Court of Criminal Appeals Opinions

Format: 10/07/2022
Format: 10/07/2022
State of Tennessee v. Devondre DeQuan Samuel
E2020-01033-CCA-R3-CD
Authoring Judge: Judge Jill Bartee Ayers
Trial Court Judge: Judge G. Scott Green

Defendant, Devondre DeQuan Samel, was convicted by a jury of conspiracy to possess 150 grams or more of heroin with intent to sell or deliver within 1,000 feet of a school, a park, and a recreational center (Counts 1-3), conspiracy to sell 150 grams or more of heroin within 1,000 feet of a school, a park, and a recreational center (Counts 5-7), two counts of possession of drug paraphernalia (Counts 14 and 17), possession with intent to sell or deliver less than fifteen grams of heroin within 1,000 feet of a park (Count 15), and manufacture of less than fifteen grams of heroin within 1,000 feet of a park (Count 16). The trial court imposed an effective fifteen-year sentence, as a Range I standard offender, to be served in the Department of Correction. On appeal, Defendant argues: that the trial court erred by denying his motion for judgment of acquittal; that the trial court erred by denying his pre-trial motion for a continuance; that the trial court improperly limited his cross-examination of Mr. Berry; that his sentence under the Drug-Free School Zone Act constitutes cruel and unusual punishment; and that the trial court erred by denying his motion for a new trial based upon prosecutorial vindictiveness. Following our review of the entire record and the briefs of the parties, we affirm the judgments of the trial court.

Knox County Court of Criminal Appeals 08/26/22
Daryl J. Carter v. State of Tennessee
E2021-00669-CCA-R3-PC
Authoring Judge: Judge Timothy L. Easter
Trial Court Judge: Judge J. Curtis Smith

Daryl J. Carter, Petitioner, appeals the denial of his petition for post-conviction relief, alleging ineffective assistance of trial counsel. After thorough review, we affirm the judgment of the post-conviction court.

Bledsoe County Court of Criminal Appeals 08/26/22
State of Tennessee v. Timothy M. Dawson
E2021-00912-CCA-R3-CD
Authoring Judge: Judge Camille R. McMullen
Trial Court Judge: Judge Sandra Donaghy

The Defendant-Appellant, Timothy M. Dawson, was convicted by a McMinn County Criminal Court jury of theft of property of more than $2,500 but less than $10,000, a Class D felony. See Tenn. Code Ann. §§ 39-14-103; 39-14-105(a)(3). During a consolidated sentencing hearing on the Defendant’s convictions from three separate trials, the trial court sentenced the Defendant as a career offender to 12 years’ incarceration, to be served consecutively to the sentences from his other two convictions. On appeal, the Defendant contends that 1) the evidence was insufficient to establish the value of the stolen property; and 2) the trial court erred in denying the Defendant’s motion of acquittal, or in the alternative, erred in denying his motion for new trial. After careful review, we affirm the judgment of the trial court.

McMinn County Court of Criminal Appeals 08/26/22
Shawn L. Payne v. State of Tennessee
E2021-01017-CCA-R3-PC
Authoring Judge: Judge Camille R. McMullen
Trial Court Judge: Judge Steven Wayne Sword

Pursuant to a plea agreement, the Petitioner, Shawn L. Payne, pled guilty to second degree murder, and the trial court sentenced him to 25 years’ incarceration. See Tenn. Code Ann. § 39-13-210(a)(1). The Petitioner subsequently filed a petition for post-conviction relief, alleging ineffective assistance of counsel. After a hearing, the post-conviction court denied the petition. On appeal, the Petitioner argues that he received ineffective assistance of counsel, rendering him unable to make a “knowing and informed” guilty plea. Specifically, he asserts that trial counsel was ineffective in failing to investigate the case adequately, failing to provide discovery to the Petitioner, and failing to apprise the Petitioner of all the consequences of his guilty plea. After careful review, we affirm the judgment of the postconviction court.

