Court of Criminal Appeals Opinions

Format: 11/27/2021
Format: 11/27/2021
Kristin M. Myers v. State of Tennessee
E2020-01401-CCA-R3-PC
Authoring Judge: Judge Ross Dyer
Trial Court Judge: Judge Jeffery Hill Wicks

The petitioner, Kristin M. Myers, appeals the denial of her post-conviction petition, arguing the post-conviction court erred in finding she received the effective assistance of counsel at trial. After our review of the record, briefs, and applicable law, we affirm the denial of the petition. 

Loudon County Court of Criminal Appeals 06/11/21
State of Tennessee v. Shanthony Mays
W2020-00201-CCA-R3-PC
Authoring Judge: Judge D. Kelly Thomas, Jr.
Trial Court Judge: Judge Donald E. Parish

The Petitioner, Shanthony Mays, filed a petition for post-conviction relief challenging his convictions for aggravated robbery, aggravated assault, and unlawful possession of a weapon and the resulting twelve-year sentence. The post-conviction court denied relief, and the Petitioner appeals. On appeal, the Petitioner alleges the following: (1) that he provided new evidence establishing an improper jury venire; (2) that trial counsel was ineffective by failing to provide statistical information to show the systematic exclusion of African-Americans in the jury venire of Obion County; (3) that trial counsel was ineffective by failing to properly examine the State’s witnesses regarding the admissibility of evidence and impeachment; (4) that trial counsel was ineffective by failing to file a pretrial motion regarding the chain of custody for “tainted evidence”; and (5) that the post-conviction court should have given more weight to the co-defendant’s recantation of his trial testimony. After our review, we affirm the judgment of the post-conviction court denying the Petitioner relief.

Obion County Court of Criminal Appeals 06/10/21
State of Tennessee v. Douglas M. Ferguson
E2020-00400-CCA-R3-CD
Authoring Judge: Judge Robert L. Holloway, Jr.
Trial Court Judge: Judge James F. Goodwin, Jr.

The Sullivan County Grand Jury indicted Douglas M. Ferguson, Defendant, for attempted first degree premeditated murder in count one, aggravated assault in count two, and reckless endangerment in count three. Following a trial, the jury convicted Defendant of misdemeanor reckless endangerment in count one, aggravated assault in count two, and felony reckless endangerment in count three. The trial court merged counts one and three into count two, sentenced Defendant to five years in the Tennessee Department of Correction with a thirty percent release eligibility, and imposed a fine of $10,000. On appeal, Defendant argues that the trial court erred by denying alternative sentencing and by ordering Defendant to pay an excessive fine. Upon a thorough review, we affirm the judgments of the trial court.

Sullivan County Court of Criminal Appeals 06/10/21
State of Tennessee v. James Michael Martin
E2020-00097-CCA-R3-CD
Authoring Judge: Judge James Curwood Witt, Jr.
Trial Court Judge: Judge Alex Pearson

The defendant, James Michael Martin, appeals his Greene County Criminal Court jury conviction of driving under the influence (“DUI”), arguing that the trial court erred by denying his motions to dismiss and suppress and that the evidence was insufficient to support his conviction. Discerning no error, we affirm.

Greene County Court of Criminal Appeals 06/10/21
Tracy Roberson v. State of Tennessee
E2020-00643-CCA-R3-PC
Authoring Judge: Judge Robert L. Holloway, Jr.
Trial Court Judge: Judge Thomas C. Greenholtz

Tracy Roberson, Petitioner, was convicted of one count of aggravated burglary, one count of especially aggravated kidnapping, one count of aggravated robbery, two counts of aggravated rape, and three counts of theft. The trial court sentenced Petitioner to an effective sentence of sixty years in the Tennessee Department of Correction. On direct appeal, this court modified one of the theft counts and merged the three theft convictions, affirming all other judgments. Petitioner filed a pro se post-conviction petition and three amended petitions through counsel. Following a hearing, the post-conviction court denied relief. On appeal, Petitioner argues that he was denied the effective assistance of counsel and due process. After a thorough review, we affirm the judgment of the post-conviction court.

Hamilton County Court of Criminal Appeals 06/09/21
State of Tennessee v. Ricky Allen Davis
E2019-01819-CCA-R3-CD
Authoring Judge: Judge Norma McGee Ogle
Trial Court Judge: Judge Bobby R. McGee

The Appellant, Ricky Allen Davis, was convicted in the Knox County Criminal Court of first degree premediated murder and unlawful possession of a firearm and received concurrent sentences of life and eight years, respectively. On appeal, the Appellant contends that the evidence is insufficient to support the convictions and that the trial court committed plain error by admitting a witness’s hearsay statement into evidence, by allowing a witness to testify that she saw the Appellant with a gun prior to the shooting when there was no evidence that it was the same gun used in the shooting, and by allowing a witness to testify that low-income people often shared cellular telephones and did not help the police due to fear of retribution. Based upon the record and the parties’ briefs, we affirm the judgments of the trial court.

