Court Opinions

Format: 07/20/2018
Format: 07/20/2018
Carlene Guye Judd, et al v. Carlton Guye, et al
M2017-01791-COA-R3-CV
Authoring Judge: Presiding Judge Frank G. Clement , Jr.
Trial Court Judge: Chancellor William E. Young

Plaintiff, a shareholder in the corporation at issue who obtained a judgment against the corporation in a prior action, now seeks to pierce the corporate veil to hold the other shareholder personally liable for the balance owing on the judgment. The trial court summarily pierced the corporate veil and held the defendant shareholder personally liable for the corporation’s debt to Plaintiff. The defendant shareholder appeals arguing, inter alia, that the trial court erred in allowing Plaintiff to pierce the veil of her own corporation. We affirm.

Davidson County Court of Appeals 07/17/18
Gerald Largen v. The City Of Harriman
E2017-01501-COA-R3-CV
Authoring Judge: Judge Thomas R. Frierson, II
Trial Court Judge: Judge Michael S. Pemberton

This case involves a claim brought by a landowner challenging the validity of certain annexation ordinances that incorporated his property into the City of Harriman (the “City”). In December 2014, the landowner filed a declaratory judgment action against the City in the Roane County Circuit Court (“trial court”), alleging that several 1959 annexation ordinances passed by the City were void ab initio because a river adjacent to the City prevented land on the opposite side of the river from being contiguous with the City’s original boundaries. The landowner alleged that as a result of the first annexation’s purported invalidity, all subsequent annexations based on contiguity with the lands annexed in the 1959 ordinances were void by extension. The landowner sought a judgment voiding the challenged annexation ordinances, recovery of the real estate taxes he had paid to the City for his real property included in the annexed land, and a permanent injunction preventing the City from imposing any charges or taxes against him. The City responded with a motion to dismiss pursuant to Tennessee Rule of Civil Procedure 12.02, arguing that the landowner’s sole remedy would have been an action in the nature of a quo warranto proceeding pursuant to Tennessee Code Annotated § 6-51- 103 (2015). In the alternative, the City argued that dismissal was proper because the landowner had not joined necessary parties who would be affected by the judgment he sought. Determining that other landowners with title to real property inside the annexed areas in question were indispensable to the landowner’s claim, the trial court denied the motion to dismiss and directed the landowner to join the necessary parties. The trial court also directed the landowner to amend his complaint to specify the challenged ordinances and affected properties. In November 2016, the landowner filed a motion for class action certification, which the trial court denied following a hearing. On March 10, 2017, the trial court dismissed the landowner’s complaint, finding that the court lacked subject matter jurisdiction due to the non-joinder of indispensable parties. The landowner subsequently filed a “Motion to Set Aside Order,” which the trial court denied. The landowner has appealed. Discerning no reversible error, we affirm.

Roane County Court of Appeals 07/17/18
State of Tennessee v. Antonio Lamont Booker
M2017-01467-CCA-R3-CD
Authoring Judge: Judge Robert L. Holloway, Jr.
Trial Court Judge: Judge Mark J. Fishburn

Antonio Lamont Booker, Defendant, appeals the trial court’s denial of his motion to alter or amend the judgment revoking his probation and placing his sentence into effect. We conclude that the trial court did not abuse its discretion by denying the motion. We affirm the trial court’s judgment.

Davidson County Court of Criminal Appeals 07/17/18
Steven Skinner v. State of Tennessee
W2017-01797-CCA-R3-ECN
Authoring Judge: Judge Timothy L. Easter
Trial Court Judge: Judge James M. Lammey

Petitioner, Steven Skinner, appeals the trial court’s denial of his petition for writ of error coram nobis without a hearing on his “newly discovered” evidence. After careful consideration, we affirm the judgment of the trial court.

