COURT OF CRIMINAL APPEALS OPINIONS

State of Tennessee v. Isaiah Jamal Simmons
E2023-01259-CCA-R3-CD
Authoring Judge: Judge Robert H. Montgomery, Jr.
Trial Court Judge: Judge Boyd M. Patterson

The Defendant, Isaiah Jamal Simmons, appeals from his guilty-pleaded convictions in the
Hamilton County Criminal Court for one count of attempted second degree murder, a Class
B felony, aggravated stalking, a Class E felony, two counts of assault, a Class A
misdemeanor, and two counts of harassment, a Class A misdemeanor. See T.C.A. §§ 39-
13-210 (2018) (second degree murder); 39-12-101 (2018) (criminal attempt); 39-17-315
(2018) (subsequently amended) (aggravated stalking); 39-13-101 (2018) (assault); 39-17-
308 (2018) (harassment). The trial court ordered the Defendant to serve his agreed-upon,
ten-year sentence in confinement. On appeal, the Defendant contends the trial court abused
its discretion by denying alternative sentencing and by failing to allow the defense to
present argument at sentencing. We affirm the judgments of the trial court.

Hamilton Court of Criminal Appeals

State of Tennessee v. Dewey Huggins
W2023-01284-CCA-R3-CD
Authoring Judge: Presiding Judge Camille R. McMullen
Trial Court Judge: Judge J. Weber McCraw

The Appellant, Dewey Huggins, was convicted of aggravated domestic assault and sentenced to fourteen years’ imprisonment.  The sole issue presented in this appeal is whether Assistant District Attorney General Falen Chandler should have been disqualified from prosecuting this case based on her prior representation of the Appellant in a separate criminal case in 2014.  After review, we determine that no conflict of interest existed and affirm the trial court’s judgment.

Fayette Court of Criminal Appeals

State of Tennessee v. Sedrick Darnell Cummings
M2023-01345-CCA-R3-CD
Authoring Judge: Presiding Judge Camille R. McMullen
Trial Court Judge: Judge William A. Lockhart

The Defendant, Sedrick Darnell Cummings, appeals as of right from his misdemeanor domestic assault conviction, for which he received a sentence of eleven months and twenty-nine days probation after service of ten days in jail. The Defendant contends that the evidence was insufficient to support his conviction and that the trial court erred in admitting alleged prior bad acts. Discerning no error, we affirm.

Coffee Court of Criminal Appeals

State of Tennessee v. Brandon L. Holliday
W2023-01097-CCA-R3-CD
Authoring Judge: Presiding Judge Camille R. McMullen
Trial Court Judge: Judge Joseph T. Howell

A Madison County jury convicted the Appellant, Brandon L. Holliday, on multiple counts for evading arrest in a vehicle with risk of death or injury to innocent bystanders, disobeying a traffic signal, violating financial responsibility law, reckless driving, violation of duty upon striking a fixture upon a highway, and driving with a revoked license, for which he received an effective sentence of twelve years’ confinement. On appeal, the Appellant argues that the evidence was insufficient to support his conviction of evading arrest because it did not establish that bystanders were at risk of death or injury during his flight. Upon review, we affirm. 

Madison Court of Criminal Appeals

State of Tennessee v. Buford Dudley Creighton
M2023-01295-CCA-R3-CD
Authoring Judge: Judge Robert L. Holloway, Jr.
Trial Court Judge: Judge Steve R. Dozier

Defendant, Buford Dudley Creighton, claims that the evidence presented at his bench trial was insufficient to support his conviction for identity theft. We determine that the proof was sufficient to show that Defendant used the personal identifying information of another with the intent to avoid criminal prosecution and affirm the judgment of the trial court.

