Tennessee Administrative Office of the Courts

Appellate Court Opinions

Format: 08/22/2019
Format: 08/22/2019
Northgate Limited Liability Company et al. v. Randall Amacher et al.
M2018-01407-COA-R3-CV

This appeal involves multiple claims asserted against multiple parties. From our review of the record, the orders appealed do not resolve all of the claims asserted in the complaint. As a result, the judgment of the trial court is not final, and this Court lacks jurisdiction to consider the appeal. The appeal is hereby dismissed.

Coffee County Court of Appeals 07/11/19
State of Tennessee v. John Thomas Mullinicks, Jr.
M2018-00233-CCA-R3-CD

The Appellant, John Thomas Mullinicks, Jr., pled no contest in the Dickson County Circuit Court to four counts of statutory rape by an authority figure and received a total effective sentence of twelve years in the Tennessee Department of Correction. On appeal, the Appellant contends that the presentment failed to allege all of the essential elements of the charged offense of statutory rape by an authority figure, which renders his convictions void. Upon review, we affirm the judgments of the trial court.

Dickson County Court of Criminal Appeals 07/11/19
Erin Alford Fuller v. Roger Darnell Fuller
E2018-01003-COA-R3-CV

This appeal concerns a redetermination of alimony on remand. Erin Alford Fuller (“Wife”) sued Roger Darnell Fuller (“Husband”) for divorce in the Chancery Court for Bradley County (“the Trial Court”). The case was tried, and Husband appealed the judgment. We determined that the Trial Court properly classified and valued Husband’s trail income from his business in the property division but erred by then including, as part of Husband’s income, the amount of trail income distributed as a marital asset. We thus vacated the Trial Court’s determinations regarding child support and alimony. On remand, the Trial Court found that Husband inflated his business expenses. The Trial Court found that Husband earned approximately $200,000 per year and ordered him to pay Wife $1,500 per month as alimony in futuro. Husband appeals. We hold that the Trial Court, in keeping with our instructions, properly excluded the trail income distributed as a marital asset in making its fresh determination of Husband’s income. We find no reversible error in the Trial Court’s finding as to Husband’s income, nor do we discern any abuse of discretion in the Trial Court’s alimony decision. We affirm the judgment of the Trial Court and remand for an award to Wife of her reasonable attorney’s fees and costs incurred on appeal.

Bradley County Court of Appeals 07/10/19
Richard Williams v. Tony Mays, Warden
M2018-01980-CCA-R3-HC

The Petitioner, Richard Williams, appeals from the Davidson County Criminal Court’s dismissal of his petition for a writ of habeas corpus from his 2004 conviction for second degree murder and his twenty-five-year sentence. The Petitioner contends that the habeas corpus court erred by dismissing his petition. We affirm the judgment of the habeas corpus court.

Davidson County Court of Criminal Appeals 07/10/19
Christopher Conrad Fichtel v. Jill Crowell Fichtel (Zirwas)
M2018-01634-COA-R3-CV

This appeal results from Father’s petition in opposition to relocation. Trial on the petition was held over a period of more than a year. Ultimately, the trial court granted Father’s petition in opposition and modified the parties’ child support obligation to take into account their changed incomes. We vacate the trial court’s determination of Father’s income for child support purposes, but affirm the trial court’s rulings in all other respects.

Davidson County Court of Appeals 07/10/19
State of Tennessee v. Katrina Lynette Brown
M2017-02229-CCA-R3-CD

After a bench trial, the Appellant, Katrina Lynette Brown, was found guilty of driving under the influence, violating the implied consent law, possessing .5 grams or more of cocaine with the intent to sell, possessing .5 grams or more of cocaine with the intent to deliver, and a brake light violation. The trial court merged the cocaine possession counts and imposed a total effective sentence of ten years, which was suspended to probation. On appeal, the Appellant contends that the evidence is not sufficient to sustain her conviction of possession of .5 grams or more of cocaine with the intent to sell. Upon review, we affirm the judgment of the trial court.

Marshall County Court of Criminal Appeals 07/10/19
Neeld J. Messler II v. Janette Roberts Brumlow
E2018-00563-COA-R3-CV

This is an appeal challenging a jury verdict in an unlawful detainer action, in which both parties had raised additional counterclaims against one another, including breach of contract, fraud, and a violation of the Tennessee Consumer Protection Act. The jury returned a verdict in favor of the appellee. However, neither the jury’s verdict nor the trial court’s judgment on the verdict, addressed all of the parties’ claims. Accordingly, we dismiss the appeal for lack of subject matter jurisdiction.

