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COURT OF CRIMINAL APPEALS OPINIONS

State of Tennessee v. Melvin Summerville
W2022-00021-CCA-R3-CD
Authoring Judge: Judge John W. Campbell, Sr.
Trial Court Judge: Judge James M. Lammey, Jr.

The Defendant, Melvin Summerville, was convicted in the Shelby County Criminal Court
of first degree premeditated murder and received a sentence of life in confinement. On
appeal, the Defendant claims that the trial court erred by (1) allowing testimony about a
previous domestic assault against the victim in violation of Tennessee Rule of Evidence
404(b); (2) allowing cellular telephone records into evidence when the State did not
establish relevance for the records; and (3) failing to suppress the testimony of a material
witness when the State did not reveal the name of the witness and turn over police body
camera video involving the witness until the “eve” of trial. Based on our review, we affirm
the judgment of the trial court.

Shelby Court of Criminal Appeals

State of Tennessee v. Jeffrey Michael Davis
E2021-01321-CCA-R3-CD
Authoring Judge: Judge Robert W. Wedemeyer
Trial Court Judge: Judge E. Shayne Sexton

A Campbell County jury convicted the Defendant, Jeffrey Michael Davis, of one count of
attempted aggravated burglary and two counts of aggravated assault. The trial court
sentenced the Defendant to serve twelve years in the Tennessee Department of Correction.
On appeal, the Defendant contends that: (1) the trial court improperly allowed irrelevant
testimony; (2) the evidence was insufficient to support his conviction for attempted
aggravated burglary and one count of aggravated assault; and (3) the trial court improperly
instructed the jury on the elements of aggravated assault. After review, we affirm the trial
court’s judgments.

Campbell Court of Criminal Appeals

State of Tennessee v. David Chad Moss
M2021-00043-CCA-R3-CD
Authoring Judge: Judge Jill Bartee Ayers
Trial Court Judge: Judge Stella L. Hargrove

Following the trial court’s revocation of his probation, Defendant, David Chad Moss, appeals arguing that the trial court failed to award him jail credit while incarcerated in Kentucky for an unrelated offense.  Upon our review, we conclude that Defendant has failed to prepare a sufficient brief in compliance with Tennessee Rule of Appellate Procedure 27(a)(7) and Tennessee Court of Criminal Appeals Rule 10(b).  Accordingly, the issue is waived and the appeal is dismissed.

Maury Court of Criminal Appeals

Ugenio DeJesus Ruby-Ruiz v. State of Tennessee
M2022-00442-CCA-R3-PC
Authoring Judge: Judge Robert H. Montgomery, Jr.
Trial Court Judge: Judge Steve R. Dozier

The Petitioner, Ugenio Dejesus Ruby-Ruiz, appeals the Davidson County Criminal Court’s
denial of his petition for post-conviction relief from his 2013 convictions for nine counts
of rape of a child, two counts of rape, five counts of aggravated sexual battery, and three
counts of sexual exploitation of a minor and his 121-year sentence at 100% service. The
Petitioner contends that he received the ineffective assistance of appellate counsel. We
affirm the judgment of the post-conviction court.

Davidson Court of Criminal Appeals

State of Tennessee v. Justine Welch
W2021-01233-CCA-R3-CD
Authoring Judge: Judge Robert W. Wedemeyer
Trial Court Judge: Judge W. Mark Ward

A Shelby County jury convicted the Defendant, Justine Welch, of first degree premeditated
murder, attempted first degree murder resulting in serious bodily injury, attempted first
degree murder, vehicular homicide, evading arrest in a motor vehicle, and two counts of
employing a firearm during the commission of a dangerous felony. The Defendant
received an effective sentence of life imprisonment without the possibility of parole plus
sixty-two years. On appeal, the Defendant asserts that (1) the evidence is insufficient to
support his convictions for first degree premeditated murder and attempted first degree
murder; (2) the trial court erred in denying his motion to suppress witnesses' out-of-court
and in-court identifications of him due to an impermissibly suggestive photographic lineup;
and (3) the trial court erred in declining to issue a special jury instruction on identification.
After review, we affirm the trial court's judgments.

