Court of Criminal Appeals Opinions

Format: 09/26/2022
Format: 09/26/2022
State of Tennessee v. Amanda L. Moore
M2020-01147-CCA-R3-CD
Authoring Judge: Judge Timothy L. Easter
Trial Court Judge: Judge Dee David Gay

Amanda L. Moore, Defendant, appeals after a jury convicted her of two counts of vehicular assault, one count of driving under the influence (“DUI”), and one count of reckless endangerment.  The trial court merged the DUI conviction into the convictions for vehicular assault.  Defendant was sentenced to an effective sentence of four years.  After the denial of a motion for new trial, Defendant appealed, arguing: (1) the trial court improperly admitted the results of a blood draw used by the hospital for medical treatment; (2) the trial court improperly allowed her to be questioned extensively about her driving history on cross-examination; (3) the trial court improperly allowed the State to meet with its expert during cross-examination; and (4) the trial court had improper ex parte communication with the jury during deliberation.  After a review, we affirm the judgments of the trial court but remand to the trial court for entry of a judgment form for DUI.  

Sumner County Court of Criminal Appeals 04/12/22
State of Tennessee v. Derrick Himes
M2020-00407-CCA-R3-CD
Authoring Judge: Judge Norma McGee Ogle
Trial Court Judge: Judge Royce Taylor

A Rutherford County Circuit Court Jury convicted the Appellant, Derrick Himes, of three counts of rape of a child and three counts of aggravated sexual battery.  The trial court imposed a sentence of twenty-five years for each rape of a child conviction and eight years for each aggravated sexual battery conviction.  The trial court imposed concurrent sentences of twenty-five years for each rape of a child conviction, concurrent sentences of eight years for each aggravated sexual battery conviction, and ordered that the
twenty-five-year sentence and the eight-year sentence be served consecutively for a total effective sentence of thirty-three years.  On appeal, the Appellant contends that (1) the trial court erred in denying the Appellant’s motion for a judgment of acquittal and motion for new trial because the evidence was insufficient to sustain the convictions, (2) the trial court abused its discretion by allowing the prosecutor to elicit irrelevant and prejudicial testimony from the State’s witnesses, and (3) the trial court erred in imposing consecutive sentencing.  Upon review, we affirm the judgments of the trial court. 

Rutherford County Court of Criminal Appeals 04/12/22
State of Tennessee v. Mark Dewayne McMurry
M2021-00223-CCA-R3-CD
Authoring Judge: Judge Timothy L. Easter
Trial Court Judge: Judge Dee David Gay

Defendant, Mark Dewayne McMurry, was indicted for and pleaded guilty to robbery.  Prior to sentencing, Defendant moved to recuse the trial judge.  The trial court denied Defendant’s motion for recusal and, following a sentencing hearing, sentenced Defendant as a Range II multiple offender to serve 10 years in incarceration.  In this appeal as of right, Defendant challenges his sentence as excessive and argues that the trial court should have granted his motion for recusal.  Following our careful review of the record, we affirm the judgment of the trial court.  

Sumner County Court of Criminal Appeals 04/12/22
Tut M. Tut v. Kevin Genovese, Warden
W2021-01290-CCA-R3-HC
Authoring Judge: Judge Camille R. McMullen
Trial Court Judge: Judge R. Lee Moore, Jr.

The pro se Petitioner, Tut Mayal Tut, appeals the summary dismissal of his petition for writ of habeas corpus. Discerning no error, we affirm the judgment of the habeas corpus court but remand the case for entry of corrected judgments.

Lake County Court of Criminal Appeals 04/11/22
Markist Cole v. State of Tennessee
W2021-00973-CCA-R3-PC
Authoring Judge: Judge Camille R. McMullen
Trial Court Judge: Judge Roy B. Morgan, Jr.

The Petitioner, Markist Cole, appeals the dismissal of his petition for post-conviction relief. He asserts that due process considerations warranted the tolling of the one-year statute of limitations mandated by Tennessee Code Annotated section 40-30-102(a). Following our review, we affirm the dismissal of the petition.

