Court of Criminal Appeals Opinions

Format: 10/16/2021
Format: 10/16/2021
State of Tennessee v. Jeffrey Allen McNew
M2020-01227-CCA-R3-CD
Authoring Judge: Judge Robert L. Holloway, Jr.
Trial Court Judge: Judge Cheryl A. Blackburn

Jeffrey Allen McNew, Defendant, entered a negotiated guilty plea to one count of aggravated burglary, one count of being a felon in possession of a firearm, two counts of aggravated robbery, one count of aggravated kidnapping, one count of carjacking, and four counts of aggravated assault. Pursuant to the plea agreement, Defendant was sentenced as a Range III, Persistent Offender, and the trial court determined the length and alignment of the sentences. Following a sentencing hearing, the trial court imposed an effective sentence of 135 years. After a thorough review of the record and applicable law, we determine that the trial court did not abuse its discretion in sentencing Defendant and affirm the judgments of the trial court. However, we remand for entry of corrected judgments merging the aggravated assault conviction in Count 7 into the aggravated robbery conviction in Count 3 and merging the aggravated assault conviction in Count 8 into the aggravated robbery conviction in Count 4.

Davidson County Court of Criminal Appeals 09/22/21
State of Tennessee v. Jerry Dale Baker
M2020-01387-CCA-R3-CD
Authoring Judge: Judge Camille R. McMullen
Trial Court Judge: Judge Stella L. Hargrove

The Defendant-Appellant, Jerry Dale Baker, appeals from the revocation of his probationary sentence for possession of methamphetamine with intent to sell. The sole issue raised on appeal is whether the trial court erred by fully revoking Defendant’s probation and ordering him to serve the remainder of his sentence in confinement. Upon review, we affirm the judgment of the trial court.  

Maury County Court of Criminal Appeals 09/22/21
Maurico Grandberry v. State of Tennessee
W2020-00734-CCA-R3-PC
Authoring Judge: Judge J. Ross Dyer
Trial Court Judge: Judge Jennifer Johnson Mitchell

The petitioner, Maurico Grandberry, 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. Following our review, we affirm the post-conviction court’s denial of the petition.

Shelby County Court of Criminal Appeals 09/21/21
William Scott Hunley v. State of Tennessee
W2020-01695-CCA-R3-PC
Authoring Judge: Judge J. Ross Dyer
Trial Court Judge: Judge Roy B. Morgan, Jr.

The petitioner, William Scott Hunley, 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. After our review of the record, briefs, and applicable law, we affirm the denial of the petition.

Madison County Court of Criminal Appeals 09/21/21
Roosevelt Bigbee v. Johnny Fitz, Warden
W2021-00131-CCA-R3-HC
Authoring Judge: Judge J. Ross Dyer
Trial Court Judge: Judge Joe H. Walker, III

The pro se petitioner, Roosevelt Bigbee, appeals the denial of his petition for writ of habeas corpus by the Circuit Court for Lauderdale County, arguing the trial court erred in summarily dismissing the petition as the evidence was not sufficient to sustain his conviction. After our review, we affirm the summary dismissal of the petition pursuant to Rule 20 of the Rules of the Court of Criminal Appeals.

Lauderdale County Court of Criminal Appeals 09/21/21
Matthew Sealey v. State of Tennessee
W2021-00129-CCA-R3-PC
Authoring Judge: Judge J. Ross Dyer
Trial Court Judge: Judge Donald H. Allen

The petitioner, Matthew Sealey, appeals the denial of his post-conviction petition, arguing the post-conviction court erred in finding he received the effective assistance of counsel prior to and during his guilty plea hearing. Upon our review of the record, briefs, and applicable law, we affirm the denial of the petition.

Court of Criminal Appeals 09/21/21
Marc Baechtle v. State of Tennessee
W2020-01429-CCA-R3-PC
Authoring Judge: Judge Camille R. McMullen
Trial Court Judge: Judge J. Robert Carter, Jr.

