Court of Criminal Appeals Opinions

Format: 10/18/2018
Format: 10/18/2018
Devon Brown v. State of Tennessee
W2017-02187-CCA-R3-PC
Authoring Judge: Judge James Curwood Witt, Jr.
Trial Court Judge: Judge Lee V. Coffee

The petitioner, Devon Brown, appeals the denial of his petition for post-conviction relief, which petition challenged his 2012 convictions of first degree murder, attempted first degree murder, aggravated assault, employing a firearm during the commission of a dangerous felony, and reckless endangerment, alleging that he was deprived of the effective assistance of counsel. Discerning no error, we affirm the denial of postconviction relief.

Shelby County Court of Criminal Appeals 10/17/18
Terry Caraway v. State of Tennessee
W2017-01754-CCA-R3-PC
Authoring Judge: Judge Thomas T. Woodall
Trial Court Judge: Judge Glenn Ivy Wright

Petitioner, Terry Caraway, was indicted by the Shelby County Grand Jury for first degree premeditated murder, felony murder, and aggravated burglary. On December 15, 2004, Petitioner pleaded guilty to first degree premeditated murder, and the remaining counts were dismissed. The trial court sentenced Petitioner to life imprisonment. On May 12, 2015, Petitioner filed a pro se motion to toll the post-conviction statute of limitations, claiming that he was mentally incompetent and that he was unable to understand the law and comply with the statute of limitations, and a pro se post-conviction petition, alleging that his guilty plea was involuntary. Petitioner was appointed counsel, and counsel filed an amended motion to toll the statute of limitations. An evidentiary hearing on the motion to toll the statute of limitations was held on February 25, 2016, and taken under advisement. An order was entered on December 25, 2016, granting Petitioner the services of an expert “to the extent allowed by law” to determine whether Petitioner suffered from mental illness at the time of the offenses. On August 3, 2017, the postconviction court entered an order denying Petitioner’s motion, in which the court concluded that Petitioner had been unable to present sufficient evidence to prove he suffered from mental illness during the applicable time period. The order effectively dismissed the petition for post-conviction relief, which was filed several years after the statute of limitations had expired. Following our review, we affirm the judgment of the post-conviction court.

Shelby County Court of Criminal Appeals 10/17/18
State of Tennessee v. Tony Arnell Britton
W2017-01817-CCA-R3-CD
Authoring Judge: Judge Alan E. Glenn
Trial Court Judge: Judge James M. Lammey

The pro se Defendant, Tony Arnell Britton, appeals from the trial court’s denial of his motion to correct an illegal sentence pursuant to Tennessee Rule of Criminal Procedure 36.1. After thorough review, we affirm the judgment of the trial court.

Shelby County Court of Criminal Appeals 10/17/18
Thomas Edward Clardy v. State of Tennessee
M2017-01193-CCA-R3-PC
Authoring Judge: Judge Timothy L. Easter
Trial Court Judge: Judge Seth W. Norman

Petitioner, Thomas Edward Clardy, appeals the denial of his petition for post-conviction relief from his convictions for first degree murder, two counts of attempted first degree murder, and three counts of reckless endangerment. Petitioner argues that he received ineffective assistance counsel, that he is actually innocent, and that the trial court erred by denying him the opportunity to make an offer of proof at the post-conviction hearing. After a thorough review, we conclude that Petitioner has failed to establish that he received ineffective assistance of counsel and failed to prove that he is actually innocent. Though Petitioner should have been given the opportunity to make an offer of proof, we hold that this error by the post-conviction court was harmless. Accordingly, we affirm the judgment of the post-conviction court.