Shelby County Court of Criminal Appeals 07/16/18
State of Tennessee v. Jeremy Lynden Myrick
E2017-00588-CCA-R3-CD
Authoring Judge: Judge D. Kelly Thomas, Jr.
Trial Court Judge: Judge Thomas Graham

The Defendant, Jeremy Lynden Myrick, appeals his jury convictions for voluntary manslaughter and aggravated assault, for which he received an effective sentence of five and one-half years’ imprisonment. In this direct appeal, the Defendant alleges the following errors: (1) that the trial court erred by denying his motion to suppress his statement because the stop of his vehicle was not supported by reasonable suspicion; (2) that the evidence was insufficient to support his voluntary manslaughter conviction, challenging the evidence establishing cause of death; (3) that admission of a photograph of the victim’s injuries was more prejudicial than probative; and (4) that the State committed prosecutorial misconduct by referring to the amended death certificate which was testimonial in nature. Following our review of the record and the applicable authorities, we affirm the judgments of the trial court.

Rhea County Court of Criminal Appeals 07/16/18
State of Tennessee v. Matthew Tyrone Sisson
E2017-01721-CCA-R3-CD
Authoring Judge: Judge John Everett Williams
Trial Court Judge: Judge Barry A. Steelman

The Defendant, Matthew Tyrone Sisson, entered a guilty plea to two counts of aggravated assault. After a sentencing hearing, the trial court sentenced the Defendant as a Range II, multiple offender to ten years and eight years for the two convictions and ordered the sentences to run consecutively, for an effective sentence of eighteen years. On appeal, the Defendant argues that the trial court erred in admitting hearsay during the hearing, giving too much weight to enhancement factors, failing to apply additional mitigating factors, and running the sentences consecutively. After a thorough review of the record and applicable law, we affirm the judgments of the trial court.

Hamilton County Court of Criminal Appeals 07/16/18
State of Tennessee v. Johnny Lorenzo Wade
W2017-00933-CCA-R3-CD
Authoring Judge: Judge D. Kelly Thomas, Jr.
Trial Court Judge: Judge Kyle C. Atkins

The Defendant, Johnny Lorenzo Wade, was convicted by a jury of one count of first degree premeditated murder; two counts of first degree felony murder; two counts of especially aggravated robbery, a Class A felony; one count of attempted first degree murder, a Class A felony; and one count of aggravated assault, a Class C felony. See Tenn. Code Ann. §§ 39-12-101, -13-102, -13-202, -13-403. The trial court merged one of the first degree felony murder convictions into the first degree premeditated murder conviction and the aggravated assault conviction into the attempted first degree murder conviction. Following a sentencing hearing, the trial court imposed a total effective sentence of life imprisonment plus forty 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 suppression motion alleging that the seizure of his cell phone was illegal; (3) that the trial court erred by admitting a video taken from his cell phone because it was not relevant and its probative value was substantially outweighed by the danger of unfair prejudice; (4) that the trial court erred in admitting the statement of a co-defendant under the excited utterance exception to the hearsay rule; (5) that the trial court erred by allowing a witness to identify an item of evidence without personal knowledge of the item; (6) that the trial court erred in allowing an employee of the Defendant’s cell phone provider to testify as an expert witness on the operation of the provider’s cellular network; (7) that the trial court erred in allowing a police investigator to testify as a lay witness about “the plotting and pinging of the Defendant’s cellular telephone records”; and (8) that the trial court abused its discretion by imposing partial consecutive sentences because such sentences “were excessive.” Following our review, we affirm the judgments of the trial court.

Madison County Court of Criminal Appeals 07/13/18
State of Tennessee v. James Allen Gooch, Jr.
M2017-01885-CCA-R3-CD
Authoring Judge: Judge Robert L. Holloway, Jr.
Trial Court Judge: Judge Dee David Gay

A Sumner County jury convicted James Allen Gooch, Jr., Defendant, of sale of 0.5 ounces or more of marijuana within one thousand feet of a Drug-Free Zone and the attempt to sell 0.5 grams or more of cocaine. The trial court sentenced Defendant, as a Range III persistent offender, to an effective sentence of twenty-seven years. After Defendant filed a Tennessee Rule of Criminal Procedure 36.1 motion, the trial court determined that Defendant’s sentence was void and ordered a new sentencing hearing. The trial court then sentenced Defendant, as a Range II multiple offender, to a total effective sentence of sixteen years. On appeal, Defendant argues that the State waived the ability to seek a Range II sentence when it filed a notice of intent to seek a Range III sentence. He further argues that the trial court did not have jurisdiction to convict or sentence him because the State did not have an arrest warrant charging him with the present offenses. Lastly, he asserts in his reply brief that the State “committed a fraud upon the court” because his resentencing was based upon a presentence report that was erroneously admitted without personal knowledge. After a thorough review of the facts and applicable case law, we affirm.