The Petitioner, Marc Baechtle, was convicted of rape of a child, aggravated sexual battery, and rape. The trial court dismissed the aggravated sexual battery and rape convictions due to statute of limitations and ultimately imposed a 25-year sentence for the rape of a child conviction. On appeal, the Petitioner asserts that he received ineffective assistance of counsel, alleging that trial counsel advised him not to testify and failed to impeach a witness. Upon our review, we affirm the judgment of the post-conviction court.

Shelby County Court of Criminal Appeals 09/21/21
State of Tennessee v. Khamphonh Xayyasith
M2020-00379-CCA-R3-CD
Authoring Judge: Judge Robert H. Montgomery, Jr.
Trial Court Judge: Judge Steve Dozier

The Defendant, Khamphonh Xayyasith, was convicted by a Davidson County Criminal Court jury of three counts of aggravated assault, a Class C felony, and domestic assault, a Class A misdemeanor. See T.C.A. §§ 39-13-102 (2018) (subsequently amended) (aggravated assault); 39-13-111 (2018) (domestic assault). The trial court merged the aggravated assault convictions and imposed concurrent sentences of fifteen years for aggravated assault and eleven months, twenty-nine days for domestic assault. On appeal, the Defendant contends that (1) the evidence is insufficient to support his aggravated assault convictions, (2) the trial court erred by admitting a recorded jail telephone call, and (3) his sentence is excessive. We affirm the judgments of the trial court.

Davidson County Court of Criminal Appeals 09/20/21
Dennis Allen Rayfield v. State of Tennessee
M2020-00546-CCA-R3-PC
Authoring Judge: Judge James Curwood Witt, Jr.
Trial Court Judge: Judge David L. Allen

The petitioner, Dennis Allen Rayfield, appeals the denial of his petition for post-conviction relief, which petition challenged his conviction of first degree murder, alleging that the trial court committed errors which deprived him of his constitutional rights to due process and a fair trial and that he was deprived of the effective assistance of counsel. Discerning no error, we affirm the denial of post-conviction relief.

Wayne County Court of Criminal Appeals 09/16/21
State of Tennessee v. Reginald Bond
W2020-01455-CCA-R3-CD
Authoring Judge: Judge James Curwood Witt, Jr.
Trial Court Judge: Judge Donald H. Allen

The defendant, Reginald Bond, appeals the Madison County Circuit Court’s order revoking his probation and ordering him to serve the balance of his six-year sentence in confinement. Discerning no error, we affirm.

Madison County Court of Criminal Appeals 09/16/21
State of Tennessee v. Emmanuel Wallace
M2020-00484-CCA-R3-CD
Authoring Judge: Judge Timothy L. Easter
Trial Court Judge: Judge Jill Bartee Ayers

Emmanuel Wallace, Defendant, and co-defendant Joshua Aretz were indicted for their roles in the shooting death of Savon Easterling in Clarksville in August of 2015.  Defendant was indicted for premeditated murder, felony murder, and aggravated robbery.  Defendant elected to proceed to trial.  After the presentation of the proof, the trial court granted a motion for judgment of acquittal with respect to the offense of aggravated robbery.  The trial court submitted the lesser-included offenses of attempted aggravated robbery, attempted robbery, and attempted theft of property for the jury’s consideration.  After deliberating, the jury found Defendant guilty of second degree murder and felony murder but not guilty of attempted aggravated robbery and all lesser included offenses.  The trial court sentenced Defendant to an effective life sentence after merging the convictions.  After the denial of a motion for new trial, Defendant appealed to this Court.  On appeal, Defendant argues that the jury’s verdict was inconsistent because he was found guilty of felony murder and not guilty of the underlying felony.  He also argues that the trial court improperly responded to a jury question in violation of Tennessee Rule of Criminal Procedure 30(c).  After a thorough review of the record and the briefs, we determine that Defendant is not entitled to relief.  Consequently, the judgments of the trial court are affirmed.