Knox County Court of Criminal Appeals 06/07/21
State of Tennessee v. Desmond Price
W2020-00952-CCA-R3-CD
Authoring Judge: Judge Timothy L. Easter
Trial Court Judge: Judge J. Robert Carter, Jr.

Desmond Price, Defendant, entered a guilty plea to one count of attempted conspiracy to possess more than 150 grams of heroin in exchange for a nine-year sentence and the dismissal of the remaining three counts of the indictment. The parties agreed that Defendant would serve his sentence consecutively to the sentence for another unrelated conviction. Subsequently, Defendant filed a motion pursuant to Rule 35 of the Tennessee Rules of Criminal Procedure, arguing that he was a candidate for split confinement. The trial court denied the motion. This appeal followed. After our review, we determine that the trial court properly denied the relief sought by Defendant in the Rule 35 motion. Accordingly, the judgment of the trial court is affirmed. The matter is remanded to the trial court for entry of judgments dismissing the remaining three counts of the indictment.

Shelby County Court of Criminal Appeals 06/04/21
State of Tennessee v. Crystal Michelle Rickman
W2020-00882-CCA-R3-CD
Authoring Judge: Judge Jill Bartee Ayers
Trial Court Judge: Judge Donald H. Allen

Defendant, Crystal Rickman, was convicted by a jury of aggravated assault by strangulation or attempted strangulation and domestic assault. The trial court imposed an effective fifteen-year sentence, as a Range III persistent offender, to be served in the Department of Correction. On appeal, Defendant argues: that the evidence was insufficient to support her convictions; that she was denied a fair and impartial trial because of inadmissible hearsay; that she was denied the right to a fair and impartial trial because neither the State nor the defense called the victim to testify at trial; that the trial court erred by failing to instruct the jury as to the missing witness rule; that the trial court erred by not allowing her to call witnesses to testify at the motion for new trial hearing; and that her sentence was excessive. Following our review of the entire record and the briefs of the parties, we affirm the judgments of the trial court.

Madison County Court of Criminal Appeals 06/03/21
State of Tennessee v. Eric Manzenberger
E2020-00218-CCA-R3-CD
Authoring Judge: Presiding Judge John Everette Williams
Trial Court Judge: Judge James L. Gass

A jury convicted the Defendant of driving under the influence of an intoxicant, driving in excess of the speed limit, and violating the light law, and he received an effective sentence of eleven months and twenty-nine days, with the sentence to be suspended after fourteen days in confinement. On appeal, the Defendant asserts that the trial court erred in denying his motion to suppress certain statements made to law enforcement. After a review of the record, we conclude that the Defendant was not in custody under Miranda v. Arizona, 384 U.S. 436 (1966), and we affirm the judgments.

Sevier County Court of Criminal Appeals 06/03/21
Calvin Jones v. State of Tennessee
W2020-00372-CCA-R3-PC
Authoring Judge: Judge Robert L. Holloway, Jr.
Trial Court Judge: Judge James M. Lammey

Calvin Jones, Petitioner, filed a pro se petition seeking post-conviction relief from his 2012 convictions for aggravated child abuse and first degree felony murder. Following an evidentiary hearing, the post-conviction court denied relief. After a thorough review of the record and applicable law, we affirm the judgment of the post-conviction court.

Shelby County Court of Criminal Appeals 06/02/21
Rico Huey v. State of Tennessee
W2020-00928-CCA-R3-PC
Authoring Judge: Judge Robert L. Holloway, Jr.
Trial Court Judge: Judge Glenn Ivy Wright

Rico Huey, Petitioner, filed a pro se petition seeking post-conviction relief from his 2016 aggravated robbery conviction. Appointed counsel filed an amended petition. Following an evidentiary hearing, the post-conviction court denied relief. After a thorough review of the record, we affirm the judgment of the post-conviction court.

Shelby County Court of Criminal Appeals 06/02/21
State of Tennessee v. Bobby Wayne Centers
M2019-02285-CCA-R3-CD
Authoring Judge: Judge Norma McGee Ogle
Trial Court Judge: Judge Wesley Thomas Bray

The Appellant, Bobby Wayne Centers, was convicted by a jury in the White County Criminal Court of the sale of 26 grams or more of methamphetamine, the delivery of 26 grams or more of methamphetamine, the possession of 26 grams or more of methamphetamine with the intent to sell; and the possession of 26 grams or more of methamphetamine with the intent to deliver. The trial court merged the sale of methamphetamine conviction and the possession with intent to sell methamphetamine conviction into a single conviction and merged the delivery of methamphetamine conviction and the possession with intent to deliver methamphetamine conviction into a single conviction. The trial court imposed concurrent sentences of eighteen years as a Range II, multiple offender with release eligibility after service of thirty-five percent of the sentence in confinement. On appeal, the Appellant contends that the trial court erred by allowing Agent Eaton to narrate the video of the drug transaction. Upon review, we conclude that the case must be remanded to the trial court for the correction of the judgments to reflect the merger of all of the convictions into the sale of methamphetamine conviction. The judgments of the trial court are affirmed in all other respects.

