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COURT OF CRIMINAL APPEALS OPINIONS

State of Tennessee v. James Lee Simpson
M2021-01031-CCA-R3-CD
Authoring Judge: Judge Robert L. Holloway, Jr.
Trial Court Judge: Judge Mark J. Fishburn

Following a trial, a Davidson County jury convicted Defendant, James Lee Simpson, of voluntary manslaughter, aggravated assault resulting in death, and felon in possession of a firearm, for which he received a total effective sentence of fifteen years’ incarceration. On appeal, Defendant contends that: (1) the trial court erred by providing incomplete and erroneous jury instructions on the issue of self-defense; (2) the trial court erred by preventing Defendant from cross-examining a witness regarding alleged prior acts of violence by the victims in violation of both Tennessee Rule of Evidence 405 and Defendant’s right to confrontation; (3) the trial court erred in refusing to instruct the jury on the defense of necessity; (4) the trial court abused its discretion in sentencing Defendant; (5) the State failed to present sufficient evidence to support convictions for voluntary manslaughter and aggravated assault resulting in death; and (6) the trial court abused its discretion by allowing the State to cross-examine a witness regarding Defendant’s prior conviction for possessing a firearm after concluding that Defendant had “opened the door” to the cross-examination. Following a thorough review of the record and applicable law, we reverse Defendant’s convictions and remand for a new trial.

Davidson Court of Criminal Appeals

State of Tennessee v. Jeffrey L. Crowe
M2022-00072-CCA-R3-CD
Authoring Judge: Judge Timothy L. Easter
Trial Court Judge: Judge Cheryl A. Blackburn

Defendant, Jeffrey L. Crowe, was indicted by the Davidson County Grand Jury for reckless aggravated assault with a deadly weapon, second offense DUI by impairment, second offense DUI per se, and resisting arrest. Following a bench trial, Defendant was convicted of the charged offenses and sentenced to an effective sentence of two years to be suspended on probation after serving 32 days incarcerated. In this appeal as of right, Defendant contends that the evidence was insufficient to support his convictions; that the trial court erred when it restricted Defendant’s cross-examination of the victim; and that the trial court committed plain error when it allowed hearsay testimony. Having reviewed the entire record and the briefs and arguments of the parties, we affirm the judgments of the trial court.

Davidson Court of Criminal Appeals

Richard Cleophus Smith v. State of Tennessee
E2022-00200-CCA-R3-PC
Authoring Judge: Judge James Curwood Witt
Trial Court Judge: Judge G. Scott Green

The petitioner, Richard Cleophus Smith, appeals the denial of his petition for postconviction relief, which petition challenged his convictions of first degree murder, attempted first degree murder, employing a firearm during the commission of a dangerous felony, evading arrest, reckless endangerment, and leaving the scene of an accident involving injury, alleging that he was deprived of the effective assistance of counsel and due process. Because the petitioner’s post-conviction counsel also represented the petitioner on direct appeal, we remand to the post-conviction court to determine whether the petitioner knowingly and voluntarily agrees to waive post-conviction counsel’s conflict of interests.

Knox Court of Criminal Appeals

State of Tennessee v. Ernest Seard
W2021-01485-CCA-R3-CD
Authoring Judge: Judge J. Ross Dyer
Trial Court Judge: Judge J. Robert Carter, Jr.

Following the denial of a motion to suppress, the defendant, Ernest Seard, pled guilty to one count of driving under the influence (“DUI”) and was sentenced to eleven months and twenty-nine days in jail with all but five days suspended to probation. As a condition of his plea, the defendant reserved the right to appeal a certified question of law pursuant to Tennessee Rule of Criminal Procedure 37(b)(2)(D), challenging the denial of his motion to suppress his “search, seizure and arrest.” Upon our review, we conclude the trial court erred in its application of Tennessee Rule of Criminal Procedure 37(b)(2)(D). Accordingly, we vacate the judgment of the trial court, reinstate count 2 of the indictment, and remand the case for further proceedings consistent with this opinion.

Shelby Court of Criminal Appeals

State of Tennessee v. Daniel Hickman
E2021-00662-CCA-R3-CD
Authoring Judge: Judge Timothy L. Easter
Trial Court Judge: Judge Steven Wayne Sword

Defendant, Daniel Hickman, appeals his convictions for criminally negligent homicide and especially aggravated robbery, for which he received an effective 27-year sentence. On appeal, Defendant contends that (1) the evidence is insufficient to support his convictions; (2) the trial court erred in excluding evidence supporting the defense theory that a third party committed the offenses in violation of Defendant’s right to present a defense; (3) the trial court erred in admitting the entire audio recording of Defendant’s interview with police and photographs taken of Defendant during the interview; (4) the trial court erred in admitting testimony regarding a prior suspect’s willingness to take a polygraph examination; (5) the jury improperly considered a lesser included offense for especially aggravated robbery in violation of the trial court’s sequential jury instructions; and (6) the cumulative effect of the errors deprived Defendant of his right to a fair trial. Upon reviewing the record, the parties’ briefs, oral arguments and the applicable law, we affirm the judgments of the trial court.

