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COURT OF CRIMINAL APPEALS OPINIONS

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

State of Tennessee v. Carlos Darnell Dixson
M2021-01326-CCA-R3-CD
Authoring Judge: Judge Robert L. Holloway, Jr.
Trial Court Judge: Judge Angelita Blackshear Dalton

Defendant, Carlos Darnell Dixon, was convicted after a jury trial of second degree murder, a Class A felony, and two counts of aggravated assault, a Class C felony, and sentenced to an effective thirty years in confinement. On appeal, Defendant argues that the evidence was insufficient to support his conviction for second degree murder; that the State infringed upon his Second Amendment right to bear arms by cross-examining him about his experience with guns and gun ownership; and that his sentence for second degree murder is excessive. After a thorough review of the record, we affirm the judgments of the trial court.

Davidson Court of Criminal Appeals

State of Tennessee v. James R. Trent, III
E2021-01317-CCA-R3-CD
Authoring Judge: Judge Robert W. Wedemeyer
Trial Court Judge: Judge Kyle A. Hixson

A Knox County jury convicted the Defendant, James R. Trent, III, of two counts of aggravated assault in concert with two or more people and one count of aggravated assault as a lesser-included offense of attempted especially aggravated robbery. The trial court merged the offenses into a single aggravated assault conviction and sentenced him to an effective sentence of twelve years in the Tennessee Department of Correction. On appeal, the Defendant contends that the evidence is insufficient to sustain his convictions. After review, we affirm the trial court’s judgments.

Knox Court of Criminal Appeals

State of Tennessee v. Lonnie Lynn Graves
E2021-00647-CCA-R3-CD
Authoring Judge: Judge Jill Bartee Ayers
Trial Court Judge: Judge Sandra Donaghy

Defendant, Lonnie Lynn Graves, pled guilty to possession of 26 grams or more of methamphetamine with intent to sell or deliver, possession of a firearm with the intent to go armed during the commission of a dangerous felony, and felon in possession of a firearm but specifically reserved a certified question of law pursuant to Rule 37(b)(2)(A) of the Tennessee Rules of Criminal Procedure. The question pertained to the legality of the search of Defendant’s vehicle during a traffic stop for speeding which was the subject of an unsuccessful suppression motion. Because the judgments failed to comply with the strict requirements of Rule 37(b)(2)(A), Defendant did not properly reserve a certified issue for review. As a result, we are without jurisdiction to review the merits of Defendant’s claim, and accordingly dismiss his appeal.

Monroe Court of Criminal Appeals

Bernard Woodard v. State of Tennessee
M2022-00162-CCA-R3-PC
Authoring Judge: Judge Tom Greenholtz
Trial Court Judge: Judge Wesley Thomas Bray

The Petitioner, Bernard Woodard, was convicted of burglary, theft, and evading arrest. He later filed a petition for post conviction relief alleging various grounds, including that his lawyer was ineffective, that the jury was drawn from an unrepresentative venire, and that the prosecutor made improper comments during closing arguments regarding his right to remain silent. The post-conviction court summarily dismissed the petition, finding that the petition failed to state a colorable claim for relief. On appeal, the Petitioner challenges the dismissal of his petition. We hold that the post-conviction court properly dismissed claims that have been waived. However, we also hold that the Petitioner has stated colorable claims for relief by alleging sufficient facts showing that he was denied the effective assistance of trial counsel and appellate counsel. As such, we respectfully remand these claims for the appointment of counsel and further proceedings consistent with this opinion.

Putnam Court of Criminal Appeals

State of Tennessee v. Benjamin Hartshaw
M2021-01231-CCA-R3-CD
Authoring Judge: Judge Robert H. Montgomery, Jr.
Trial Court Judge: Judge James A. Turner

The Defendant, Benjamin Hartshaw, was convicted by a Rutherford County Circuit Court jury of six counts of rape of a child, a Class A felony, and four counts of aggravated sexual battery, a Class B felony, for which he is serving an effective forty-six-year sentence. See T.C.A. §§ 39-13-504(a)(4) (2018) (aggravated sexual battery of a victim less than thirteen years of age), 39-13-522(a) (2018) (rape of a child). On appeal, the Defendant contends that (1) the trial court erred in denying his motion for a mistrial after one of the prosecutors referred in closing argument to the Defendant’s having been “arrested and . . . put in jail,” (2) the court erred in giving a curative instruction, contrary to the defense request for no instruction, and (3) he is entitled to relief due to cumulative trial error. We affirm the judgments of the trial court.

