Tennessee Administrative Office of the Courts

Appellate Court Opinions

Format: 10/22/2019
Format: 10/22/2019
State of Tennessee v. Nathaniel David Labrecque
M2018-01587-CCA-R3-CD

The Defendant, Nathaniel David Labrecque, pleaded guilty to two counts of failure to yield the right of way causing serious bodily injury. See T.C.A. §§ 55-8-129, 55-8-197(a)(3) (2018). He received an effective sentence of six months’ incarceration, and the trial court ordered the Defendant to pay restitution in the amount of $500,000. On appeal, the Defendant contends that the trial court erred by (1) ordering restitution without assessing his ability to pay and (2) ordering restitution when there was no evidence substantiating the victims’ losses. We affirm the Defendant’s convictions, but we reverse the trial court’s restitution order and remand for entry of amended judgments.

Davidson County Court of Criminal Appeals 10/22/19
State of Tennessee v. Nathaniel David Labrecque - Concurring/Dissenting
M2018-01587-CCA-R3-CD

I agree with the majority’s conclusion that the trial court’s restitution order must be reversed. I write separately, however, to address the State’s indicting the Defendant for, and the Defendant’s ultimately pleading guilty to, two counts of failure to yield the right of way resulting in serious bodily injury. I conclude that under plain error, the Defendant’s dual convictions violate principles of double jeopardy.

Davidson County Court of Criminal Appeals 10/22/19
State of Tennessee v. Nicholas Tyler Beckham
M2018-02027-CCA-R3-CD

The Cheatham County Grand Jury indicted Nicholas Tyler Beckham, Defendant, on twenty-three counts of aggravated sexual exploitation of a minor. Pursuant to a plea agreement, Defendant pled guilty to counts one through five, with an agreed sentence of five years on each count, counts one through four to be served consecutively, with count five to run concurrently to count four, for an effective sentence of twenty years at thirty percent, with the manner of service to be determined by the court. The remainder of the counts were dismissed. Following a sentencing hearing, the trial court ordered Defendant to serve his sentence in the Tennessee Department of Correction. On appeal, Defendant claims the trial court abused its discretion when it denied alternative sentencing for Defendant. After a thorough review of the record and applicable case law, we affirm the judgments of the trial court.

Cheatham County Court of Criminal Appeals 10/22/19
State of Tennessee v. Elizabeth Lynn Schmitz
M2018-01270-CCA-R3-CD

A Humphreys County jury convicted the Defendant-Appellant, Elizabeth Lynn Schmitz, of failure to have a license to operate a pawnshop in violation of Tennessee Code Annotated section 45-6-205, a Class A misdemeanor, for which she received a probationary sentence of eleven-months and twenty-nine days. In this appeal as of right, the Defendant argues that the trial court erred by not providing her a court reporter during trial and that the evidence was insufficient to sustain her conviction. Upon review, we affirm the judgment of the trial court.

Humphreys County Court of Criminal Appeals 10/22/19
State of Tennessee v. Henry Nicholas Brown
E2018-02135-CCA-R3-CD

The Defendant-Appellant, Henry Nicholas Brown, entered a guilty plea in the Roane County Criminal Court to aggravated assault (count one), evading arrest (count two), and reckless endangerment (count three), with the trial court to determine the length and manner of service of his sentence.  Following a sentencing hearing, the trial court sentenced the Defendant to six, four, and two years, respectively.  The trial court ordered these sentences to be served consecutively, for an effective sentence of twelve years in the Tennessee Department of Correction. In this appeal as of right, the Defendant contends that the trial court erred in imposing consecutive sentences. Upon our review, we affirm the judgment of the trial court.

Roane County Court of Criminal Appeals 10/22/19
State of Tennessee v. Geary N. Jackson, SR.
M2019-00180-CCA-R3-CD

Defendant, Geary N. Jackson, Sr., pled guilty to three counts of sale of oxymorphone, a Class C felony. Following a hearing, the trial court sentenced Defendant as a career offender to consecutive fifteen-year sentences. On appeal, Defendant asserts that his sentence is excessive and not in conformity with the purposes of the Sentencing Act. Upon review, we affirm the judgments of the trial court.

