Court of Criminal Appeals Opinions

Format: 06/23/2017
Format: 06/23/2017
William B. Gatlin v. State of Tennessee
M2016-00824-CCA-R3-PC
Authoring Judge: Judge Timothy L. Easter
Trial Court Judge: Judge F. Lee Russell

Petitioner, William B. Gatlin, appeals the denial of his petition for post-conviction relief. Petitioner alleges that the jury at his original trial was subjected to an improper outside influence, thereby violating his Sixth Amendment right to an impartial jury. Petitioner also contends that the post-conviction judge was disqualified and should have recused himself because he had also presided as the trial judge in Petitioner’s original trial. Upon our review of the record and applicable authorities, we affirm the judgment of the post-conviction court.

Marshall County Court of Criminal Appeals 06/23/17
Christopher Mimms v. State of Tennessee
M2016-01016-CCA-R3-HC
Authoring Judge: Judge Camille R. McMullen
Trial Court Judge: Judge John D. Wootten, Jr.

The Petitioner, Christopher Mimms, appeals the summary dismissal of his petition for writ of habeas corpus by the Trousdale County Criminal Court. On appeal, the Petitioner argues that his drug-related convictions are void because the trial court amended the indictment without his consent. Upon review, we affirm the judgment of the habeas corpus court.

Trousdale County Court of Criminal Appeals 06/22/17
State of Tennessee v. Daniel Inmon
M2016-00596-CCA-R3-CD
Authoring Judge: Judge Camille R. McMullen
Trial Court Judge: Judge Royce Taylor

Pro se Defendant, Daniel Inmon, was indicted by the Rutherford County grand jury with four counts of educational neglect, Tennessee Code Annotated sections 49-6-3001 to -3006, a class C misdemeanor, for failing to cause his four children to attend school for a period of seventeen days. He was subsequently convicted as charged and sentenced to thirty days supervised probation for each count, to be served consecutively. On appeal, the Defendant argues that the evidence was insufficient to sustain his convictions. Upon our review, we affirm the judgments of the trial court.

Rutherford County Court of Criminal Appeals 06/22/17
State of Tennessee v. Robert G. Thornton, Jr.
M2015-01895-CCA-R3-CD
Authoring Judge: Judge Thomas T. Woodall
Trial Court Judge: Judge James G. Martin, III

Following a jury trial in Hickman County Circuit Court, Defendant, Robert G. Thornton, Jr., was convicted of two counts of rape. The trial court merged the convictions and sentenced Defendant to twelve years in the Department of Correction to be served at 100%. On appeal, Defendant argues: (1) that the trial court improperly refused to strike a juror for cause; (2) that the trial court erred by denying his motion for a mistrial; (3) that the evidence was not sufficient to support his rape convictions; and (4) that his sentence is excessive. After a thorough review of the record, we affirm the judgments of the trial court.

Hickman County Court of Criminal Appeals 06/22/17
State of Tennessee v. Michael Eugene Jones
M2016-02277-CCA-R3-CD
Authoring Judge: Judge Norma McGee Ogle
Trial Court Judge: Judg F. Lee Russell

The Appellant, Michael Eugene Jones, pled guilty in the Marshall County Circuit Court to selling one-half gram or more of a Schedule II controlled substance, a Class B felony. Pursuant to the plea agreement, the trial court was to determine the length and manner of service of the sentence. After a sentencing hearing, the trial court ordered that the Appellant serve ten years in confinement. On appeal, the Appellant contends that the length of his sentence is excessive and that the trial court erred by not sentencing him to community corrections. Based upon the record and the parties’ briefs, we affirm the judgment of the trial court.

Marshall County Court of Criminal Appeals 06/21/17
State of Tennessee v. George Martin Zickefoose
E2016-01845-CCA-R3-CD
Authoring Judge: Judge Robert W. Wedemeyer
Trial Court Judge: Judge Tammy M. Harrington

The Defendant, George Martin Zickefoose, pleaded guilty to vandalism valued between $1,000 and $10,000, theft of property valued between $1,000 and $10,000, and burglary, with the trial court to determine the sentences. At the sentencing hearing, the trial court ordered concurrent four-year sentences for each count for an effective four-year sentence in the Tennessee Department of Correction. The Defendant appeals, asserting that the trial court erred when it denied him an alternative sentence. After review, we affirm the trial court’s judgments.

Blount County Court of Criminal Appeals 06/20/17
State of Tennessee v. Christopher Collier
W2016-01231-CCA-R3-CD
Authoring Judge: Judge John Everett Williams
Trial Court Judge: Judge James M. Lammey

A Shelby County jury convicted the Defendant, Christopher Collier, of theft of property valued at $1,000 or more but less than $10,000, and the trial court sentenced the Defendant to twelve years of incarceration as a persistent offender. On appeal, the Defendant challenges the sufficiency of the evidence. Upon reviewing the record and the applicable law, we affirm the judgment of the trial court.