Shelby Court of Criminal Appeals

State of Tennessee v. Yvette Adele Slee
M2022-00120-CCA-R3-CD
Authoring Judge: Judge Timothy L. Easter
Trial Court Judge: Judge William R. Goodman, III

In April of 2013, Defendant, Yvette Adele Slee, was convicted of aggravated child abuse and attempted first degree murder for suffocating the victim, Defendant’s eight-month-old child. She was sentenced to an effective sentence of 22 years in incarceration. Subsequently, in May of 2018, the victim died as a result of complications from injuries originally sustained by the aggravated child abuse. Defendant was then indicted for first degree felony murder, the subject offense of this direct appeal. After a bench trial, Defendant was found guilty as indicted. Defendant’s sole issue on appeal is whether her conviction for first degree felony murder violates double jeopardy. After a review of the record, the briefs, and applicable authorities, we affirm the judgment of the trial court.

Montgomery Court of Criminal Appeals

State of Tennessee v. Spencer L. Phillips
M2021-01204-CCA-R3-CD
Authoring Judge: Judge Robert L. Holloway, Jr.
Trial Court Judge: Judge William R. Goodman, III

Spencer L. Phillips, Defendant, claims that the trial court abused its discretion by denying
probation or an alternative sentence and ordering him to serve his sentence in confinement.
Discerning no error, we affirm the judgment of the trial court.

Robertson Court of Criminal Appeals

State of Tennessee v. Darrin Jeremiah Baker
E2022-00385-CCA-R3-CD
Authoring Judge: Judge Robert H. Montgomery, Jr.
Trial Court Judge: Judge Steven Wayne Sword

The Defendant, Darrin Jeremiah Baker, appeals from his guilty pleaded convictions for
possession with the intent to sell or deliver more than 0.5 gram of methamphetamine, a
Class B felony; attempted possession with the intent to sell or deliver less than fifteen
grams of heroin, a Class C felony; possession with the intent to sell or deliver less than
fifteen grams of fentanyl, a Class C felony; and driving under the influence, a Class A
misdemeanor. See T.C.A. §§ 39-17-417 (possession of heroin and fentanyl) (Supp.
2022), -17-434 (possession of methamphetamine) (2018), 55-10-401 (driving under the
influence) (2020), 39-12-101 (attempt) (2018). The Defendant pleaded guilty as a Range
I offender and agreed to an effective ten-year sentence. After a sentencing hearing, the
trial court ordered the Defendant to serve his sentence in the Department of Correction.
On appeal, the Defendant contends that the court erred in denying alternative sentencing.
We affirm the judgments of the trial court.

Knox Court of Criminal Appeals

State of Tennessee v. Shannon Leigh Smith
E2021-00821-CCA-R3-CD
Authoring Judge: Judge James Curwood Witt, Jr.
Trial Court Judge: Judge E. Shayne Sexton

The defendant, Shannon Leigh Smith, appeals her Union County Circuit Court jury
conviction of second degree murder, arguing that the State improperly withheld favorable
and material evidence in violation of Brady v. Maryland, 373 U.S. 83 (1963). Because the
withheld evidence was not material to the outcome of the case, we affirm.

Union Court of Criminal Appeals

Nemon Winton v. State of Tennessee
M2021-01148-CCA-R3-PC
Authoring Judge: Judge Timothy L. Easter
Trial Court Judge: Judge Vanessa Jackson

Petitioner, Nemon Winton, appeals the denial of his petition for post-conviction relief, in which he alleged several claims of ineffective assistance of counsel.  On appeal, he argues that trial counsel was ineffective for failing to request specific jury instructions and for utilizing an improper trial strategy.  After thoroughly reviewing the record, we affirm the judgment of the post-conviction court.