Wilson County Court of Criminal Appeals 10/21/19
State of Tennessee v. Rudolfo Valentin Gonzalez, II
M2018-01846-CCA-R3-CD

On August 1, 2018, the Defendant, Rudolfo Valentin Gonzalez II, pleaded guilty to aggravated assault and aggravated burglary. The trial court sentenced him as a Range I, standard offender to concurrent three-year sentences, and the Defendant was released on supervised probation. The Defendant argues on appeal that the trial court erred in denying his request for judicial diversion. After thorough review, we affirm the sentencing decision of the trial court.

Montgomery County Court of Criminal Appeals 10/21/19
SmartBank v. Sandra Stephens
E2018-01900-COA-R3-CV

Appellant appeals the trial court’s denial of her Tennessee Rule of Civil Procedure 60.02(3) motion for relief from a default judgment. Appellant argues that she was not properly served, thus rendering the default judgment void ab initio. Appellant also appeals the trial court’s order allowing Appellee to execute its judgment on Appellant’s right of survivorship interest in real property held as a tenancy by the entirety. Discerning no error, we affirm and remand.

Hamilton County Court of Appeals 10/21/19
Mathews Construction, Inc. v. Kennedy Omanwa
E2019-00168-COA-R3-CV

A defendant filed a motion to recuse the trial judge one month prior to trial; the trial judge responded to the motion and entered an order denying it two weeks prior to trial. Defendant appeals, asserting that the court erred in denying the motion and in failing to notify him that the court would proceed with the trial as previously set. Discerning no error, we affirm the judgment.

Hamilton County Court of Appeals 10/21/19
State of Tennessee v. Logan Chouinard
E2018-01660-CCA-R3-CD

The defendant, Logan Chouinard, appeals from the McMinn County Criminal Court’s denial of his Tennessee Rule of Criminal Procedure 36.1 motion to correct an illegal sentence.  Discerning no error, we affirm the judgment of the trial court.

McMinn County Municipal Courts 10/21/19
Juan Jose Reyes v. State of Tennessee
M2018-01075-CCA-R3-PC

Petitioner, Juan Jose Reyes, was convicted by a jury for the offense of rape of a child and received a sentence of thirty-two years. He appeals the denial of his petition for post-conviction relief in which he alleged ineffective assistance of counsel at trial. After a thorough review of the record, we conclude that Petitioner has failed to show that his trial counsel rendered ineffective assistance of counsel, and we accordingly affirm the judgment of the post-conviction court.

DeKalb County Court of Criminal Appeals 10/18/19
State of Tennessee v. James William Ray A.K.A. James William Ray, JR
M2018-01765-CCA-R3-CD

The Appellant, James William Ray a.k.a. James William Ray, Jr., entered best interest guilty pleas to multiple counts of aggravated burglary, theft, and burglary of a motor vehicle. The trial court sentenced the Appellant as a Range II, multiple offender to a total effective sentence of twenty years. On appeal, the Appellant contends that the trial court erred in determining the length of the individual sentences and in imposing consecutive sentencing. Upon review, we affirm the judgments of the trial court.

Davidson County Court of Criminal Appeals 10/18/19
State of Tennessee v. Norman Lee Follis
E2018-01667-CCA-R3-CD

Defendant, Norman Lee Follis, appeals his convictions of first degree murder and theft of property, for which he was sentenced to life imprisonment without the possibility of parole. On appeal, Defendant challenges the trial court’s denial of a motion to suppress his statement and the sufficiency of the evidence to support the first degree murder conviction. Because the trial court did not abuse its discretion in denying the motion to suppress and the evidence was sufficient to support the first degree murder conviction, we affirm the judgments of the trial court.