Shelby County Court of Criminal Appeals 06/20/17
State of Tennessee v. Montreal Portis Robinson
W2016-01949-CCA-R3-CD
Authoring Judge: Judge Alan E. Glenn
Trial Court Judge: Judge Kyle Atkins

The Defendant, Montreal Portis Robinson, was convicted by a Madison County Circuit Court jury of aggravated robbery, a Class B felony, and robbery, a Class C felony. He was sentenced to eight years for the aggravated robbery conviction and three years for the robbery conviction, to be served consecutively in the Tennessee Department of Correction for an effective term of eleven years. On appeal, the Defendant challenges the sufficiency of the evidence convicting him of aggravated robbery and the trial court’s imposition of consecutive sentences. After review, we affirm the judgments of the trial court.

Madison County Court of Criminal Appeals 06/20/17
Charles Bradford Stewart v. State of Tennessee
M2015-02449-CCA-R3-PC
Authoring Judge: Presiding Judge Thomas T. Woodall
Trial Court Judge: Judge John H. Gasaway, III

The State appeals from the post-conviction court’s grant of post-conviction relief to Petitioner, Charles Bradford Stewart. Petitioner was convicted of vehicular assault and originally sentenced to serve twelve years as a career offender, with split confinement of one year in jail and eleven years in community corrections. The State appealed the sentence on the basis that community corrections was erroneously granted. This court reversed and remanded. State v. Charles B. Stewart, No. M2010-01948-CCA-R3-CD, 2011 WL 4794942, at *1 and *3 (Tenn. Crim. App. Oct. 11, 2011). Upon remand the trial court sentenced Petitioner to serve the entirety of the twelve-year sentence by incarceration. This Court affirmed. State v. Stewart, 439 S.W.3d 906, 907-08 (Tenn. Crim. App. 2013). Petitioner timely filed, pro se, a petition for post-conviction relief. Counsel was appointed, and Petitioner subsequently filed a “corrected” petition. Following an evidentiary hearing, the post-conviction court granted relief. After review, we reverse the judgment of the post-conviction court and reinstate the judgment of conviction.

Montgomery County Court of Criminal Appeals 06/20/17
State of Tennessee v. Stephen W. Jaco
M2016-00634-CCA-R3-CD
Authoring Judge: Judge John Everett Williams
Trial Court Judge: Judge Larry J. Wallace

A Humphreys County jury convicted the Defendant, Stephen W. Jaco, of driving under the influence (DUI) and unlawfully possessing a firearm while under the influence of alcohol. The trial court sentenced him to eleven months and twenty-nine days for each conviction to be served concurrently and on probation, after serving four days in jail. The trial court fined the Defendant $350 for his DUI conviction. On appeal, the Defendant challenges the sufficiency of the evidence for his DUI conviction, the trial court’s imposition of a fine, the trial court’s failure to join all charges in one indictment, and the trial court’s denial of his motion to dismiss based on double jeopardy principles. We conclude that the trial court erred in imposing the fine for the Defendant’s DUI conviction, and we reverse the trial court’s imposition of the fine and remand the matter for the empaneling of a jury to fix the fine. The trial court’s judgments are otherwise affirmed.

Humphreys County Court of Criminal Appeals 06/20/17
State of Tennessee v. Deangelo Taylor
W2016-00718-CCA-R3-CD
Authoring Judge: Judge James Curwood Witt, Jr.
Trial Court Judge: Judge W. Mark Ward

The defendant, Deangelo Taylor, appeals his Shelby County Criminal Court jury convictions of second degree murder and attempted aggravated robbery, claiming that the trial court erred by admitting certain witness testimony and that the evidence was insufficient to support his convictions. Discerning no error, we affirm.

Shelby County Court of Criminal Appeals 06/16/17
State of Tennessee v. Marcus Puckett
W2016-00353-CCA-R3-CD
Authoring Judge: Judge James Curwood Witt, Jr.
Trial Court Judge: Judge John Campbell

The defendant, Marcus Puckett, appeals his Shelby County Criminal Court jury conviction of driving under the influence (“DUI”), claiming that the trial court erred by permitting the State to play the video recording of the defendant’s traffic stop in its entirety in violation of his constitutional rights. Discerning no error, we affirm the judgment of the trial court.