Davidson County Court of Criminal Appeals 10/17/18
Ricky Harris v. State of Tennessee
E2017-01974-CCA-R3-ECN
Authoring Judge: Judge Robert W. Wedemeyer
Trial Court Judge: Judge James F. Goodwin

In 1988, a Carter County jury convicted the Petitioner, Ricky Harris, of first degree murder. On direct appeal, this court affirmed the Petitioner’s convictions. See State v. Ricky Jerome Harris, No. 85, 1990 WL 171507, at *25 (Tenn. Crim. App., at Knoxville, Nov. 8, 1990), perm. app. denied (Tenn. Feb. 4, 1991). In 2017, the Petitioner filed a petition for a writ of error coram nobis. The trial court held a hearing and denied the petition. On appeal, the Petitioner contends that he is entitled to coram nobis relief based upon newly discovered evidence as well as evidence withheld by the prosecution. After review, we affirm the trial court’s judgment.

Carter County Court of Criminal Appeals 10/17/18
State of Tennessee v. Areanna O. Lloyd - dissenting in part
M2017-01919-CCA-R3-CD
Authoring Judge: Judge Timothy L. Easter
Trial Court Judge: Judge Royce Taylor

I agree with the majority’s well-reasoned conclusion that the trial court maintained jurisdiction over Defendant’s sentence pursuant to Tennessee Code Annotated section 40-35-212 to consider her petition for a suspended sentence. I disagree with the majority’s conclusion that the trial court correctly modified the Defendant’s agreed upon sentence, which was the result of a fully negotiated plea agreement between Defendant and the State just mere months earlier. There is no evidence of post-sentencing information or developments that would warrant an alteration of the agreed upon manner of service of Defendant’s sentence. I respectfully dissent.

Rutherford County Court of Criminal Appeals 10/17/18
State of Tennessee v. Areanna O. Lloyd
M2017-01919-CCA-R3-CD
Authoring Judge: Judge Robert L. Holloway, Jr.
Trial Court Judge: Judge Royce Taylor

Defendant, Areanna O. Lloyd, entered guilty pleas to two counts of robbery in concert with two or more others in violation of Tennessee Code Annotated sections 39-13-401 and 39-12-302, Class B felonies, and pursuant to the plea agreement was sentenced to concurrent terms of seven years, two months, and twelve days, in the Tennessee Department of Correction (“TDOC”) as a mitigated offender with release eligibility after service of twenty percent of the sentence. After Defendant was denied parole, she filed a “Petition for Suspended Sentence” (“the petition”). Following a hearing, the trial court determined that it did not have jurisdiction over Defendant’s sentence and denied the petition. Defendant then filed a “Motion to Reconsider” (“the motion”), arguing that she had remained incarcerated in Rutherford County and was never transferred to the physical custody of TDOC, and therefore, the trial court retained “full jurisdiction over the manner of [D]efendant’s sentence service” pursuant to Tennessee Code Annotated section 40-35-212(c) and (d)(1). Following a second hearing, the trial court granted the petition and ordered Defendant to serve the balance of her sentence on supervised probation, and the State filed the instant appeal. After a thorough review of the record and applicable law, we determine that the trial court did not abuse its discretion by suspending the balance of the sentence service and placing her on probation.

Rutherford County Court of Criminal Appeals 10/17/18
Charles Godspower v. State of Tennessee
M2017-01696-CCA-R3-PC
Authoring Judge: Judge Alan E. Glenn
Trial Court Judge: Judge David M. Bragg
The Petitioner, Charles Godspower, appeals the dismissal of his petition for post-conviction relief, arguing that due process considerations should toll the running of the statute of limitations because he timely handed his petition to a prison guard during a period of “lockdown” in the prison. He further argues that his trial counsel were per se ineffective in his defense and that he should have been granted post-conviction funds for a mental evaluation. Following our review, we affirm the dismissal of the petition as time-barred.
Rutherford County Court of Criminal Appeals 10/17/18
Marcus Dwayne Townsend v. State of Tennessee
M2017-00117-CCA-R3-PC
Authoring Judge: Judge Robert H. Montgomery, Jr.
Trial Court Judge: Judge Mark J. Fishburn

The Petitioner appeals from the Davidson County Criminal Court’s denial of his post-conviction petition related to his guilty plea convictions of two counts of rape of a child, for which he is serving concurrent twenty-five-year sentences as a violent child rapist with 100% service. On appeal, he contends that the post-conviction court erred in denying his petition and argues that he received the ineffective assistance of counsel. We affirm the judgment of the post-conviction court.