Montgomery County Court of Criminal Appeals 09/15/21
State of Tennessee v. Courtney Perry
W2020-01682-CCA-R3-CD
Authoring Judge: Judge Camille R. McMullen
Trial Court Judge: Judge Jennifer Johnson Mitchell

The Petitioner, Courtney Perry, appeals the summary dismissal of his “Motion to Correct Illegal Sentence” pursuant to Tennessee Rule of Criminal Procedure 36.1. Upon our review, we affirm the summary dismissal of the motion.

Shelby County Court of Criminal Appeals 09/15/21
Johnny Lee Jenkins v. State of Tennessee
W2021-00032-CCA-R3-PC
Authoring Judge: Judge Camille R. McMullen
Trial Court Judge: Judge Glenn Ivy Wright

The Petitioner, Johnny Lee Jenkins, was convicted of voluntary manslaughter, attempted voluntary manslaughter, and two counts of employing a firearm during the commission of a dangerous felony. One of the counts of employing a firearm during the commission of a dangerous felony was dismissed after the Petitioner filed a motion for new trial, and this court reversed and vacated the voluntary manslaughter conviction on direct appeal and remanded the case for entry of corrected judgments to reflect a conviction for reckless homicide. On appeal, the Petitioner asserts that he received ineffective assistance of counsel, specifically contending that trial counsel failed to argue the inclusion of lesser-included offenses. Upon our review, we affirm the judgment of the post-conviction court.

Shelby County Court of Criminal Appeals 09/15/21
State of Tennessee v. Zacarias Salas-Rufino
E2020-00986-CCA-R3-CD
Authoring Judge: Judge James Curwood Witt, Jr.
Trial Court Judge: Judge Barry A. Steelman

Aggrieved of his Hamilton County Criminal Court jury conviction of second degree murder, the defendant, Zacarias Salas-Rufino, appeals, challenging the admission of certain telephone calls and the testimony of the medical examiner on the issue of “excited delirium.” Discerning no error, we affirm.

Hamilton County Court of Criminal Appeals 09/14/21
State of Tennessee v. Clarence Willis Moore, Jr.
M2020-00704-CCA-R3-CD
Authoring Judge: Judge Robert L. Holloway, Jr.
Trial Court Judge: Judge Brody N. Kane

The Wilson County Grand Jury charged Defendant, Clarence Willis Moore, Jr., with four counts of selling 0.5 grams or more of cocaine within 1,000 feet of a child care agency in violation of the Drug-Free School Zone Act.  Following trial, a jury convicted Defendant in counts one and three of sale of “Schedule II, cocaine, within 1,000 feet of a school zone.”[1]  The jury found Defendant not guilty in counts two and four.  At the sentencing hearing, the trial court determined that Defendant’s Class B felony convictions were not subject to a one classification increase under Tennessee Code Annotated section 39-17-432(b)(1) because the offenses occurred within the prohibited zone of a childcare center.  See Tenn. Code Ann. § 39-17-432(b)(3) (2016).  The court sentenced Defendant as a Range III persistent offender to twenty-five years in Count 1 and twenty-two years in Count 3, ran the sentences consecutively, and imposed a fine of $2,000 on each count.  Pursuant to Tennessee Code Annotated section 39-17-432(c), the court ordered Defendant to serve the minimum twenty-year sentence on each count.  Following a thorough review of the record and applicable law, we conclude that the evidence was insufficient to prove that the offenses occurred within 1,000 feet of a childcare center or a child care agency.  Because the evidence was insufficient to establish a violation of section 39-17-432(b), the court erred in ordering Defendant to serve the minimum sentences for the two Class B felonies.  Accordingly, we affirm the judgments of conviction and the total effective sentence of forty-seven years with a release eligibility of forty-five percent but modify the sentence to exclude the harsher penalty requiring service of the twenty-year minimum sentence on each count.  We remand for entry of new judgments of conviction for Counts 1 and 3 consistent with this opinion.


 
Wilson County Court of Criminal Appeals 09/13/21
Michael Bailey v. State of Tennessee
W2019-02152-CCA-R3-PC
Authoring Judge: Judge Norma McGee Ogle
Trial Court Judge: Judge Lee V. Coffee

The pro se Petitioner, Michael Bailey, appeals the denial of his petition for post-conviction relief in seven cases that resulted in his convictions for eight counts of aggravated robbery and one count of aggravated assault and an effective sentence of two consecutive life terms without the possibility of parole. Based on our review of the record and the parties’ briefs, we affirm the judgment of the post-conviction court.