Anderson County Court of Criminal Appeals 10/18/19
State of Tennessee v. Khyree Thompson
E2018-01481-CCA-R3-CD

Defendant, Khyree Thompson, appeals his convictions of first-degree felony murder and attempted especially aggravated robbery, for which he received an effective sentence of life in prison. On appeal, Defendant argues that the evidence is insufficient to support his convictions and that the State committed prosecutorial misconduct during its closing argument. Upon our review of the record, we affirm the judgments of the trial court.

Hamilton County Court of Criminal Appeals 10/18/19
State of Tennessee v. Martez Wheeler
W2018-02218-CCA-R3-CD

The pro se Defendant, Martez Wheeler, appeals the trial court’s summary dismissal of his motion to correct an illegal sentence, pursuant to Tennessee Rule of Criminal Procedure 36.1. After thorough review, we affirm the judgment of the trial court.

Shelby County Court of Criminal Appeals 10/17/19
State of Tennessee v. Thomas R. Boykin
W2018-01207-CCA-R3-CD

A Gibson County jury convicted Thomas R. Boykin, Defendant, of two counts of aggravated child abuse of a child under eight years of age. The trial court sentenced Defendant as a Range II multiple offender to consecutive thirty-five-year sentences at 100%. In this delayed direct appeal, Defendant challenges his convictions, claiming the trial court improperly admitted evidence, cumulative error, and insufficiency of the evidence. Defendant also challenges his sentences, claiming improper use of sentencing enhancement factors and consecutive sentencing factors. After a thorough review of the record and applicable case law, we affirm the judgments of the trial court and remand for entry of corrected judgments.

Gibson County Court of Criminal Appeals 10/17/19
State of Tennessee v. William Prichard
W2019-00270-CCA-R3-CD

Defendant, William Prichard, was convicted by a jury of aggravated assault resulting in death. The trial court sentenced Defendant to a term of fifteen years. On appeal, Defendant argues that the evidence was insufficient to sustain his conviction of aggravated assault and that Defendant should be granted a new trial because the finding of the jury is against the weight of the evidence presented, and the trial judge failed to act as the thirteenth juror. After conducting a full review of the record, we affirm the judgment of the trial court.

Hardeman County Court of Criminal Appeals 10/17/19
State of Tennessee v. Rachael Underwood
E2018-02009-CCA-R3-CD

Defendant-Appellant, Rachael Underwood, appeals from the Sevier County Circuit Court’s order revoking her probation. She originally pled guilty to attempted delivery of a Schedule I controlled substance and driving on a suspended license. She received a sixyear suspended sentence, after service of 180 days in jail. In this appeal, the Defendant claims that the trial court erred in revoking her probation. Upon review, we affirm the judgment of the trial court. 

Sevier County Court of Criminal Appeals 10/17/19
Yogonda Abdula Corley v. State of Tennessee
M2018-01568-CCA-R3-PC

Petitioner, Yogonda Abdula Corley, appeals from the post-conviction court’s denial of his petition for post-conviction relief. Petitioner contends that his trial counsel provided ineffective assistance by failing to develop a record at trial that was adequate for appellate review. Having reviewed the record and the briefs of the parties, we affirm the denial of post-conviction relief.

Davidson County Court of Criminal Appeals 10/17/19
State of Tennessee v. Christopher Levi Parker
E2018-01306-CCA-R3-CD

The Defendant-Appellant, Christopher Levi Parker, was convicted by a Hamilton County jury of first-degree premeditated murder and sentenced to life in prison. In this appeal as of right, he raises the following issues for our review: (1) whether the evidence is sufficient to support the Defendant’s conviction of first-degree premeditated murder; and (2) whether the trial court erred in allowing the State to admit proof that the Defendant stole a gun that was consistent with the murder weapon the night before he shot and killed the victim. Upon our review, we affirm the judgment of the trial court.