Hamilton County Court of Appeals 07/10/19
Larry Daniel Cantey v. Alyson Lindsay Cantey (Violette)
W2018-01331-COA-R3-CV

This appeal involves a petition to modify an agreed permanent parenting plan. The trial court denied the petition. We conclude that the trial court’s order does not contain sufficient findings of fact and conclusions of law. We vacate the order of the trial court and remand for entry of an appropriate order.

Gibson County Court of Appeals 07/09/19
Rex A. Ferguson v. Tennessee Board of Parole
M2018-01784-COA-R3-CV

This is an appeal from the judgment of the trial court denying an inmate’s petition for writ of certiorari challenging the Tennessee Board of Parole’s denial of parole. The inmate contends the Board’s decision to deny parole based solely on the seriousness of the offense was arbitrary and capricious, and the trial court abused its discretion in denying his petition. More specifically, he contends that denying parole on the basis of one factor, the seriousness of the offenses, “in the face of so many positive factors, without an explanation of how these positive factors do not outweigh the seriousness of the offense, constitutes an arbitrary and capricious decision contrary to the weight of the evidence in the record.” Having determined that “‘seriousness of the offense’ is a proper, independent basis to deny parole release,” the trial court denied the petition for writ of certiorari. Because the seriousness of the offense is a proper, independent basis for denying parole under Tenn. Code Ann. § 40-35-503(b)(2), and the trial court did not abuse its discretion in denying the petition, we affirm.

Davidson County Court of Appeals 07/09/19
State of Tennessee v. Roger Clayton Davis
E2018-01518-CCA-R3-CD

The Appellant, Roger Clayton Davis, filed a pro se motion to correct an illegal sentence pursuant to Tennessee Rule of Criminal Procedure 36.1, and the trial court summarily denied the motion. On appeal, the Appellant contends that the trial court erroneously imposed consecutive sentencing and that the sentences imposed by the trial court are illegal because the trial court enhanced his sentences based upon facts not determined by a jury in violation of Blakely v. Washington, 542 U.S. 296 (2004). Upon review of the record and the parties’ briefs, we affirm the judgment of the trial court.

McMinn County Court of Criminal Appeals 07/09/19
State of Tennessee v. Quentin Love
E2017-02431-CCA-R3-CD

Defendant, Quentin Love, was indicted by the Knox County Grand Jury for felony murder during the attempt to perpetrate burglary, felony murder during the attempt to perpetrate theft, felony murder during the attempt to perpetrate robbery, especially aggravated burglary, especially aggravated robbery, employment of a firearm during a dangerous felony, unlawful possession of a weapon by a person having been convicted of a felony involving the use of force, and unlawful possession of a weapon after having been convicted of a felony drug offense. Defendant proceeded to a jury trial. At the close of the State’s proof, the trial court granted Defendant’s motion for judgment of acquittal as to especially aggravated robbery and reduced the charge to attempted especially aggravated robbery. The jury convicted Defendant as charged. The trial court merged the felony murder convictions into a single count of felony murder during the attempt to perpetrate burglary. The trial court also merged the unlawful possession of a weapon convictions into a single count of unlawful possession of a weapon by a convicted felon. The trial court sentenced Defendant to life imprisonment for his felony murder conviction. Defendant received concurrent sentences of 20 years each for his especially aggravated burglary and attempted especially aggravated robbery convictions, to be served concurrently with his life sentence. Defendant was also sentenced to ten years for his unlawful possession of a weapon conviction and ten years for his employment of a firearm conviction, to be served consecutively to each other and consecutively to his life sentence, for a total effective sentence of life plus 20 years’ imprisonment. In this appeal as of right, Defendant contends: 1) that the trial court erred in denying his motion for mistrial; 2) that the trial court erred by instructing the jury on flight; and 3) that the evidence is insufficient to sustain his convictions. Having reviewed the entire record and the briefs of the parties, we affirm the judgments of the trial court. However, we remand this case to the trial court for entry of judgments in counts 2, 3, and 8, pursuant to State v. Berry, 503 S.W. 360 (Tenn. 2015), as well as entry of an amended judgment in count 6 to accurately reflect the offense for which Defendant was convicted. 

Knox County Court of Criminal Appeals 07/09/19
Deanna Whitman v. State of Tennessee
M2018-01701-CCA-R3-CO

The defendant, Deanna Whitman, appeals the denial of her motion, filed pursuant to Tennessee Rule of Criminal Procedure 36, to correct a clerical error in her judgments. Specifically, the defendant asserts that the judgments fail to adequately reflect the number of pretrial jail credits awarded by the trial court. Discerning no error, we affirm.