Shelby County Court of Criminal Appeals 06/16/17
City of Church Hill v. Roger Elliott
E2016-01915-CCA-R3-CD
Authoring Judge: Judge Robert L. Holloway, Jr.
Trial Court Judge: Judge Alex E. Pearson

Roger Elliott (“the Appellant”) was found guilty of “improper passing” by the city judge of the Municipal Court of Church Hill and appealed to the circuit court. In a trial de novo, the Appellant was found guilty of violating Tennessee Code Annotated section 55- 8-118 and was fined twenty-five dollars. Because the Appellant was found guilty in municipal court of violating a municipal ordinance, a civil offense; the subject matter jurisdiction of the circuit court in the trial de novo was limited to a violation of the municipal ordinance. The circuit court erred in finding the Appellant guilty of violating a state criminal statute. The judgment of the circuit court is reversed, and the case remanded for a new trial to determine if the Appellant violated a municipal ordinance of the City of Church Hill.

Hawkins County Court of Criminal Appeals 06/15/17
State of Tennessee v. Felicia Annette Mitchell
E2015-01822-CCA-R3-CD
Authoring Judge: Judge Robert H. Montgomery, Jr.
Trial Court Judge: Judge R. Jerry Beck

The pro se Appellant, Felicia Annette Mitchell, appeals as of right from the Sullivan County Circuit Court’s order summarily dismissing her motion to correct illegal sentences. Tenn. R. Crim. P. 36.1. The State has filed a motion to affirm the trial court’s order pursuant to Tennessee Court of Criminal Appeals Rule 20. Following our review, we conclude that the State’s motion is well-taken and affirm the order of the trial court.

Sullivan County Court of Criminal Appeals 06/15/17
State of Tennessee v. Kaylecia Woodard
E2016-00676-CCA-R3-CD
Authoring Judge: Judge James Curwood Witt, Jr.
Trial Court Judge: Judge Steve Sword

The defendant, Kaylecia Woodard, appeals her Knox County Criminal Court jury conviction of aggravated robbery, arguing that the evidence is insufficient to support her conviction and that the criminal gang enhancement statute, which was applied to enhance her sentence, is unconstitutional. We discern no infirmity relative to the guilt phase of the defendant’s trial and affirm the defendant’s conviction of aggravated robbery. Because, as this court has now repeatedly concluded, that portion of the criminal gang enhancement statute used to enhance the defendant’s sentence is unconstitutional, we vacate the criminal gang enhancement and the 15-year sentence, modify the judgment to reflect a Class B felony conviction of aggravated robbery, and remand the case for resentencing.

Knox County Court of Criminal Appeals 06/15/17
Michelle Dawn Shoemaker v. State of Tennessee
M2016-01146-CCA-R3-ECN
Authoring Judge: Judge Norma McGee Ogle
Trial Court Judge: Judge John D. Wootten, Jr.

A Jackson County Criminal Court Jury convicted the Petitioner, Michelle Dawn Shoemaker, of first degree premeditated murder, conspiracy to commit first degree premeditated murder, solicitation of first degree premeditated murder, and tampering with evidence, and she received an effective life sentence. Subsequently, the Petitioner filed a petition for a writ of error coram nobis, alleging newly discovered evidence in the form of an affidavit from a co-conspirator, who was also the Petitioner’s mother, stating that the Petitioner was not involved in the victim’s death. The coram nobis court summarily denied the petition, and the Petitioner appeals. Based upon the record and the parties’ briefs, we affirm the judgment of the coram nobis court.

Jackson County Court of Criminal Appeals 06/14/17
State of Tennessee v. Brandon Frost
M2015-02283-CCA-R3-CD
Authoring Judge: Judge Norma McGee Ogle
Trial Court Judge: Judge David M. Bragg

A Rutherford County Circuit Court Jury convicted the Appellant, Brandon Frost, of two counts of aggravated kidnapping, one count of aggravated robbery, and one count of attempted aggravated robbery.  The trial court imposed a total effective sentence of ten years in the Tennessee Department of Correction.  On appeal, the Appellant challenges the sufficiency of the evidence sustaining his convictions, contending that he did not demand money or property from the attempted aggravated robbery victim and that his confinement of the kidnapping victims was incidental to the robbery offenses.  The Appellant also contends that the trial court erred by failing to consider mitigating factors when determining the length of his sentences and by failing to grant alternative sentencing.  Upon review, we affirm the judgments of the trial court.

Rutherford County Court of Criminal Appeals 06/14/17
Emmanuel Bibb Houston v. State of Tennessee
M2016-00467-CCA-R3-PC
Authoring Judge: Judge James Curwood Witt, Jr.
Trial Court Judge: Judge Forest Durard

The petitioner, Emmanuel Bibb Houston, appeals the denial of his petition for post-conviction relief from his 2013 Bedford County Circuit Court jury convictions of especially aggravated kidnapping, aggravated burglary, and facilitation of especially aggravated robbery, claiming that he was denied the effective assistance of counsel at trial. Discerning no error, we affirm.