Sumner County Court of Criminal Appeals 07/13/18
State of Tennessee v. Ronald Lee Freels, Jr.
E2017-00051-CCA-R3-CD
Authoring Judge: Judge Robert L. Holloway, Jr.
Trial Court Judge: Judge Rex H. Ogle

A Sevier County jury convicted Ronald Lee Freels, Jr., Defendant, of two counts of aggravated sexual battery. The trial court sentenced Defendant to consecutive terms of twenty-five years as a persistent offender with 100% service. On appeal, Defendant claims that the evidence was insufficient to support his convictions and that his sentence was excessive. After review, we affirm the judgments of the trial court.

Sevier County Court of Criminal Appeals 07/13/18
Robert Townsend v. State of Tennessee
W2017-01667-CCA-R3-PC
Authoring Judge: Judge J. Ross Dyer
Trial Court Judge: Judge James C. Beasley, Jr.

The petitioner, Robert Townsend, appeals the denial of his post-conviction petition, arguing the post-conviction court erred in dismissing his petition as untimely. Following our review, we affirm the denial of the petition.

Shelby County Court of Criminal Appeals 07/12/18
State of Tennessee v. Maegan Davis
W2017-02145-CCA-R3-CD
Authoring Judge: Judge Robert L. Holloway, Jr.
Trial Court Judge: Judge Glenn Ivy Wright

Maegan Davis, the Defendant, pled guilty to one count of driving under the influence and one count of driving under the influence per se and reserved a certified question. In her appellate brief, the Defendant states the following questions for appeal: “(1) Was the initial stop of the [D]efendant supported by probable cause that the [D]efendant had committed an offense?”; “(2) When the [D]efendant was detained, was that detention supported by probable cause that the [D]efendant had committed the offense of driving under the influence of an intoxicant?”; and “(3) Should the blood taken from the [D]efendant be suppressed as the fruit of an illegal seizure pursuant to the Fourth Amendment to the United States Constitution and Article 7 of the Tennessee Constitution where the [D]efendant was detained for more than ninety (90) minutes without being given a field sobriety test?” After a thorough review of the facts and applicable case law, we dismiss the Defendant’s appeal because she failed to properly certify her questions of law in accordance with Tennessee Rule of Criminal Procedure 37(b)(2) and State v. Preston, 759 S.W.2d 647 (Tenn. 1988).

Shelby County Court of Criminal Appeals 07/12/18
State of Tennessee v. Jamarcus Jackson
E2017--01182-CCA-R3-CD
Authoring Judge: Judge Robert H. Montgomery, Jr.
Trial Court Judge: Judge Stacy L. Street

The Defendant, Jamarcus Jackson, was convicted by a Washington County Criminal Court jury of second degree murder, misdemeanor assault, and misdemeanor reckless endangerment, for which he is serving an effective forty years, consecutively to an eightyear sentence in an unrelated case. See T.C.A. §§ 39-10-210 (2014) (second degree murder), 39-13-101 (Supp. 2013) (amended 2016) (assault), 39-13-103 (2014) (reckless endangerment). On appeal, he contends that (1) the evidence is insufficient to support his second degree murder conviction, (2) the trial court erred in its method of conducting jury selection, depriving him of a peremptory challenge, (3) the court erred in ruling that his prior failure to appear and robbery convictions were admissible impeachment evidence if he testified, (4) he is entitled to a new trial due to cumulative trial error, and (5) his sentence is excessive. We affirm the judgments of the trial court.

Washington County Court of Criminal Appeals 07/12/18
Sean Patrick Goble v. State of Tennessee
E2017-01749-CCA-R3-PC
Authoring Judge: Judge John Everett Williams
Trial Court Judge: Judge Alex E. Pearson

The Petitioner, Sean Patrick Goble, appeals the dismissal of his petition for postconviction DNA analysis as time-barred. On appeal, the Petitioner asserts, and the State agrees, that the Post-Conviction DNA Analysis Act does not have a statute of limitations. After review, we reverse the judgment and remand for the post-conviction court to determine whether the petition should be granted or denied on the merits.

