Tennessee Administrative Office of the Courts

Appellate Court Opinions

Format: 08/22/2019
Format: 08/22/2019
State of Tennessee v. Tory Blackmon
W2018-01061-CCA-R3-CD

The Defendant, Tory Blackmon, was convicted by a Shelby County Criminal Court jury of attempted first degree murder, a Class A felony; employing a firearm during the commission or attempted commission of a dangerous felony, a Class C felony; and aggravated assault, a Class C felony. See T.C.A. §§ 39-12-101(a)(1)-(3) (2018) (criminal attempt), 39-13-202(a) (2014) (subsequently amended) (first degree murder), 39-13-102(a) (2014) (subsequently amended) (aggravated assault), 39-17-1324(b)(2) (2014) (subsequently amended) (armed dangerous felonies). The court imposed a twenty-year sentence for attempted first degree murder, a six-year sentence for the employing a firearm conviction, and a four-year sentence for aggravated assault. The court merged the aggravated assault conviction with the attempted first degree murder conviction, and it ordered the firearm conviction to be served consecutively to the attempted murder conviction as required by Tennessee Code Annotated section 39-17-1324(e)(1) (2014) (subsequently amended). On appeal, the Defendant contends that the court erred in sentencing. We affirm the judgments of the trial court.

Shelby County Court of Criminal Appeals 07/17/19
Sherita Michelle Polk v. Frank Edward Polk
W2018-02052-COA-R3-CV

This appeal arises from a divorce between parties with no minor children. The husband appealed raising numerous issues related to property division. He also challenges the trial court’s denial of his request for alimony. The appellate record contains no transcript or statement of evidence that complies with Rule 24 of the Tennessee Rules of Appellate Procedure. Further the husband’s brief is woefully deficient. Because of the husband’s failure to comply with the Tennessee Rules of Appellate Procedure and the Rules of this Court, there is no basis upon which to conclude that the evidence preponderates against the findings of the chancery court and the rulings based thereon. We affirm the judgment of the chancery court and remand the case for further proceedings consistent with this opinion.

Madison County Court of Appeals 07/16/19
State of Tennessee v. Billy Eugene Cook, Jr.
M2018-00246-CCA-R3-CD

The Appellant, Billy Eugene Cook, Jr., appeals the trial court’s revocation of his probation for aggravated burglary, contending that the trial court erred by denying a continuance of the revocation hearing and by revoking his probation on his first violation. Upon review, we affirm the judgment of the trial court.

DeKalb County Court of Criminal Appeals 07/16/19
State of Tennessee v. Ashton Montrell Jones
W2018-01845-CCA-R3-CD

Defendant, Ashton Montrell Jones, appeals from the trial court’s order denying Defendant’s Tennessee Rule of Criminal Procedure 36 motion (“Rule 36 motion”) to correct a clerical error in a community corrections revocation order. The trial court summarily denied the motion without an evidentiary hearing on the sole basis of “lack of jurisdiction.” Under the particular circumstances of this case, we reverse the trial court’s order and remand to the trial court for proper consideration of the motion.

Hardeman County Court of Criminal Appeals 07/16/19
State of Tennessee v. Cedrick Dewayne Whiteside
W2018-01692-CCA-R3-CD

Defendant, Cedrick Dewayne Whiteside, was found guilty of driving under the influence of an intoxicant, criminal impersonation, driving on a cancelled, suspended, or revoked, license, and failure to exercise due care. On appeal, he argues that the evidence presented at trial was insufficient for the trier of fact to find him guilty of driving under the influence of an intoxicant and for failure to exercise due care. In light of the evidence presented, we uphold Defendant’s driving under the influence conviction but reverse and dismiss the jury’s finding of failure to exercise due care.

Henderson County Court of Criminal Appeals 07/16/19
State of Tennessee v. Roger F. Johnson
M2018-01216-CCA-R3-CD

Following a bench trial in the Grundy County Circuit Court, the Defendant, Roger F. Johnson, was convicted as charged of indecent exposure, a Class B misdemeanor. He was subsequently sentenced to a six-month sentence, with service of forty-five days in jail prior to serving the remainder of the sentence on supervised probation. On appeal, the Defendant argues: (1) the indictment fails to charge an offense because it does not include the correct mens rea; (2) the indictment is duplicitous; and (3) the evidence is insufficient to sustain his conviction. We affirm the judgment of the trial court.