Davidson Court of Criminal Appeals

State of Tennessee v. Travis Ruzicka
W2023-00134-CCA-R3-CD
Authoring Judge: Judge Kyle A. Hixson
Trial Court Judge: Judge Chris Craft

A Shelby County jury convicted the Defendant, Travis Ruzicka, of rape of a child and aggravated sexual battery. He appeals, contending that (1) the forensic interview did not meet the admissibility requirements of Tennessee Code Annotated section 24-7-123; (2) the trial court erred by admitting the forensic interview of the victim after the victim had testified, thus depriving the Defendant of the opportunity to contemporaneously cross-examine the victim as to the contents of the interview recording; and (3) the victim was incompetent to testify at trial and thus unavailable for cross-examination. We affirm the judgments of the trial court.

Shelby Court of Criminal Appeals

Robert Brooks v. State of Tennessee
W2023-01492-CCA-R3-PC
Authoring Judge: Presiding Judge Camille R. McMullen
Trial Court Judge: Judge Chris Craft

The Petitioner, Robert Brooks, acting pro se, appeals the denial of his petition seeking relief from his convictions of reckless endangerment, aggravated robbery, two counts of aggravated assault, and one count of assault, for which he received an effective sentence of ten years, eleven months, and twenty-nine days confinement. State v. Brooks, No. W2020-01026-CCA-R3-CD, 2021 WL 4936969, at *1 (Tenn. Crim. App. Oct. 22, 2021), no perm. app. filed. As we understand the issues raised in the Petitioner’s pro se brief, he contends (1) trial counsel was ineffective based on certain statements made during closing argument conceding the Petitioner’s guilt; (2) trial counsel’s failure to exclude an affidavit of complaint which contained alleged perjury; and (3) the trial court lacked jurisdiction to prosecute his case because the affidavit of complaint lacked probable cause.1 Upon our review, we affirm.

Shelby Court of Criminal Appeals

Hector William Zarate Capriel v. State of Tennessee
E2023-00892-CCA-R3-PC
Authoring Judge: Judge James Curwood Witt, Jr.
Trial Court Judge: Judge Alex E. Pearson

The petitioner, Hector William Zarate Capriel, appeals the denial of his petition for postconviction
relief, which petition challenged his guilty-pleaded conviction of misdemeanor
child abuse, alleging that he was deprived of the effective assistance of counsel. Discerning
no error, we affirm the denial of post-conviction relief.

Hamblen Court of Criminal Appeals

Vaughn Harris v. State of Tennessee
M2023-01025-CCA-R3-PC
Authoring Judge: Judge Matthew J. Wilson
Trial Court Judge: Judge Cynthia Chappell

A Davidson County Grand Jury indicted Vaughn Harris, Petitioner, for two counts of coercion of a witness in case number 2019-D-3061. Petitioner also separately faced charges in case number 2013-C-2114 of attempted first degree murder (Count 1) and employing a firearm during the commission of or attempt to commit a dangerous felony (Count 2). Petitioner entered global pleas of guilty in both cases—pleading to the indictment in case number 2019-D-3061 and to reduced charges of attempted voluntary manslaughter and felon in possession of a weapon in case number 2013-C-2114. The trial court sentenced Petitioner to an effective term of six years in confinement followed by six years of community corrections. Petitioner filed a timely petition for post-conviction relief, which the post-conviction court denied after a hearing. On appeal, Petitioner alleges he was denied the effective assistance of counsel and that his guilty pleas were entered involuntarily because of coercion. After review, we affirm the judgment of the postconviction court.

Davidson Court of Criminal Appeals

State of Tennessee v. Dontell Dewayne Sawyers
M2023-01781-CCA-R3-CD
Authoring Judge: Judge John W. Campbell, Sr.
Trial Court Judge: Judge Jennifer Smith

The Defendant, Dontell Dewayne Sawyers, appeals the Davidson County Criminal Court's summary denial of his motion to correct clerical errors in his judgment of conviction pursuant to Tennessee Rule of Criminal Procedure 36. The State responds that the Defendant has waived his claims because he failed to prepare an adequate record on appeal. Based on our review, we agree with the State and affirm the judgment of the trial court.