Knox County Court of Criminal Appeals 08/25/22
Dan E. Durell v. State of Tennessee
E2021-01238-CCA-R3-HC
Authoring Judge: Judge Camille R. McMullen
Trial Court Judge: Judge Steven Wayne Sword

The Petitioner, Dan E. Durell, acting pro se, appeals the Knox County Criminal Court’s summary dismissal of his second petition for habeas corpus relief. We affirm.

Knox County Court of Criminal Appeals 08/25/22
State of Tennessee v. Tyrone De Angelo Shaw
E2021-00437-CCA-R3-CD
Authoring Judge: Judge Robert H. Montgomery, Jr.
Trial Court Judge: Judge G. Scott Green

The Defendant, Tyrone De Angelo Shaw, appeals from his guilty plea conviction for aggravated assault, a Class C felony. See T.C.A. § 39-13-102 (Supp. 2019) (subsequently amended). The trial court ordered the Defendant to serve the agreed-upon ten-year, Range II sentence. On appeal, the Defendant contends that the court erred in denying alternative sentencing and in denying his motion for reduction of sentence pursuant to Tennessee Rule of Criminal Procedure 35. We affirm the judgment of the trial court.

Knox County Court of Criminal Appeals 08/25/22
State of Tennessee v. Rikealyn L. Fain
E2022-00026-CCA-R3-CD
Authoring Judge: Judge Robert H. Montgomery, Jr.
Trial Court Judge: Judge G. Scott Green

The Defendant, Rikealyn L. Fain, was convicted by a Knox County Criminal Court jury of attempted second degree murder, a Class B felony, and employing a firearm during the commission of a dangerous felony, a Class C felony, for which he is serving an effective sixteen-year sentence. See T.C.A. §§ 39-13-210 (2018) (second degree murder), 39-12- 101 (2018) (criminal attempt), 39-17-1324(b)(1) (employing a firearm during the commission of a dangerous felony) (Supp. 2020) (subsequently amended). On appeal, the Defendant contends that the evidence is insufficient to support his convictions. We affirm.

Knox County Court of Criminal Appeals 08/25/22
State of Tennessee v. Tony Latrell Greer
W2021-01329-CCA-R3-CD
Authoring Judge: Judge Camille R. McMullen
Trial Court Judge: Judge Donald H. Allen

The Defendant-Appellant, Tony Latrell Greer, pleaded guilty to second degree murder, attempted aggravated robbery, and conspiracy to commit aggravated robbery. The trial court sentenced the Defendant as a Range II, multiple offender to concurrent sentences of thirty-three years, ten years, and ten years, respectively. On appeal, the Defendant challenges the length of the sentences imposed by the trial court. After review, we remand the case for entry of corrected judgment forms as specified in this opinion. In all other respects, the judgments of the trial court are affirmed.

Madison County Court of Criminal Appeals 08/25/22
Robert Beham v. State of Tennessee
W2021-00771-CCA-R3-PC
Authoring Judge: Judge Robert L. Holloway, Jr.
Trial Court Judge: Judge Carolyn Wade Blackett

Petitioner, Robert Beham, 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 rape of a child and aggravated sexual battery. On appeal, Petitioner asserts that he received ineffective assistance of trial counsel because (1) counsel failed to request a “mental evaluation” and (2) counsel failed to present mitigating evidence in sentencing, specifically a psychosexual evaluation. Following our review, we affirm.

Shelby County Court of Criminal Appeals 08/24/22
State of Tennessee v. Jovan Crawford
E2021-01351-CCA-R3-CD
Authoring Judge: Judge J. Ross Dyer
Trial Court Judge: Judge Jeffery Hill Wicks

Following a bench trial, the defendant, Jovan Crawford, was convicted of aggravated assault, and the trial court imposed a sentence of eight years’ incarceration to be served consecutively to the defendant’s prior sentences in Shelby County Case Nos. 1308038 and 1501666. On appeal, the defendant contends that his sentence is excessive and that the trial court erred in imposing consecutive sentences. After reviewing the record and considering the applicable law, we affirm the judgment of the trial court.