Shelby County Court of Criminal Appeals 09/13/21
Walter Shegog v. State of Tennessee
W2019-01966-CCA-R3-PC
Authoring Judge: Judge Robert W. Wedemeyer
Trial Court Judge: Judge Jennifer Johnson Mitchell

In 2014, the Petitioner, Walter Shegog, was convicted of theft of property valued at more than $1,000 but less than $10,000. The Petitioner received a twelve-year sentence as a Career Offender and later appealed his conviction to this court. We affirmed the judgment of the trial court. State v. Walter Shegog, No. W2014-02440-CCA-R3-CD, 2015 WL 12978195 (Tenn. Crim. App., at Jackson, Oct. 13, 2015), perm. app. denied (Tenn. Feb. 19, 2016). Subsequently, the Petitioner filed a petition for post-conviction relief alleging that the State had committed a Brady violation by withholding exculpatory evidence and that he had received the ineffective assistance of counsel on multiple bases. After a hearing, the post-conviction court denied the petition, and the Petitioner appeals. After review, we affirm the post-conviction court’s judgment.

Shelby County Court of Criminal Appeals 09/09/21
Revail Murphy v. State of Tennessee
W2020-01298-CCA-R3-PC
Authoring Judge: Judge Camille R. McMullen
Trial Court Judge: Judge J. Robert Carter, Jr.

The Petitioner, Revail Murphy, pled guilty in two separate cases to aggravated assault and sexual battery, respectively. The trial court sentenced the Petitioner as a Range III, persistent offender to a total effective sentence of ten years, to be served at forty-five percent. On appeal, the Petitioner asserts that he received ineffective assistance of counsel, contending that his guilty plea for aggravated assault was not “knowingly, voluntarily, and intelligently entered.” Upon our review, we affirm the judgment of the post-conviction court.

Shelby County Court of Criminal Appeals 09/09/21
Larry Lee Johnson v. State of Tennessee
W2020-00753-CCA-R3-ECN
Authoring Judge: Judge D. Kelly Thomas, Jr.
Trial Court Judge: Judge James M. Lammey, Jr.

The Petitioner, Larry Lee Johnson, appeals from the Shelby County Criminal Court’s summary dismissal of his petition for writ of error coram nobis, wherein he claimed that first coram nobis counsel refused to amend the original coram nobis petition after discovery of two witnesses’ statements that might have led to a different result had they been available at trial. The Petitioner contends that the coram nobis court erred by summarily dismissing his petition as having been untimely filed and for failing to state a cognizable claim for relief. Following our review, we affirm the judgment of the coram nobis court.

Shelby County Court of Criminal Appeals 09/09/21
Tommy Taylor v. Johnny Fitz, Warden
W2020-01294-CCA-R3-HC
Authoring Judge: Judge D. Kelly Thomas, Jr.
Trial Court Judge: Judge Joseph H. Walker, III

The Petitioner, Tommy Taylor, appeals as of right from the Lauderdale County Circuit Court’s summary dismissal of his petition for writ of habeas corpus, in which he contended that his thirteen-year sentence was illegal and that his guilty plea was void because the affidavit of complaint and arrest warrant were not signed by a magistrate or a neutral and detached court clerk. On appeal, the Petitioner contends that summary dismissal was improper and that the petition stated a cognizable claim for habeas corpus relief. Discerning no error, we affirm the judgment of the habeas corpus court.

Lauderdale County Court of Criminal Appeals 09/08/21
State of Tennessee v. Christopher D. Todd
M2020-01669-CCA-R3-CD
Authoring Judge: Judge J. Ross Dyer
Trial Court Judge: Judge Jill Bartee Ayers

Following a bench trial, the defendant, Christopher D. Todd, was convicted by the Robertson County Circuit Court with possession of marijuana with intent to sell, possession of marijuana with intent to deliver, and possession of drug paraphernalia, and he was sentenced to an effective term of eighteen months’ incarceration. On appeal, the defendant argues that he received ineffective assistance of counsel due to counsel’s failure to file a motion to suppress challenging the legality of the initial stop of his vehicle. Upon our review of the record and the applicable law, we affirm the judgment of the trial court.

