Court of Criminal Appeals Opinions

Format: 10/21/2021
Format: 10/21/2021
Mainor Canales v. State of Tennessee
E2020-01040-CCA-R3-PC
Authoring Judge: Judge Robert L. Holloway, Jr.
Trial Court Judge: Judge James L. Gass

Mainor Canales, Petitioner, was convicted of aggravated sexual battery and sentenced to twelve years’ incarceration. State v. Mainor Celin Avilez Canales, No. E2017-01222- CCA-R3-CD, 2018 WL 2084957, at *5 (Tenn. Crim. App. May 4, 2018). This court affirmed his conviction on direct appeal. Petitioner filed a pro se post-conviction petition and an amended petition through counsel, which the post-conviction court dismissed following a hearing. On appeal, Petitioner argues that he was denied the effective assistance of counsel because trial counsel (1) failed to investigate and present an expert witness; and (2) deprived him of his right to a Rule 11 application to appeal to the Tennessee Supreme Court. Following a thorough review, we affirm the judgment of the post-conviction court.

Sevier County Court of Criminal Appeals 08/03/21
State of Tennessee v. Edward G. Jameson
M2020-00945-CCA-R3-CD
Authoring Judge: Judge Camille R. McMullen
Trial Court Judge: Judge Larry Wallace

The Defendant-Appellant, Edward G. Jameson, was convicted of three counts of statutory rape by an authority figure and eight counts of incest. See §§ 39-13-532 (statutory rape by an authority figure); 39-15-302 (incest). The trial court classified the Defendant as a Range II offender and imposed a total effective sentence of fifty-four years. On appeal, the Defendant contends that 1) the evidence is insufficient to sustain his convictions in Counts One through Four; 2) the indictments for Counts One, Three, Seven, and Ten are barred by the statute of limitations; 3) the State failed to elect a specific offense in Count Ten; 4) the trial court committed plain error in sentencing him as a Range II offender; and 5) the trial court erred in imposing consecutive sentences. Upon our review, we affirm the convictions and sentences in Counts Five, Six, Eleven, Twelve, and Thirteen, and we reverse and vacate Counts One, Two, Three, Four, Seven, and Ten and dismiss those indictments. We finally remand to the trial court for proceedings consistent with this opinion.

Cheatham County Court of Criminal Appeals 08/03/21
State of Tennessee v. David Lee Richardson
E2020-01223-CCA-R3-CD
Authoring Judge: Judge James Curwood Witt, Jr.
Trial Court Judge: Judge Tom Greenholtz

The defendant, David Lee Richardson, appeals the revocation of the sentence of probation imposed for his convictions of false imprisonment and domestic aggravated assault, arguing that the trial court erred by ordering that he serve the balance of the total effective sentence in confinement. Discerning no error, we affirm.

Hamilton County Court of Criminal Appeals 08/03/21
State of Tennessee v. Dejavone Lee Woods
M2020-00114-CCA-R3-CD
Authoring Judge: Presiding Judge John Everett Williams
Trial Court Judge: Judge Royce Taylor

A jury convicted the Defendant, Dejavone Lee Woods, of attempted voluntary manslaughter and employing a firearm in the attempted commission of a dangerous offense, and he received an effective ten-year sentence. On appeal, the Defendant asserts that the State failed to negate self-defense, that the trial court erred in admitting hearsay evidence, that the trial court erred in admitting testimony about a surveillance video, that the trial court erred in refusing to give an instruction on misdemeanor reckless endangerment, and that he is entitled to cumulative error relief. After a review of the record, we conclude that the Defendant is not entitled to appellate relief and affirm the judgments. 

Rutherford County Court of Criminal Appeals 08/03/21
Cordalro Strickland v. State of Tennessee
E2020-00299-CCA-R3-PC
Authoring Judge: Judge Robert W. Wedemeyer
Trial Court Judge: Judge Judge Don W. Poole

The Petitioner entered a plea of nolo contendere to the lesser-included offense of second degree murder, two counts of attempted first degree murder, and reckless endangerment. Thereafter, the Petitioner timely filed a post-conviction petition, alleging that he received the ineffective assistance of counsel. The post-conviction court denied relief, concluding that the Petitioner had not proven that Counsel was ineffective, and that the Petitioner’s pleas were made knowingly and voluntarily. After review, we affirm the post-conviction court’s judgment.