White County Court of Criminal Appeals 06/02/21
State of Tennessee v. Tyrone E. Murphy
E2020-00658-CCA-R3-CD
Authoring Judge: Judge Robert L. Holloway, Jr.
Trial Court Judge: Judge Barry A. Steelman

The Hamilton County Grand Jury indicted Defendant, Tyrone E. Murphy, with one count of first degree premeditated murder and one count of tampering with evidence in the death of Ashley Cates, the victim. The State proceeded solely on the count of first degree premeditated murder. The jury convicted Defendant as charged, and the trial court sentenced Defendant to life imprisonment. On appeal, Defendant argues that the trial court erred by denying his motion in limine to exclude post-mortem photographs of the victim and that the evidence was insufficient to support the verdict. After a thorough review of the record and applicable law, the judgment of the trial court is affirmed.

Hamilton County Court of Criminal Appeals 06/01/21
State of Tennessee v. Gregory Gilliam
W2020-00203-CCA-R3-CD
Authoring Judge: Judge Robert W. Wedemeyer
Trial Court Judge: Judge Chris Craft

A Shelby County jury convicted the Defendant, Gregory Gilliam, of four counts of possession of a controlled substance with intent to sell or deliver and one count of being a felon in possession of a firearm. The trial court sentenced the Defendant to an effective sentence of forty-two years. On appeal, the Defendant contends that the evidence is insufficient to support his convictions. After review, we affirm the trial court’s judgments.

Shelby County Court of Criminal Appeals 05/28/21
State of Tennessee v. Christopher Lynn Inman
W2020-00452-CCA-R3-CD
Authoring Judge: Judge Timothy L. Easter
Trial Court Judge: Judge Kyle C. Atkins

Defendant, Christopher Lynn Inman, was convicted by a jury of introduction of contraband into a penal facility and possession of marijuana. Following a sentencing hearing, the trial court sentenced Defendant as a Range II multiple offender to an effective sentence of six years’ incarceration. In this direct appeal, Defendant asserts that the trial court erred by admitting the marijuana into evidence because the State failed to establish a proper chain of custody and that the evidence was insufficient to support his conviction for introduction of contraband into a penal facility. Following our review of the record and the briefs of the parties, we affirm the judgments of the trial court.

Henderson County Court of Criminal Appeals 05/28/21
State of Tennessee v. Cedarius J. Robertson
W2020-00365-CCA-R3-CD
Authoring Judge: Judge Norma McGee Ogle
Trial Court Judge: Judge Donald H. Allen

The Appellant, Cedarius J. Robertson, was convicted in the Madison County Circuit Court of being a convicted felon in possession of a firearm, a Class B felony; tampering with evidence, a Class C felony; driving under the influence (DUI) and DUI per se, Class A misdemeanors; possessing a handgun while under the influence, a Class A misdemeanor; and failing to maintain his lane of travel, a Class C misdemeanor. After a sentencing hearing, the trial court merged the DUI convictions and ordered that he serve an effective thirteen-year sentence in confinement. On appeal, the Appellant contends that the evidence is insufficient to support his convictions of being a convicted felon in possession of a firearm and possession of a handgun while under the influence. Based upon the record and the parties’ briefs, we affirm the judgments of the trial court.

Madison County Court of Criminal Appeals 05/28/21
Patrick L. Moore v. Russell Washburn, Warden
M2020-00471-CCA-R3-HC
Authoring Judge: Judge Timothy L. Easter
Trial Court Judge: Judge Brody N. Kane

Patrick L. Moore, Petitioner, appeals from the dismissal of two petitions for habeas corpus relief which were consolidated by this Court on appeal. After a thorough review, we affirm the dismissal of the petitions.

Trousdale County Court of Criminal Appeals 05/28/21
State of Tennessee v. Douglas M. Ferguson
E2019-02218-CCA-R3-CD
Authoring Judge: Judge Robert H. Montgomery, Jr.
Trial Court Judge: Judge James F. Goodwin, Jr.

The Defendant, Douglas M. Ferguson, was convicted of two counts of aggravated assault, a Class C felony, and was sentenced to five years’ probation. See T.C.A. § 39-13-102 (2018). Subsequently, the trial court found the Defendant violated conditions of his probation and ordered him to serve his sentence in confinement. On appeal, the Defendant contends that the trial court erred by ordering the Defendant to serve the remainder of his sentence. We affirm the judgment of the trial court.