Warren County Court of Criminal Appeals 07/08/19
Christina Klepper Neely v. Brian Richard Neely
E2017-01807-COA-R3-CV

Mother moved to hold Father in criminal contempt for his failure to pay child support in full each month. After finding a failure to pay child support as ordered, the court held father in criminal contempt. Because the order contains insufficient findings of fact, we vacate the judgment and remand for further proceedings.

Sullivan County Court of Appeals 07/08/19
In Re Joshua S.
E2018-01742-COA-R3-PT

Daniel S. (“Father”) and Kimberly T. (“Mother”) appeal the August 27, 2018 order of the Hamblen County Juvenile Court (“Juvenile Court”) terminating their parental rights to the minor child, Joshua S. (“the Child”). Upon petition of the Tennessee Department of Children’s Services (“DCS”), the Juvenile Court terminated the parents’ rights on the grounds of substantial noncompliance with the permanency plan and failure to manifest an ability and willingness to assume custody or financial responsibility for the Child. The Juvenile Court also terminated Mother’s parental rights on the ground of persistent conditions and Father’s parental rights on the ground of abandonment by wanton disregard. Upon its determination that grounds existed to terminate the parents’ rights to the Child, the Juvenile Court determined that termination of both parents’ rights was in the best interest of the Child. Discerning no error, we affirm.

Hamblen County Court of Appeals 07/08/19
State of Tennessee v. Kevin Todd Parton
E2018-01209-CCA-R3-CD

A jury convicted the Defendant, Kevin Todd Parton, of driving with a blood alcohol content of 0.08 percent or more (“DUI per se”) and driving under the influence of an intoxicant (“DUI”). The trial court merged the convictions and sentenced the Defendant to eleven months and twenty-nine days, with ten days to be served in confinement. The Defendant appeals, asserting that the trial court erred in denying a motion for a mistrial, that the trial court erred in admitting the results of the blood alcohol test, and that the arrest warrant was defective. After a thorough review of the record, we affirm the judgments of the trial court.

Knox County Court of Criminal Appeals 07/08/19
State of Tennessee v. Daron Hall
E2018-00699-CCA-R3-CD

After a bifurcated jury trial, Defendant, Daron Hall, was found guilty of three counts of possession of a firearm by a felon, one count of aggravated assault, one count of attempted voluntary manslaughter, and two counts of employing a firearm during the commission of a dangerous felony. Defendant received an effective sentence of twentyfive years. After the denial of a motion for new trial, Defendant appeals to this Court arguing: (1) that the trial court erred by instructing the jury on attempted voluntary manslaughter; (2) the trial court erred by admitting the 911 tapes into evidence; and (3) the evidence was insufficient to support the conviction for attempted voluntary manslaughter. After a review, we determine the trial court did not abuse its discretion in admitting the 911 tapes into evidence, and the evidence was sufficient to support the conviction for attempted voluntary manslaughter. However, we remand the matter to the trial court for correction of the judgment forms to reflect the sentences as imposed by the trial court at the sentencing hearing.

Knox County Court of Criminal Appeals 07/08/19
State of Tennessee v. Jaime F. Zarate
E2017-02553-CCA-R3-CD
Defendant, Jaime F. Zarate, was convicted of rape of a child by a Hamilton County jury. The trial court imposed a sentence of thirty years at one-hundred percent to be served in the Department of Correction. On appeal, Defendant argues that the evidence was insufficient to support his conviction, that the prosecutor improperly misstated evidence during closing arguments, that the trial court erred by admitting the victim’s statement to her mother and by admitting the 911 call, and that the trial court improperly sentenced him. After a thorough review of the record, we affirm the judgment of the trial court.
 
Hamilton County Court of Criminal Appeals 07/05/19
Mary Alice Akins v. Griff Elliott Akins
M2017-00594-COA-R3-CV

In this appeal, the father sought to revise the permanent parenting plan in order to permit him greater participation in the life of his daughter. The trial court denied the requested revision, finding that the father had failed to prove by a preponderance of the evidence that there had been a material change in circumstances that affected the child’s best interest. The father appeals. We affirm the trial court’s ruling regarding the permanent parenting plan, but we vacate the award of attorney’s fees and costs.

Wilson County Court of Appeals 07/03/19
Cynthia P. Lack v. Saint Thomas Rutherford Hospital
M2018-00879-COA-R3-CV

This appeal involves a visitor at a hospital who was injured when she slipped and fell in an icy parking lot. The visitor filed a claim against the hospital asserting that the hospital was negligent in failing to remedy the dangerous condition created by accumulated ice because the hospital did not take steps to prevent melted snow and ice from refreezing prior to the incident. The hospital filed a motion for summary judgment and, after determining that the hospital did not have a duty to prevent melted snow and ice from refreezing, the trial court granted the hospital’s motion. We affirm in part and reverse in part.