Coffee Court of Criminal Appeals

Charles Claybrooks v. State of Tennessee
M2022-00579-CCA-R3-PC
Authoring Judge: Judge Robert L. Holloway, Jr.
Trial Court Judge: Judge Jennifer Smith

Petitioner, Charles Claybrooks,1 appeals the dismissal of his 2021 petition seeking postconviction
relief from his 2010 convictions for one count aggravated robbery and two
counts of aggravated assault. Following a hearing, the post-conviction court concluded
that Petitioner “failed to demonstrate entitlement to the tolling of the statute of limitations”
and dismissed the Petition. Discerning no error, we affirm.

Davidson Court of Criminal Appeals

Alexander Carino v. State of Tennessee
M2022-01036-CCA-R3-HC
Authoring Judge: Judge Jill Bartee Ayers
Trial Court Judge: Judge Michael Wayne Collins

Petitioner, Alexander Carino, appeals from the Trousdale County Circuit Court’s dismissal of his second petition for writ of habeas corpus.  He alleges that the habeas corpus court erred by summarily denying his petition without advising him of his right to counsel or  appointing counsel and that his judgments for second-degree murder are void because the affidavits of complaint were not “properly authenticated” because they did not contain a court seal.  Petitioner further alleges for the first time on appeal that the affidavits of complaint contain an insufficient factual basis to support a finding of probable cause.  Following our review of the entire record and the briefs of the parties, we affirm the judgment of the habeas corpus court. 

Trousdale Court of Criminal Appeals

State of Tennessee v. Isiah J. Primm
M2021-00976-CCA-R3-CD
Authoring Judge: Judge Robert L. Holloway, Jr.
Trial Court Judge: Judge Larry J. Wallace

Defendant, Isiah J. Primm, was convicted after a jury trial of two counts of first degree felony murder; two counts of conspiracy to commit first degree murder, a Class A felony; and one count of conspiracy to commit voluntary manslaughter, a Class D felony; and sentenced to an effective life plus forty years in confinement. On appeal, Defendant argues that (1) the evidence was insufficient to support his convictions; (2) the jury should have been instructed on self-defense, facilitation, and attempt as lesser-included offenses of first degree murder; (3) the jury should have been instructed on the State’s duty to gather and preserve evidence; (4) the State committed a Brady violation by waiting until the morning of trial to provide Defendant with a copy of Mr. Tidwell’s cell phone report; (5) the State knew or should have known that one of the victims introduced false testimony; (6) the trial court should have excluded evidence of drugs found in the apartment where Defendant was staying; (7) Defendant’s Fourteenth Amendment right was violated because the jury venire contained no African American jurors; and (8) the trial court erred by imposing partial consecutive sentencing. After a thorough review of the record, we affirm the judgments of the trial court; however, because the trial court did not sign three of the judgments, we remand the case for entry of amended judgments.

Dickson Court of Criminal Appeals

Robert Garner v. State of Tennessee
M2021-01396-CCA-R3-PC
Authoring Judge: Judge Robert H. Montgomery, Jr.
Trial Court Judge: Judge J. Russell Parkes and Judge Stella Hargrove

In this consolidated appeal, the Petitioner, Robert Garner, appeals from the Giles County Circuit Courts’ summary denial of his petition for relief pursuant to the Post-Conviction Fingerprint Analysis Act of 2021 (Fingerprint Act) and his petition for a writ of error coram nobis. We affirm the judgments of the post-conviction and coram nobis courts.