Sullivan County Court of Criminal Appeals 05/28/21
State of Tennessee v. Jasper Lee Vick
W2020-01130-CCA-R3-CD
Authoring Judge: Judge J. Ross Dyer
Trial Court Judge: Judge Chris Craft

The petitioner, Jasper Lee Vick, appeals from the summary dismissal of his petition for post-conviction DNA analysis. Following our review, we affirm the judgment of the post-conviction court summarily dismissing the petition.

Shelby County Court of Criminal Appeals 05/28/21
State of Tennessee v. Xavier Montelious Riley
W2020-00580-CCA-R3-CD
Authoring Judge: Judge Robert L. Holloway, Jr.
Trial Court Judge: Judge Donald H. Allen

Xavier Montelious Riley, Defendant, entered a best interest guilty plea with the length and manner of the service of the sentence to be determined following a sentencing hearing. The trial court denied an alternative sentence and imposed an effective sentence of ten years and six months to be served in confinement. After a review of the record and applicable law and finding no error, we affirm the judgments of the trial court.

Madison County Court of Criminal Appeals 05/28/21
Darius Jones v. State of Tennessee
W2019-02186-CCA-R3-PC
Authoring Judge: Judge J. Ross Dyer
Trial Court Judge: Judge Lee V. Coffee

The petitioner, Darius Jones, appeals the denial of his post-conviction petition, arguing the post-conviction court erred in finding he received the effective assistance of counsel at trial and on appeal. Following our review, we affirm the post-conviction court’s denial of the petition.

Shelby County Court of Criminal Appeals 05/27/21
Aaron Reinsberg v. State of Tennessee
W2019-02279-CCA-R3-PC
Authoring Judge: Judge James Curwood Witt, Jr.
Trial Court Judge: Judge Chris Craft

The petitioner, Aaron Reinsberg, appeals the denial of his petition for post-conviction relief, which petition challenged his convictions of rape, assault, and official misconduct, alleging that he was deprived of the effective assistance of counsel. Discerning no error, we affirm the denial of post-conviction relief.

Shelby County Court of Criminal Appeals 05/27/21
State of Tennessee v. Donald Ray Pennington, Jr.
E2020-00415-CCA-R3-CD
Authoring Judge: Judge Robert L. Holloway, Jr.
Trial Court Judge: Judge Sandra Donaghy

The Bradley County Grand Jury indicted Defendant, Donald Ray Pennington, Jr., for two counts of rape of a child. Following a trial, a jury found Defendant guilty of rape of a child in count 1 and the lesser-included offense of aggravated sexual battery in count 2. On appeal, Defendant asserts that: (1) the evidence is insufficient to support his conviction for rape of a child; (2) he is entitled to relief under plain error due to prosecutorial misconduct; and (3) the trial court erred in imposing consecutive sentences. Following a thorough review of the record and applicable law, we affirm the judgments of the trial court.

Bradley County Court of Criminal Appeals 05/27/21
State of Tennessee v. John Calvin Murray
M2020-00168-CCA-R3-CD
Authoring Judge: Judge Alan E. Glenn
Trial Court Judge: Judge Jill Bartee Ayers

The Defendant, John Calvin Murray, appeals the trial court’s dismissal of his “Motion for Rule 36 Clerical Mistakes” and denial of his motion to reconsider, which he argues should be liberally construed as a motion to correct an illegal sentence, asserting that he was not awarded all the credits for time served in the community corrections program to which he was entitled. Upon reviewing the record and applicable law, we dismiss the appeal. 

Robertson County Court of Criminal Appeals 05/27/21
State of Tennessee v. Michael Broyles
E2019-01033-CCA-R3-CD
Authoring Judge: Judge Robert H. Montgomery, Jr.
Trial Court Judge: Judge Alex Pearson

The Defendant, Michael Broyles, was convicted by a Greene County Criminal Court jury of four counts of cruelty to animals, a Class A misdemeanor. See T.C.A. § 39-14-202(a)(2) (2018). The trial court denied judicial diversion and sentenced the Defendant to eleven months, twenty-nine days for each conviction and imposed the sentences concurrently. The court ordered split confinement consisting of ninety days’ jail service followed by probation. On appeal, the Defendant contends that (1) the animal cruelty statute under which he was convicted is unconstitutionally vague, (2) the evidence is insufficient to support his convictions, (3) the court erred in denying judicial diversion, (4) the court erred in imposing a sentence involving confinement, and (5) the court erred in imposing fines and restitution without making the appropriate factual findings. We affirm the judgments of the trial court.

Greene County Court of Criminal Appeals 05/27/21