Grundy County Court of Criminal Appeals 07/15/19
In Re Nicholas C. Et Al.
E2019-00165-COA-R3-PT

The trial court terminated the parental rights of Mother and Father to their four children on the grounds of abandonment by failure to visit, substantial noncompliance with the permanency plan, and failure to manifest the ability and willingness to assume custody of the children. On appeal, we conclude that there is clear and convincing evidence to support all three grounds as well as the trial court’s best interest determination. We, therefore, affirm the trial court’s decision.

Cocke County Court of Appeals 07/15/19
James M. Morris v. Tennessee Board of Probation & Parole
M2018-01998-COA-R3-CV

This appeal involves a petition for writ of certiorari filed in chancery court by a prisoner after he was denied parole. The chancery court concluded that the petition was timely filed but found that the issues presented were moot and lacked substantive merit. The prisoner appeals. For the following reasons, we affirm the trial court’s order of dismissal on other grounds.

Davidson County Court of Appeals 07/15/19
State of Tennessee v. Emmanuel Deshawn Bowley
M2018-00234-CCA-R3-CD

A Montgomery County jury convicted the Defendant, Emmanuel Deshawn Bowley, of conspiracy to distribute more than 300 grams of cocaine, possession of more than 300 grams of cocaine with the intent to sell, simple possession of marijuana, attempted possession of a deadly weapon during the commission of a dangerous felony, and attempted possession of illegal drug paraphernalia. The trial court ordered that the Defendant serve an effective sentence of sixteen years in the Tennessee Department of Correction. On appeal, the Defendant asserts that: (1) the trial court improperly denied his motion to sever; (2) the trial court erred when it denied his motion to suppress based on an invalid wiretap; (3) the trial court erred when it admitted evidence seized from a co-defendant; and (4) the evidence is insufficient to support his convictions. After a thorough review of the record and applicable law, we affirm the trial court’s judgments.

Montgomery County Court of Criminal Appeals 07/12/19
State of Tennessee v. Jerry Reginald Burkes
E2018-01713-CCA-R3-CD

Jerry Reginald Burkes, Defendant, appeals from the order of the trial court that was entered after the case was remanded for resentencing. Following the resentencing hearing, the trial court denied Defendant’s request to serve his sentence on community corrections and ordered Defendant to serve his eighteen-year sentence in incarceration. Defendant claims the trial court erred by not allowing him to introduce proof at the resentencing hearing concerning certain out-of-state convictions used by the trial court at the first sentencing hearing to establish that Defendant was a Range II offender. We affirm the trial court’s judgment.

Greene County Court of Criminal Appeals 07/12/19
State of Tennessee v. David Keith Walker
E2018-00795-CCA-R3-CD

The Defendant, David Keith Walker, pled guilty to aggravated burglary, theft of property valued at $500 or less, burglary, vandalism, and two counts of theft of property valued at $1,000 or more. The trial court imposed a total effective sentence of fifteen years’ incarceration. On appeal, the Defendant contends that he is a suitable candidate for alternative sentencing pursuant to the statutory considerations outlined in Tennessee Code Annotated section 40-35-103. Following our review, we affirm the trial court’s denial of alternative sentencing.

Hamilton County Court of Criminal Appeals 07/12/19
State of Tennessee v. Christopher Colligan
M2018-01443-CCA-R3-CD

Defendant, Christopher Colligan, appeals following the trial court’s revocation of his eight-year community corrections sentence. Defendant contends that the trial court erred by failing to award sentencing credit for his time served in the community corrections program from June 27, 2014, to March 29, 2017, and from October 4, 2017, to April 27, 2018. Following a thorough review, we affirm the judgment of the trial court, as modified, and remand for entry of an amended judgment awarding sentencing credits from October 4, 2017, to April 27, 2018.