Greene County Court of Criminal Appeals 07/12/18
State of Tennessee v. Darrin Paul Deckard
E2017-02467-CCA-R3-CD
Authoring Judge: Judge John Everett Williams
Trial Court Judge: Judge Tammy M. Harrington

The Defendant, Darin Paul Deckard, appeals the trial court’s order requiring him to serve the remainder of his sentence in confinement after the revocation of his probation. Following our review, we affirm the judgment of the trial court in accordance with Rule 20, Rules of the Court of Criminal Appeals.

Blount County Court of Criminal Appeals 07/12/18
Stephanie Ann Cole v. State of Tennessee
E2017-02036-CCA-R3-PC
Authoring Judge: Judge John Everett Williams
Trial Court Judge: Judge David A. Patterson

The Petitioner, Stephanie Ann Cole, appeals the denial of her petition for post-conviction relief. The Petitioner pled guilty to first degree premeditated murder and received a life sentence. The Petitioner sought post-conviction relief on multiple claims, and the postconviction court denied relief following a hearing. On appeal, the Petitioner argues that trial counsel was ineffective by failing to provide his professional advice regarding the Petitioner’s decision to enter a guilty plea. After review, we affirm the judgment of the post-conviction court.

Cumberland County Court of Criminal Appeals 07/12/18
State of Tennessee v. Roy Lee Branner
E2017-02482-CCA-R3-CD
Authoring Judge: Judge John Everett Williams
Trial Court Judge: Judge O. Duane Slone

The Defendant, Roy Lee Branner, entered an open guilty plea to two counts of violating the habitual motor vehicle offender (HMVO) statute; two counts of driving under the influence (DUI); two counts of violating the implied consent statute; two counts of leaving the scene of an accident; one count of possession of drug paraphernalia; one count of evading arrest; one count of resisting arrest; one count of domestic assault; one count of false imprisonment; one count of failing to appear; and nineteen counts of passing worthless checks. Following a sentencing hearing, the Defendant received an effective sentence of fifteen years, with five years to be served in confinement, followed by ten years of supervised probation. On appeal, the Defendant challenges the trial court’s denial of alternative sentencing for the first five years of his sentence. After review, we affirm the judgments of the trial court.

Jefferson County Court of Criminal Appeals 07/12/18
Dwight Jenkins v. Michael Schmank, ET Al.
E2017-00371-COA-R3-CV
Authoring Judge: Judge John W. McClarty
Trial Court Judge: Judge Jerri S. Bryant

This appeal involves the plaintiff’s filing of a complaint for unjust enrichment and conversion against his business partner’s spouse after the plaintiff discovered that his partner converted partnership funds for personal use. The trial court dismissed the complaint following a bench trial. We affirm.

Bradley County Court of Appeals 07/12/18
Raphael Love v. State of Tennessee
W2017-01515-CCA-R3-PC
Authoring Judge: Judge Timothy L. Easter
Trial Court Judge: Judge Paula L. Skahan

Petitioner, Raphael Love, appeals the denial of his petition for post-conviction relief. Petitioner argues that he received ineffective assistance of counsel. After a review of the record and the briefs of the parties, we determine Petitioner has failed to establish that he received ineffective assistance of counsel. Accordingly, we affirm the judgment of the post-conviction court.

Shelby County Court of Criminal Appeals 07/11/18
Rachris R. Thomas v. State of Tennessee
W2017-00912-CCA-R3-PC
Authoring Judge: Judge Alan E. Glenn
Trial Court Judge: Judge Lee V. Coffee

The Petitioner, Rachris R. Thomas, appeals the denial of his petition for post-conviction relief, arguing that the post-conviction court erred in finding that he received effective assistance of counsel. Following our review, we affirm the judgment of the postconviction court denying the petition.

Shelby County Court of Criminal Appeals 07/11/18
Raymond Thomas Sweatt v. State of Tennessee
M2017-01803-CCA-R3-PC
Authoring Judge: Judge Norma McGee Ogle
Trial Court Judge: Judge Steve R. Dozier

The Petitioner, Raymond Thomas Sweatt, appeals the Davidson County Criminal Court’s denial of his petition for post-conviction relief from his convictions of robbery and carjacking and resulting effective twenty-year sentence. On appeal, the Petitioner contends that he received the ineffective assistance of trial counsel, which resulted in his guilty pleas being unknowing and involuntary. Based upon the record and the parties’ briefs, we affirm the judgment of the post-conviction court.