Madison County Court of Criminal Appeals 04/11/22
Lamario Hill v. Kevin Genovese, Warden
W2021-01150-CCA-R3-HC
Authoring Judge: Judge Camille R. McMullen
Trial Court Judge: Judge R. Lee Moore, Jr.

The pro se Petitioner, Lamario Hill, appeals the Lake County Circuit Court’s summary dismissal of his petition for writ of habeas corpus from his convictions for first degree felony murder, attempted especially aggravated robbery, and aggravated assault, for which he received a sentence of life imprisonment and concurrent sentences of nine and four years, respectively. On appeal, the Petitioner argues that the judgment for his life sentence is void (1) because it was imposed pursuant to Tennessee Code Annotated section 40-35-501(i), which he claims is invalid, and because it was imposed in contravention of Tennessee Code Annotated sections 40-35-501(a)(2) and 40-28-115(b)(1); and (2) because it was imposed in violation of the Eighth Amendment pursuant to Miller v. Alabama, 567 U.S. 460 (2012), and Montgomery v. Louisiana, 577 U.S. 190 (2016). We affirm the judgment of the habeas corpus court.

Lake County Court of Criminal Appeals 04/11/22
Billy Gene DeBow v. State of Tennessee
M2021-00471-CCA-R3-HC
Authoring Judge: Judge Camille R. McMullen
Trial Court Judge: Judge Michael E. Spitzer

The Petitioner, Billy Gene DeBow, appeals the Hickman County Circuit Court’s summary dismissal of his pro se petition seeking habeas corpus relief from his first-degree murder conviction.  On appeal, the Petitioner argues that the habeas corpus court abused its discretion by dismissing his petition without ruling on the merits of his claims and that he is entitled to habeas corpus relief because his judgment is void and his sentence is illegal.  Upon review, we affirm the judgment summarily dismissing the petition. 

Hickman County Court of Criminal Appeals 04/08/22
State of Tennessee v. Michael Dillon Lambdin
E2020-01590-CCA-R3-PC
Authoring Judge: Judge D. Kelly Thomas
Trial Court Judge: Judge Steven W. Sword

The Petitioner, Michael Dillon Lambdin, appeals the post-conviction court's denial of his petition seeking relief from his conviction for first degree felony murder and life sentence.In this appeal, the Petitioner contends that he received ineffective assistance of trial counsel because (1) counsel failed to file a motion to suppress the Petitioner's police statement due to the Petitioner's intoxication; (2) counsel failed to object to crime scene and autopsy photographs; (3) counsel introduced a prejudicial crime scene photograph of the victim;(4) counsel failed to object to an improper statement made during the State's rebuttal argument; and (5) counsel failed to request an accomplice jury instruction in writing. The Petitioner also asserts that the cumulative effect of these errors deprived him of a fair trial.After reviewing the record and the applicable authorities, we affirm the judgment of the post-conviction court.

Knox County Court of Criminal Appeals 04/07/22
State of Tennessee v. Gerald N. Crawford
M2021-00271-CCA-R3-CD
Authoring Judge: Judge Robert H. Montgomery, Jr.
Trial Court Judge: Judge Steve R. Dozier

The Defendant, Gerald N. Crawford, pleaded guilty to delivery of heroin, a Class B felony, and possession with the intent to sell heroin, a Class B felony.  See T.C.A. § 39-17-417(a)(2), (4) (2018) (subsequently amended).  Pursuant to the plea agreement, the Defendant received concurrent twelve-year, Range I sentences, and after a sentencing hearing, the trial court ordered the Defendant to serve the sentences in the Department of Correction.  The Defendant filed a motion to modify the manner of service of the sentences, which the court denied.  On appeal, the Defendant contends that the trial court abused its discretion in denying the motion.  We affirm.