Knox Court of Criminal Appeals

Asata D. Lowe v. State of Tennessee
E2022-00285-CCA-R3-HC
Authoring Judge: Judge Camille R. McMullen
Trial Court Judge: Judge Jeffery Hill Wicks

The Petitioner, Asata D. Lowe, appeals the Morgan County Circuit Court’s summary dismissal of his pro se petition seeking habeas corpus relief from his convictions for two counts of first degree premeditated murder and one count of especially aggravated robbery, for which he received an effective sentence of life imprisonment without the possibility of parole plus twenty-five years. On appeal, the Petitioner argues he is entitled to habeas corpus relief because he was deprived of his right to be present at his initial appearance, deprived of his right to counsel at his initial appearance, and deprived of his right to present a defense at his initial appearance. He additionally contends that the habeas corpus court denied his right of access to the courts when it summarily dismissed his habeas corpus petition before ruling on two of his pending motions. After review, we affirm the judgment summarily dismissing the petition for writ of habeas corpus.

Morgan Court of Criminal Appeals

State of Tennessee v. Michael Lee Arthur Moreno
M2020-01090-CCA-R3-CD
Authoring Judge: Judge John W. Campbell Sr.
Trial Court Judge: Judge Cheryl A. Blackburn

The Defendant, Michael Lee Arthur Moreno, was convicted by a Davidson County Criminal Court jury of attempted voluntary manslaughter, a Class D felony; reckless endangerment, a Class A misdemeanor; and employing a firearm during the commission of a dangerous felony, a Class C felony, and was sentenced by the trial court to an effective term of eight years in the Department of Correction. He raises the following three issues on appeal: (1) whether the evidence is sufficient to sustain his convictions; (2) whether the trial court abused its discretion under Tennessee Rule of Evidence 404 and Tennessee Code Annotated section 24-7-125 by restricting cross-examination of one of the victims about text messages the victim sent the night before the shooting expressing the victim’s desire to commit a robbery; and (3) whether the trial court erred under Tennessee Rule of Evidence 613 by allowing the State to introduce rebuttal evidence of a defense witness’s recorded statement to police. Based on our review, we conclude that the evidence is sufficient to sustain the convictions, that the trial court did not err in restricting cross-examination of the victim, and that the Defendant, who failed to raise a contemporaneous objection at trial, cannot show plain error in the introduction of the defense witness’s statement. Accordingly, we affirm the judgments of the trial court.

Davidson Court of Criminal Appeals

State of Tennessee v. Tyler Keith Parrish
M2021-01452-CCA-R3-CD
Authoring Judge: Judge Timothy L. Easter
Trial Court Judge: Judge M. Wyatt Burk

Tyler Keith Parrish, Defendant, was convicted by a jury of two counts of aggravated sexual battery. The trial court affirmed the jury verdict, merged the two convictions, and sentenced Defendant to a within-range sentence of 12 years as a Range I, standard offender. On appeal, Defendant challenges the sufficiency of the evidence and his sentence as excessive. After review, we affirm the judgments of the trial court.

Marshall Court of Criminal Appeals

State of Tennessee v. Justin Michael Banning
E2022-00188-CCA-R3-CD
Authoring Judge: Judge Tom Greenholtz
Trial Court Judge: Judge Tammy M. Harrington

The Defendant, Justin M. Banning, was originally sentenced to a term of four years and placed on probation. Thereafter, the Defendant committed a new criminal offense, engaged in unlawful substance use, and violated a no-contact order with the victim. As a consequence, the trial court revoked the suspended sentence and ordered that the Defendant serve the original four-year sentence in custody. On appeal, the Defendant contends the trial court abused its discretion by revoking his suspended sentence in its entirety. We affirm the judgment of the trial court.