Davidson Court of Criminal Appeals

State of Tennessee v. Byron Jerome Hix
M2023-01566-CCA-R3-CD
Authoring Judge: Judge John W. Campbell, Sr.
Trial Court Judge: Judge Barry R. Tidwell

The Defendant, Byron Jerome Hix, appeals the trial court’s reinstatement of his effective eleven-year sentence for his Class B and Class C felony drug convictions following the revocation of his probation, arguing that the trial court abused its discretion by ordering his original sentence into effect and by denying his request for credit for the five-plus years he successfully served on probation. Based on our review, we affirm the judgment of the trial court.

Rutherford Court of Criminal Appeals

State of Tennessee v. Juan Deshaun Hoyle
W2023-01129-CCA-R3-CD
Authoring Judge: Judge Jill Bartee Ayers
Trial Court Judge: Judge Donald H. Allen

Defendant, Juan Deshaun Hoyle, was convicted by a Madison County jury of two counts of unlawful possession of a firearm after having been convicted of a felony crime of violence (counts one and two), and one count each of unlawful possession of a firearm after having been convicted of a felony drug offense (count three), and simple possession of marijuana (count four). The trial court imposed an effective twenty-year sentence. On appeal, Defendant argues that there was insufficient evidence that he possessed a firearm and that the sentence imposed was not the least severe measure necessary. Following review of the entire record, oral arguments, briefs of the parties, and the applicable law, we affirm the judgments of the trial court.

Madison Court of Criminal Appeals

State of Tennessee v. Anthony E. Perry
W2023-01557-CCA-R3-CD
Authoring Judge: Judge Timothy L. Easter
Trial Court Judge: Judge Chris Craft

Nearly 29 years ago, Anthony E. Perry, Defendant, kidnapped and killed Dorothy Webber. Defendant now appeals from the dismissal of his motion to correct a clerical error under Tennessee Rule of Criminal Procedure 36. In the motion, Defendant argued that he was entitled to release eligibility after serving 25 years in incarceration on a life sentence for first degree murder, that his sentence was illegal because there was no notation in the special conditions box on the judgment form to inform the Department of Correction to calculate his release date under Tennessee Code Annotated section 40-35-501(i), and that his release eligibility calculation violated the ex post facto clauses of the Tennessee and United States constitutions. Because the trial court did not abuse its discretion in dismissing the motion, we affirm the judgment of the trial court.

Shelby Court of Criminal Appeals

State of Tennessee v. Todd Allen Robbins
W2023-01102-CCA-R3-CD
Authoring Judge: Judge Tom Greenholtz
Trial Court Judge: Judge Donald H. Allen

A Chester County jury convicted the Defendant, Todd Allen Robbins, of theft of a vehicle, among other offenses. On appeal, the Defendant and the State agree that the proof did not establish the vehicle’s value at the time it was stolen. We agree and modify the Defendant’s conviction to a Class A misdemeanor offense. We respectfully remand the case for entry of a modified judgment of conviction reflecting the modified offense class and a sentence of eleven months and twenty-nine days.

Chester Court of Criminal Appeals

Tyrone E. Murphy v. State of Tennessee
E2023-01243-CCA-R3-PC
Authoring Judge: Judge Timothy L. Easter
Trial Court Judge: Judge Barry A. Steelman

Tyrone E. Murphy, Petitioner, appeals from the Hamilton County Circuit Court’s denial of
his petition for post-conviction relief from his convictions for first degree premeditated
murder and tampering with evidence. Petitioner contends that the post-conviction court
erred in denying relief based upon his claims of ineffective assistance of trial counsel.
Based on our review, we affirm the judgment of the post-conviction court.