Davidson County Court of Criminal Appeals 04/07/22
State of Tennessee v. Christopher Scott Montella
M2020-00016-CCA-R3-CD
Authoring Judge: Judge Robert H. Montgomery, Jr.
Trial Court Judge: Judge M. Wyatt Burk

The Defendant, Christopher Scott Montella, was convicted by a Marshall County Circuit Court jury of aggravated sexual battery, a Class B felony.  See T.C.A. § 39-13-504 (2018).  He received a sentence of eleven years.  On appeal, the Defendantcontends that (1) the evidence was insufficient to support the Defendant’s conviction, (2) the trial court erred by denying the Defendant’s motion to sever, (3) the trial court erred by denying the Defendant’s motion to suppress evidence obtained during a search, (4) the Defendant suffered a violation of Brady v. Maryland 373 U.S. 83 (1963) when the State failed to inform the Defendant the victim’s trial testimony would be different than the victim’s previous testimony, (5) the trial court erred by denying the Defendant’s motion for a mistrial based on juror misconduct, and (6) the trial court erred by sentencing the Defendant to eleven years.  We conclude that the trial court erred by denying the Defendant’s motion to sever; however, the error was harmless.  We reverse the Defendant’s conviction based on juror misconduct and remand the case for a new trial.

Marshall County Court of Criminal Appeals 04/07/22
Kristina Cole v. State of Tennessee
W2020-01607-CCA-R3-PC
Authoring Judge: Judge Jill Bartee Ayers
Trial Court Judge: Judge J. Robert Carter, Jr.

Petitioner, Kristina Cole, appeals the denial of her post-conviction petition arguing that the post-conviction court erred in its denial of her petition. Following our review of the entire record and the briefs of the parties, we reverse the judgment of the post-conviction court and remand this case for proceedings consistent with this opinion.

Shelby County Court of Criminal Appeals 04/07/22
State of Tennessee v. Jesse D. Moses
E2021-00231-CCA-R3-CD
Authoring Judge: Judge Robert L. Holloway, Jr.
Trial Court Judge: Judge Andrew M. Freiberg

A jury convicted Defendant, Jesse D. Moses, of one count of Class B felony unlawful possession of a firearm after being convicted of a felony involving the use or attempted use of force, violence, or a deadly weapon. See Tennessee Code Annotated section 39-17- 1307(b)(1)(A) (2017). The trial court sentenced Defendant to twenty years’ incarceration with a thirty-five percent release eligibility. On appeal, Defendant argues that the evidence was insufficient to prove that his prior conviction for aggravated burglary was a felony involving the use of force, violence, or a deadly weapon and that the trial court erred by instructing the jury that a “[p]rior ‘crime of violence’ includes any degree of burglary.” Upon review, we determine that Defendant’s prior aggravated burglary was a felony involving the use of force, violence, or a deadly weapon and that the trial court’s jury instruction was not prejudicially erroneous. We affirm the judgment of the trial court.

McMinn County Court of Criminal Appeals 04/06/22
State of Tennessee v. Tarrance Jershun Perry
W2020-01464-CCA-R3-CD
Authoring Judge: Judge Norma McGee Ogle
Trial Court Judge: Judge Donald H. Allen

The Appellant, Tarrance Jershun Perry, was convicted in the Madison County Circuit Court of rape, a Class B felony, and the trial court sentenced him to fifteen years to be served at one hundred percent release eligibility. On appeal, the Appellant contends that a constructive amendment of the indictment and a fatal variance occurred when the indictment charged him with rape by force or coercion but the proof at trial showed rape without consent and that the evidence is insufficient to support the conviction. Based upon the oral arguments, the record, and the parties’ briefs, we affirm the judgment of the trial court.

Madison County Court of Criminal Appeals 04/06/22
State of Tennessee v. Ernest G. McBrien
W2021-00158-CCA-R3-CD
Authoring Judge: Judge J. Ross Dyer
Trial Court Judge: Judge Donald H. Allen

The defendant, Ernest G. McBrien, appeals the order of the trial court denying his motion to dismiss, revoking his probation, and ordering him to serve his original six-year sentence in confinement. Upon our review of the record and the parties’ briefs, we reverse the judgment of the trial court and dismiss both the original and amended probation violation warrants against the defendant.