Blount Court of Criminal Appeals

Steven Jeffrey Pike v. State of Tennessee
E2021-01055-CCA-R3-PC
Authoring Judge: Judge Camille R. McMullen
Trial Court Judge: Judge Kyle A. Hixson

The Petitioner, Steven Jeffrey Pike, appeals the Knox County Criminal Court’s denial of his post-conviction petition, wherein he challenged his conviction for first degree premeditated murder. On appeal, the Petitioner argues that (1) trial counsel provided ineffective assistance in failing to impeach a witness for the State with the witness’s prior statement to police; (2) appellate counsel provided ineffective assistance in failing to raise on appeal the trial court’s limitation of defense expert’s testimony; (3) appellate counsel provided ineffective assistance in failing to raise on appeal that the Petitioner’s involuntary statements constituted a due process violation not subject to harmless error analysis; and (4) the multiple errors committed by trial counsel and appellate counsel constituted prejudicial error in the aggregate.1 After review, we affirm the denial of post-conviction relief.

Knox Court of Criminal Appeals

State of Tennessee v. David Wayne Eady
M2021-00388-CCA-R3-CD
Authoring Judge: Judge Jill Bartee Ayers
Trial Court Judge: Judge Cheryl A. Blackburn

Defendant, David Wayne Eady, was convicted by a jury of eleven counts of aggravated robbery and one count of attempted aggravated robbery. The trial court sentenced Defendant as a repeat violent offender and imposed eleven concurrent sentences of life without the possibility of parole. The trial court ran the life imprisonment sentences concurrently with a fifteen-year sentence for the attempted aggravated robbery conviction. On appeal, Defendant contends 1) the trial court abused its discretion in denying his motion to sever the offenses; 2) the trial court abused its discretion in denying his motion to suppress his statements; 3) the trial court abused its discretion in denying his motion to disqualify the District Attorney General’s Office, 4) the evidence was insufficient to support his conviction for aggravated robbery as charged in count eight of the indictment; and 5) his convictions for aggravated robbery as charged in counts one and two of the indictment violate Double Jeopardy as a matter of plain error. Because the facts and circumstances support only one conviction for aggravated robbery as charged in counts one and two, we merge the two counts, and remand for entry of amended judgments in counts one and two reflecting the merger. In all other respects, we affirm the judgments of the trial court.

Davidson Court of Criminal Appeals

State of Tennessee v. David Wayne Eady
M2021-00388-CCA-R3-CD
Authoring Judge: Judge Camille R. McMullen
Trial Court Judge: Judge Cheryl A. Blackburn

For the reasons that follow, I am compelled to dissent from the section of the majority opinion affirming the decision of the trial court to deny severance of the offenses in this case. I agree that the trial court correctly determined that permissible joinder, pursuant to Rule 8(b)(2), was proper because of the similar nature of the crimes alleged in this case. In these circumstances, a defendant has an absolute right under Rule 14(b)(1) to have offenses separately tried unless the prosecution shows (1) that the offenses are part of a common scheme or plan, and (2) evidence of each crime would be admissible in the trial of the others. State v. Garrett, 331 S.W.3d 392, 401 (Tenn. 2011); State v. Toliver, 117 S.W.3d 216, 228 (Tenn. 2003); see also State v. Moore, 6 S.W.3d 235, 239 n. 7 (Tenn. 1999) (“[A] common scheme or plan for severance purposes is the same as a common scheme or plan for evidentiary purposes.”). To justify consolidation here, the State relied upon the second category of common scheme or plan evidence, that each of the offenses committed and to be joined were part of a larger, continuing plan or conspiracy. State v. Garrett, 331 S.W.3d at 404 (observing that there are three types of common scheme or plan evidence: (1) offenses that reveal a distinctive design or are so similar as to constitute signature crimes; (2) offenses that are part of a larger, continuing plan or conspiracy; and (3) offenses that are all part of the same criminal transaction) (internal citations and quotations omitted). Because there was no proof that the offenses were part of a larger, continuing plan, I would have concluded that the trial court erred in denying the severance request under Rule 14(b)(1). Garrett, 331 S.W.3d at 403 (the prosecution bears the burden of producing evidence to establish that consolidation is proper).

Davidson Court of Criminal Appeals

Micah Transou v. State of Tennessee
W2022-00172-CCA-R3-PC
Authoring Judge: Judge Jill Bartee Ayers
Trial Court Judge: Judge Donald H. Allen

Petitioner, Micah Transou, appeals the denial of his petition for post-conviction relief in which he alleged that his guilty plea was not made knowingly or voluntarily because “it created an illegal sentence” and that it was not entered with the effective assistance of counsel. Following oral argument, our review of the entire record and the briefs of the parties, we affirm the judgment of the post-conviction court.

