Court Opinions

Format: 04/27/2018
Format: 04/27/2018
State of Tennessee v. Cameron Buchanan
W2017-01795-CCA-R3-CD
Authoring Judge: Judge Robert L. Holloway, Jr.
Trial Court Judge: Judge James M. Lammey

“The Movant,” Cameron Buchanan, filed a “Motion to Vacate, Correct Clerical Error, and/or, otherwise Set Aside an Illegal Sentence” (“the motion”). The gist of the Movant’s claim is that his fifteen-year sentence for especially aggravated kidnapping in case 98-09641 was ordered to be served concurrently, not consecutively, with his fifteenyear sentence for especially aggravated kidnapping in case 98-09629, and therefore, his effective sentence was twenty-five years, not thirty years. The trial court treated the motion as a Tennessee Rule of Criminal Procedure 36 motion to correct clerical mistakes in the judgments and summarily dismissed the motion finding “that there [we]re no clerical errors as alleged by [the Movant].” We determine that there are clerical errors in the judgments for cases 98-09635 through 98-09639 and case 98-09641. The errors in the judgments also correspond with the language of the “Negotiated Plea Agreement” forms for cases 98-09635 through 98-09639 and case 98-09641. Additionally, the trial court did not address the Movant’s Tennessee Rule of Criminal Procedure 36.1 claim that his sentence was illegal. The judgment summarily dismissing the motion is reversed, and the case remanded for correction of the clerical errors, which may require appointment of counsel and a hearing, and for determination as to whether or not the motion stated a colorable claim under Rule 36.1.

Shelby County Court of Criminal Appeals 04/17/18
State of Tennessee v. Andrew De Bose-Maben
W2017-00969-CCA-R3-CD
Authoring Judge: Judge Robert L. Holloway, Jr.
Trial Court Judge: Judge Chris Craft

Andrew De Bose-Maben (“the Defendant”) was convicted by a Shelby County jury of aggravated robbery, for which the trial court imposed a sentence of nine years to serve in the Department of Correction. On appeal, the Defendant contends that the trial court abused its discretion by allowing the State to question the victim about his interaction with the Defendant during a recess at trial. Upon review, we affirm the judgment of the trial court.

Shelby County Court of Criminal Appeals 04/17/18
Charles McClain v. State of Tennessee
W2017-00306-CCA-R3-PC
Authoring Judge: Judge Camille R. McMullen
Trial Court Judge: Judge James C. Beasley, Jr.

The Petitioner, Charles McClain, appeals the Shelby County Criminal Court’s denial of post-conviction relief from his convictions for first degree premeditated murder and especially aggravated kidnapping, for which he received concurrent sentences of life imprisonment and twenty-five years, respectively. On appeal, the Petitioner contends that he was denied effective assistance of counsel because trial counsel failed to object to the introduction of evidence that had been ruled inadmissible. We affirm the denial of post-conviction relief.

Shelby County Court of Criminal Appeals 04/17/18
State of Tennessee v. Tyrone Clay
W2017-01047-CCA-R3-CD
Authoring Judge: Judge Camille R. McMullen
Trial Court Judge: Judge R. Lee Moore, Jr.

The Defendant-Appellant, Tyrone Clay, appeals from the revocation of his community corrections sentence by the Lake County Circuit Court. On appeal, the Defendant argues that the trial court abused its discretion by reinstating a ten-year sentence of full confinement. Upon review, the judgment of the circuit court is affirmed.

Lake County Court of Criminal Appeals 04/17/18
E Solutions For Buildings, LLC v. Knestrick Contractor, Inc., Et Al.
M2017-00732-COA-R3-CV
Authoring Judge: Judge Brandon O. Gibson
Trial Court Judge: Chancellor Russell T. Perkins

This appeal involves a construction contract dispute among a general contractor, a subcontractor, and the subcontractor’s equipment supplier regarding liability for construction project delays. After a four-day bench trial, the trial court resolved most of the substantive issues among the parties and ultimately determined that the prevailing parties were entitled to awards of attorney’s fees pursuant to various contractual provisions. However, the trial court did not make the awards of attorney’s fees at that time because the parties had not submitted sworn itemizations of services rendered. As a result, the trial court directed the parties to renew their requests for attorney’s fees after any appeals were exhausted. The requests for attorney’s fees were granted in part and denied in part “without prejudice.” Due to the outstanding unresolved issues regarding the attorney’s fee awards, we conclude that the appeal must be dismissed. 

