Court of Criminal Appeals Opinions

Format: 10/07/2022
Format: 10/07/2022
State of Tennessee v. Phillip Myron Looper
M2021-00652-CCA-R3-CD
Authoring Judge: Judge Robert W. Wedemeyer
Trial Court Judge: Judge Dee David Gay

The Defendant, Phillip Myron Looper, pleaded guilty to two counts of aggravated animal cruelty and one count of aggravated assault.  The trial court sentenced the Defendant to 364 days to be served in the county jail, followed by twelve years of probation, including a restriction from leaving the county of residence except for medical treatment.  The Defendant did not object to the sentence but filed a timely appeal, contending that the trial court erred when it imposed a sentence in excess of the agreed upon five years and by improperly imposing travel restrictions.  After review, we reverse the trial court’s judgments and remand the case for entry of an order as set forth herein. 

Sumner County Court of Criminal Appeals 08/11/22
Lavonte D. Simmons v. State of Tennessee
E2021-00819-CCA-R3-PC
Authoring Judge: Judge John W. Campbell, Sr.
Trial Court Judge: Judge Steven Wayne Sword

The Petitioner, Lavonte D. Simmons, appeals the denial of his petition for post-conviction relief, arguing that the post-conviction court erred in finding that he received effective assistance of trial counsel. Based on our review, we affirm the judgment of the postconviction court.

Knox County Court of Criminal Appeals 08/10/22
Bryan Shawn Blevins v. State of Tennessee
E2021-01312-CCA-R3-PC
Authoring Judge: Judge John W. Campbell
Trial Court Judge: Judge Stacy L. Street

The Petitioner, Bryan Shawn Blevins, appeals the denial of his petition for post-conviction relief, arguing that his trial counsel provided ineffective assistance, which rendered his guilty pleas unknowing and involuntary. The State argues that the post-conviction court erred in denying the State’s motion to summarily dismiss the petition as time-barred. Based on our review, we conclude that the Petitioner failed to show that the one-year statute of limitations should be tolled on due process grounds. Thus, the Petitioner’s post-conviction claims are barred by the statute of limitations. We, therefore, reverse the post-conviction court’s denial of the State’s motion to dismiss the petition as untimely.

Carter County Court of Criminal Appeals 08/10/22
STATE OF TENNESSEE v. GARY WAYNE PONDER
M2021-00940-CCA-R3-CD
Authoring Judge: Judge Robert W. Wedemeyer
Trial Court Judge: Judge Gary McKenzie

A DeKalb County jury convicted the Defendant, Gary Wayne Ponder, of aggravated arson. The trial court imposed a twenty-three-year sentence to be served in the Tennessee Department of Correction. On appeal, the Defendant argues that the evidence was insufficient to support his conviction, that the trial court erred when it denied his motion for a change of venue, and that the trial court erred when it sentenced him. After a thorough review of the record and applicable law, we affirm the trial court’s judgments.

DeKalb County Court of Criminal Appeals 08/10/22
Sterling Carter v. State of Tennessee
M2021-01093-CCA-R3-PC
Authoring Judge: Judge Robert W. Wedemeyer
Trial Court Judge: Judge Steve R. Dozier

The Petitioner, Sterling Carter, pleaded guilty to aggravated sexual battery, and the trial court imposed a twenty-two year sentence to be served in the Tennessee Department of Correction.  The Petitioner filed a post-conviction relief petition, alleging that he had received the ineffective assistance of counsel and that his guilty plea was involuntary.  After a hearing, the post-conviction court denied relief, finding that the Petitioner had not proven his allegations by clear and convincing evidence. On appeal, the Petitioner maintains his arguments.  After review, we affirm the post-conviction court’s judgment.

Davidson County Court of Criminal Appeals 08/09/22
David H. Johnson v. Steve Upton, Warden
M2021-01164-CCA-R3-HC
Authoring Judge: Judge Robert W. Wedemeyer
Trial Court Judge: Judge Michael Wayne Collins

The Petitioner, David H. Johnson, appeals the denial of his petition for habeas corpus relief.  He maintains that the trial court did not have jurisdiction over his case because the superseding indictment was returned after the expiration of the statute of limitations for aggravated rape.  The habeas court summarily denied the petition because the record failed to establish that the judgment was void.  After review, we affirm the habeas court.

Trousdale County Court of Criminal Appeals 08/09/22
DESHAWN MCCLENTON v. STATE OF TENNESSEE
W2021-01054-CCA-R3-HC
Authoring Judge: Presiding Judge John Everett Williams
Trial Court Judge: Judge Lee V. Coffee

The Petitioner, DeShawn McClenton, appeals the summary dismissal of his petition for writ of habeas corpus. After review, we affirm the judgment of the habeas corpus court.

