Court of Criminal Appeals Opinions

Format: 09/29/2016
Format: 09/29/2016
State of Tennessee v. Michael A. Alderson
M2015-01395-CCA-R3-CD
Authoring Judge: Judge John Everett Williams
Trial Court Judge: Judge Stella L. Hargrove

The defendant, Michael A. Alderson, was convicted by a jury of introducing drugs into a penal institution, a Class C felony, after he was arrested for an unrelated offense and disburdened himself of a small amount of marijuana in the “trap” room leading to the Maury County jail.  The trial court sentenced the defendant as a Range II offender to ten years’ imprisonment.  On appeal, the defendant asserts that he was denied his right to self-representation.  The defendant also argues that the marijuana should have been suppressed because his initial arrest was unlawful, and he asserts error in sentencing.  Because we conclude that the trial court erred in denying the defendant his right to self-representation, we reverse the judgment and remand for further proceedings consistent with this opinion.

Maury County Court of Criminal Appeals 09/29/16
State of Tennessee v. Rosa Emma Honeycutt
E2015-00790-CCA-R3-CD
Authoring Judge: Judge Norma McGee Ogle
Trial Court Judge: Judge James F. Goodwin

A Sullivan County Criminal Court Jury convicted the appellant, Rosa Emma Honeycutt, of failing to report suspected child sexual abuse, a Class A misdemeanor, and the trial court sentenced her to eleven months, twenty-nine days to be served on unsupervised probation. On appeal, the appellant contends that the trial court erred by denying her request for judicial diversion. Based upon the oral arguments, the record, and the parties’ briefs, we reverse the judgment of the trial court and grant judicial diversion.

Sullivan County Court of Criminal Appeals 09/29/16
Michael Fields v. State of Tennessee
E2015-01850-CCA-R3-PC
Authoring Judge: Judge Camille R. McMullen
Trial Court Judge: Judge R. Jerry Beck

The Petitioner, Michael Fields, appeals the Sullivan County Criminal Court's denial of post-conviction relief from his convictions for reckless homicide, felony murder, two counts of especially aggravated burglary and especially aggravated robbery. On appeal, the Petitioner argues that he received ineffective assistance of counsel at both the trial and appellate level, and that, in light of these errors, his effective sentence of life plus forty years in incarceration is illegal. Upon review, we affirm the judgment of the post-conviction court.

Sullivan County Court of Criminal Appeals 09/29/16
State of Tennessee v. Joseph Richard Fredrickson
M2015-01206-CCA-R3-CD
Authoring Judge: Judge John Everett Williams
Trial Court Judge: Judge Franklin L. Russell

The defendant, Joseph Richard Fredrickson, was convicted of one count of the sale of marijuana, a Class E felony, one count of delivery of marijuana, a Class E felony, and one count of conspiracy to sell or deliver marijuana, a Class A misdemeanor.  The trial court merged felony convictions and sentenced the defendant as a Range II offender to four years; the defendant received a sentence of  eleven months and twenty-nine days for the misdemeanor conviction.  The trial court ordered the defendant to serve his sentences concurrently for an effective sentence of four years.  On appeal, the defendant argues that the evidence is insufficient to sustain his felony convictions, that the trial court erred in denying his motion for independent scientific testing of the marijuana, and that the trial court erred in imposing four-year sentences for his felony convictions.  Following our review, we affirm the judgments of the trial court.

Bedford County Court of Criminal Appeals 09/29/16
State of Tennessee v. Marcus Williams
W2015-01918-CA-R3-CD
Authoring Judge: Judge James Curwood Witt, Jr.
Trial Court Judge: Judge W. Mark Ward

The defendant, Marcus Williams, appeals his Shelby County Criminal Court jury convictions of identity theft, theft of property, and forgery, claiming that the evidence was insufficient to support his convictions and that the trial court erred by instructing the jury on criminal responsibility and by admitting certain evidence at trial. Discerning no error, we affirm.