Davidson County Court of Criminal Appeals 10/16/18
Arthur Lee Jamison, Jr. v. State of Tennessee
M2017-01551-CCA-R3-PC
Authoring Judge: Judge John Everett Williams
Trial Court Judge: Judge Cheryl A. Blackburn

A jury convicted the Petitioner, Arthur Lee Jamison, Jr., of the sale of less than 0.5 grams of a substance containing cocaine within a drug-free school zone. The Petitioner sought post-conviction relief, asserting that he received the ineffective assistance of his trial counsel when trial counsel failed to communicate with him, failed to file pretrial motions, including a notice of his intent to use the entrapment defense, failed to investigate and summon witnesses, and gave deficient advice regarding testifying at trial. Because the Petitioner has failed to establish either deficiency or prejudice for each claim, we affirm the post-conviction court’s denial of relief.

Davidson County Court of Criminal Appeals 10/16/18
Clark Beauregard Waterford III v. State of Tennessee
M2017-01968-CCA-R3-PC
Authoring Judge: Presiding Judge John Everett Williams
Trial Court Judge: Judge J. Randall Wyatt, Jr.

A jury convicted the Petitioner, Clark Beauregard Waterford III, of second degree murder for the stabbing of Ms. Faye Burns, and the Petitioner was sentenced to serve forty years in prison. After the Petitioner’s conviction and sentencing, DNA evidence favorable to the Petitioner came to light, and the Petitioner sought post-conviction relief. The post-conviction court determined that the Petitioner had not received the ineffective assistance of trial counsel, that the Petitioner had not established entitlement to relief based on the State’s failure to provide exculpatory evidence, and that the Petitioner was not entitled to relief under the Post-Conviction DNA Analysis Act of 2001. After a thorough review of the record, we conclude that the Petitioner is not entitled to post-conviction relief, and we affirm the judgment.

Davidson County Court of Criminal Appeals 10/16/18
Dennis Evans v. State of Tennessee
W2017-01619-CCA-R3-PC
Authoring Judge: Judge Camille R. McMullen
Trial Court Judge: Judge Paula Skahan

The Petitioner, Dennis Evans, appeals the denial of his petition for post-conviction relief. He argues (1) his conviction in Count 2 for possession of a firearm during the commission of a dangerous felony violated the prohibition against double jeopardy; (2) that he is entitled to retroactive application of State v. Angela Ayers, No. W2014-00781-CCA-R3-CD, 2016 WL 7212576 (Tenn. Crim. App. Dec. 13, 2016) (“Ayers II”), which requires this court to reverse and vacate his firearm conviction and dismiss Count 2 for lack of adequate notice; and (3) defense counsel provided ineffective assistance by advising him to accept the plea agreement offered by the State. We affirm the judgment of the post-conviction court.

Shelby County Court of Criminal Appeals 10/15/18
State of Tennessee v. Casey Colbert
W2017-01998-CCA-R3-CD
Authoring Judge: Judge Camille R. McMullen
Trial Court Judge: Judge James M. Lammey

The Defendant-Appellant, Casey Colbert, entered guilty pleas to two counts of bribery of a witness and two counts of coercion of a witness, see T.C.A. §39-16-107(a)(1) and §39-16-507 (2010). After a sentencing hearing, the trial court merged the two convictions for bribery and the two convictions for coercion into single convictions of bribery and coercion. The trial court then imposed a six-year sentence for bribery and a four-year sentence for coercion, to be served consecutively, for an effective sentence of ten years in the Tennessee Department of Correction. The sole issue presented for our review is whether the trial court erred in ordering the Defendant to serve his sentences consecutively. Upon our review, we affirm.