Rutherford Court of Criminal Appeals

State of Tennessee v. Ashley Nicole Thomas
W2021-00534-CCA-R3-CD
Authoring Judge: Judge Robert H. Montgomery, Jr.
Trial Court Judge: Judge Joseph H. Walker, III

The Defendant, Ashley Nicole Thomas, was convicted by a Tipton County Circuit Court jury of one count of aggravated neglect of a child eight years of age or less; one count of aggravated child neglect; three counts of sexual exploitation of a minor; one count of facilitation of sexual exploitation of a minor; three counts of criminal responsibility for the rape of a child; and one count of continuous sexual abuse of a child in violation of the Child Protection Act. For these convictions, she received an effective forty-year sentence. On appeal, the Defendant contends that the trial court erred (1) when it allowed the State to amend the indictment on the first day of trial, thereby substantially changing the nature of the case; (2) by allowing the State to make its election of offenses for the Child Protection Act counts after the commencement of trial in violation of Tennessee Code Annotated section 39-13-508(d), which requires a written thirty-day notice; and (3) by failing to dismiss the indictment due to the State’s destroying pornographic videos prior to her trial in violation of State v. Ferguson, 2 S.W.3d 912 (Tenn. 1999). Because the Defendant was acquitted of one of three required predicate offenses to support the continuous sexual abuse of a child conviction, the judgment of the trial court in Count Thirteen is reversed, the conviction is vacated, and the charge is dismissed. We, likewise, remand this case for the entry of a corrected judgment in Count Five to reflect the jury’s guilty verdict. The remaining judgments of the trial court are affirmed.

Tipton Court of Criminal Appeals

State of Tennessee v. Ethan Newton Bean
E2021-01492-CCA-R3-CD
Authoring Judge: Judge Camille R. McMullen
Trial Court Judge: Judge Tammy M. Harrington

The Defendant-Appellant, Ethan Newton Bean, pleaded guilty to one count of aggravated assault in case number C-26054 and one count of aggravated assault in case number C- 26203. The Defendant received consecutive five-year sentences for each count, to be served under supervised probation. He concedes on appeal that the trial court properly revoked his probation but contends that it abused its discretion in ordering the remainder of his sentence to be served in confinement. After review, we affirm the judgment of the trial court.

Blount Court of Criminal Appeals

Dale Vinson Merritt v. State of Tennessee
E2021-01095-CCA-R3-PC
Authoring Judge: Judge James Curwood Witt
Trial Court Judge: Judge Steven Wayne Sword

The petitioner, Dale Vinson Merritt, appeals the denial of his petitions for post-conviction relief, which petitions challenged his convictions of delivery of less than 15 grams of heroin within a drug-free zone in case number 114585 and possession with intent to sell or deliver more than 15 grams of heroin in case number 114584, alleging that he was deprived of the effective assistance of counsel. Discerning no error, we affirm the denial of postconviction relief.

Knox Court of Criminal Appeals

State of Tennessee v. Johnny Dewayne Boyd
M2021-01057-CCA-R3-CD
Authoring Judge: Judge Jill Bartee Ayers
Trial Court Judge: Judge Stella L. Hargrove

Defendant, Johnny DeWayne Boyd, was convicted by a jury of rape of a child and incest.  The trial court imposed an effective thirty-year sentence in the Department of Correction.  On appeal, Defendant contends (1) the trial court erred in denying his motion to dismiss based on the State’s failure to file a bill of particulars, and (2) that he was prejudiced by the trial court’s denial of his motion to continue the trial due to a court security officer testing positive for COVID-19 and the trial court’s failure to comply with the Tennessee Supreme Court’s Order on COVID-19 protocol.  After a careful review of the record, we conclude that Defendant failed to file a timely motion for new trial before the trial court.  Additionally, Defendant failed to file a timely notice of appeal.  Because the record does not support this court’s waiver of the untimely notice of appeal, we dismiss Defendant’s appeal. 

