminal Court jury of aggravated burglary, a Class C felony; reckless aggravated assault, a Class D felony; and assault, a Class A misdemeanor. The trial court sentenced him as a Range III, persistent offender to twelve years at 45% for the aggravated burglary conviction; as a Range IV, career offender to twelve years at 60% for the reckless aggravated assault conviction; and to eleven months, twenty-nine days for the misdemeanor assault conviction, with all sentences to be served concurrently with each other but consecutively to his convictions in another case. On appeal, the Defendant challenges the sufficiency of the evidence of his aggravated burglary and reckless aggravated assault convictions. Following our review, we affirm the judgments of the trial court.

Davidson County Court of Criminal Appeals 02/15/18
State of Tennessee v. Gregory Lee Gordon
M2017-00649-CCA-R3-CD
Authoring Judge: Judge Alan E. Glenn
Trial Court Judge: Judge Robert L. Jones

The Defendant, Gregory Lee Gordon, pled guilty to aggravated assault by strangulation, a Class C felony, and after a sentencing hearing, was ordered to serve nine years in the Tennessee Department of Correction. On appeal, he argues that the trial court erred in denying his request for an alternative sentence. After review, we affirm the sentencing decision of the trial court.

Lawrence County Court of Criminal Appeals 02/15/18
Jerry Finis Layne v. State of Tennessee
M2017-00421-CCA-R3-PC
Authoring Judge: Judge Alan E. Glenn
Trial Court Judge: Judge Justin C. Angel

The Petitioner, Jerry Finis Layne, appeals the denial of his petition for post-conviction relief, arguing that he received ineffective assistance of counsel and that his guilty plea was unknowingly and involuntarily entered. Following our review, we affirm the denial of the petition.

Grundy County Court of Criminal Appeals 02/15/18
Kenneth Alan Steele v. State of Tennessee
E2016-01375-CCA-R3-PC
Authoring Judge: Judge Robert H. Montgomery, Jr.
Trial Court Judge: Judge Don W. Poole

The Petitioner, Kenneth Alan Steele, appeals from the Hamilton County Criminal Court’s denial of relief for his petition pursuant to the Post-Conviction DNA Analysis Act. The post-conviction court granted his petition for analysis but denied further relief based upon the results of the analysis. The Petitioner contends that the court failed to afford him a hearing and erred in denying relief after interpreting the DNA analysis reports. We affirm the judgment of the post-conviction court.

Hamilton County Court of Criminal Appeals 02/13/18
Jose A. Rivas v. Randy Lee, Warden
E2017-01597-CCA-R3-HC
Authoring Judge: Judge James Curwood Witt, Jr.
Trial Court Judge: Judge Lisa N. Rice

The petitioner, Jose A. Rivas, appeals the summary dismissal of his petition for writ of habeas corpus, which challenged his 2005 Hancock County Criminal Court guiltypleaded convictions of facilitation of first degree murder. Discerning no error, we affirm.

Johnson County Court of Criminal Appeals 02/13/18
State of Tennessee v. Matthew Bruce Howard
E2017-00723-CCA-R3-CD
Authoring Judge: Judge Norma McGee Ogle
Trial Court Judge: Judge Gary McKenzie

The Appellant, Matthew Bruce Howard, pled guilty to second degree murder, and the trial court sentenced him to twenty-five years in the Tennessee Department of Correction. On appeal, the Appellant challenges the length of the sentence imposed by the trial court, arguing that the trial court erred by enhancing his sentence because he abused a position of private trust. Upon review, we agree that the trial court erred by finding that the Appellant abused a position of private trust, but we nevertheless affirm the judgment of the trial court.

Cumberland County Court of Criminal Appeals 02/12/18
State of Tennessee v. Ramiro R. Ibarra
M2017-00668-CCA-R3-CD
Authoring Judge: Judge Robert W. Wedemeyer
Trial Court Judge: Judge Larry B. Stanley, Jr.

The Defendant, Ramiro R. Ibarra, pleaded guilty to one count of vehicular homicide and three counts of vehicular assault. The trial court sentenced him to twelve years and ordered that he serve 364 days in confinement and the remainder of his sentence on Community Corrections. The Defendant’s probation officer alleged that the Defendant violated his probation and, at a hearing, the Defendant admitted that he violated the conditions of his probation. The trial court revoked his probation and ordered that he serve his sentence in confinement. On appeal, the Defendant contends that the trial court erred when it ordered that he serve his sentence in confinement. On appeal, we affirm the trial court’s judgment.

Warren County Court of Criminal Appeals 02/12/18
State of Tennessee v. Darrell Wayne Bumpas
M2017-00746-CCA-R3-CD
Authoring Judge: Judge Robert L. Holloway, Jr.
Trial Court Judge: Judge Steve R. Dozier

Following a bench trial in the Criminal Court for Davidson County, the Defendant, Darrell Wayne Bumpas, was convicted of forgery over $1,000; criminal simulation over $1,000; theft of property over $1,000; and two counts of identity theft. For these offenses, the trial court sentenced the Defendant to a total effective sentence of twelve years to serve in the Department of Correction. On appeal, the Defendant asserts that the trial court improperly admitted into evidence a photocopy of the fraudulent check and still photographs from a bank security camera. He argues that the State failed to properly authenticate the evidence under Tennessee Rules of Evidence 901 and 902. The Defendant also asserts that his sentence is excessive. Upon review, we affirm the judgments of the trial court.

Davidson County Court of Criminal Appeals 02/12/18