Hamilton Court of Criminal Appeals

State of Tennessee v. Jaylon Lebron Hill
E2023-01308-CCA-R3-CD
Authoring Judge: Judge Timothy L. Easter
Trial Court Judge: Judge Amanda B. Dunn

Defendant, Jaylon Lebron Hill, appeals his Hamilton County Criminal Court convictions
for second degree murder, attempted second degree murder, reckless endangerment, and
possession of a firearm during the commission of a dangerous felony, for which he received
an effective sentence of 23 years’ incarceration. On appeal, Defendant challenges the
sufficiency of the convicting evidence and the trial court’s instructions to the jury. Finding
no error, we affirm the judgments of the trial court.

Hamilton Court of Criminal Appeals

Jay William Edwards v. State of Tennessee
E2023-00410-CCA-R3-PC
Authoring Judge: Judge Camille R. McMullen
Trial Court Judge: Judge Hector I. Sanchez

The Petitioner, Jay William Edwards, appeals from the denial of his petition seeking post-conviction relief from his convictions of aggravated kidnapping, assault, and interfering with an emergency call, for which he received an effective sentence of ten years’ confinement. On appeal, he argues: (1) trial counsels were ineffective in failing to object to (a) a constructive amendment to the indictment and (b) an incomplete White instruction; 1 and 2) he was deprived of his right to testify at trial.2 After review, we affirm the judgment of the post-conviction court.

Knox Court of Criminal Appeals

State of Tennessee v. Bobby Gene Carney
M2023-01305-CCA-R3-CD
Authoring Judge: Judge John W. Campbell, Sr.
Trial Court Judge: Judge Steve R. Dozier

The Defendant, Bobby Gene Carney, appeals the trial court’s partial revocation of his probation, arguing that the trial court abused its discretion in revoking his probation and ordering him to complete inpatient drug treatment based on a single instance of what were only technical violations. Based on our review, we affirm the judgment of the trial court.

Davidson Court of Criminal Appeals

Kenneth W. Barnett v. State of Tennessee
E2022-01729-CCA-R3-PC
Authoring Judge: Judge Robert L. Holloway, Jr.
Trial Court Judge: Judge Steven Wayne Sword

Petitioner, Kenneth Barnett, appeals from the Knox County Criminal Court’s denial of his
petition for post-conviction relief related to his convictions for six counts of aggravated
burglary, six counts of theft, and two counts of unlawful possession of a weapon by a
convicted felon. Petitioner argues that the post-conviction court erred in denying relief
based upon his claims that he received ineffective assistance of counsel because trial
counsel failed to (1) investigate or seek testing of Petitioner’s blood, urine, and cigarettes;
(2) file a motion to suppress Petitioner’s confession; and (3) adequately cross-examine law
enforcement witnesses regarding the credibility of the confession and chain of custody
issues with a gun magazine. After a thorough review of the record, we affirm the judgment
of the post-conviction court.

Knox Court of Criminal Appeals

State of Tennessee v. Dan E. Durell
E2023-01229-CCA-R3-CD
Authoring Judge: Judge Robert L. Holloway, Jr.
Trial Court Judge: Judge Steven Wayne Sword

Petitioner, Dan E. Durell, filed a “Motion for Correction of Sentencing Documents” (“the
Motion”), claiming that the judgments in Case Nos. 29089 and 29090 did not conform to
the trial court’s pronounced sentence, and as a result, his sentences were illegal. The trial
court treated the Motion as a motion to correct an illegal sentence pursuant to Tennessee
Rule of Criminal Procedure 36.1. The court determined that the Motion failed to raise a
colorable claim and summarily dismissed the Motion. Discerning no error, we affirm.

Knox Court of Criminal Appeals

State of Tennessee v. Joey Godwin
W2023-01483-CCA-R3-CD
Authoring Judge: Judge Timothy L. Easter
Trial Court Judge: Judge Clayburn Peeples

Defendant, Joey Godwin, filed a motion pursuant to Tennessee Rule of Criminal Procedure 36.1, challenging his two convictions for the sale of .5 grams or more of cocaine and resulting 60-year sentence. The trial court summarily denied the motion. Defendant appeals. Because Defendant failed to state a colorable claim, we affirm the judgment of the trial court. 