Shelby County Court of Criminal Appeals 08/08/22
Etta Faye Beck Bombacino v. Anthony John Bombacino, Sr.
E2021-01261-COA-R3-CV
Authoring Judge: Judge Kristi M. Davis
Trial Court Judge: Judge J. Michael Sharp

Etta Faye Beck Bombacino (“Wife”) filed for divorce from Anthony John Bombacino (“Husband”) on January 29, 2021. Trial was held on July 21, 2021, and the trial court assessed equal fault to the parties and ordered them divorced. The trial court also ordered that the parties split the equity in their home after marital debts were paid and awarded Wife no spousal support. Wife appeals. Discerning no error, we affirm.

Bradley County Court of Criminal Appeals 08/03/22
State of Tennessee v. Bobby Lovin
E2021-00705-CCA-R3-CD
Authoring Judge: Judge John Everett Williams, Presiding Judge
Trial Court Judge: Judge E. Shayne Sexton

A jury convicted the Defendant, Bobby Lovin, of two counts of rape of a child, and he received an effective sixty-four-year sentence. The Defendant appeals, challenging the sufficiency of the evidence on one count of rape of a child and the trial court’s admission of the victim’s recorded forensic interview. We conclude that the evidence is sufficient and that there was no error in the admission of the video, and we affirm the trial court’s judgments.

Claiborne County Court of Criminal Appeals 08/03/22
Corry Merriweather v. State of Tennessee
W2021-01002-CCA-R3-PC
Authoring Judge: Judge Camille R. McMullen
Trial Court Judge: Judge John Wheeler Campbell

Pro se Petitioner, Corry Merriweather, appeals the summary dismissal of his second petition seeking post-conviction relief from his conviction of second-degree murder. On appeal, the Petitioner argues the post-conviction court erred by dismissing his petition without conducting an evidentiary hearing. Upon review, we affirm.

Shelby County Court of Criminal Appeals 08/03/22
State of Tennessee v. Christopher James Carbin
W2021-01082-CCA-R3-CD
Authoring Judge: Judge Robert L. Holloway, Jr.
Trial Court Judge: Judge Lee V. Coffee

Petitioner, Christopher James Carbin, appeals the trial court’s denial of his “Motion for Order Compelling Discovery,” which he filed regarding his 1986 Shelby County convictions for attempted second degree burglary, carrying burglar’s tools, and receiving stolen property. Upon review, we conclude that we are without jurisdiction to address the merits of the instant case, and the appeal is dismissed.

Shelby County Court of Criminal Appeals 08/02/22
State of Tennessee v. Demerrick Porter
W2021-01216-CCA-R3-CD
Authoring Judge: Judge John W. Campbell, Sr.
Trial Court Judge: Judge Paula L. Skahan

The Defendant, Demerrick Porter, was convicted in the Shelby County Criminal Court of second degree murder, attempted second degree murder, and employing a firearm during the commission of a dangerous felony and received an effective sentence of thirty-eight years in confinement. On appeal, the Defendant contends that the evidence is insufficient to support his convictions of second degree murder and attempted second degree murder. After review, we affirm the judgments of the trial court.

Shelby County Court of Criminal Appeals 08/01/22
State of Tennessee v. Marvin Dewayne Bullock
E2021-00661-CCA-R3-CD
Authoring Judge: Presiding Judge John Everetter Williams
Trial Court Judge: Judge E. Shayne Sexton

The Defendant, Marvin Dewayne Bullock, appeals his convictions for four counts of rape of a child, five counts of rape, nine counts of incest, three counts of sexual battery by an authority figure, one count of solicitation of sexual exploitation of a minor, two counts of sexual exploitation of a minor, and one count of aggravated sexual battery, for which he received an effective sentence of 178 years. On appeal, the Defendant contends that the evidence was insufficient to support his convictions; that due to a hearing impairment, he was unable to hear the witnesses’ testimony at trial; that the prosecutor improperly coached jurors during voir dire in how to avoid jury service; that his sentences are excessive; and that he received ineffective assistance of counsel at trial. We conclude that the Defendant’s notice of appeal was untimely and that the untimely filing should not be waived in the interest of justice. Accordingly, we dismiss the appeal, and we remand the case to the trial court for entry of corrected judgments as set forth in the opinion.

Campbell County Court of Criminal Appeals 07/29/22
State of Tennessee v. George Steven Waters
E2021-00218-CCA-R3-CD
Authoring Judge: Judge Jill Bartee Ayers
Trial Court Judge: Judge Sandra Donaghy

Defendant, George Steven Waters, was convicted by a jury of one count of reckless homicide. The trial court imposed a sentence of four years, suspended to ten years of supervised probation after service of 364 days in confinement. On appeal, Defendant argues that the evidence was insufficient to support his conviction; that the trial court erred in denying his request for judicial diversion; and that his sentence is excessive. Following our review of the entire record and the briefs of the parties, we affirm the judgment of the trial court.