Rutherford County Court of Appeals 07/03/19
Andres Perez v. Tennessee Board of Medical Examiners
M2018-00960-COA-R3-CV

This case arose out of the Petitioner/Appellant’s attempts to become a licensed physician in Tennessee. Appellant sent an application to the Tennessee Board of Medical Examiners but was ultimately rejected. After a contested hearing, the Board again determined that Appellant’s application should be rejected since Appellant had not engaged in direct patient care in many years. Thereafter, Appellant sought review of the Board’s decision in the Chancery Court of Davidson County pursuant to the Tennessee Uniform Administrative Procedures Act. The chancery court concluded that Appellant was not entitled to relief, and Appellant appealed to this Court. Discerning no error, we affirm. 

Davidson County Court of Appeals 07/03/19
Christopher Minor v. State of Tennessee
W2018-02073-CCA-R3-PC

The petitioner, Christopher Minor, appeals the denial of his petition for post-conviction relief, which petition challenged his Madison County Circuit Court jury convictions of felony murder, aggravated robbery, aggravated burglary, aggravated assault, and employing a firearm during the commission of a dangerous felony. In this appeal, the petitioner reiterates his claim that he was deprived of the effective assistance of counsel. Because the petitioner has failed to establish that he is entitled to post-conviction relief, we affirm.

Madison County Court of Criminal Appeals 07/03/19
State of Tennessee v. Lawrence Dewayne Stoner
W2018-01230-CCA-R3-CD

The Defendant was convicted by a jury of three counts of tampering with governmental records and three counts of official misconduct after improperly entering jail credits during his employment as lieutenant over corrections in the Benton County Sheriff’s Department. After the verdict, the trial court entered a written order granting the Defendant judgments of acquittal on the three counts of official misconduct and dismissing the counts on the basis that any benefit did not accrue to the Defendant. On appeal, the State argues that the trial court erred in granting the judgments of acquittal. The Defendant asserts that the notice of appeal was untimely and that the trial court properly granted judgments of acquittal. After due consideration, we waive the timely notice of appeal, and we conclude that the trial court erred in its interpretation of the statute. Accordingly, we reverse the granting of judgments of acquittal and remand for further proceedings.

Benton County Court of Criminal Appeals 07/03/19
Phillip Williams v. State of Tennessee
W2018-02074-CCA-R3-PC

Petitioner, Phillip Williams, appeals from the denial of his petition for post-conviction relief. Because Petitioner failed to establish that he received ineffective assistance of counsel and/or that his guilty plea was unknowing and involuntary, we affirm the judgment of the post-conviction court.

Madison County Court of Criminal Appeals 07/03/19
Hem Raj Singh v. Neeta Singh
W2017-02091-COA-R3-CV

Wife/Appellant appeals the trial court’s grant of a divorce to Husband/Appellee. Wife argues that the divorce should be set aside because the trial court lacked subject matter jurisdiction and/or lacked personal jurisdiction over Wife. Wife also asserts that she was not properly served with the complaint for divorce. Because Wife filed an answer and counter-complaint for divorce, without objecting to in personam jurisdiction, she submitted to the jurisdiction of the trial court; her filing of an answer also indicates that she was served with the complaint for divorce. Because Husband/Appellee had resided in Tennessee for more than six months before filing his complaint for divorce, Tennessee Code Annotated section 36-4-101(a) conferred subject matter jurisdiction to the trial
court. Affirmed and remanded.

Madison County Court of Appeals 07/03/19
State of Tennessee v. Kevin M. Thompson a/k/a Kevin M. Albert
E2018-91596-CCA-R3-CD

The Defendant, Kevin M. Thompson, appeals the trial court’s denial of his motion to correct an illegal sentence pursuant to Tennessee Rule of Criminal Procedure 36.1. The Defendant contends that the trial court erred when it ordered him to serve his sentences concurrently rather than consecutively. See State v. Kevin Montrell Thompson, No. E2016-01565-CCA-R3-CD, 2017 WL 262701, at *1 (Tenn. Crim. App., at Knoxville, Jan. 20, 2017), no Tenn. R. App. P. 11 application filed. He further contends that his charge for possession of cocaine should be dismissed because the term “crack” cocaine is not included in the relevant statute. He finally asserts that, even if his sentences have expired, he is entitled to contest his illegal sentence at any time. After review, we affirm the trial court’s judgment.

Hamilton County Court of Criminal Appeals 07/03/19