Davidson County Court of Criminal Appeals 07/11/18
State of Tennessee v. Freeman York
M2017-01914-CCA-R3-CO
Authoring Judge: Judge Robert L. Holloway, Jr.
Trial Court Judge: Judge David A. Patterson

Freeman York, Petitioner, appeals from the trial court’s denial of his petition to restore his driving privileges. Petitioner asserts that the revocation period of his license has expired and that the trial court abused its discretion in denying his petition. Petitioner also argues that the trial court failed to properly set out its factual findings and legal conclusions in its order. After a thorough review of the facts and applicable case law, we conclude that the trial court set out sufficient factual findings and conclusions of law in its written order. We also conclude that the trial court did not abuse its discretion by denying the petition for reinstatement of driver’s license. Thus, we affirm the trial court’s judgment.

Overton County Court of Criminal Appeals 07/11/18
Ashley Lee Bunn v. Heath Brandon Bunn
E2017-02491-COA-R3-CV
Authoring Judge: Judge Arnold B. Goldin, Jr.
Trial Court Judge: Judge Larry Michael Warner

In a pending divorce proceeding, Wife filed four separate contempt petitions against Husband. After a court appearance on Wife’s third and fourth petitions, without taking evidence and without finding Husband in contempt, the trial court ordered that Husband be taken into custody and confined in jail for a period of thirty days. A mittimus subsequently issued, and Husband appealed. For the reasons stated herein, the trial court’s order is reversed and the issued mittimus is vacated.

Cumberland County Court of Appeals 07/10/18
Premier Imaging/Medical Systems, Inc. v. Coffey Family Medical Clinic, P.C.
E2017-02186-COA-R3-CV
Authoring Judge: Judge D. Michael Swiney, C.J.
Trial Court Judge: Judge John D. McAfee

This appeal arises from a breach of contract action. Premier Imaging/Medical Systems, Inc. (“Premier”) contracted with Coffey Family Medical Clinic, P.C. (“CFMC”), an organization formed by Dr. D. Bruce Coffey, M.D. (“Dr. Coffey”), for a five year servicing contract (“the Contract”) under which Premier would provide service for a CT Scanner (“the Scanner”). Pioneer Health Services of Oneida (“Pioneer”) and Dr. Coffey later entered into an agreement whereby Pioneer assumed certain obligations, apparently including the Contract. At CFMC’s request, Premier began billing Pioneer. Pioneer eventually stopped making payments under the Contract. Premier sued CFMC in the Circuit Court for Scott County (“the Trial Court”) to recover on the remainder of the Contract. CFMC argued that Pioneer became a substituted obligor under a theory of novation. After trial, the Trial Court held that CFMC failed to prove novation, awarded Premier $89,166.60 for the twenty months remaining on the Contract, and granted prejudgment interest of ten percent from the end of the Contract for a total of $105,534.70. CFMC appeals. We hold, inter alia, that the Trial Court did not err in holding that CFMC was unable to meet its burden of proving that novation, implied or otherwise, occurred. We affirm the judgment of the Trial Court.

Scott County Court of Appeals 07/10/18
State of Tennessee v. Christopher Lee Stewart
E2018-00262-CCA-R3-CD
Authoring Judge: Judge Robert H. Montgomery, Jr.
Trial Court Judge: Judge O. Duane Slone

The Defendant, Christopher Lee Stewart, appeals the Jefferson County Circuit Court’s order revoking his probation and ordering him to serve his sentence in confinement. 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.

Jefferson County Court of Criminal Appeals 07/09/18
State of Tennessee v. Gary Ray Weldon
E2017-01474-CCA-R3-CD
Authoring Judge: Judge Timothy L. Easter
Trial Court Judge: Judge E. Shayne Sexton

Defendant, Gary Ray Weldon,1 was convicted by a Campbell County jury of one count of solicitation of a minor to engage in aggravated statutory rape, and he was sentenced to one year in confinement. He appeals, arguing that the evidence is insufficient to sustain his conviction. Upon our review of the record, we affirm the judgment of the trial court.

Campbell County Court of Criminal Appeals 07/09/18