Madison Court of Criminal Appeals

Michael Williams v. State of Tennessee
W2021-01493-CCA-R3-HC
Authoring Judge: Judge J. Ross Dyer
Trial Court Judge: Judge A. Blake Neill

The pro se petitioner, Michael Williams, appeals the denial of his petition for writ of habeas corpus by the Hardeman County Circuit Court, arguing the trial court erred in summarily dismissing his petition because his sentence is illegal. After our review, we affirm the summary dismissal of the petition pursuant to Rule 20 of the Rules of the Court of Criminal Appeals.

Hardeman Court of Criminal Appeals

Randall R. Ward v. State of Tennessee
W2021-01421-CCA-R3-PC
Authoring Judge: Judge J. Ross Dyer
Trial Court Judge: Judge Donald H. Allen

The petitioner, Randall R. Ward, appeals the denial of his post-conviction petition, arguing the post-conviction court erred in finding he received the effective assistance of counsel. After our review of the record, briefs, and applicable law, we affirm the denial of the petition.

Madison Court of Criminal Appeals

Joe L. Ford v. State of Tennessee
W2022-00247-CCA-R3-PC
Authoring Judge: Judge J. Ross Dyer
Trial Court Judge: Judge Glenn Ivy Wright

The petitioner, Joe L. Ford, appeals the denial of his post-conviction petition, arguing the post-conviction court erred in finding he received the effective assistance of counsel. After our review of the record, briefs, and applicable law, we affirm the denial of the petition.

Shelby Court of Criminal Appeals

Mandon Rogers v. State of Tennessee
W2022-00019-CCA-R3-PC
Authoring Judge: Judge J. Ross Dyer
Trial Court Judge: Judge Lee V. Coffee

The petitioner, Mandon Rogers, appeals the denial of his post-conviction petition, arguing the post-conviction court erred in finding he received the effective assistance of counsel. Following our review, we affirm the post-conviction court’s denial of the petition.

Shelby Court of Criminal Appeals

Julius Q. Perkins v. State of Tennessee
M2022-00268-CCA-R3-PC
Authoring Judge: Judge Camille R. McMullen
Trial Court Judge: Judge Angelita Blackshear Dalton

Pro se petitioner, Julius Q. Perkins, filed a motion seeking relief from his felony murder conviction pursuant to the Post-Conviction DNA Analysis Act of 2001 and the Post-Conviction Fingerprint Analysis Act of 2021. Said motion was summarily dismissed by the trial court. Because the instant notice of appeal was not timely filed, and the petitioner has failed to provide any basis to excuse the untimely filing, we dismiss the appeal.

Davidson Court of Criminal Appeals

State of Tennessee v. Clifton Lawrence Still
E2021-01009-CCA-R3-CD
Authoring Judge: Judge Camille R. McMullen
Trial Court Judge: Judge Steven Wayne Sword

Pursuant to a plea agreement, the Defendant-Appellant, Clifton Lawrence Still, entered a guilty plea to one count of kidnapping, a Class C Felony, and received an eight-year sentence, with the manner of service of the sentence to be determined by the trial court. Following a sentencing hearing, the trial court denied the Defendant’s application for alternative sentencing and ordered the eight-year sentence to be served in confinement in the Tennessee Department of Correction. On appeal, the Defendant argues the trial court abused its discretion in denying alternative sentencing. Upon review, we affirm.

Knox Court of Criminal Appeals

Adam S. Massengill v. State of Tennessee
E2022-00092-CCA-R3-PC
Authoring Judge: Judge Camille R. McMullen
Trial Court Judge: Judge E. Shayne Sexton

The Petitioner, Adam S. Massengill, entered a guilty plea to sixteen counts of aggravated statutory rape, and the trial court imposed an effective sentence of twenty-five years’ incarceration pursuant to the plea agreement. Thereafter, the Petitioner timely filed a petition for post-conviction relief, and the post-conviction court denied relief. The Petitioner appeals, arguing that he received ineffective assistance of counsel and that his guilty plea was involuntary and unknowing. After review, we affirm the post-conviction court’s denial of relief.

Claiborne Court of Criminal Appeals

State of Tennessee v. Phillip David Daniel
M2021-01122-CCA-R3-CD
Authoring Judge: Judge Robert L. Holloway, Jr.
Trial Court Judge: Judge M. Wyatt Burk

Following an evidentiary hearing, the trial court found that Phillip David Daniel, Defendant, violated the terms of his probation by incurring new criminal charges and ordered the execution of the sentence as originally entered. On appeal, Defendant concedes that he violated his probation but claims that the trial court erred by ordering him to serve the balance of his sentence. Following a de novo review of the record, we affirm the sentence imposed by the trial court.

