Court Opinions

Format: 02/23/2019
Format: 02/23/2019
State of Tennessee v. Troy Lee Springfield
W2017-01013-CCA-R3-CD
Authoring Judge: Judge Thomas T. Woodall
Trial Court Judge: Judge Donald H. Allen

Defendant, Troy Lee Springfield, was found guilty of attempted voluntary manslaughter, aggravated assault, being a convicted felon in possession of a firearm, and employing a firearm during the commission of a dangerous felony. He was sentenced to eight years for attempted voluntary manslaughter, ten years for aggravated assault, four years for being a convicted felon in possession of a firearm, and ten years for employing a firearm during the commission of a dangerous felony. The trial court ordered the sentences for aggravated assault and employing a firearm during the commission of a dangerous felony to be served consecutively to each other and concurrently with the remaining counts for an effective sentence of twenty years. On appeal, Defendant argues that the evidence was insufficient to support his convictions, and the State did not prove his identity as the perpetrator of the offenses.

Madison County Court of Criminal Appeals 02/22/19
State of Tennessee v.Shawn Gibson Delosh
W2018-00272-CCA-R3-CD
Authoring Judge: Judge Camille R. McMullen
Trial Court Judge: Judge R. Lee Moore, Jr.

The Defendant-Appellant, Shawn Gibson Delosh, was convicted by a Dyer County jury of promoting the manufacture of methamphetamine, see Tenn. Code Ann. § 39-17-433(a)(1), for which he received a sentence of twelve years, to be served consecutively to his prior sentences and parole revocations. On appeal, the Defendant argues that (1) the evidence was insufficient to support his conviction, and (2) the trial court improperly ordered his sentence to be served consecutively to “all prior sentences and/or parole revocations.” Upon our review, we affirm the judgment of the trial court.

Dyer County Court of Criminal Appeals 02/22/19
Kenneth Brown v. State of Tennessee
W2017-01755-CCA-R3-PC
Authoring Judge: Judge Camille R. McMullen
Trial Court Judge: Judge Lee V. Coffee

The Petitioner, Kenneth Brown, appeals from the Shelby County Criminal Court’s denial of his petition for post-conviction relief, arguing (1) that trial counsel provided ineffective assistance in failing to present Agent James Davis and Beatrice Vaulx as witnesses at trial and in failing to request an instruction on proximate cause of death; and (2) that he is entitled to a second post-conviction hearing based on post-conviction counsel’s ineffectiveness. We affirm the judgment of the post-conviction court.

Shelby County Court of Criminal Appeals 02/22/19
Kevin Fennell v. State of Tennessee
W2018-00852-CCA-R3-PC
Authoring Judge: Judge Camille R. McMullen
Trial Court Judge: Judge John Wheeler Campbell

The Petitioner, Kevin Fennell, appeals from the denial of post-conviction relief, alleging that his guilty pleas are constitutionally infirm due to trial counsel’s failure to inform him that his sentence was required to be served in the Tennessee Department of Correction. Upon our review, we affirm the judgment of the post-conviction court.

Shelby County Court of Criminal Appeals 02/22/19
State of Tennessee v. Septian Valentine
W2018-01018-CCA-R3-CD
Authoring Judge: Judge Camille R. McMullen
Trial Court Judge: Judge R. Lee Moore, Jr.

The Defendant-Appellant, Septian Valentine, appeals from the revocation of supervised release by the Lake County Circuit Court, arguing that the trial court erred in revoking his probation and ordering him to serve the remainder of his sentence in confinement. After review, we affirm.

Lake County Court of Criminal Appeals 02/22/19
Christopher Jake Reynolds v. Kevin Genovese, et al.
M2017-02337-CCA-R3-HC
Authoring Judge: Judge Thomas T. Woodall
Trial Court Judge: Judge Joseph Woodruff

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

Hickman County Court of Criminal Appeals 02/22/19
State of Tennessee v. Francisco Gomez
M2018-00529-CCA-R3-CD
Authoring Judge: Judge Robert L. Holloway, Jr.
Trial Court Judge: Judge Royce Taylor

Defendant, Francisco Gomez, was convicted of rape of a child and aggravated sexual battery by a Rutherford County jury. The trial court ordered Defendant to serve a total effective sentence of twenty-five years with release eligibility after service of 100% of the sentence in the Tennessee Department of Correction. On appeal, Defendant argues that the trial court erred in excluding his testimony that he was living in Kentucky during the time period when the offenses occurred because Defendant failed to give the State the notice required by Tennessee Rule of Criminal Procedure 12 for alibi evidence. After a thorough review of the facts and applicable case law, we conclude that Defendant’s proffered testimony was not alibi evidence, and thus, the trial court erred in excluding it on the ground that Defendant failed to provide notice to the State. However, we also conclude that the error was harmless, and we affirm the judgments of the trial court.