Polk County Court of Criminal Appeals 07/28/22
Joshua Simpson v. State of Tennessee
W2021-00849-CCA-R3-PC
Authoring Judge: Judge Robert H. Montgomery, Jr.
Trial Court Judge: Judge Paula Skahan

The Petitioner, Joshua Simpson, was convicted upon his guilty pleas to aggravated rape, aggravated robbery, two counts of aggravated kidnapping, and two counts of aggravated burglary, for which he received an effective twenty-year sentence. He filed a petition for post-conviction relief, which the trial court denied after a hearing. On appeal, he contends that the post-conviction court erred in denying relief on his claims that he received the ineffective assistance of trial counsel and that he did not knowingly, voluntarily, and intelligently enter his guilty pleas. We affirm the judgment of the post-conviction court.

Shelby County Court of Criminal Appeals 07/27/22
State of Tennessee v. Michelle Bennington
E2021-01163-CCA-R3-CD
Authoring Judge: Judge Camille R. McMullen
Trial Court Judge: Judge Thomas C. Greenholtz

The Defendant-Appellant, Michelle Bennington, appeals the dismissal of her second pro se Rule 36 motion to correct a clerical error on an order revoking her probation. See Tenn. R. Crim. P. 36. The sole issue presented is whether the trial court abused its discretion in not applying jail credits the Defendant-Appellant earned on a concurrent sentence in another jurisdiction to the order of revocation. We affirm the dismissal.

Hamilton County Court of Criminal Appeals 07/27/22
Bryan Williams v. State of Tennessee
W2021-00823-CCA-R3-PC
Authoring Judge: Judge Timothy L. Easter
Trial Court Judge: Judge Clayburn Peeples

Bryan Williams, Petitioner, was convicted of multiple sex offenses and a panel of this Court affirmed his convictions on direct appeal. State v. Bryan Williams, No. W2013-00418-CCA-R3-CD, 2014 WL 280398, at *1 (Tenn. Crim. App. Jan. 24, 2014), no perm. app. filed. Petitioner now appeals from the Gibson County Circuit Court’s denial of his petition for post-conviction relief, in which he alleged that he received ineffective assistance of counsel. After reviewing the record, oral argument, and the briefs of the parties, we affirm the judgment of the post-conviction court.

Gibson County Court of Criminal Appeals 07/26/22
State of Tennessee v. Glenn Bohanan, Jr.
W2021-00242-CCA-R3-CD
Authoring Judge: Judge Timothy L. Easter
Trial Court Judge: Judge Roy B. Morgan, Jr.

Glenn Bohanan, Jr., Defendant, was charged with one count of rape of a child, three counts of rape, and four counts of incest, for events that took place over the span of several years. After a jury trial, Defendant was found guilty of all counts of the indictment and sentenced to an effective sentence of 40 years. Defendant raises the following issues on appeal: (1) the evidence was insufficient to support the convictions for rape of a child in Count 1, rape in Counts 3 and 4, and incest in Counts 5-8 because the victim did not testify specifically that Defendant penetrated her on each occasion; and (2) the sentence is excessive. After a review of the evidence, we affirm the judgments of the trial court.

Henderson County Court of Criminal Appeals 07/26/22
Tondreon Bowles a/k/a Tondreon Merriweather v. State of Tennessee
W2021-00808-CCA-R3-PC
Authoring Judge: Judge Timothy L. Easter
Trial Court Judge: Judge Chris Craft

Petitioner, Tondreon Bowles, also known as Tondreon Merriweather, appeals from the Shelby County Criminal Court’s denial of post-conviction relief. Petitioner argues that his guilty plea to being a convicted felon in possession of a firearm, a Class C felony, was not knowingly and voluntarily entered and that he received the ineffective assistance of counsel. Petitioner claims that he believed he was pleading guilty to being a convicted felon in possession of a handgun, a Class E felony, and therefore, his sentence is illegal. Following a hearing, the post-conviction court denied relief. Discerning no error, we affirm the judgment of the post-conviction court; however, we remand the case to the trial court for entry of judgment forms in counts two and four.

Shelby County Court of Criminal Appeals 07/25/22
Dustin Shawn Price v. State of Tennessee
M2021-00895-CCA-R3-PC
Authoring Judge: Judge Robert W. Wedemeyer
Trial Court Judge: Judge Angelita Blackshear Dalton

In 2009, a Davidson County jury convicted the Petitioner, Dustin Shawn Price, of first degree felony murder, first degree premeditated murder, two counts of reckless endangerment, and three counts of attempted first degree murder.  The trial court sentenced him to life plus forty years of incarceration.  The Petitioner appealed his convictions to this court, and we affirmed the judgments.  State v. Dustin Shawn Price, No. M2012-00117-CCA-R3-CD, 2013 WL 4539034, at *1 (Tenn. Crim. App., at Nashville, Aug. 26, 2013), no perm. app. filed.  Subsequently, the Petitioner filed a petition for post-conviction relief, claiming that he received the ineffective assistance of counsel, which the post-conviction court denied after a hearing.  After review, we affirm the post-conviction court’s judgment.