Bedford Court of Criminal Appeals

Jerry Burkes v. State of Tennessee
E2021-00861-CCA-R3-PC
Authoring Judge: Judge Camille R. McMullen
Trial Court Judge: Judge Alex E. Pearson

The Petitioner, Jerry Burkes, appeals from the Greene County Criminal Court’s denial of his petition for post-conviction relief from his convictions for money laundering, theft of property valued at $60,000 or more, and twelve counts of sales tax evasion. On appeal, he argues he received ineffective assistance of appellate counsel. The Petitioner also contends that the State violated Brady v. Maryland, 373 U.S. 83 (1963), by withholding records relevant to his tax liability; that he was convicted upon an invalid presentment; that he was deprived of a fair and impartial grand jury in violation of the Fourteenth Amendment; that the trial court admitted evidence at trial in violation of Tennessee Rule of Evidence 404(b); and that the evidence is insufficient to sustain his conviction for money laundering.1 After reviewing the record, we conclude that the Petitioner failed to establish that he received ineffective assistance from appellate counsel and that the remainder of the Petitioner’s claims have been previously determined, waived, or do not entitle him to relief. Accordingly, we affirm the post-conviction court’s denial of relief.

Greene Court of Criminal Appeals

State of Tennessee v. Keyshawn Devonte Fouse
W2021-00380-CCA-R3-CD
Authoring Judge: Judge J. Ross Dyer
Trial Court Judge: Judge Kyle C. Atkins

A Madison County jury convicted the defendant, Keyshawn Devonte Fouse, of attempted first-degree murder resulting in serious bodily injury, aggravated assault, and employing a firearm during the commission of a dangerous felony, for which he received an effective sentence of twenty-six years in confinement. On appeal, the defendant contends the evidence presented at trial was insufficient to support his conviction for attempted first-degree murder. The defendant also argues the trial court erred in allowing reference to the defendant’s nickname, “Shoota,” and in misapplying the law regarding presumptive sentences and sentencing factors. After reviewing the record and considering the applicable law, we affirm the judgments of the trial court.

Madison Court of Criminal Appeals

State of Tennessee v. Chasity Tanesha Yancey
W2022-00131-CCA-R3-CD
Authoring Judge: Judge J. Ross Dyer
Trial Court Judge: Judge Donald H. Allen

A Madison County Circuit Court adjudicated the defendant, Chasity Tanesha Yancey, not guilty by reason of insanity for one count of first-degree murder, one count of first-degree murder committed during the perpetration of aggravated child abuse, and two counts of aggravated child abuse. Pursuant to Tennessee Code Annotated section 33-7-303, the trial court ordered the defendant be diagnosed and evaluated on an outpatient basis and to comply with the recommended Mandatory Outpatient Treatment (“MOT”) plan. In a subsequent order, the trial court modified the MOT plan by imposing additional conditions upon the defendant. As a result of the modification order, the defendant filed a direct appeal, an interlocutory appeal, and an extraordinary appeal under Rules 3, 9, and 10 of the Tennessee Rules of Appellate Procedure, respectively. After the trial court denied the defendant’s Rule 9 motion, this Court consolidated the Rule 3 and Rule 10 appeals in order to address both the jurisdictional issue and the merits of the case. Upon our review, we conclude the jurisdiction of this Court lies with an interlocutory appeal pursuant to Rules 9 or 10 and grant the defendant’s Rule 10 application. In doing so, we remand the case to the trial court for a hearing on the issue of whether modifications should be made to the defendant’s MOT plan.

Madison Court of Criminal Appeals

State of Tennessee v. Bradi Baker
W2021-00085-CCA-R3-CD
Authoring Judge: Judge Camille R. McMullen
Trial Court Judge: Judge Donald H. Allen

The Defendant-Appellant, Bradi Baker, was found guilty of second degree murder by a Madison County circuit court jury based on the shooting death of her ex-husband. See Tenn. Code Ann. § 39-13-210(a)(1). The trial court sentenced the Defendant as a Range I, standard offender to twenty-five years in the Department of Correction. On appeal, the Defendant asserts that: 1) the trial court abused its discretion in admitting Exhibits 4B and 4C, two cell phone videos taken from the victim’s phone depicting his shooting death;2 2) the trial court abused its discretion in admitting Exhibit 4D, a “video compilation of other exhibits manipulated and edited by law enforcement”; 3) the trial court committed plain error by admitting Exhibit 4D in violation of the Defendant’s due process rights; 4) the evidence was insufficient to sustain the Defendant’s conviction for second degree murder; and 5) the trial court erred in sentencing the Defendant to twenty-five years imprisonment. After careful review, we affirm the judgment of the trial court.

Madison Court of Criminal Appeals