Rutherford County Court of Criminal Appeals 02/22/19
State of Tennessee v. Kenneth Demarcus Williams
E2018-00086-CCA-R3-CD
Authoring Judge: Judge Robert H. Montgomery, Jr.
Trial Court Judge: Judge G. Scott Green
The Defendant, Kenneth Demarcus Williams, was convicted by a Knox County Criminal
Court jury of two counts of facilitation of aggravated burglary, a Class D felony, two
counts of aggravated burglary, a Class B felony, two counts of aggravated assault, a Class
B felony, two counts of possession of a firearm during the commission of a dangerous
felony, a Class D felony, and unlawful possession of a firearm while being a convicted
felon, a Class C felony. See T.C.A. §§ 39-14-403 (2018) (aggravated burglary); 39-11-
403 (2018) (facilitation of a felony); 39-13-102 (2018) (aggravated assault); 39-12-302
(2018) (felony classification when acting in concert); 39-17-1324 (2018) (possession of a
firearm during dangerous felony); 39-17-1307 (2018) (unlawful firearm possession).
After the appropriate merger, the trial court sentenced the Defendant to terms of
confinement of four years for facilitation of aggravated burglary, twelve years for
aggravated burglary, twelve years for aggravated assault, five years for possession of a
firearm during the commission of a dangerous felony, and ten years for unlawful
possession of a firearm. The court imposed partial consecutive service, for an effective
sentence of twenty-one years’ confinement. On appeal, the Defendant contends that (1)
the evidence is insufficient to support his facilitation of aggravated burglary convictions
and (2) the trial court erred by admitting photograph evidence. We affirm the judgments
of the trial court.
Knox County Court of Criminal Appeals 02/22/19
State of Tennessee v. Randy Roy Jordan
E2018-00743-CCA-R3-CD
Authoring Judge: Judge James Curwood Witt, Jr.
Trial Court Judge: Judge James L. Gass
On December 9, 2008, the defendant pleaded guilty to theft of property valued at $10,000 or more but less than $60,000, fourth offense driving under the influence, and simple possession. The trial court imposed an effective 12-year sentence, ordering the defendant to serve 365 days in confinement with the balance suspended to supervised probation. On June 6, 2011, the trial court found the defendant had violated the terms of his probation by, among other things, failing to report, testing positive for the use of illegal drugs, failing to verify his employment and address, and failing to pay fees and restitution, and the court ordered the defendant to serve one year in confinement followed by completion of the Steps House program and a return to supervised probation. On January 14, 2014, the trial court found that the defendant again violated the terms of his probation by providing a fraudulent address and by failing to report as instructed and sentenced the defendant to time served and returned him to supervised probation. The
defendant admitted to violating the terms of his probation a third time, and, on September 23, 2014, the trial court ordered him to serve 60 days in confinement and to undergo an alcohol and drug assessment and intensive outpatient treatment. On October 3, 2016, the defendant again admitted to violating the terms of his probation, and the trial court sentenced the defendant to time served and returned him to supervised probation with a requirement that he return to treatment at Steps House.
 
Sevier County Court of Criminal Appeals 02/22/19
Marilyn Lynn James v. City of Dyersburg
W2018-00614-COA-R3-CV
Authoring Judge: Presiding Judge Frank G. Clement, Jr.
Trial Court Judge: Judge R. Lee Moore, Jr.

This appeal arises from injuries the plaintiff sustained from a fall while descending the exterior sidewalk steps of property owned and managed by the City of Dyersburg. The plaintiff contends she fell because, inter alia, the city was negligent in the design and maintenance of the stairway and in failing to correct the defect in the steps. Following a bench trial, the court found the proof failed to establish that there was a dangerous or defective condition that was the proximate cause of the plaintiff’s fall, and if there was a defective condition, the City of Dyersburg had no prior notice. The trial court also found that if there was a defective condition, the plaintiff was more than 50% at fault which bars any recovery. For these and other reasons, the trial court dismissed the complaint. This appeal followed. Having determined that the evidence does not preponderate against the trial court’s findings of fact, and discerning no error with its conclusions of law, we affirm.