Madison County Court of Criminal Appeals 04/06/22
State of Tennessee v. Kenndrick Ledbetter
W2021-001401-CCA-R3-CD
Authoring Judge: Judge John W. Campbell, Sr.
Trial Court Judge: Judge Lee V. Coffee

The Defendant, Kenndrick Ledbetter, was convicted by a Shelby County Criminal Court jury of attempted voluntary manslaughter, attempted especially aggravated robbery, employing a firearm during the attempt to commit a dangerous felony, and convicted felon in possession of a firearm. On appeal, the Defendant challenges the sufficiency of the evidence in support of his attempted voluntary manslaughter conviction and argues that the trial court erroneously admitted prejudicial victim impact testimony and abused its discretion in not ordering that the Defendant’s sentence for employing a firearm during the attempt to commit a dangerous felony be served first so that the Defendant’s pretrial jail credits could be applied toward that sentence. After review, we affirm the judgments of the trial court.

Shelby County Court of Criminal Appeals 04/04/22
State of Tennessee v. Randy Ray Ramsey
E2021-00266-CCA-R3-CD
Authoring Judge: Judge D. Kelly Thomas
Trial Court Judge: Judge Carter S. Moore

In this delayed appeal, the Defendant, Randy Ray Ramsey, appeals his conviction for second degree murder and corresponding twenty-five-year sentence. The Defendant contends that his due process rights were violated when the jury venire saw him in shackles during jury selection, including one juror who served on the jury panel. After reviewing the record and the applicable authorities, we conclude that the error was harmless and affirm the Defendant’s conviction.

Cocke County Court of Criminal Appeals 04/04/22
Jeremy McMillon v. State of Tennessee
E2020-01260-CCA-R3-PC
Authoring Judge: Judge James Curwood Witt, Jr.
Trial Court Judge: Judge Barry Steelman

The petitioner, Jeremy McMillon, appeals the denial of his petition for post-conviction relief, which petition challenged his conviction of first degree murder, alleging that he was deprived of the effective assistance of counsel and that the State committed prosecutorial misconduct at trial. Because the petitioner has failed to establish that he is entitled to postconviction relief, we affirm the judgment of the post-conviction court.

Hamilton County Court of Criminal Appeals 04/04/22
State of Tennessee v. Kenneth Cox
E2021-00621-CCA-R3-CD
Authoring Judge: Judge Timothy L. Easter
Trial Court Judge: Judge Steven Wayne Sword

Defendant, Kenneth Cox, was acquitted of premeditated murder and convicted by a Knox County jury of two counts of especially aggravated robbery and three counts of the lesser included offense of criminally negligent homicide. The trial court properly merged Defendant’s convictions and imposed an effective sentence of 38 years’ incarceration. Defendant appeals, asserting that the trial court erred by denying his motion to suppress statements he made to police following his invocation of his right to counsel and that the evidence at trial was insufficient to support his convictions. Having reviewed the entire record and the parties’ briefs, we affirm the judgments of the trial court.

Knox County Court of Criminal Appeals 04/01/22
State of Tennessee v. Joel Edward Scott
W2021-00169-CCA-R3-CD
Authoring Judge: Judge John W. Campbell, Sr.
Trial Court Judge: Judge Charles C. McGinley

On December 4, 2006, the Defendant entered a guilty plea to rape of a child and received an agreed seventeen-year, six-month sentence in the Tennessee Department of Correction. On January 11, 2021, the Defendant filed a Motion to Correct Judgment pursuant to Rule 36 of the Tennessee Rules of Criminal Procedure, claiming that he had not received all the pre-trial jail credit he was owed. After review, the trial court denied the Defendant’s motion. Finding no error, we affirm the judgment of the trial court.