Bedford County Court of Criminal Appeals 06/13/17
State of Tennessee v. Nickelle Jackson
W2016-01495-CCA-R3-CD
Authoring Judge: Judge Camille R. McMullen
Trial Court Judge: Judge James M. Lammey

The Appellant, Nickelle Jackson, appeals from the trial court’s denial of his motion to correct an illegal sentence pursuant to Rule 36.1 of the Tennessee Rules of Criminal Procedure. The State has filed a motion requesting that this court affirm the trial court’s judgment pursuant to Rule 20 of the Rules of the Court of Criminal Appeals. Following our review, we grant the State’s motion and affirm the judgment of the trial court.

Shelby County Court of Criminal Appeals 06/12/17
State of Tennessee v. Robert Page
W2016-01524-CCA-R3-CD
Authoring Judge: Judge Camille R. McMullen
Trial Court Judge: Judge Chris Craft

Pro se petitioner, Robert Page, appeals the summary dismissal of his Rule 36.1 motion to correct an illegal sentence by the Criminal Court of Shelby County. In this appeal, the petitioner claims his original sentence is illegal because the trial court “increased his sentence beyond the presumptive sentence” in violation of Blakely v. Washington, 542 U.S. 296 (2004), and its progeny. Upon our review, we affirm the judgment of the trial court.

Shelby County Court of Criminal Appeals 06/12/17
State of Tennessee v. Anthony Leon Moore
W2016-01442-CCA-R3-CD
Authoring Judge: Judge John Everett Williams
Trial Court Judge: Judge Donald H. Allen

The pro se Appellant, Anthony Leon Moore, appeals the Madison County Circuit Court’s dismissal of his motion to correct 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 sentences are illegal, we conclude that the State’s motion is well-taken. Accordingly, we affirm the summary dismissal of the motion.

Madison County Court of Criminal Appeals 06/12/17
State of Tennessee v. Kelly Renea Dubois
M2016-00923-CCA-R3-CD
Authoring Judge: Judge Robert W. Wedemeyer
Trial Court Judge: Judge F. Lee Russell

In 2015, the Defendant, Kelly Renea Dubois, pleaded guilty to one count of theft of property, with the value of the property to be determined by the trial court, and to three counts of forgery, with the trial court to determine the length and manner of her sentence. At sentencing, the trial court ordered the Defendant to serve an effective sentence of nine years and six months in the Tennessee Department of Correction. On appeal, the Defendant contends that the trial court improperly sentenced her for a Class C felony theft because there was insufficient evidence to support the value determined, and that the trial court erred when it denied her request for an alternative sentence. After a thorough review of the record and applicable authorities, we affirm the trial court’s judgments.

Bedford County Court of Criminal Appeals 06/12/17
State of Tennessee v. Jamie Jones
W2016-00491-CCA-R3-CD
Authoring Judge: Judge James Curwood Witt, Jr.
Trial Court Judge: Judge Lee V. Coffee

The defendant, Jamie Jones, appeals his Shelby County Criminal Court jury convictions of felony murder and aggravated child abuse, claiming that the trial court erred by denying his motion to recuse, by permitting the State to amend the indictment, by admitting certain evidence at trial, and that the cumulative effects of these errors prevented him from receiving a fair trial. Discerning no error, we affirm.

Shelby County Court of Criminal Appeals 06/09/17
State of Tennessee v. Gary Carr
W2016-01525-CCA-R3-CD
Authoring Judge: Judge Camille R. McMullen
Trial Court Judge: Judge Lee V. Coffee

On March 13, 1998, the petitioner, Gary Carr, entered a guilty plea to first-degree murder and received a sentence of life without parole. He did not file any post-judgment appeals. Eighteen years later, the petitioner, acting pro se, filed a motion entitled “Motion for Nunc Pro Tunc Order,” alleging, inter alia, that his conviction should be set aside and a new trial ordered because (1) the court clerk failed to enter or stamp-file his judgment of conviction in accordance with Tennessee Rule of Criminal Procedure 32(e); and (2) he entered an unknowing and involuntary guilty plea based on threats that he would receive the death penalty. The Shelby County Criminal Court summarily dismissed his motion, and the petitioner now appeals. Upon review, we affirm the judgment of the trial court.

Shelby County Court of Criminal Appeals 06/09/17
State of Tennessee v. Brandon D. Washington
W2016-00413-CCA-R3-CD
Authoring Judge: Judge J. Ross Dyer
Trial Court Judge: Judge J. Robert Carter, Jr.

The defendant, Brandon D. Washington, appeals as of right from the Shelby County Criminal Court’s denial of his Tennessee Rule of Criminal Procedure 36.1 motion to correct an illegal sentence. The basis for the defendant’s appeal is the trial court’s alleged failure to accurately apply pretrial jail credits and other credits. Following our review, we conclude that the defendant failed to state a colorable claim and affirm the judgment of the trial court.

Shelby County Court of Criminal Appeals 06/09/17