Dyer County Court of Appeals 02/22/19
Sammie L. Brookins, et al. v. Saint Francis Hospital Foundation, et al.
W2018-00255-COA-R3-CV
Authoring Judge: Judge Arnold B. Goldin
Trial Court Judge: Judge Mary L. Wagner

After husband’s health care liability complaint was dismissed without prejudice for lack of prosecution, husband and wife re-filed in reliance on the savings statute. The intended defendant, who had neither been served nor named in connection with the first complaint, was eventually named in an amended complaint after the second complaint had been filed. The trial court later dismissed the action against the intended defendant, holding, among other things, that the case was barred by the statute of limitations. We affirm.

Shelby County Court of Appeals 02/22/19
State of Tennessee v. Wayne Luster Boykin, Sr.
W2018-00297-CCA-R3-CD
Authoring Judge: Judge Camille R. McMullen
Trial Court Judge: Judge Roy B. Morgan, Jr.

A Madison County Jury convicted the Defendant-Appellant, Wayne Luster Boykin, Sr., of possession with intent to sell more than one-half ounce of marijuana (Count 1), possession with intent to deliver more than one-half ounce of marijuana, (Count 2), both Class E felonies, and possession with intent to use drug paraphernalia (Count 3), a Class A misdemeanor. See T.C.A. §§ 39-17-417, -425(a)(1). He received an effective sentence of four years in confinement. Prior to trial, Boykin filed a motion to suppress arguing that the search warrant and supporting affidavit were based on “stale” information. The trial judge, who was the issuing magistrate for the search warrant, transferred the motion to suppress to be heard by another judge. Following the denial of the motion to suppress, the case was transferred back to the original trial judge to conduct the trial. In this appeal as of right, the Defendant argues: (1) the trial court that heard the motion to suppress erred in denying his motion to suppress the search and his subsequent statement; (2) the trial court that conducted the trial and the motion for new trial erred in its review of the motion to suppress; and (3) that he received an excessive sentence. Upon our review, we remand Count 3 for entry of an amended judgment. In all other respects, we affirm the judgments of the trial court.

Madison County Court of Criminal Appeals 02/21/19
State of Tennessee v. Arthur McKinnie
W2018-00439-CCA-R3-CD
Authoring Judge: Judge D. Kelly Thomas, Jr.
Trial Court Judge: Judge Roy B. Morgan, Jr.

The Defendant, Arthur McKinnie, was indicted for 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; reckless endangerment with a deadly weapon, a Class E felony; and tampering with evidence, a Class C felony. See Tenn. Code Ann. §§ 39-12-101, -13-102, -13-103, -13-202, -16-503, -17-1324. The Defendant proceeded to a jury trial. The trial court granted the Defendant’s motion for judgment of acquittal on the tampering with evidence charge. The jury convicted the Defendant of the lesser-included offense of attempted voluntary manslaughter, a Class D felony, and the charged offenses of aggravated assault and reckless endangerment. See Tenn. Code Ann. §§ 39-12-101, -13-211. The jury acquitted the Defendant of the employment of a firearm charge. The trial court imposed a total effective sentence of ten years. On appeal, the Defendant contends that (1) the evidence was insufficient to sustain his conviction for attempted voluntary manslaughter; (2) the trial court abused its discretion in setting the length of his sentences; and (3) the trial court abused its discretion in imposing partial consecutive sentences. Following our review, we affirm the judgments of the trial court.

Madison County Court of Criminal Appeals 02/21/19
Lazette Sanders v. State of Tennessee
W2018-00098-CCA-R3-PC
Authoring Judge: Judge Thomas T. Woodall
Trial Court Judge: Judge J. Weber McCraw

Petitioner, Lazette Sanders, was indicted by the Hardeman County Grand Jury for one count of attempted first degree murder. Petitioner pleaded guilty to the amended charge of attempted second degree murder and received a sentence as a Range I offender of eight years in the Tennessee Department of Correction. Petitioner filed a petition seeking postconviction relief, in which she alleged that she received the ineffective assistance of counsel and that her guilty plea was not knowingly and voluntarily entered. Following an evidentiary hearing, the post-conviction court denied her petition. Petitioner appeals and we affirm the judgment of the post-conviction court.

Hardeman County Court of Criminal Appeals 02/21/19
State of Tennessee v. Siranthony Williams
W2018-00413-CCA-R3-CD
Authoring Judge: Judge Norma McGee Ogle
Trial Court Judge: Judge John W. Campbell

A Shelby County Criminal Court Jury convicted the Appellant, Siranthony Williams, of aggravated robbery, and the trial court imposed a sentence of ten years in the Tennessee Department of Correction. On appeal, the Appellant challenges the sufficiency of the evidence sustaining his conviction, specifically his identity as the perpetrator of the offense. Upon review, we affirm the judgment of the trial court.