Davidson County Court of Appeals 04/17/18
In Re: T.W. Et Al.
E2017-00317-COA-R3-PT
Authoring Judge: Judge Charles D. Susano, Jr.
Trial Court Judge: Judge Jerri Bryant

In this termination of parental rights case, J.B.H. and H.D.H. (prospective parents) filed a petition to terminate the parental rights of M.A.W. (mother) and E.R.W. (father) in order to adopt two of their minor children, T.W. and B.W. (the children). S.A.G. (grandmother) and M.W.G. (grandfather) are the maternal grandparents of the children. They joined the prospective parents as co-petitioners. The trial court found clear and convincing evidence that mother and father abandoned their children by willfully failing to visit and support them during the relevant statutory time frame. By the same quantum of proof, the court also determined that termination is in the best interest of the children. Consequently, the court entered an order terminating the parents’ rights. Mother appeals the trial court’s order terminating her rights. We reverse.

McMinn County Court of Appeals 04/17/18
State of Tennessee v. Leroy Myers, Jr.
M2015-01855-CCA-R3-CD
Authoring Judge: Judge Robert W. Wedemeyer
Trial Court Judge: Judge Steve R. Dozier

After a bench trial, the trial court issued a written order finding the Defendant, Leroy Myers, Jr., not guilty of the charged offense, aggravated assault, but guilty of reckless endangerment. The Defendant appealed, asserting that reckless endangerment is not a lesser-included offense of aggravated assault under the facts of this case and that there was not an implicit amendment to the indictment to include reckless endangerment. We affirmed the trial court. State v. Leroy Myers, Jr., No. M2015-01855-CCA-R3-CD, 2016 WL 6560014 (Tenn. Crim. App., at Nashville, November 4, 2016). The Defendant filed an application for permission to appeal with the Tennessee Supreme Court pursuant to Rule 11(a) of the Tennessee Rules of Appellate Procedure. On September 22, 2017, the Tennessee Supreme Court granted the Defendant’s application for the purpose of remanding the case to this Court to supplement the record. On remand, we again affirm the trial court’s judgment.

Davidson County Court of Criminal Appeals 04/17/18
State of Tennessee v. Christopher Hank Bohannon
M2017-00104-CCA-R3-CD
Authoring Judge: Judge Camille R. McMullen
Trial Court Judge: Judge David A. Patterson

The Defendant-Appellant, Christopher Hank Bohannon, was convicted by a Putnam County jury of sexual exploitation of a minor for possession of over 100 images of a minor engaged in sexual activity (count one) and aggravated sexual exploitation of a minor based on the distribution, exchange, or possession with intent to distribute over 25 images of a minor engaged in sexual activity (count two), for which he received an effective sentence of eight years. Tenn. Code Ann. §§ 39-17-1003(a)(1), -1004(a)(1)(A). On appeal, the Defendant argues that: (1) the trial court improperly re-heard the Defendant’s motion to suppress evidence; (2) the Defendant’s statements to police during the execution of a search warrant at his residence should have been suppressed; (3) the evidence was insufficient to support his aggravated sexual exploitation conviction; and (4) the State made improper and prejudicial statements during its rebuttal closing argument.1 Upon review, we affirm the judgments of the trial court.

Putnam County Court of Criminal Appeals 04/17/18
State of Tennessee v. Steven Swinford
E2017-01613-CCA-R3-CD
Authoring Judge: Judge J. Ross Dyer
Trial Court Judge: Judge Andrew M. Freiberg

The defendant, Steven Swinford, pled guilty to vandalism of property in the amount of $1,000 or more but less than $10,000 (Count 1), vandalism of property in the amount of $10,000 to $60,000 (Count 2), burglary (Count 3), and vandalism of property in the amount of $60,000 to $250,000 (Count 4), for which he received an effective twelve-year sentence. The defendant now appeals the twelve-year sentence imposed by the trial court for his conviction in Count 4, arguing it to be excessive. Separately, the State challenges the trial court’s application of the criminal saving’s statute of Tennessee Code Annotated section 39-11-112 to the defendant’s vandalism conviction of Count 1 through the amended version of the theft statute of Tennessee Code Annotated section 39-14-105. Following our review, we affirm the trial court’s application of the criminal saving’s statute to Count 1 and the trial court’s sentencing in Count 4, but remand the case to the trial court for a hearing on the matter of sentencing as to Counts 1, 2, and 3.