Shelby County Court of Criminal Appeals 09/29/16
William S. Mitchell v. Michael Parris, Warden
W2015-01790-CCA-R3-HC
Authoring Judge: Judge Alan E. Glenn
Trial Court Judge: Judge R. Lee Moore, Jr.

The petitioner, William S. Mitchell, attempts to convert an appeal of the denial of his petition for writ of habeas corpus into a Tennessee Rule of Criminal Procedure 36.1 claim regarding the illegality of his plea agreement sentence for aggravated sexual battery. We respectfully decline the petitioner’s request that we consider his timely appeal of the denial of his petition for writ of habeas corpus as an untimely appeal of his motion to correct an illegal sentence. Accordingly, we dismiss the appeal.

Lake County Court of Criminal Appeals 09/29/16
State of Tennessee v. Kevin Ladell Grandberry
W2015-01344-CCA-R3-CD
Authoring Judge: Judge J. Ross Dyer
Trial Court Judge: Judge Joe H. Walker, III

The defendant, Kevin Ladell Grandberry, was indicted for first-degree premeditated murder, murder in the perpetration of a felony, especially aggravated robbery, attempted first degree murder, employing a firearm during the commission of a dangerous felony, felon in possession of a weapon, and theft between $1000 and $10,000. Following trial, a jury found the defendant guilty of murder in the perpetration of a felony, especially aggravated robbery, aggravated assault, felon in possession of a weapon, and theft between $1000 and $10,000. The trial court sentenced the defendant to an effective sentence of life without the possibility of parole plus 27 years in confinement. On appeal, the defendant argues the evidence was insufficient to support his convictions. After review, we affirm the defendant's convictions, but remand to the trial court for entry of amended judgments reflecting, per the sentencing hearing transcripts, that the sentences in Counts 2 and 3 are to be served concurrently.

Lauderdale County Court of Criminal Appeals 09/28/16
State of Tennessee v. Travis Brooks
W2015-02433-CCA-R3-CD
Authoring Judge: Judge J. Ross Dyer
Trial Court Judge: Judge James C. Beasley, Jr.

The petitioner, Travis Brooks, appeals the dismissal of his motion to correct an illegal sentence. He argues that he is entitled to relief because the trial court failed to award him appropriate pretrial jail credits. Following our review, we conclude that the petitioner has not stated a colorable claim for relief, and we affirm the judgment of the trial court.

Shelby County Court of Criminal Appeals 09/28/16
State of Tennessee v. Leonardo D. Williams
W2016-00168-CCA-R3-CD
Authoring Judge: Judge Alan E. Glenn
Trial Court Judge: Judge James M. Lammey, Jr.

The defendant, Leonardo D. Williams, appeals the dismissal of his Tennessee Rule of Criminal Procedure 36.1 motion for correction of an illegal sentence, arguing that he illegally received concurrent sentences when he should have received consecutive ones. We affirm the summary dismissal of the motion pursuant to Rule 20, Rules of the Court of Criminal Appeals.

Shelby County Court of Criminal Appeals 09/28/16
State of Tennessee v. Philemon Alexander
W2015-02494-CCA-R3-CD
Authoring Judge: Judge D. Kelly Thomas, Jr.
Trial Court Judge: Judge Chris Craft

The Defendant, Philemon Alexander, was convicted of one count of theft of property valued at $1,000 or more but less than $10,000. See Tenn. Code Ann. § 39-14-103. In this appeal as of right, the Defendant contends that the evidence was insufficient to sustain his conviction, arguing that there was no proof of his possession of the stolen vehicle. Following our review, the judgment is affirmed.