Giles Court of Criminal Appeals

Rhynuia L. Barnes v. State of Tennessee
M2022-00367-CCA-R3-PC
Authoring Judge: Judge Kyle A. Hixson
Trial Court Judge: Judge Steve R. Dozier

The petitioner, Rhynuia L. Barnes, who was convicted of first degree premediated murder, appeals the summary dismissal of his petition for post-conviction fingerprint analysis.  The petitioner argues that fingerprint analysis of his deceased father’s palm print would prove his innocence if his father’s print were a match to the unidentified palm print discovered on the murder weapon.  After review, we affirm the judgment of the post-conviction court.

Davidson Court of Criminal Appeals

State of Tennessee v. Jeffrey Lloyd Locke - M2021-01437-CCA-R3-CD
M2021-01437-CCA-R3-CD

Warren Court of Criminal Appeals

State of Tennessee v. Jeffrey Lloyd Locke
M2021-01437-CCA-R3-CD
Authoring Judge: Judge John W. Campbell, Sr.
Trial Court Judge: Judge Larry B. Stanley, Jr.

The Defendant, Jeffrey Lloyd Locke, was convicted in the Warren County Circuit Court of felony evading arrest in a motor vehicle and received a three-year sentence to be served as one hundred days in jail followed by supervised probation. On appeal, the Defendant contends that the evidence is insufficient to support the conviction because the proof does not show that his attempted arrest was lawful and that he is entitled to a new trial due to prosecutorial misconduct during the State’s rebuttal closing argument. Based upon the oral arguments, the record, and the parties’ briefs, we affirm the judgment of the trial court.

Warren Court of Criminal Appeals

State of Tennessee v. Daryl Bobo
W2021-00811-CCA-R3-CD
Authoring Judge: Judge Timothy L. Easter
Trial Court Judge: Judge Chris Craft

Defendant, Daryl Bobo, appeals the trial court’s summary dismissal of a motion filed pursuant to Rule 36 of the Tennessee Rules of Criminal Procedure in which Defendant challenged the legality of his effective 60-year sentence as a Range III, persistent offender resulting from multiple drug-related convictions. We affirm the judgment of the trial court.

Shelby Court of Criminal Appeals

State of Tennessee v. Christopher Leon Clark
E2021-00558-CCA-R3-CD
Authoring Judge: Judge Robert H. Montgomery, Jr.
Trial Court Judge: Judge Steven Wayne Sword

The Defendant, Christopher Leon Clark, was convicted by a Knox County Criminal Court jury of first degree premeditated murder, for which he is serving a life sentence. See T.C.A. § 39-13-202(a)(1) (2018) (subsequently amended). On appeal, the Defendant contends that (1) the trial court erred in denying his motion for a hearing to determine whether the State complied with an alleged duty to present exculpatory evidence to the grand jury, (2) the court erred in denying the Defendant’s motion to suppress eyewitness identification testimony, and (3) cumulative error requires that he receive a new trial. We affirm the judgment of the trial court.

Knox Court of Criminal Appeals

State of Tennessee v. Rickeena Hamilton
E2021-00409-CCA-R3-CD
Authoring Judge: Judge Robert L. Holloway
Trial Court Judge: Judge Steven Wayne Sword

Defendant, Rickeena Hamilton, appeals her convictions for second degree murder and tampering with evidence and her effective twenty-eight-year sentence. On appeal, Defendant contends that (1) the evidence is insufficient to support her conviction for second degree murder; (2) the State improperly introduced speculative and improper opinion testimony from fact witnesses; (3) the trial court erred in admitting evidence that Defendant declined to make a statement following her arrest; (4) the trial court issued multiple erroneous jury instructions; (5) the State made improper comments during closing arguments; (6) the trial court imposed an excessive sentence; and (7) the cumulative effect of the errors warrants relief. We affirm the judgments of the trial court.