Davidson County Court of Criminal Appeals 07/12/19
State of Tennessee v. Eddie Readus
M2017-02339-CCA-R3-CD

Defendant, Eddie Readus, appeals the length of his effective sentence following a resentencing hearing that was granted by the trial court in response to Defendant’s motion to correct an illegal sentence pursuant to Rule 36.1 of the Tennessee Rules of Criminal Procedure (Rule 36.1). The State responds that Defendant failed to state a colorable claim for relief in his Rule 36.1 motion, and therefore, the trial court should have dismissed the motion, rather than granting a new sentencing hearing. We agree with the State. Accordingly, we reverse the judgment of the trial court granting relief pursuant to Rule 36.1, vacate the amended judgment as to the Class C felony conviction, and reinstate the original judgment.

Bedford County Court of Criminal Appeals 07/12/19
Maurice McAllister v. State of Tennessee
M2018-01430-CCA-R3-PC

The petitioner, Maurice McAllister, appeals the denial of his petition for post-conviction relief, which petition challenged his 2013 conviction of rape, alleging that he was deprived of the effective assistance of counsel. Discerning no error, we affirm the denial of post-conviction relief.

Giles County Court of Criminal Appeals 07/12/19
State of Tennessee v. Ricky Jordan
W2018-01190-CCA-R3-CD

Defendant, Ricky Jordan, was convicted after a jury trial of aggravated sexual battery of a victim less than thirteen years of age and was sentenced to serve eleven years at 100 percent. On appeal, Defendant claims that the trial court committed plain error when it did not exclude evidence of other incidents of sexual contact between Defendant and the victim that occurred during the time period set forth in the indictment and that the evidence was insufficient to support his conviction. After a thorough review, we affirm the judgment of the trial court.

Shelby County Court of Criminal Appeals 07/12/19
State of Tennessee v. Quadarious Devonta Bufford
W2018-00548-CCA-R3-CD

The Defendant, Quadarious Devonta Bufford, was convicted by a Gibson County Circuit Court jury of first degree felony murder during the perpetration of aggravated child abuse and sentenced by the trial court to life imprisonment. On appeal, he argues that the evidence was insufficient to sustain his conviction, and the State committed reversible error by failing to make an election of offenses. Following our review, we affirm the judgment of the trial court.

Gibson County Court of Criminal Appeals 07/12/19
State of Tennessee v. Brandon Garrard
W2018-01026-CCA-R3-CD

On April 2, 2018, the Defendant, Brandon Garrard, was found guilty of delivery of more than 0.5 grams of methamphetamine within 1,000 feet of a park and conspiring to introduce contraband into a penal facility. The trial court sentenced the Defendant as a Range III, career offender to concurrent terms of 60 years for the delivery charge and 12 years for the conspiracy charge. On appeal, the Defendant argues that the evidence is insufficient to sustain the delivery charge based on the jury verdict form and that the trial court erred in imposing a 60-year sentence. The State concedes that the Defendant was improperly sentenced. After thorough review, we remand for resentencing and affirm the trial court’s judgments in all other aspects.

Hardin County Court of Criminal Appeals 07/12/19
State of Tennessee v. Corderro Avant and Davario Fields aka Davario McNeary
W2018-01154-CCA-R3-CD

Defendants, Corderro Avant and Davario Fields, aka Devario McNeary, appeal from their convictions for one count of first degree murder, one count of attempted first degree murder resulting in seriously bodily injury, nine counts of attempted first degree murder, and eleven counts of employing a firearm during the commission of a dangerous felony after shots were fired at a house in Memphis. As a result of the resulting convictions, Defendants were sentenced to effective sentences of life plus twenty-one years. In their direct appeal, Defendants challenge: (1) the trial court’s limitation of cross-examination regarding activity at the home prior to the shooting; (2) the trial court’s decision to allow the alleged child victims to sit in the courtroom; (3) the trial court’s decision to allow the State to use cell phone location data obtained without a warrant; (4) the dismissal of a juror after he told the trial court that he recognized a person identified as an unavailable witness; (5) the trial court’s comments to the jury about deliberation; and (6) the sufficiency of the evidence.1 After hearing oral arguments and a full review, we affirm.

Shelby County Court of Criminal Appeals 07/12/19
Eddie Medlock v. State of Tennessee
W2018-01693-CCA-R3-PC

The Petitioner, Eddie Medlock, appeals from the Shelby County Criminal Court’s summary dismissal of his petition pursuant to the Post-Conviction DNA Analysis Act of 2001 (the Act), Tennessee Code Annotated sections 40-30-301 to -313 (2018). The postconviction DNA court denied relief on the basis that DNA analysis of evidentiary items requested by the Petitioner had been performed previously and that the Petitioner’s request regarding various forms of scientific analysis of other items was not cognizable under the Act. On appeal, the Petitioner contends that the court erred in dismissing his petition. We affirm the judgment of the post-conviction DNA court.