Shelby County Court of Criminal Appeals 02/21/19
State of Tennessee v. Carl David Roe
E2018-00609-CCA-R3-CD
Authoring Judge: Judge James Curwood Witt, Jr.
Trial Court Judge: Judge Carter S. Moore

The defendant, Carl David Roe, appeals the denial of his motion to withdraw his 2003 guilty plea to attempted aggravated sexual battery, arguing that the entry of an amended judgment in 2007 that added a requirement that the defendant be subject to community supervision for life invalidated the plea. Discerning no error, we affirm the denial of relief.

Cocke County Court of Criminal Appeals 02/21/19
State of Tennessee v. Harold Joe Rittenhouse
M2018-00140-CCA-R3-CD
Authoring Judge: Judge Thomas T. Woodall
Trial Court Judge: Judge Justin C. Angel

Petitioner, Harold Joe Rittenhouse, appeals the trial court’s summary dismissal of his petition for writ of habeas corpus and motion to correct an illegal sentence pursuant to Tennessee Rule of Criminal Procedure 36.1. Following our review of the parties’ briefs and applicable law, we dismiss the appeal.

Franklin County Court of Criminal Appeals 02/21/19
State of Tennessee v. Tavares Dewayne Buchanan, AKA Tavarea Dewayne Buchanan
M2017-02268-CCA-R3-CD
Authoring Judge: Judge Alan E. Glenn
Trial Court Judge: Judge Mark J. Fishburn

The Defendant, Tavares Dewayne Buchanan, aka Tavarea Dewayne Buchanan, was convicted by a Davidson County Criminal Court jury of aggravated kidnapping, a Class B felony; two counts of rape, Class B felonies; aggravated assault, a Class C felony; felon in possession of a firearm, a Class D felony; and unlawful photography, a Class A misdemeanor, and he was sentenced to an effective term of ten years in incarceration followed by ten years on probation. On appeal, he argues that: (1) the trial court erred in allowing the State to introduce evidence of his prior felony convictions in its case-in-chief; (2) the trial court erred in overruling his objection to the State’s vouching for the reliability of the victim in its closing argument; and (3) the evidence is insufficient to sustain his convictions. After review, we affirm the judgments of the trial court.

Davidson County Court of Criminal Appeals 02/21/19
State of Tennessee v. Stanley Owens
W2017-02188-CCA-R3-CD
Authoring Judge: Norma McGee Ogle
Trial Court Judge: Carolyn W. Blackett

A Shelby County Criminal Court Jury convicted the Appellant, Stanley Owens, of voluntary manslaughter, a Class C felony, and the trial court sentenced him as a Range III, career offender to fifteen years in confinement. On appeal, the Appellant contends that the evidence is insufficient to support the conviction, that the trial court erred by failing to dismiss the indictment due to the State’s almost twenty-five-year preindictment delay, and that trial court erred by disregarding the State’s late-filed notice of enhanced sentencing. Based upon the record and the parties’ briefs, we affirm the judgment of the trial court.

Shelby County Court of Criminal Appeals 02/20/19
City of McMinnville v. Steven Erich Hubbard
M2018-00223-CCA-R3-CO
Authoring Judge: Judge Timothy L. Easter
Trial Court Judge: Judge Larry B. Stanley, Jr.

Defendant, Steven Erich Hubbard, appeals from his conviction for failure to obey a stop sign in violation of a municipal ordinance. Because such appeals are considered civil in nature, we are without subject matter jurisdiction to hear this appeal. Therefore, pursuant to Tennessee Rule of Appellate Procedure 17, we transfer the case to the Tennessee Court of Appeals for further adjudication.

Warren County Court of Criminal Appeals 02/20/19
John Glen Renken v. Jennifer Marie Renken
M2017-00861-COA-R3-CV
Authoring Judge: Judge W. Neal McBrayer
Trial Court Judge: Judge William R. Goodman, III

In this post-divorce dispute, the father filed a criminal contempt petition against his exwife for alleged violations of a permanent parenting plan. In response, the mother filed a counter-petition for criminal contempt, modification of custody, and permission to relocate. The trial court denied the mother’s petition to relocate and the father’s petition for criminal contempt. The court determined that there was not a material change sufficient to modify custody but there was material change that met the lower threshold required for modification of the residential parenting schedule. The court adopted the position of the guardian ad litem that equal parenting time would serve the children’s best interest and modified the parenting plan accordingly. The court also found the father in criminal contempt. We conclude that the court erred in adopting the modified residential parenting schedule without conducting a best interest analysis. So we vacate and remand for further proceedings on this issue. In all other respects, we affirm.