Shelby County Court of Criminal Appeals 09/28/16
State of Tennessee v. Marcus Thurman Wade
M2014-01418-CCA-R3-CD
Authoring Judge: Judge Norma McGee Ogle
Trial Court Judge: Judge L. Craig Johnson

A jury in the Coffee County Circuit Court found the Appellant, Marcus Thurman Wade, guilty of the first degree premeditated murders of Richard Elliott and Timothy Gill, the felony murders in the perpetration of aggravated robbery of Mr. Elliott and Mr. Gill, and the especially aggravated robbery of Mr. Elliott.  The trial court merged the premeditated murder convictions and the felony murder convictions and imposed a total effective sentence of life without the possibility of parole plus thirty-five years.  On appeal, the Appellant challenges (1) the sufficiency of the evidence sustaining his convictions, (2) the trial court’s decision to allow testimony regarding a prior bad act of the Appellant, (3) the trial court’s refusal to give the pattern jury instruction on circumstantial evidence that was in place at the time of the offenses, and (4) the trial court’s ruling on the Appellant’s motion to suppress his statement.  Upon review, we affirm the judgments of the trial court.

Coffee County Court of Criminal Appeals 09/28/16
State of Tennessee v. Joseph A. Colwell, Sr.
M2016-00130-CCA-R3-CD
Authoring Judge: Judge Timothy L. Easter
Trial Court Judge: Judge Russell Parkes

Defendant, Joseph A. Colwell, Sr., appeals after being convicted by a jury of two counts of rape and two counts of incest and receiving an effective sentence of twenty years.  Upon our review, we determine that the evidence was sufficient to support the convictions and that the trial court did not abuse its discretion in sentencing Defendant to a twenty-year sentence.  Consequently, the judgments of the trial court are affirmed.

Maury County Court of Criminal Appeals 09/28/16
State of Tennessee v. Jermaine Carpenter
E2016-00450-CCA-R3-CD
Authoring Judge: Judge James Curwood Witt, Jr.
Trial Court Judge: Judge James F. Goodwin, Jr.

The defendant, Jermaine Carpenter, appeals the summary dismissal of his motion, filed pursuant to Tennessee Rule of Criminal Procedure 36.1, to correct what he believes to be an illegal sentence imposed for his 2004 Sullivan County Criminal Court jury convictions. Discerning no error, we affirm.

Sullivan County Court of Criminal Appeals 09/28/16
State of Tennessee v. Christopher Demotto Linsey
M2015-01851-CCA-R3-CD
Authoring Judge: Judge J. Ross Dyer
Trial Court Judge: Judge William R. Goodman, III

The defendant, Christopher Demotto Linsey, was indicted for tampering with evidence, possession of cocaine with intent to sell or deliver, simple possession of marijuana, possession of heroin, and simple possession of alprazolam. After trial, a jury found the defendant guilty of felony tampering with evidence and misdemeanor simple possession of marijuana, for which he received an effective twelve-year sentence. On appeal, the defendant argues the evidence was insufficient to support the trial court’s decision to deny his request for a renunciation jury instruction with respect to the tampering with evidence charge. The State concedes the evidence presented at trial was insufficient to support the defendant’s tampering with evidence conviction and asserts the jury instruction question has been pretermitted. Upon review, we agree with the State. We affirm the defendant’s conviction for simple possession of marijuana and reverse and vacate the defendant’s conviction for tampering with evidence.

Montgomery County Court of Criminal Appeals 09/27/16
State of Tennessee v. Johnny Malcolm Vinson
M2016-00068-CCA-R3-CD
Authoring Judge: Judge J. Ross Dyer
Trial Court Judge: Judge Mark J. Fishburn

The defendant, Johnny Malcolm Vinson, was convicted of aggravated assault in violation of an active order of protection pursuant to Tenn. Code Ann. § 39-13-102(c). On appeal, the defendant challenges the sufficiency of the evidence supporting his conviction arguing that conflicting testimony exists regarding his use of a deadly weapon and that the State failed to prove he acted with intent. After our review, we conclude that the defendant’s arguments are without merit. Accordingly, we affirm the judgment of the trial court.