Shelby County Court of Criminal Appeals 07/12/19
State of Tennessee v. Steven Michael Odom
W2018-01303-CCA-R3-CD

The Defendant, Steven Michael Odom, was convicted of aggravated robbery, aggravated burglary, aggravated assault, simple possession of marijuana, and possession of drug paraphernalia. The Defendant received an effective sentence of twelve years. On appeal, the Defendant challenges the sufficiency of the evidence for his convictions for aggravated robbery, aggravated burglary, and aggravated assault. Upon review of the record and applicable law, we affirm the trial court’s judgments.

Tipton County Court of Criminal Appeals 07/12/19
Willie Lewis v. State of Tennessee
W2018-01016-CCA-R3-PC

A Shelby County jury convicted Willie Lewis, Petitioner, of second degree murder. Petitioner filed a petition for post-conviction relief and argued that he received ineffective assistance of counsel. The post-conviction court denied relief, and Petitioner appealed. On appeal, Petitioner asserts that the post-conviction court made insufficient findings of fact and conclusions of law for this court to review its decision. Additionally, Petitioner argues that trial counsel’s representation during the sentencing phase was deficient for failing to ensure that Petitioner participated in the preparation of the presentence report. Petitioner contends that he was prejudiced by this deficiency because trial counsel did not present any mitigating circumstances to the trial court and Petitioner received the maximum sentence within the applicable range. After a thorough review of the facts and applicable case law, we affirm the
post-conviction court’s denial of relief.

Shelby County Court of Criminal Appeals 07/12/19
Anthony Bayman v. State of Tennessee
W2018-01655-CCA-R3-PC

The Petitioner, Anthony Bayman, appeals the Shelby County Criminal Court’s denial of his petition for post-conviction relief from his 2014 conviction for second degree murder and his sentence of thirty-two years. The Petitioner contends that he received the ineffective assistance of counsel and that an amendment to the indictment violated principles of due process. We affirm the judgment of the post-conviction court.

Shelby County Court of Criminal Appeals 07/12/19
State of Tennessee v. Willie Lee Wilson, Jr.
W2018-01671-CCA-R3-CD

The defendant, Willie Lee Wilson, Jr., appeals his Haywood County Circuit Court jury convictions of aggravated robbery, theft of property valued at $1,000 or less, and evading arrest, arguing that the evidence adduced at trial was insufficient to sustain his convictions. Because the evidence was insufficient to support the defendant’s conviction for theft of property valued at $1,000 or less relevant to a handgun, that conviction is vacated, and the charge is dismissed. The defendant’s other convictions are affirmed.

Haywood County Court of Criminal Appeals 07/12/19
Brandon Churchman v. State of Tennessee
W2017-02338-CCA-R3-PC

The Petitioner, Brandon Churchman, filed a post-conviction petition seeking relief from his convictions of reckless homicide, felony murder, and two counts of facilitation of attempted first degree murder and accompanying effective sentence of life plus ten years. The Petitioner alleged that his counsel was ineffective on appeal by failing to challenge the trial court’s imposition of consecutive sentencing. The post-conviction court denied the petition, and the Petitioner appeals. Upon review, we affirm the judgment of the postconviction court.

Shelby County Court of Criminal Appeals 07/12/19
State of Tennessee v. Bobby D. Dewalt
W2018-01850-CCA-R3-CD

Defendant, Bobby D. Dewalt, pled guilty to three counts of delivery of .5 grams or more of cocaine as a Range II, Multiple Offender in case number 10598 and was sentenced by the trial court to twelve years for each conviction, to be served concurrently. The trial court denied Defendant’s request for an alternative sentence. At the same time, Defendant’s probation was revoked in case number 9783, for which Defendant was on probation at the time of his guilty plea. Defendant filed a timely notice of appeal. After a review, we determine that the trial court did not abuse its discretion in denying an alternative sentence.

Lauderdale County Court of Criminal Appeals 07/12/19