Montgomery County Court of Appeals 02/20/19
In Re L.T.
W2018-00931-COA-R3-JV
Authoring Judge: Judge Charles D. Susano, Jr.
Trial Court Judge: Judge David S. Walker

In this child custody case, father petitioned the court to modify a prior custody order designating mother as the primary residential parent of their child, L.T. Father alleged that there had been a material change in circumstance in that mother refused to adhere to the court’s visitation order on numerous occasions. See Tenn. Code Ann. § 36–6–101(a)(2)(B) (2018). After a hearing, the court agreed. It held that it was in the best interest of the child to award joint custody to mother and father, with father designated as the primary residential parent. Mother appeals. We affirm.

Shelby County Court of Appeals 02/20/19
Bruce A. Smiley v. State of Tennessee, Et Al.
M2018-01263-COA-R3-CV
Authoring Judge: Presiding Judge Frank G. Clement, Jr.
Trial Court Judge: Chancellor Ellen H. Lyle

This appeal arises from a Petition for Declaratory Judgment filed by an incarcerated sex offender in the custody of the Tennessee Department of Correction. Petitioner challenged what he claimed to be the illegal, arbitrary, and capricious application of Tenn. Code Ann. § 41-21-235, the Sex Offender Treatment Program (the “SOTP”), contending he is eligible for a parole hearing but will be denied parole because the State of Tennessee has failed to enroll him in the program. This contention is based on Tenn. Code Ann. § 41-21-235(b), which expressly states, as to sex offenders, “Successful participation and completion of the treatment program shall be a consideration for parole from a correctional institution.” Respondents moved for summary judgment on several grounds including the undisputed fact that the challenged provision is unenforceable due to a consent decree issued by the United States District Court for the Middle District of Tennessee in Dean v. McWherter, No. 1-90-0027 (M.D. Tenn. filed Aug. 18, 1994), and the Tennessee Board of Parole does not consider participation in the SOTP, or lack thereof, as a factor in deciding whether to grant parole. Respondents also filed a motion to dismiss the individual respondents as well as the State for failure to state a claim based Tenn. Code Ann. § 4-5-225. The trial court granted the motion to dismiss the individual respondents and summarily dismissed all remaining claims. In pertinent part, the court found it was undisputed that by the terms of the consent decree and the affidavit of the Executive Director of the Board of Parole that the Board cannot and does not consider an inmate’s participation in the SOTP in reaching its parole decision. This appeal followed. We affirm in all respects.

Davidson County Court of Appeals 02/20/19
State of Tennessee v. Rodger E. Broadway
E2018-01033-CCA-R3-CD
Authoring Judge: Judge Robert H. Montgomery, Jr.
Trial Court Judge: Judge Steven W. Sword

The Defendant, Rodger E. Broadway, pleaded guilty to first degree felony murder, especially aggravated robbery, and aggravated rape and received an effective sentence of life without the possibility of parole. Fifteen years after his sentencing, he filed a motion pursuant to Tennessee Rule of Criminal Procedure 36.1 alleging that his sentences were illegal because (1) the State failed to file the notice of its intent to seek life imprisonment without the possibility of parole and (2) the judgment forms for his remaining convictions reflect a standard offender classification with a 100% service requirement as a violent offender. The trial court summarily dismissed the motion on the basis that it failed to state a colorable claim. On appeal, the Defendant contends that the trial court erred by summarily denying relief. We affirm the judgment of the trial court.

Knox County Court of Criminal Appeals 02/19/19
Thomas Lee Carey, Jr. v. State of Tennessee
M2018-00292-CCA-R3-PC
Authoring Judge: Judge James Curwood Witt, Jr.
Trial Court Judge: Judge Mark Fishburn

The petitioner, Thomas Lee Carey, Jr., appeals the denial of his petition for post-conviction relief, which petition challenged his 2012 convictions of first degree felony murder, second degree murder, and especially aggravated kidnapping, alleging that he was deprived of the effective assistance of counsel. Discerning no error, we affirm the denial of post-conviction relief.

Davidson County Court of Criminal Appeals 02/19/19