Giles Court of Criminal Appeals

State of Tennessee v. Cadarius Head
W2021-01500-CCA-R3-CD
Authoring Judge: Judge Kyle A. Hixson
Trial Court Judge: Judge Chris Craft

A Shelby County jury convicted the Defendant, Cadarius Head, of first degree
premeditated murder and attempted first degree murder, and the trial court imposed an
effective life sentence. On appeal, the Defendant argues that the evidence was insufficient
to support his convictions. Specifically, the Defendant contends that the State’s primary
witness was not credible and that his convictions were otherwise based on circumstantial
evidence. He further contends that the State failed to convincingly prove the element of
premeditation as to his first degree murder conviction. Finally, he argues that the evidence
supporting his conviction for attempted first degree murder was insufficient because the
victim did not testify at trial. Following our review, we affirm the judgments of the trial
court.

Shelby Court of Criminal Appeals

State of Tennessee v. Brendan Nathan Morgan
W2021-01179-CCA-R3-CD
Authoring Judge: Judge John W. Campbell, Sr.
Trial Court Judge: Judge Charles C. McGinley

Following a bench trial, the Defendant, Brendan Nathan Morgan, was convicted in the
Decatur County Circuit Court of aggravated sexual battery and sentenced to ten years at
100 percent in the Department of Correction. On appeal, he contends that the trial court
abused its discretion in admitting testimony that a police investigator saw search history
for pornographic material on the Defendant’s cell phone because the evidence violated the
best evidence rule and the rule against hearsay. Based on our review, we affirm the
judgment of the trial court.

Decatur Court of Criminal Appeals

State of Tennessee v. Cory Edward Walden
M2022-00386-CCA-R3-CD
Authoring Judge: Judge Timothy L. Easter
Trial Court Judge: Judge Forest A. Durard, Jr.

After pleading guilty to two counts of violation of the habitual motor vehicle offender law and reckless endangerment, Defendant was sentenced to a total of eight years and six months on supervised probation.  Several probation violation warrants, a partial revocation, and additional convictions followed, eventually culminating in a hearing on the revocation of Defendant’s probation.  Defendant admitted the violations.  The trial court ultimately determined that Defendant’s multiple probation violations warranted the complete revocation of probation.  After a review, we affirm the judgment of the trial court.

Lincoln Court of Criminal Appeals

Reginold C. Steed v. State of Tennessee
M2022-00879-CCA-R3-ECN
Authoring Judge: Judge Jill Bartee Ayers
Trial Court Judge: Judge Angelita Blackshear Dalton

Petitioner, Reginold C. Steed, appeals the error coram nobis court’s summary dismissal of
his petition for error coram nobis relief. Following review of the record and applicable
law, we affirm the judgment of the coram nobis court in accordance with Rule 20 of the
Rules of the Tennessee Court of Criminal Appeals.

Davidson Court of Criminal Appeals

State of Tennessee v. Patsy Hensley
M2021-01495-CCA-R3-CD
Authoring Judge: Judge Jill Bartee Ayers
Trial Court Judge: Judge Gary McKenzie

Defendant, Patsy Hensley, was convicted of first-degree premeditated murder and received
a life sentence. On appeal, Defendant argues that the trial court’s exclusion of testimony
from her expert witness violated her right to present a defense and that the prosecutor
improperly commented during closing argument on her decision not to testify at trial.
Following our review of the entire record and the briefs of the parties, we affirm the
judgment of the trial court.

White Court of Criminal Appeals

State of Tennessee v. Carrie Joann Hamlin
E2022-00139-CCA-R3-CD
Authoring Judge: Judge Robert H. Montgomery, Jr.
Trial Court Judge: Judge Andrew Freiberg

The Defendant, Carrie Joann Hamlin, was convicted by a McMinn County Circuit Court
jury of sale of a Schedule II controlled substance within 1000′ of a drug-free zone, a Class
C felony, for which she is serving a nine-year sentence. See T.C.A. §§ 39-17-417(a)(3),
(c)(2)(A) (2018) (subsequently amended) (sale of a controlled substance), 39-17-432
(2018) (subsequently amended) (Drug-Free Zone Act). On appeal, the Defendant contends
that (1) the evidence is insufficient to support her conviction, (2) the trial court erred in
declining to resentence her under the 2020 amendments to the Drug-Free Zone Act, and
alternatively, (3) this court should remand her case to the trial court for resentencing under
the 2022 amendments to the Drug-Free Zone Act. We affirm the judgment of the trial
court.