Knox Court of Criminal Appeals

State of Tennessee v. Zachary Frank Farris
W2021-01400-CCA-R3-CD
Authoring Judge: Judge Timothy L. Easter
Trial Court Judge: Judge Donald E. Parish

A Carroll County jury convicted Zachary Frank Farris, Defendant, of six counts of unlawful possession of a firearm by a convicted felon. Following a sentencing hearing, the trial court imposed a total effective sentence of 12 years’ confinement. Defendant did not file a motion for new trial. In this direct appeal, Defendant challenges the sufficiency of the evidence, arguing that the State failed to prove that he was in constructive possession of the firearms. Additionally, Defendant asserts that the trial court erred by allowing a witness for the State to testify when the State failed to give defense counsel notice of the witness. Having reviewed the record and the parties’ briefs, we affirm the judgments of the trial court.

Carroll Court of Criminal Appeals

Gaines Richardson v. State of Tennessee
W2021-00981-CCA-R3-PC
Authoring Judge: Judge Camille R. McMullen
Trial Court Judge: Judge Paula L. Skahan

The Petitioner, Gaines Richardson, appeals the denial of post-conviction relief from his convictions for aggravated robbery, asserting that he received ineffective assistance of trial counsel and that the evidence was insufficient to establish his convictions. After review, we affirm the judgment of the post-conviction court.

Shelby Court of Criminal Appeals

State of Tennessee v. Stephen V. Walker
E2021-01115-CCA-R3-CD
Authoring Judge: Judge James Curwood Witt
Trial Court Judge: Judge Barry A. Steelman

The pro se petitioner, Stephen V. Walker, appeals the Hamilton County Criminal Court’s summary dismissal of his motion to correct an illegal sentence, filed pursuant to Tennessee Rule of Criminal Procedure 36.1. Discerning no error, we affirm.

Hamilton Court of Criminal Appeals

State of Tennessee v. Charles Lafayette Stinson
W2021-01103-CCA-R3-CD
Authoring Judge: Judge Robert H. Montgomery, Jr.
Trial Court Judge: Judge Donald H. Allen

The Defendant, Charles Lafayette Stinson, was convicted of two counts of possession with intent to sell 0.5 gram or more of methamphetamine, a Class B felony; two counts of simple possession of a Schedule IV drug, a Class A misdemeanor; and possession of drug paraphernalia, a Class A misdemeanor. See T.C.A. § 39-17-418 (2018) (simple possession); -425 (2018) (possession of drug paraphernalia); -434 (2018) (possession with intent to sell). He received an effective eighteen-year sentence. On appeal, the Defendant contends that the trial court erred by (1) allowing the State to introduce testimony regarding the Defendant’s prior criminal charges, (2) allowing the State’s rebuttal witness to testify regarding evidence beyond the scope of evidence presented in the State’s case-in-chief, and (3) failing to consider the required statistical information when sentencing the Defendant. We affirm the judgments of the trial court.

Madison Court of Criminal Appeals

State vs. Stephen V. Walker - E2021-01115-CCA-R3-CD
E2021-01115

Hamilton Court of Criminal Appeals

State v. Charles Lafayette Stinson W2021-01103-CCA-R3-CD
W2021-01103

Madison Court of Criminal Appeals

State of Tennessee v. Kevin D. Stoghill
M2021-01502-CCA-R3-CD
Authoring Judge: Judge James Curwood Witt Jr.
Trial Court Judge: Judge Monte Watkins

The defendant, Kevin D. Stodghill, appeals the trial court’s imposition of a fully incarcerative sentence for his guilty-pleaded convictions of aggravated assault and aggravated burglary. Discerning no error, we affirm.

Davidson Court of Criminal Appeals

Markreo Quintez Springer v. State of Tennessee
M2021-01145-CCA-R3-PC
Authoring Judge: Judge Kyle A. Hixson
Trial Court Judge: Judge Mark J. Fishburn

The petitioner, Markreo Quintez Springer, appeals from the Davidson County’s post-conviction court’s denial of relief from his convictions for first degree felony murder, second degree murder, and especially aggravated robbery. On appeal, the petitioner contends that the post-conviction court erred by denying relief on his claims alleging that he received the ineffective assistance of counsel. Following our review, we dismiss the petition as untimely.

Davidson Court of Criminal Appeals