Hamilton County Court of Criminal Appeals 10/17/19
Tennessee Farmers Mutual Insurance Company v. Brandon Debruce
E2017-02078-SC-R11-CV

We granted review to determine whether a trial court had authority in a declaratory judgment action to resolve coverage issues between an insurance company and its insured when a claimant, who had sued the insured but did not have a judgment against him, was not a party to the action. Here, the claimant sued the insured for damages arising from an automobile accident. The insured did not cooperate with his insurance company. The insurance company sued its insured, seeking a declaratory judgment that the company did not have to provide liability coverage based on the insured’s lack of cooperation. The trial court awarded the insurance company a default judgment, holding that the company did not have to provide coverage under the policy. Nearly two years later, the claimant moved the trial court to set aside the default judgment and allow her to intervene, asserting that she was a necessary party. The trial court denied the motion. The Court of Appeals ruled that the trial court lacked jurisdiction over the declaratory judgment action because the claimant was a necessary party, and the insurance company had not joined the claimant in the action. We hold that the insurance company and its insured—not the claimant—were necessary parties to the declaratory judgment action. The trial court could decide the coverage dispute between the insurance company and its insured with finality and certainty without the claimant’s participation in the action. The claimant, who had no judgment against the insured and could not bring a direct action against the insurance company to collect any damages caused by the insured, had no interest affected by the dispute between the company and its insured. The trial court had authority to grant declaratory relief because all necessary parties were before the court. 

Bradley County Supreme Court 10/16/19
Deborah L. Bain v. UTI Integrated Logistics LLC, et al
W2018-00840-SC-WCM-WC

Deborah Bain (“Employee”) worked for UTI Integrated Logistics LLC (“Employer”) as a shuttle truck driver. She sustained a compensable injury to her right shoulder and right wrist in August 2010 and entered into a settlement agreement with Employer. After returning to work, she suffered an injury to her left shoulder in January 2013. The trial court found that Employee is not permanently and totally disabled, that the 1.5 times cap applies for purposes of both reconsideration of the August 2010 injury and assessment of the January 2013 injury, that she has a 6% medical impairment rating for the January 2013 injury, and that Employer is not responsible for expenses related to treatment she sought on her own. Employee has appealed these rulings. Employer has appealed the trial court’s award of further temporary total disability benefits. 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 trial court’s judgment.

Benton County Supreme Court 10/16/19
State of Tennessee v. Dexter Dewayne Alcorn
M2018-01618-CCA-R3-CD

The Defendant, Dexter Dewayne Alcorn, appeals from the Montgomery County Circuit Court’s denial of his motion pursuant to Tennessee Rule of Criminal Procedure 36.1. On appeal, he contends that the trial court erred in denying relief on the basis that his dual convictions for aggravated kidnapping and aggravated robbery violate his right to due process and double jeopardy protection. We affirm the judgment of the trial court.

Montgomery County Court of Criminal Appeals 10/15/19
State of Tennessee v. Johnny Morgan Dye
M2018-01191-CCA-R3-CD

A jury convicted the Defendant, Johnny Morgan Dye, of vehicular homicide through intoxication and vehicular homicide through reckless conduct, and the Defendant received an effective sentence of twelve years in confinement after the offenses were merged. The Defendant appeals, challenging the sufficiency of the evidence with respect to the vehicular homicide through intoxication conviction, arguing that the trial court erred in allowing certain expert testimony, and asserting that the trial court committed reversible error in the admission of evidence. After a thorough review of the record, we conclude that the evidence is sufficient and that the trial court did not err in its evidentiary decisions. The judgments of the trial court are affirmed.

Dickson County Court of Criminal Appeals 10/15/19
State of Tennessee v. Julie Paul
E2019-00256-CCA-R3-CD

The Defendant, Julie Paul, appeals the trial court’s order imposing confinement after finding a violation of her probation sentence. In July 2018, the Defendant pleaded guilty to felony possession of methamphetamine in exchange for an effective six-year sentence and a $2,000 fine. The Defendant received a partially suspended sentence with 180 days of split confinement to be followed by an alcohol and drug evaluation upon her release. A probation violation warrant was issued alleging multiple violations and, after a hearing, the trial court revoked the Defendant’s probation sentence, ordering additional split confinement of one year. On appeal, the Defendant asserts that the trial court abused its discretion when it ordered service of one year of confinement. After review, we affirm the trial court’s judgment.

Blount County Court of Criminal Appeals 10/15/19