Robertson County Court of Criminal Appeals 09/08/21
Windie L. Perry v. State of Tennessee
M2019-02074-CCA-R3-PC
Authoring Judge: Judge Robert H. Montgomery Jr.
Trial Court Judge: Judge Jill Bartee Ayers

The Petitioner, Windie L. Perry, appeals from the Montgomery County Circuit Court’s denial of her petition for post-conviction relief from her convictions for two counts of especially aggravated kidnapping, two counts of aggravated child abuse, one count of facilitation of rape of a child, two counts of false imprisonment, and six counts of reckless endangerment and her effective twenty-year sentence.  On appeal the Petitioner contends that the post-conviction court erred by denying relief on her ineffective assistance of counsel claims.  We affirm the judgment of the post-conviction court.

Montgomery County Court of Criminal Appeals 09/08/21
State of Tennessee v. Stephen C. Wallick
M2020-01121-CCA-R3-CD
Authoring Judge: Judge J. Ross Dyer
Trial Court Judge: Judge Suzanne Lockert-Mash

A Dickson County jury convicted the defendant, Stephen C. Wallick, for the Class B felony of theft of property valued over $60,000 but less than $250,000.  The trial court imposed a sentence of eight years in the Tennessee Department of Correction, suspended to supervised probation, and ordered the defendant pay $60,000 in restitution.  The defendant filed this timely appeal, challenging the evidence supporting his conviction.  Following our review, we affirm the judgment of the trial court.

Dickson County Court of Criminal Appeals 09/08/21
State of Tennessee v. Raymond Brandon Saffles
E2020-01116-CCA-R3-CD
Authoring Judge: Judge Camille R. McMullen
Trial Court Judge: Judge Sandra N.C. Donaghy

The Defendant, Raymond Brandon Saffles, was charged by criminal information with one count of arson, and he entered a guilty plea to this charge the same day. See Tenn. Code Ann. § 39-14-301. The trial court, after accepting his plea agreement, sentenced the Defendant to six years, suspended this sentence, and then ordered the Defendant to serve 364 days in jail before serving six years on supervised probation. The trial court also ordered that the Defendant have no contact with the victim or her property and that restitution would be determined at a later hearing. Following this hearing, the trial court entered a restitution order requiring the Defendant to pay restitution in the amount of $99,017.78 with a payment schedule of $50 per month for the length of his probationary sentence, which the trial court determined to be six years. On appeal, the Defendant argues: (1) the trial court erred ordering him to pay nearly $100,000 in restitution and to pay $50 per month over the term of his probation; and (2) no amount of restitution is appropriate because his Social Security benefits are exempt from court-ordered collection under 42 U.S.C. § 407(a) and that even if his benefits are not exempt, he does not have the ability to pay any amount toward restitution. We reverse the judgment of the trial court as to restitution and remand this case for entry of a corrected judgment of conviction and probation order and for a new restitution hearing consistent with this opinion.

Monroe County Court of Criminal Appeals 09/08/21
Errol Johnson v. State of Tennessee
W2020-00184-CCA-R3-PC
Authoring Judge: Judge D. Kelly Thomas, Jr.
Trial Court Judge: Judge J. Robert Carter, Jr.

The Petitioner, Errol Johnson, appeals as of right from the Shelby County Criminal Court’s denial of his petition for post-conviction relief, wherein he challenged his convictions for aggravated child neglect and criminally negligent homicide. On appeal, the Petitioner asserts that he was denied the right to represent himself at trial and that he received the ineffective assistance of trial counsel because counsel failed to advise him that the State could introduce rebuttal evidence after he testified. Following our review, we affirm.

Shelby County Court of Criminal Appeals 09/07/21