McMinn County Court of Criminal Appeals 04/17/18
State of Tennessee v. Arturo Cardenas, Jr.
M2017-01718-CCA-R3-CD
Authoring Judge: Judge Robert L. Holloway, Jr.
Trial Court Judge: Judge Seth W. Norman

Arturo Cardenas, Jr., filed a Tennessee Rule of Criminal Procedure 36.1 motion claiming that his sentence for a Class A felony drug offense was illegal because he was classified as a Range I standard offender but sentenced to serve his fifteen-year sentence at 100%. Finding that the Movant received the minimum mandatory sentence for a Class A felony drug offense committed in a drug free school zone, the trial court summarily dismissed the motion for failure to state a colorable claim. Discerning no error, we affirm.

Davidson County Court of Criminal Appeals 04/17/18
State of Tennessee v. Bradley Craig
E2017-00257-CCA-R3-CD
Authoring Judge: Judge D. Kelly Thomas, Jr.
Trial Court Judge: Judge James F. Goodwin, Jr.

The Defendant, Bradley Craig, appeals as of right from his conviction for theft of $500 or less. The Defendant argues that the trial court erred in (1) denying the Defendant’s “spoliation motion/objection[,]” (2) ruling that documentary evidence from Walmart.com was inadmissible because it was not authenticated, (3) allowing testimony regarding a store inventory scan concerning the alleged stolen merchandise, (4) denying the Defendant’s motion for new trial, and (5) using “stricken evidence” in its reasoning for imposing a sentence of six months’ incarceration. Following our review, we affirm the judgment of the trial court.

Sullivan County Court of Criminal Appeals 04/16/18
Kathlene Denise Roberts v. Willie Dino Roberts, Jr.
M2017-00479-COA-R3-CV
Authoring Judge: Presiding Judge J. Steven Stafford
Trial Court Judge: Chancellor Laurence M. McMillan, Jr.

Husband appeals the trial court’s decision in this post-divorce marital property dispute, arguing that the trial court erred in finding that certain retirement benefits “matured” in 2012. Discerning no reversible error, we affirm. 

Montgomery County Court of Appeals 04/16/18
State of Tennessee v. Macarthur Rembert, AKA McArthur Brown
M2017-00065-CCA-R3-CD
Authoring Judge: Judge Alan E. Glenn
Trial Court Judge: Judge Mark J. Fishburn

The Defendant, MacArthur Rembert, also known as McArthur Brown, was convicted by a Davidson County Criminal Court jury of aggravated burglary, a Class C felony, and theft of property valued between $1000 and $10,000, a Class D felony, and was sentenced to an effective term of fifteen years in the Tennessee Department of Correction. On appeal, the Defendant argues that: (1) the trial court erred in denying his motion to suppress because the officer lacked probable cause to place him under arrest and search his vehicle; (2) the trial court erred in denying his motion under State v. Ferguson, 2 S.W.3d 912 (Tenn. 1999), because the State’s loss of surveillance video footage resulted in a fundamentally unfair trial; and (3) the evidence is insufficient to sustain his conviction for theft of property because the State did not present sufficient evidence to establish the value of the stolen goods. After review, we affirm the judgments of the trial court.

Davidson County Court of Criminal Appeals 04/16/18
Shelby County Board of Education, et al. v. Tennessee Secondary School Athletic Association
W2018-00083-COA-R3-CV
Authoring Judge: Per Curiam
Trial Court Judge: Chancellor Jim Kyle

Because the order appealed is not a final judgment, we must dismiss this appeal for lack of jurisdiction.