Davidson County Court of Criminal Appeals 07/25/22
State of Tennessee v. Hans Banks
W2021-01038-CCA-R3-CD
Authoring Judge: Judge Timothy L. Easter
Trial Court Judge: Judge James M. Lammey

Defendant, Hans Banks, was indicted by the Shelby County Grand Jury for second degree murder. After a trial, Defendant was convicted of the lesser-included offense, voluntary manslaughter, and received a sentence of six years. On appeal, Defendant argues that the trial court erred in denying his motion to suppress his statements given to the police and that the evidence was insufficient to support his conviction of voluntary manslaughter. After review, we affirm the judgment of the trial court.

Shelby County Court of Criminal Appeals 07/22/22
State of Tennessee v. Garet Myers
E2021-00841-CCA-R3-CD
Authoring Judge: Judge John Everett Williams
Trial Court Judge: Judge Alex E. Pearson

A jury convicted the Defendant, Garet Myers, of evading arrest in a motor vehicle, a Class E felony; reckless endangerment, a Class A misdemeanor; speeding, a Class C misdemeanor; and driving without a license, a Class B misdemeanor. The trial court sentenced him to an effective sentence of two years, with thirty days to be served in confinement and the remainder on probation. The Defendant appeals, challenging the sufficiency of the evidence, the court’s refusal to approve the Defendant’s request for a special jury instruction, the exclusion of evidence, and the trial court’s denial of judicial diversion. After a thorough review of the record, the parties’ briefs, oral argument, and the applicable law, we affirm the judgments of the trial court.

Hawkins County Court of Criminal Appeals 07/22/22
Robert Glen Gray v. State of Tennessee
W2021-01533-CCA-R3-PC
Authoring Judge: Judge Robert L. Holloway, Jr.
Trial Court Judge: Judge J. Weber McCraw

Petitioner, Robert Glen Gray, appeals as of right from the McNairy County Circuit Court’s denial of his petition for post-conviction relief, wherein he challenged his convictions for two counts of delivery of more than 0.5 grams of methamphetamine. On appeal, Petitioner asserts that he received ineffective assistance of trial counsel because counsel (1) told Petitioner that he could “beat the charges” and obtain convictions for simple possession/casual exchange of methamphetamine; (2) failed to file a motion to sever; (3) failed to review the entirety of the discovery materials with Petitioner, specifically the laboratory report on the methamphetamine and photographs of Petitioner exchanging money and drugs; and (4) failed to explain the State’s plea offer “in its entirety.” Following our review, we affirm.

McNairy County Court of Criminal Appeals 07/21/22
Garric Dorsey v. State of Tennessee
W2021-01135-CCA-R3-PC
Authoring Judge: Judge Robert L. Holloway, Jr.
Trial Court Judge: Judge J. Robert Carter, Jr.

The Shelby County Grand Jury indicted Petitioner, Garric Dorsey, for one count of Class B aggravated sexual battery, one count of Class C solicitation of a minor, and one count of Class B felony sexual exploitation of a minor. Although Petitioner’s criminal history was that of a Range II offender, Petitioner entered a guilty plea as a Range III offender to one count of attempted aggravated sexual battery and one count of solicitation of a minor, both Class C felonies. The State dismissed the count of sexual exploitation of a minor. Pursuant to the plea agreement, the trial court sentenced Petitioner to eleven years’ incarceration on both counts and ran the sentences concurrently. Petitioner filed a post-conviction petition, which the post-conviction court denied following a hearing. On appeal, Petitioner argues that he was denied the effective assistance of counsel and that his due process rights were violated. After a thorough review, we affirm the judgment of the post-conviction court.

Shelby County Court of Criminal Appeals 07/21/22
Raymond-Bernard Bailey v. State of Tennessee
W2021-01535-CCA-R3-ECN
Authoring Judge: Judge John W. Campbell, Sr.
Trial Court Judge: Judge Chris Craft

The pro se Petitioner, Raymond-Bernard Bailey, appeals the dismissal of his petition for writ of error coram nobis, arguing that the error coram court erred in dismissing his petition without a hearing because he has newly discovered evidence to show his innocence of the crimes. Based on our review, we affirm the summary dismissal of the petition.

Shelby County Court of Criminal Appeals 07/20/22