Hardin County Court of Criminal Appeals 04/01/22
Lance Falcon v. State of Tennessee
E2021-00398-CCA-R3-PC
Authoring Judge: Judge John W. Campbell, Sr.
Trial Court Judge: Judge Kyle A. Hixson

The Petitioner, Lance Falcon, appeals the denial of post-conviction relief from his convictions for rape, statutory rape by an authority figure, and sexual battery by an authority figure, arguing that his trial counsel was ineffective for not objecting to the trial court’s questioning of the Petitioner during his testimony before the jury and that his trial counsel and appellate counsel were ineffective for not raising an objection to the lack of merger and/or violation of double jeopardy as to count three of the indictment. Based on our review, we affirm the judgment of the post-conviction court denying relief

Knox County Court of Criminal Appeals 04/01/22
Jamarcus Jackson v. State of Tennessee
E2021-00642-CCA-R3-PC
Authoring Judge: Judge John W. Campbell, Sr.
Trial Court Judge: Judge Stacy Street

The Petitioner, Jamarcus Jackson, appeals the denial of his petition for post-conviction relief from his convictions for second degree murder, misdemeanor assault, and misdemeanor reckless endangerment, arguing that he received ineffective assistance of counsel due to counsel’s failure to subpoena critical defense witnesses. After review, we affirm the judgment of the post-conviction court

Washington County Court of Criminal Appeals 04/01/22
Michael Wayne Robinson v. State of Tennessee
W2021-00886-CCA-R3-PC
Authoring Judge: Judge John W. Campbell, Sr.
Trial Court Judge: Judge Roy B. Morgan, Jr.

The Petitioner, Michael Wayne Robinson, appeals the denial of his petition for post-conviction relief from his convictions for reckless endangerment, aggravated assault, and unlawful possession of a weapon, arguing that the post-conviction court erred in finding that he received the effective assistance of trial counsel. After review, we affirm the judgment of the post-conviction court.

Madison County Court of Criminal Appeals 03/31/22
Monoleto Delshone Green v. State of Tennessee
W2021-00527-CCA-R3-HC
Authoring Judge: Judge John W. Campell, Sr.
Trial Court Judge: Judge Joe H. Walker, III

The pro se Petitioner, Monoleto Delshone Green, appeals the habeas corpus court’s summary dismissal of his petition for writ of habeas corpus. Because the Petitioner’s notice of appeal is untimely and we find nothing that warrants the waiver of the timely notice of appeal requirement, we dismiss the appeal.

Hardeman County Court of Criminal Appeals 03/31/22
State of Tennessee v. Teresa Sumpter
W2021-00119-CCA-R3-CD
Authoring Judge: Judge J. Ross Dyer
Trial Court Judge: Judge James M. Lammey

A Shelby County jury convicted the defendant, Teresa Sumpter, for the Class A felony of theft of property valued over $250,000 and for the Class B felony of money laundering. The trial court imposed an effective sentence of sixty years to be served in the Tennessee Department of Correction and ordered the defendant pay $373,412.77 in restitution. The defendant filed this timely appeal, challenging the evidence supporting her theft conviction and the trial court’s ruling allowing the defendant’s prior theft convictions to be entered into evidence. Following our review, we affirm the judgments of the trial court.

Shelby County Court of Criminal Appeals 03/30/22
State of Tennessee v. Jimmy Evan Milstead
W2020-01705-CCA-R3-CD
Authoring Judge: Judge Camille R. McMullen
Trial Court Judge: Judge Charles C. McGinley

The Defendant-Appellant, Jimmy Evan Milstead, was convicted by a Hardin County criminal court jury of unlawful possession of a weapon, driving on a revoked license, and evading arrest. On appeal, the Defendant contends that the trial court erred in 1) failing to suppress a rifle discovered in the car that the Defendant was driving; and 2) in admitting the rifle after the rifle was left in the Defendant’s car for 26 days in an impound lot. Following our review, we affirm the judgments of the trial court.

Hardin County Court of Criminal Appeals 03/30/22