Court Opinions

Format: 05/23/2018
Format: 05/23/2018
State of Tennessee v. James Kevin Woods
M2017-00800-CCA-R3-CD
Authoring Judge: Judge Robert L. Holloway, Jr.
Trial Court Judge: Judge John D. Wootten, Jr.

James Kevin Woods, the Defendant, was convicted by a Wilson County jury of three counts of sale of 0.5 grams or more of cocaine and received a total effective sentence of forty years as a Range II multiple offender. On direct appeal, he argues that (1) the evidence was insufficient for a rational juror to have found him guilty of sale of cocaine beyond a reasonable doubt; (2) the trial court improperly limited the Defendant’s crossexamination of State witnesses; (3) the professional criminal and extensive criminal history factors in Tennessee Code Annotated section 40-35-115(b) are unconstitutionally vague; and (4) the trial court abused its discretion by ordering a partially consecutive sentence. After a thorough review of the facts and applicable case law, we affirm.

Wilson County Court of Criminal Appeals 04/19/18
State of Tennessee v. Joey Boswell
M2017-01127-CCA-R3-CD
Authoring Judge: Judge Robert W. Wedemeyer
Trial Court Judge: Judge Gary McKenzie

The Defendant, Joey Boswell, pleaded guilty to theft of property valued between $2,500 and $10,000. The trial court sentenced him to serve eight years in the Tennessee Department of Correction. On appeal, the Defendant contends that the trial court erred when it sentenced him because it improperly enhanced his sentence based on enhancement factor (2), that “The defendant was a leader in the commission of an offense involving two (2) or more criminal actors[.]” T.C.A. § 40-35-114(2) (2014). He also contends that his sentence is excessive. After a thorough review of the record and the applicable authorities, we affirm the trial court’s judgment.

White County Court of Criminal Appeals 04/19/18
Julie Bauer v. State of Tennessee
M2017-00120-CCA-R3-PC
Authoring Judge: Judge Robert W. Wedemeyer
Trial Court Judge: Judge Robert L. Jones

In 2013, the Petitioner, Julie Bauer, pleaded guilty to attempted murder with an agreed sentence of twenty-nine years of incarceration. Subsequently, the Petitioner filed a petition for post-conviction relief, which the post-conviction court denied after a hearing. On appeal, the Petitioner contends that the post-conviction court erred when it denied her petition because she received the ineffective assistance of counsel. After review, we affirm the post-conviction court’s judgment.

Maury County Court of Criminal Appeals 04/19/18
State of Tennessee v. Walter Collins
W2016-01819-CCA-R3-CD
Authoring Judge: Judge Camille R. McMullen
Trial Court Judge: Judge Paula Skahan

The Shelby County Grand Jury charged the Defendant-Appellant, Walter Collins, and two codefendants with first degree felony murder. Following a jury trial, Collins, who was seventeen years old at the time of the offense, was convicted as charged and sentenced to life imprisonment. On appeal, Collins argues: (1) the trial court erred in denying his motion to suppress his statement to police; (2) the trial court erred in admitting certain evidence at trial; (3) the evidence is insufficient to sustain his conviction; and (4) his sentence of life imprisonment violates the prohibition against cruel and unusual punishment in the United States and Tennessee Constitutions, and the trial court abused its discretion in failing to dismiss his indictment on that basis) We affirm the judgment of the trial court.

Shelby County Court of Criminal Appeals 04/18/18
Sherilyne D. Duty v. East Tennessee Children's Hospital Association, Inc.
E2017-02027-SC-R3-WC
Authoring Judge: Judge Don R. Ash
Trial Court Judge: Chancellor Michael W. Moyer

Sherilyne Duty (“Employee”) was employed by East Tennessee Children’s Hospital (“Employer”) as a unit secretary. On March 22, 2006, she was assaulted by a visitor in the waiting area of the pediatric intensive care unit (“PICU”). She sustained an injury to her eye and developed post-traumatic stress disorder (“PTSD”) as a result of the incident. A settlement was reached as to all aspects of her workers’ compensation except the issue of temporary total disability. The settlement was approved by the Department of Labor, and Employee then brought this action seeking temporary disability benefits from July 2007 until November 2015. Employer contended Employee was not entitled to benefits because she was able to work and because she had been terminated for cause. The trial court denied the claim, finding Employee’s medical proof was not credible. Employee appeals, contending the evidence preponderates against the trial court’s decision. The appeal has been referred to the Special Workers’ Compensation Appeals Panel for a hearing and a report of findings of fact and conclusions of law pursuant to Tennessee Supreme Court Rule 51. We affirm the judgment.

Knox County Workers Compensation Panel 04/18/18
State of Tennessee v. Jaselyn Grant
W2017-00936-CCA-R3-CD
Authoring Judge: Judge Camille R. McMullen
Trial Court Judge: Judge Chris Craft

The Defendant, Jaselyn Grant, was convicted by a Shelby County Criminal Court jury of second degree murder, reckless endangerment, and aggravated assault and was sentenced to an effective twenty-year sentence. On appeal, the Defendant argues: (1) the trial court erred in admitting a photograph of the minor victim; (2) the trial court erred in allowing a witness to testify about statements the minor victim made to her; (3) the evidence is insufficient to sustain her convictions; and (4) the trial court erred in including a “defense of another” instruction in the jury charge. We affirm the judgments of the trial court.

Shelby County Court of Criminal Appeals 04/18/18
State of Tennessee v. Dale Vinson Merritt
E2017-01199-CCA-R3-CD
Authoring Judge: Judge Robert H. Montgomery, Jr.
Trial Court Judge: Judge Steven W. Sword

The Defendant, Dale Merritt, was convicted by a Knox County jury of one count of delivery of less than fifteen grams of a Schedule I controlled substance within 1,000 feet of a park and one count of delivery of less than fifteen grams of a Schedule I controlled substance within 1,000 feet of a child care agency. The trial court merged the convictions and sentenced the Defendant to seventeen years’ imprisonment. On appeal, the Defendant argues that the evidence was insufficient to support his convictions. After review of the record and applicable law, we affirm the judgments of the trial court.

Knox County Court of Criminal Appeals 04/18/18
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