Shelby County Court of Criminal Appeals 10/15/18
State of Tennessee v. Tywan Montrease Sykes
E2017-02300-CCA-R3-CD
Authoring Judge: Judge Robert L. Holloway, Jr.
Trial Court Judge: Judge David Reed Duggan

Defendant, Tywan Montrease Sykes, was convicted by a Blount County jury of a violation of the sex offender registry, for which he received a sentence of two years’ incarceration. On appeal, Defendant argues that the evidence presented at trial was insufficient to support his conviction because the State failed to prove that he established a secondary residence under Tennessee Code Annotated section 40-39-208. Defendant further contends that there was insufficient evidence to corroborate his statements to investigators and establish the “body of the crime,” or corpus delicti. Upon review, we affirm the judgment of the trial court.

Blount County Court of Criminal Appeals 10/15/18
State of Tennessee v. Stephen Berline Orrick
M2017-01856-CCA-R9-CD
Authoring Judge: Judge Robert H. Montgomery, Jr.
Trial Court Judge: Judge Larry B. Stanley, Jr.

This interlocutory appeal concerns the Warren County Circuit Court’s order granting the Defendant’s motion to disqualify the Office of the District Attorney General for the Thirty-First Judicial District based upon an imputed conflict of interests of an assistant district attorney general. On appeal, the State contends that the trial court abused its discretion by granting the motion. We reverse the order of the trial court and remand the case for further proceedings.

Warren County Court of Criminal Appeals 10/15/18
State of Tennessee v. Raymond Robert Crepack
E2017-02236-CCA-R3-CD
Authoring Judge: Judge Camille R. McMullen
Trial Court Judge: Judge Rex Henry Ogle

Following the denial of his motion to suppress, the Defendant-Appellant, Raymond Crepack, was convicted as charged by a Sevier County Circuit Court jury in Count 1 of driving under the influence (DUI by impairment), third offense, T.C.A. § 55-10-401(1); in Count 2 of driving while the alcohol concentration in his blood or breath was 0.08% or more (DUI per se), third offense, id. § 55-10-401(2); in Count 3 of violating the open container law, id. § 55-10-416, and in Count 4 of driving while his license was cancelled, suspended, or revoked for a prior DUI conviction, id. § 55-50-504(a)(1). The trial court merged the conviction for DUI per se, third offense, with the conviction for DUI by impairment, third offense, and sentenced Crepack1 to concurrent sentences of eleven months and twenty-nine days to be served at 100%, to thirty days for the open container violation, and to six months for the driving on a revoked license conviction. On appeal, Crepack argues: (1) the trial court erred in denying his motion to suppress because the investigatory stop, which was based upon reports from an anonymous caller, amounted to an improper seizure without independent corroboration of his “poor driving,” and (2) the sentence for his DUI, third offense, conviction is excessive. After review, we remand the case for entry of corrected judgment forms in Counts 1 and 2 as specified in this opinion. In all other respects, the judgments of the trial court are affirmed.

Sevier County Court of Criminal Appeals 10/12/18
State of Tennessee v. Gregory Eidson
M2017-01808-CCA-R3-CD
Authoring Judge: Judge John Everett Williams
Trial Court Judge: Judge William R. Goodman, III

The Defendant, Gregory Eidson, was convicted by a jury of driving under the influence (“DUI”) and received a sentence of eleven months and twenty-nine days. On appeal, the Defendant argues that (1) the trial court committed reversible error by failing to appoint a court reporter; (2) he and his counsel were improperly excluded from the grand jury proceedings; (3) counsel was ineffective at the preliminary hearing; (4) the trial court erred in denying his motion to suppress statements made to an officer before being read his Miranda warnings; (5) the trial court erred in admitting the results of his blood test; (6) the trial court was biased, failed to correct prosecutorial misconduct, and denied the Defendant his right to a speedy trial; and (7) the trial court erred in dismissing his petition for writ of habeas corpus in a separate case. After a review of the record and applicable law, we affirm the judgments of the trial court.