Shelby County Court of Appeals 04/16/18
Bruce Guy, Jr., et al. v. Tennessee Secondary School Athletic Association
W2018-00082-COA-R3-CV
Authoring Judge: Per Curiam
Trial Court Judge: Chancellor Walter L. Evans

Because the order appealed is not a final judgment, we must dismiss this appeal for lack of jurisdiction.

Shelby County Court of Appeals 04/16/18
Gevon C. Patton v. State of Tennessee
E2017-00886-CCA-R3-PC
Authoring Judge: Judge Robert H. Montgomery, Jr.
Trial Court Judge: Judge John F. Dugger, Jr.

The Petitioner, Gevon C. Patton, appeals the Hamblen County Criminal Court’s denial of his petition for post-conviction relief from his 2013 convictions for criminally negligent homicide and especially aggravated kidnapping and his effective twenty-five-year sentence. The Petitioner contends that he received the ineffective assistance of counsel and requests that his case be transferred to another trial court judge upon remand for a new trial. We affirm the judgment of the post-conviction court.

Hamblen County Court of Criminal Appeals 04/13/18
State of Tennessee v. Chris Basham
W2017-00684-CCA-R3-CD
Authoring Judge: Judge J. Ross Dyer
Trial Court Judge: Judge Jeff Parham

The defendant, Chris Basham, appeals his convictions for improper display of registration plates, tampering with or fabricating evidence, simple possession of methamphetamine, simple possession of hydrocodone, and simple possession of alprazolam, for which he received an effective three-year sentence. On appeal, the defendant contends the trial court erred when not suppressing the evidence collected during the search of his car, and the prosecution failed to prove chain of custody. Following our consideration of the arguments of the parties, record, briefs, and applicable law, we affirm the judgments of the trial court.

Obion County Court of Criminal Appeals 04/13/18
State of Tennessee v. Walter Andrew Ware
W2017-01350-CCA-R3-CD
Authoring Judge: Judge Timothy L. Easter
Trial Court Judge: Judge Jeff Parham

Nearly nine years ago, Defendant, Walter Andrew Ware, committed aggravated child abuse, aggravated child neglect and aggravated child endangerment on his two-month-old infant daughter. He was sentenced to a sixteen year sentence, to be served at 100%. Defendant now appeals from the trial court’s denial of his motion to correct an illegal sentence filed pursuant to Tennessee Rule of Criminal Procedure 36.1. We affirm the judgment of the trial court.

Obion County Court of Criminal Appeals 04/13/18
State of Tennessee v. Brent Garrett Lambert
W2017-01873-CCA-R3-CD
Authoring Judge: Judge Timothy L. Easter
Trial Court Judge: Judge Donald H. Allen

Defendant, Brent Garrett Lambert, entered an open guilty plea to one count of facilitation of robbery. The trial court sentenced Defendant to a period of four years on judicial diversion. A violation of probation warrant was issued, alleging various grounds for the revocation of probation. After a hearing, Defendant was removed from judicial diversion. The trial court imposed a sentence of four years in incarceration, denying an alternative sentence. Defendant appeals to this Court, arguing that the trial court improperly ordered him to serve his sentence of four years in incarceration. For the following reasons, we affirm the judgment of the trial court.

Madison County Court of Criminal Appeals 04/13/18
State of Tennessee v. Kenneth Chandler
W2015-01945-CCA-R3-CD
Authoring Judge: Judge Robert L. Holloway, Jr.
Trial Court Judge: Judge John Wheeler Campbell

A Shelby County jury convicted Kenneth Chandler, the Defendant, of aggravated robbery. He received a sentence of eleven years in the Department of Correction. After filing a notice of appeal with this court, the Defendant filed a motion requesting that the court stay his direct appeal so that he might seek coram nobis relief. This court granted the Defendant’s motion to stay his direct appeal, and the Defendant filed a petition for writ of error nobis relief in the trial court. Following a hearing, the coram nobis court found that statements from the Defendant’s fellow inmates were newly discovered evidence but that the evidence was not admissible as substantive evidence at trial and denied relief. On appeal, the Defendant argues that: (1) the evidence was insufficient for a rational juror to have found him guilty beyond a reasonable doubt; (2) the trial court abused its discretion by failing to properly act as the thirteenth juror; and (3) the coram nobis court erred in denying his error coram nobis petition. After a thorough review of the facts and applicable case law, we affirm.