Morgan County Court of Criminal Appeals 08/24/22
Larry Lee Smith v. State of Tennessee
E2021-01303-CCA-R3-PC
Authoring Judge: Judge James Curwood Witt
Trial Court Judge: Judge Kyle A. Hixson

The petitioner, Larry Lee Smith, appeals the denial of his petition for post-conviction relief, which petition challenged his convictions of aggravated rape and aggravated kidnapping, alleging that he was deprived of the effective assistance of counsel. Discerning no error, we affirm the denial of post-conviction relief.

Knox County Court of Criminal Appeals 08/23/22
State of Tennessee v. David Paul Beets
E2021-00773-CCA-R3-CD
Authoring Judge: Judge James Curwood Witt
Trial Court Judge: Judge G. Scott Green

The defendant, David Paul Beets, appeals his Knox County Criminal Court jury convictions of possession with intent to sell more than .5 grams of methamphetamine within 1,000 feet of a private school, simple possession of heroin, hydrocodone, and marijuana, and driving on a suspended license, arguing that the evidence was insufficient to establish that he sold drugs in a drug-free zone or that his license had been suspended. We affirm the drug conviction but reverse the conviction of driving on a suspended license and dismiss that charge.

Knox County Court of Criminal Appeals 08/23/22
Jamie Brock v. State of Tennessee
E2022-00082-CCA-R3-PC
Authoring Judge: Judge James Curwood Witt
Trial Court Judge: Judge E. Shayne Sexton

The pro se petitioner, Jamie Brock, appeals from the dismissal of his petition filed pursuant to the Post-Conviction DNA Analysis Act of 2001 (“the Act”), which petition sought the appointment of counsel to assist him in seeking DNA testing of evidence related to his first degree murder conviction. Discerning no error, we affirm.

Claiborne County Court of Criminal Appeals 08/23/22
State of Tennessee v. Charles Lawson
E2021-00664-CCA-R3-CD
Authoring Judge: Judge John Everett Williams
Trial Court Judge: Judge John F. Dugger, Jr.

The Defendant, Charles Lawson, entered guilty pleas to unlawful possession of a weapon, evading arrest, attempted child abuse or neglect, felony escape, evading arrest in a motor vehicle, and theft of property valued $10,000 or more, and he received an effective ten-year sentence, which he was to serve on probation. The Defendant was charged with new criminal offenses, and he entered into an agreement with the prosecution resolving both the new charges and the violation of probation. The trial court rejected the plea agreement. After a hearing, the court determined that the Defendant violated probation and ordered the sentences in the probation violation case to be served in confinement. The Defendant appeals, asserting that the trial court erroneously believed that the prosecution had no authority to make a plea offer for a violation of probation, that his due process rights were violated because the court relied on evidence outside the proceedings and interjected itself into the plea process, and that the sentences imposed were illegal. We conclude that the Defendant’s claims regarding the rejection of the plea agreement by the trial court are waived, that his due process rights were not violated during the hearing addressing revocation, and that the judgments, which reflect a thirty-five percent release eligibility date, are not rendered illegal by any error in the mittimus. Accordingly, we affirm the trial court’s judgments.

Greene County Court of Criminal Appeals 08/23/22
State of Tennessee v. William Scott Warwick
E2021-01077-CCA-R3-CD
Authoring Judge: Judge J. Ross Dyer
Trial Court Judge: Judge Steven Wayne Sword

A Knox County jury convicted the defendant, William Scott Warwick, of three counts of assault by offensive or provocative touching, a Class B misdemeanor, and three counts of sexual contact with a minor by an authority figure, a Class A misdemeanor. Following a sentencing hearing, the trial court imposed an effective sentence of 2 years, 11 months, and 27 days at 75 percent, suspended to supervised probation after serving 90 days in confinement. On appeal, the defendant argues the trial court erred in imposing split confinement. After reviewing the record and considering the applicable law, we affirm the judgments of the trial court.