Gibson Court of Criminal Appeals

State of Tennessee v. Jevon Brodie and Tavares Harbison
M2023-00135-CCA-R3-CD
Authoring Judge: Judge J. Ross Dyer
Trial Court Judge: Judge Robert T. Bateman

A Montgomery County jury convicted the defendants, Jevon Brodie and Tavares Harbison, each of one count of aggravated robbery, one count of theft of property greater than $10,000, but less than $60,000, and one count of theft of property under $500. Brodie was additionally convicted of two counts of reckless homicide and received an effective sentence of sixteen years in confinement. Harbison was also convicted of two counts of criminally negligent homicide and received an effective sentence of fourteen years in confinement. On appeal, the defendants contend that (1) the juvenile court erred in transferring their cases to circuit court without making individualized findings; (2) the evidence was insufficient to sustain a conviction for theft greater than $10,000; and (3) the trial court erred in sentencing the defendants. Additionally, Brodie insists that the trial court erred in instructing the jury on causation and that the prosecutor’s statements during summation were improper. Upon review of the record, the parties’ briefs, oral arguments, and considering the applicable law, we affirm the decisions of the juvenile and trial courts. However, we remand for the limited consideration by the trial court as to the application of the Wilkerson factors in determining the propriety of consecutive sentencing for Tavares Harbison.

Montgomery Court of Criminal Appeals

State of Tennessee v. Scott Allen Briggs
E2022-01463-CCA-R3-CD
Authoring Judge: Judge Robert H. Montgomery
Trial Court Judge: Judge David R. Duggan

The Defendant, Scott Allen Briggs, was convicted by a Blount County Circuit Court jury of rape of a child, a Class
A felony, for which he is serving a thirty-five-year sentence as a Range II offender. See T.C.A. §§ 39-13-522 (2018)
(subsequently amended) (rape of a child, Range II or higher sentencing requirement). On appeal, the Defendant
contends that: (1) the trial court erred in denying his motions to dismiss due to the State’s failure to preserve
evidence, (2) the court erred by instructing the jury on flight, (3) the court abused its discretion in three of its
evidentiary rulings, and (4) the court erred in sentencing. We affirm the judgment of the trial court.

Blount Court of Criminal Appeals

State of Tennessee v. Gary Lynn Hart
W2023-01103-CCA-R3-CD
Authoring Judge: Judge John W. Campbell, Sr.
Trial Court Judge: Judge Donald H. Allen

The Defendant, Gary Lynn Hart, was convicted in the Chester County Circuit Court of two counts of possession of a firearm after having been convicted of a violent felony, a Class B felony; one count of theft of property valued more than one thousand dollars, a Class E felony; and one count of resisting arrest, a Class B misdemeanor, and received an effective sentence of thirty-one years in confinement. On appeal, the Defendant claims that the evidence is insufficient to support his convictions. Based upon the oral arguments, the record, and the parties’ briefs, we affirm the judgments of the trial court. 

Chester Court of Criminal Appeals

State of Tennessee v. Jeffrey L. Brousseau
E2023-01432-CCA-R3-CD
Authoring Judge: Judge Kyle A. Hixson
Trial Court Judge: Judge James F. Goodwin, Jr.

The Defendant, Jeffrey L. Brousseau, appeals from his guilty-pleaded convictions for
possession with the intent to deliver or sell one-half gram or more of methamphetamine;
possession with the intent to deliver or sell marijuana; theft of property valued at $1,000
or less; driving while in possession of five grams of methamphetamine; and driving on a
suspended license. Pursuant to the terms of the plea agreement, the Defendant received an
effective ten-year sentence, and the trial court was to determine the manner of service. The
trial court subsequently denied the Defendant’s request for alternative sentencing, a
decision the Defendant now appeals. Following our review, we affirm the judgments of
the trial court.

Sullivan Court of Criminal Appeals