Robertson County Court of Criminal Appeals 10/12/18
State of Tennessee v. Laura L. Beasley
M2017-00591-CCA-R3-CD
Authoring Judge: Judge Alan E. Glenn
Trial Court Judge: Judge Dee David Gay

The Defendant, Laura L. Beasley, pled guilty in the Sumner County Criminal Court to vehicular homicide by intoxication, a Class B felony, and two counts of vehicular assault, Class D felonies, with the sentences to be determined by the trial court. Following a sentencing hearing, the trial court imposed sentences of ten years, three years, and three years, respectively, to be served consecutively in the Department of Correction. On appeal, the Defendant challenges the length of sentences imposed, the imposition of consecutive sentences, and the denial of an alternative sentence. After review, we affirm the sentencing decision of the trial court.

Sumner County Court of Criminal Appeals 10/11/18
Marvin Readus v. State of Tennessee
M2017-02298-CCA-R3-PC
Authoring Judge: Judge Norma McGee Ogle
Trial Court Judge: Judge Steve R. Dozier

The Petitioner, Marvin Readus, was convicted in the Davidson County Criminal Court of aggravated kidnapping while employing a firearm, aggravated rape, and aggravated assault, and he received an effective sentence of life plus fifteen years in the Tennessee Department of Correction. Thereafter, the Petitioner filed a petition requesting DNA analysis of evidence pursuant to the Post-Conviction DNA Analysis Act of 2001. The post-conviction court summarily dismissed the petition, and the Petitioner appeals. Upon review, we affirm the judgment of the post-conviction court.

Davidson County Court of Criminal Appeals 10/11/18
Willie Jones v. State of Tennessee
W2017-01960-CCA-R3-PC
Authoring Judge: Judge Robert H. Montgomery, Jr.
Trial Court Judge: Judge James Lammey

The Petitioner, Willie Jones, appeals the Shelby County Criminal Court’s denial of his petition for post-conviction relief from his 2014 convictions for second degree murder and being a convicted felon in possession of a firearm and his effective twenty-nine-year sentence. The Petitioner contends that he received the ineffective assistance of counsel. We affirm the judgment of the post-conviction court.

Shelby County Court of Criminal Appeals 10/09/18
William Franklin Robinette v.State of Tennessee
E2017-02105-CCA-R3-PC
Authoring Judge: Judge James Curwood Witt, Jr.
Trial Court Judge: Judge Alex E. Pearson

The petitioner, William Franklin Robinette, appeals the denial of his petition for postconviction relief, which petition challenged his 2012 Greene County Criminal Court jury convictions of solicitation to commit first degree murder, claiming that he was deprived of the effective assistance of counsel. Discerning no error, we affirm the denial of postconviction relief.

Greene County Court of Criminal Appeals 10/09/18
State of Tennessee v. Rubin P. Pena
M2017-01663-CCA-R3-CD
Authoring Judge: Judge Robert H. Montgomery, Jr.
Trial Court Judge: Judge Royce Taylor

The Defendant, Rubin P. Pena, was convicted by a Rutherford County Circuit Court jury of vehicular homicide by reckless conduct, a Class C felony, three counts of reckless aggravated assault, a Class D felony, and leaving the scene of an accident resulting in a death, a Class E felony. See T.C.A. §§ 39-13-213 (2014) (amended 2015) (vehicular homicide by reckless conduct), 39-13-102 (reckless aggravated assault) (2014) (amended 2015), 55-10-101 (leaving the scene of an accident resulting in a death) (2014). The Defendant was sentenced as a Range I, standard offender and received a six-year sentence for vehicular homicide by reckless conduct and concurrent four-year sentences for each reckless aggravated assault conviction. The Defendant also received a two-year consecutive sentence for leaving the scene of an accident resulting in a death, for an effective sentence of eight years’ incarceration. On appeal, the Defendant contends that (1) the evidence is insufficient to support his vehicular homicide by reckless conduct and reckless aggravated assault convictions and (2) the trial court erred during sentencing by applying certain enhancement factors. We affirm the judgments of the trial court.