Knox County Court of Criminal Appeals 08/22/22
Rodney Turner v. State of Tennessee
W2021-00531-CCA-R3-PC
Authoring Judge: Presiding Judge John Everett Williams
Trial Court Judge: Judge Jennifer Johnson Mitchell

The Petitioner, Rodney Turner, appeals the post-conviction court’s denial of his postconviction petition, in which he challenged his two convictions of attempted first degree murder and one conviction of employing a firearm during the commission of a dangerous felony and the resulting total effective sentence of fifty years. On appeal, the Petitioner contends that he received the ineffective assistance of counsel at trial and on direct appeal and that the post-conviction court erred by denying funds for a fingerprint expert. Upon reviewing the record, the parties’ briefs, oral arguments, and the applicable law, we affirm the judgment of the post-conviction court.

Shelby County Court of Criminal Appeals 08/19/22
State of Tennessee v. William Benning
E2021-00889-CCA-R3-CD
Authoring Judge: Judge John Everett Williams
Trial Court Judge: Judge Steven Wayne Sword

The Defendant, William Benning, pleaded guilty to second degree murder, and he was sentenced to twenty-five years in confinement. On appeal, the Defendant argues that the trial court abused its discretion by imposing an excessive sentence. After review, we affirm the judgment of the trial court.

Knox County Court of Criminal Appeals 08/18/22
State of Tennessee v. Rodney Dean Porter
E2021-00915-CCA-R3-CD
Authoring Judge: Judge J. Ross Dyer
Trial Court Judge: Judge Kyle A. Hixson

The petitioner, Rodney Deon Porter, appeals the denial of his post-conviction petition, arguing the post-conviction court erred in finding he received effective assistance of counsel on direct appeal. Following our review, we affirm the post-conviction court’s denial of the petition.

Court of Criminal Appeals 08/18/22
State of Tennessee v. Barry Jamal Martin
M2021-00667-CCA-R3-CD
Authoring Judge: Judge John W. Campbell, Sr.
Trial Court Judge: Judge Stella L. Hargrove

The Defendant, Barry Jamal Martin, was convicted in the Giles County Circuit Court of possession of one-half gram or more of cocaine with intent to sell, a Class B felony; possession of not less than one-half ounce of marijuana with intent to sell, a Class E felony; and possession of drug paraphernalia, a Class A misdemeanor, and received an effective twelve-year sentence to be served in confinement.  On appeal, the Defendant claims that the evidence is insufficient to support the convictions; that a new trial is required due to the grand jury and the petit jury being exposed to extraneous prejudicial information in the “Confederate jury room”; that the trial court erred by denying defense counsel’s motion to be relieved as counsel; that the trial court erred by excluding an undisclosed, exculpatory letter written by the Defendant from evidence; that the trial court erred by allowing a police officer to testify that a person could not possess more than two grams of cocaine for personal use; that the trial court erred by denying alternative sentencing; and that he is entitled to relief due to cumulative error.  Based on our review, we affirm the judgments of the trial court.

Giles County Court of Criminal Appeals 08/16/22
State of Tennessee v. Bryan A. Erwin
E2021-01232-CCA-R3-CD
Authoring Judge: Judge J. Ross Dyer
Trial Court Judge: Judge Andrew M. Freiberg

A Bradley County jury convicted the defendant, Bryan A. Erwin, of simple assault and aggravated assault for which the trial court imposed an effective three-year sentence to be served in the Tennessee Department of Correction. On appeal, the defendant contends that the State committed prosecutorial misconduct at various times during the trial and that the trial court erred in certain evidentiary rulings and in sentencing. After reviewing the record and considering the applicable law, we affirm the judgments of the trial court. Additionally, we remand for the entry of corrected judgment forms to reflect the appropriate conviction for count 1, for simple assault, and count 2, for aggravated assault.