Davidson County Court of Criminal Appeals 09/27/16
State of Tennessee v. Michael D. Hernandez - concurring and dissenting
E2015-01365-CCA-R3-CD
Authoring Judge: Judge John Everett Williams
Trial Court Judge: Judge Donald R. Elledge
I agree with the majority's conclusion upholding the Defendant's conviction for rape of a child and his twenty-five-year sentence. Moreover, while I agree with the majority's conclusion that Ms. Powell's notes do not qualify as a “statement” of the victim pursuant to Tennessee Rule of Criminal Procedure 26.2, I write separately to address the issue of whether Ms. Powell's notes qualify as a “statement” of Ms. Powell as the testifying witness pursuant to Rule 26.2.
 
Anderson County Court of Criminal Appeals 09/27/16
State of Tennessee v. Michael D. Hernandez
E2015-01365-CCA-R3-CD
Authoring Judge: Judge Norma McGee Ogle
Trial Court Judge: Judge Donald R. Elledge
An Anderson County Circuit Court Jury convicted the appellant, Michael D. Hernandez, of one count of rape of a child, and he received a twenty-five-year sentence to be served at 100%. On appeal, the appellant contends that the evidence is insufficient to support the conviction; that the trial court erred by refusing to give him access to the victim's statement in an investigator's notes; that the trial court erred by failing to conduct an in camera review of the notes for exculpatory material; that the trial court erred by denying his motion to suppress evidence found in his home; that the trial court erred by defining “on or about” for the jury; that the trial court erred by giving sequential jury instructions; and that cumulative error warrants a new trial. Based upon the oral arguments, the record, and the parties' briefs, we affirm the judgment of the trial court.
 
Anderson County Court of Criminal Appeals 09/27/16
State of Tennessee v. James Walter Morgan
E2015-01959-CCA-R3-CD
Authoring Judge: Judge Robert H. Montgomery, Jr.
Trial Court Judge: Judge Alex E. Pearson

The Defendant, James Walter Morgan, was found guilty by a Hamblen County Criminal Court jury of theft of property valued at $500 or less, a Class A misdemeanor. See T.C.A. § 39-14-103 (2014). The trial court sentenced the Defendant to eleven months, twenty-nine days of supervised probation. On appeal, the Defendant contends that the trial court erred in denying his request for judicial diversion. We affirm the judgment of the trial court.

Hamblen County Court of Criminal Appeals 09/27/16
State of Tennessee v. Jeremy Jones
W2015-01528-CCA-R3-CD
Authoring Judge: Judge Alan E. Glenn
Trial Court Judge: Judge Glenn Wright

The defendant, Jeremy Jones, was convicted by a Shelby County Criminal Court jury of attempted first degree murder, a Class A felony; aggravated assault, a Class C felony; employment of a firearm during the commission of a dangerous felony, a Class C felony; and convicted felon in possession of a firearm, a Class C felony. The trial court imposed an effective term of twenty-five years in the Department of Correction. On appeal, he argues: (1) the evidence is insufficient to sustain his convictions; (2) the trial court failed to ensure an impartial jury venire; and (3) he is entitled to relief due to cumulative error at trial. After review, we affirm the judgments of the trial court. However, we remand for entry of a corrected judgment in Count 3 to check the box indicating that the defendant was found guilty in that count.

Shelby County Court of Criminal Appeals 09/26/16
State of Tennessee v. Oscar C. Wells
W2016-00170-CCA-R3-CD
Authoring Judge: Judge James Curwood Witt, Jr.
Trial Court Judge: Judge James C. Beasley, Jr.

The defendant, Oscar C. Wells, appeals the summary dismissal of his motion, filed pursuant to Tennessee Rule of Criminal Procedure 36.1, to correct what he believes to be an illegal sentence imposed for his 2002 Shelby County Criminal Court jury conviction of first degree murder. Discerning no error, we affirm.