Rutherford County Court of Criminal Appeals 10/08/18
State of Tennessee v. Patricia Ann Bingham, a.k.a. Patricia Ann Starnes
M2017-02059-CCA-R3-CD
Authoring Judge: Judge D. Kelly Thomas, Jr.
Trial Court Judge: Judge Monte D. Watkins

The Defendant, Patricia Ann Bingham, a.k.a. Patricia Ann Starnes, appeals her jury conviction for aggravated robbery, for which she received a sentence of ten years’ incarceration. In this direct appeal, the Defendant alleges the following errors: (1) that the evidence was insufficient to support her conviction, arguing that the State failed to establish beyond a reasonable doubt that she personally assaulted the victim or directed her co-defendant during the robbery and that the State failed to prove that either she or her co-defendant used a deadly weapon to accomplish the robbery; and (2) that trial court failed to properly supervise the jury’s viewing of the surveillance video footage and that admission of the entire surveillance video was error because all of the angles contained on the recording were not properly authenticated. Following our review of the record and the applicable authorities, we affirm the judgment of the trial court.

Davidson County Court of Criminal Appeals 10/08/18
State of Tennessee v. Martrell Holloway
W2017-01816-CCA-R3-CD
Authoring Judge: Judge Camille R. McMullen
Trial Court Judge: Judge J. Robert Carter, Jr.

Pro se Petitioner, Martrell Holloway, appeals the Shelby County Criminal Court’s denial of his “Ex Parte Injunction and/or Show Cause Order” and “Motion to Alter and Amend Judgment Dated August 16, 2017 Denying ‘Ex Parte Injunction and/or Show Cause Order.’” On appeal, he argues that his original convictions are invalid because the trial court clerk failed to file-stamp his judgments of conviction in accordance with Tennessee Rule of Criminal Procedure 32(e) and Tennessee Rule of Civil Procedure 58. The State contends that the Petitioner’s appeal is not properly before this court, and despite the lack of jurisdiction, the Petitioner is not entitled to relief on the merits of his claim. Upon review, we agree with the State and dismiss this appeal pursuant to Rule 20, Rules of the Court of Criminal Appeals.

Shelby County Court of Criminal Appeals 10/05/18
State of Tennessee v. Jamaal Austin
W2017-01632-CCA-R3-CD
Authoring Judge: Judge D. Kelly Thomas, Jr.
Trial Court Judge: Judge W. Mark Ward

The Defendant, Jamaal Austin, was convicted by a jury of one count of first degree felony murder; one count of first degree premeditated murder; one count of especially aggravated robbery, a Class A felony; two counts of attempted aggravated robbery, a Class C felony; one count of aggravated burglary, a Class C felony; and one count of employment of a firearm during the commission of a dangerous felony, a Class C felony. See Tenn. Code Ann. §§ 39-12-101, -13-202, -13-402, -13-403, -14-403, -17-1324(b). The trial court then merged the first degree premeditated murder conviction into the first degree felony murder conviction. Following a sentencing hearing, the trial court imposed a total effective sentence of life imprisonment plus twenty-four years. On appeal, the defendant contends (1) that the evidence was insufficient to sustain his convictions; (2) that the trial court erred in denying his severance motion; (3) that his convictions violate the constitutional prohibition against double jeopardy; (4) that the trial court failed to fulfill its duty as the thirteenth juror; and (5) that the trial court abused its discretion by imposing partial consecutive sentences. Following our review, we conclude that the evidence was insufficient to sustain the Defendant’s conviction for especially aggravated robbery. We vacate that conviction and modify it to aggravated robbery. The case is remanded to the trial court for a new sentencing hearing on the modified conviction, entry of an amended judgment form reflecting the modification, and entry of corrected judgment form in Count 1 reflecting the trial court’s merger of the first degree premediated murder conviction into the first degree felony murder conviction. We affirm the judgments of the trial court in all other respects.

Shelby County Court of Criminal Appeals 10/05/18