Bradley County Court of Criminal Appeals 08/15/22
Malik Dewayne Hardin v. State of Tennessee
E2021-01244-CCA-R3-PC
Authoring Judge: Judge. J. Ross Dyer
Trial Court Judge: Judge Kyle A. Hixson

The petitioner, Malik DeWayne Hardin, appeals the partial denial of his Rule 36 motion to correct a clerical error, asserting that a clerical error resulted in his being sentenced as a Range II offender and that he did not receive all the pretrial jail credit he was promised. After review, we affirm the judgment of the trial court.

Knox County Court of Criminal Appeals 08/15/22
Trimon J. Pruitt v. State of Tennessee
W2021-01214-CCA-R3-PC
Authoring Judge: Judge Robert W. Wedemeyer
Trial Court Judge: Judge Kyle Atkins

A Madison County jury convicted the Petitioner, Trimon J. Pruitt, of one count of second degree murder, and the trial court sentenced him to serve twenty-four years, at 100%. The Petitioner appealed, and this court affirmed his conviction and sentence. State v. Trimon Pruitt, No. W2018-00039-CCA-R3-CD, 2019 WL 1501552, *1 (Tenn. Crim. App., at Jackson, Apr. 4, 2019), Tenn. R. App. P. 11 application denied (Tenn. Aug 19, 2019). The Petitioner filed an untimely petition for post-conviction relief, which the post-conviction court dismissed after a hearing. We affirm the post-conviction court’s judgment.

Madison County Court of Criminal Appeals 08/12/22
State of Tennessee v. Raymond Paul Lankey
E2021-01161-CCA-R3-CD
Authoring Judge: Judge Robert W. Wedemeyer
Trial Court Judge: Judge David R. Duggan

The Defendant, Raymond Paul Lankey, appeals the trial court’s order imposing confinement after finding that the Defendant violated his probation. The Defendant’s probation began in December 2019, when he pleaded guilty to aggravated assault in exchange for an effective three-year sentence, with two years, eleven months and eight days to be served on supervised probation. In July 2021, a probation violation warrant was issued, the Defendant’s second, alleging multiple violations. After a hearing, the trial court revoked the Defendant’s probation, ordering him to serve the remainder of his sentence in confinement. On appeal, the Defendant asserts that the trial court abused its discretion when it revoked his probation and when it ordered him to confinement. After review, we affirm the trial court’s judgment.

Blount County Court of Criminal Appeals 08/12/22
State of Tennessee v. John P. Stone
W2021-01044-CCA-R3-CD
Authoring Judge: Presiding Judge John Everett Williams
Trial Court Judge: Judge Charles Creed McGinley

The Defendant, John P. Stone, was convicted of aggravated burglary following a bench trial, and he received a sentence of twelve years in confinement. On appeal, the Defendant argues that the evidence was insufficient to convict him of aggravated burglary. After reviewing the record, the parties’ briefs, and the applicable law, we affirm the trial court’s judgment.

Decatur County Court of Criminal Appeals 08/11/22
STATE OF TENNESSEE v. DANIEL SMITH
W2021-01075-CCA-R3-CD
Authoring Judge: Judge Robert W. Wedemeyer
Trial Court Judge: Judge James M. Lammey

The Defendant, Daniel Smith, appeals the trial court’s revocation of his ten-year probation sentence for aggravated assault. The trial court determined that the Defendant’s act of sending a letter to the victim violated the terms of his probation sentence and ordered the Defendant to serve his sentence. The Defendant asserts that the trial court’s revocation of his probation sentence was an abuse of discretion and that he should be returned to service of a probation sentence. After review, we conclude that revocation of the probation sentence was not an abuse of discretion.

Shelby County Court of Criminal Appeals 08/11/22