Shelby County Court of Criminal Appeals 09/26/16
State of Tennessee v. Guy B. Bernal
M2015-01489-CCA-R3-CD
Authoring Judge: Judge Robert W. Wedemeyer
Trial Court Judge: Judge Stella L. Hargrove

A Maury County jury found the Defendant, Guy B. Bernal, guilty of rape.  The trial court sentenced the Defendant as a Range I offender to twelve years in the Tennessee Department of Correction.  On appeal, the Defendant asserts that: (1) his right against self-incrimination was violated when the trial court did not conduct a proper Momon hearing; (2) the convicting evidence is insufficient; and (3) his twelve-year sentence is excessive.  After a thorough review of the record and applicable law, we affirm the trial court’s judgment.

Maury County Court of Criminal Appeals 09/26/16
State of Tennessee v. Roy Daniel Mayo, II
M2015-02267-CCA-R3-CD
Authoring Judge: Judge John Everett Williams
Trial Court Judge: Judge Suzanne Lockert-Mash

A jury found the Defendant, Roy Daniel Mayo II, guilty of one count of attempted burglary, a Class A misdemeanor; one count of possession of burglary tools, a Class A misdemeanor; and one count of evading arrest while operating a motor vehicle, a Class E felony.  The trial court imposed an aggregate sentence of six years in prison.  The Defendant does not challenge his misdemeanor convictions.  On appeal, he asserts that his evading arrest conviction should be reversed because the trial court’s jury instructions did not require the jury to find that the Defendant’s flight took place while he was operating the motor vehicle.  Given the facts surrounding the Defendant’s conviction, in particular the proof regarding whether his flight was by means of a vehicle or on foot, we conclude that the jury instructions failed to fairly submit the legal issues and misled the jury as to the applicable law and that the error was not harmless.  We accordingly reverse the Defendant’s felony evading arrest conviction, and we remand for new trial on that charge.

Cheatham County Court of Criminal Appeals 09/26/16
State of Tennessee v. James Shettles
W2015-01529-CCA-R3-CD
Authoring Judge: Judge Robert H. Montgomery, Jr.
Trial Court Judge: Judge Glenn Wright

The Defendant, James Shettles, was convicted by a Shelby County Criminal Court jury of aggravated assault, a Class C felony, for which he is serving a four-year workhouse sentence on probation. See T.C.A. § 30-13-102 (Supp. 2012) (amended 2013). On appeal he contends that: (1) the evidence is insufficient to support his conviction, (2) the trial court erred in admitting a recording of a 9-1-1 call, and (3) the trial court erred in failing to remove a juror. We affirm the judgment of the trial court.

Shelby County Court of Criminal Appeals 09/23/16
State of Tennessee v. Timothy Lewayne Morton
M2015-02279-CCA-R3-CD
Authoring Judge: Judge John Everett Williams
Trial Court Judge: Judge Dee David Gay

The trial court found that the Defendant, Timothy Lewayne Morton, violated the conditions of his two-year probation when he was arrested for disorderly conduct and public intoxication.  The Defendant pled guilty to the disorderly conduct charge prior to the revocation hearing.  The Defendant asserts that there was insufficient evidence to support the finding of a violation.  After a thorough review of the record, we affirm the judgment of the trial court.

Sumner County Court of Criminal Appeals 09/22/16
Tina Garrett v. State of Tennessee
M2015-01659-CCA-R3-PC
Authoring Judge: Judge Robert L. Holloway, Jr.
Trial Court Judge: Judge E. Shayne Sexton

In June 2013, the Petitioner, Tina Garrett, entered a “best interests” guilty plea to first degree murder in exchange for a life sentence.  She subsequently filed a petition for post-conviction relief alleging, among other things, that she received ineffective assistance of counsel and that her plea was unknowing and involuntary.  Following a hearing on the petition, the post-conviction court denied relief.  After a thorough review, we affirm the judgment of the post-conviction court.

Fentress County Court of Criminal Appeals 09/22/16