Shelby County Court of Criminal Appeals 04/13/18
Antonio Crenshaw v. State of Tennessee
W2017-00940-CCA-R3-PC
Authoring Judge: Judge Robert L. Holloway, Jr.
Trial Court Judge: Judge Lee V. Coffee

Antonio Crenshaw (“the Petitioner”) appeals the Shelby County Criminal Court’s denial of post-conviction relief from his conviction of robbery, for which he was sentenced to fifteen years’ incarceration. On appeal, the Petitioner contends that he was denied the effective assistance of counsel during trial. Upon review, we affirm the judgment of the post-conviction court.

Shelby County Court of Criminal Appeals 04/13/18
Christopher Conrad Fichtel v. Jill Crowell Fichtel
M2017-00409-COA-R3-CV
Authoring Judge: Judge Arnold B. Goldin
Trial Court Judge: Judge Philip E. Smith

This is a post-divorce/parental relocation matter in which the father of two minor children opposed the mother’s intended relocation to Ohio. The father also sought a modification of the parties’ parenting plan regardless of whether the mother was permitted to relocate. The mother filed a cross-petition to modify the parenting plan and child support. After determining that the parties spent substantially equal intervals of time with the child, the court conducted a best-interest analysis to determine whether it was in the children’s best interest to relocate with the mother. The court concluded that it was not in the children’s best interest to relocate and modified child support to reflect the parties’ current incomes. Although the trial court made an explicit finding that the mother had indeed relocated without the children, the trial court never ruled on the parties’ competing claims to modify the original parenting plan or entered a new parenting plan. Having reviewed the record transmitted to us on appeal, we observe that the judgment appealed from is not final. Given the absence of a final judgment, we dismiss the appeal for lack of subject matter jurisdiction.  

Davidson County Court of Appeals 04/13/18
James Chronicles Cobb v. State of Tennessee
W2017-01828-CCA-R3-PC
Authoring Judge: Judge Timothy L. Easter
Trial Court Judge: Judge Roy B. Morgan, Jr.

Petitioner, James Chronicles Cobb, appeals the denial of his petition for post-conviction relief. Petitioner argues that he received ineffective assistance of counsel and that his guilty plea was unknowing and involuntary. 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 and Petitioner’s guilty plea was knowingly and voluntarily entered. Accordingly, the judgment of the post-conviction court is affirmed.

Madison County Court of Criminal Appeals 04/12/18
State of Tennessee v. Kenneth Fleming
W2016-01017-CCA-R3-CD
Authoring Judge: Judge D. Kelly Thomas, Jr.
Trial Court Judge: Judge Chris Craft

The Defendant, Kenneth Fleming, appeals as of right from his convictions for two counts of aggravated robbery and one count of evading arrest. The Defendant argues that the trial court erred: (1) by giving an improper jury instruction and allowing the case to be presented to the jury when there was insufficient proof to establish venue and jurisdiction; (2) by failing to give a jury instruction on lost or destroyed evidence; (3) by allowing the State to enter a silver handgun and blue toboggan into evidence; (4) by not providing a curative instruction when a witness testified as to other crimes similar to the crime in this case; (5) by allowing the State to make improper comments during closing arguments and by giving an improper curative instruction to the jury; and (6) by sentencing the Defendant partially consecutively. Following our review, the judgments are affirmed.

Shelby County Court of Criminal Appeals 04/12/18
State of Tennessee v. Susan Marie Taylor
M2017-01526-CCA-R3-CD
Authoring Judge: Judge J. Ross Dyer
Trial Court Judge: Judge Forest A. Durard, Jr.

The defendant, Susan Marie Taylor, appeals the order of the trial court revoking her probation and ordering her to serve her original four-year sentence in confinement. Upon review of the record, we conclude the trial court did not abuse its discretion in finding the defendant violated the terms of her probation and the imposed sentence is proper. Accordingly, the judgment of the trial court is affirmed.

Bedford County Court of Criminal Appeals 04/12/18