McMinn Court of Criminal Appeals

State of Tennessee v. Tavares Tobin
E2022-00604-CCA-R3-CD
Authoring Judge: Judge Tom Greenholtz
Trial Court Judge: Judge Kyle Hixson

Following convictions for unlawful possession of a weapon and a felony drug offense, the
Defendant, Tavares Tobin, was sentenced to an effective term of eleven years and placed
on probation. Thereafter, the Defendant engaged in new criminal conduct and stopped
reporting for supervision. As a consequence of the violations, the trial court revoked the
suspended sentences and ordered that the Defendant serve the balance of the effective
sentence in custody. On appeal, the Defendant argues that the trial court abused its
discretion by finding that he violated the conditions of his probation and by fully revoking
his suspended sentences without considering lesser options. We respectfully affirm the
judgments of the trial court.

 

Knox Court of Criminal Appeals

Sharrad Sharp v. State of Tennessee
W2022-00232-CCA-R3-PC
Authoring Judge: Judge Robert H. Montgomery, Jr.
Trial Court Judge: Judge John W. Campbell

The Petitioner, Sharrad Sharp, appeals from the Shelby County Criminal Court’s denial of
his petition for post-conviction relief from his aggravated sexual battery and child abuse
convictions, for which he is serving a sixteen-year sentence. On appeal, he contends that
he received the ineffective assistance of counsel because trial counsel failed to request a
limiting jury instruction regarding the victims’ forensic examination interviews. We affirm
the judgment of the post-conviction court.

Shelby Court of Criminal Appeals

State of Tennessee v. Roosevelt Pitts, III
M2022-00581-CCA-R3-CD
Authoring Judge: Camille R. McMullen
Trial Court Judge: James A. Turner

In this delayed appeal, the Defendant-Appellant, Roosevelt Pitts, III, challenges his
Rutherford County jury convictions of robbery, three counts of felony reckless
endangerment, misdemeanor leaving the scene of an accident, and felony vandalism, for
which he received an effective sentence of eighteen years in prison. The Defendant argues
that the trial court erred in rejecting his challenge to two peremptory challenges based on
Batson v. Kentucky, 476 U.S. 79 (1986), and that the State engaged in prosecutorial
misconduct during closing arguments. Upon our review, we affirm.

Rutherford Court of Criminal Appeals

Michael White v. Martin Frink, Warden
M2022-00429-CCA-R3-HC
Authoring Judge: Judge Timothy L. Easter
Trial Court Judge: Judge Michael Wayne Collins

In 2005, Petitioner, Michael White, was convicted of multiple counts of rape. He was
sentenced to an effective sentence of 55 years. After several failed attempts, Petitioner
again sought habeas corpus relief, which the habeas court denied. He appeals. Because
Petitioner failed to follow the statutory procedure for filing a petition for habeas corpus
relief, we affirm the summary dismissal of the petition.

Trousdale Court of Criminal Appeals

State of Tennessee v. Jeffrey Cochran
E2022-00600-CCA-R3-CD
Authoring Judge: Judge Robert H. Montgomery, Jr.
Trial Court Judge: Judge Andrew Mark Freiberg

The Defendant, Jeffrey Cochran, was convicted by a McMinn County Criminal Court jury of aggravated kidnapping, for which he is serving a nine-year sentence. See T.C.A. § 39- 13-304(a)(5) (2018). On appeal, he contends that (1) the trial court erred in denying, in part, his motion to suppress, (2) the trial court erred in denying his motion for a continuance, (3) the evidence is insufficient to support his conviction, and (4) his sentence is excessive. We affirm the judgment of the trial court.

McMinn Court of Criminal Appeals