Hamilton County Court of Criminal Appeals 08/03/21
Justin C. Howell v. Grady Perry, Warden
M2020-00265-CCA-R3-HC
Authoring Judge: Judge Camille R. McMullen
Trial Court Judge: Judge Christopher Sockwell

Pro se petitioner, Justin C. Howell, appeals from the summary dismissal of his petition for writ of habeas corpus relief. Upon our review, we affirm.

Wayne County Court of Criminal Appeals 07/30/21
State of Tennessee v. Jackson Chapman North
M2020-00221-CCA-R3-CD
Authoring Judge: Judge Robert H. Montgomery
Trial Court Judge: Judge M. Wyatt Burk

The Defendant, Jackson Chapman North, pleaded guilty in the Bedford County Circuit Court to two counts of vandalism valued at $2,500 or more but less than $10,000, a Class D felony, vandalism valued at more than $1,000 but less than $2,500, a Class E felony, vandalism valued at $1,000 or less, a Class A misdemeanor, and unlawful possession of a weapon, a Class C misdemeanor. See T.C.A. §§ 39-14-408 (2018) (vandalism); 39-14-105 (2018) (grading); 39-17-1307 (2018) (unlawful weapon possession). The trial court ordered partial consecutive service and imposed an effective six-year sentence, with four years, sixty days in confinement and the remainder on probation. On appeal, the Defendant contends that his sentence is excessive. We affirm the Defendant’s sentence, but as a matter of plain error, we reverse the trial court’s restitution order and remand the case for proper restitution determinations.

Bedford County Court of Criminal Appeals 07/30/21
State of Tennessee v. Vincent Parker Lee
M2020-00572-CCA-R3-CD
Authoring Judge: Judge James Curwood Witt, Jr.
Trial Court Judge: Judge Brody Kane

Aggrieved of his convictions of rape of a child, aggravated sexual battery, and incest, the defendant, Vincent Parker Lee, appeals. In this appeal, the defendant asserts that the evidence was insufficient to support his convictions of rape of a child; that the trial court erred by permitting the State to ask leading questions of the child rape victim; that the State’s failure to make an election of offenses at the close of its case-in-chief resulted in plain error; that the cumulative effect of the alleged errors deprived him of the right to a fair trial; and that the trial court erred by imposing consecutive sentences. We find no deficiency in the State’s proof and no error in either the trial court’s ruling with regard to the State’s examination of the child rape victim or the consecutive alignment of the sentences. The State’s failure to elect offenses at the close of its case-in-chief was error, but, because the error can be classified as harmless beyond a reasonable doubt, it does not rise to the level of plain error. Consequently, we affirm the judgments of the trial court.

Macon County Court of Criminal Appeals 07/29/21
State of Tennessee v. Mario Nathaniel Wade
M2020-01518-CCA-R3-CD
Authoring Judge: Judge Timothy L. Easter
Trial Court Judge: Judge Jennifer Smith

In this delayed appeal, Mario Nathaniel Wade, Defendant, challenges his convictions for robbery and carjacking. Defendant asserts that the evidence was insufficient to support the convictions, that the trial court erred by failing to require the State to make an election with respect to the carjacking charge, and that he was sentenced improperly. After review, we affirm the judgments of the trial court.

Davidson County Court of Criminal Appeals 07/29/21
State of Tennessee v. Michael Edward Cohen
M2019-01122-CCA-R3-CD
Authoring Judge: Judge Norma McGee Ogle
Trial Court Judge: Judge Jennifer Smith

The Appellee, Michael Edward Cohen, was charged in the Davidson County Criminal Court with sexual exploitation of a minor involving more than one hundred images, a Class B felony. He filed a motion to suppress evidence, arguing that he turned over the images to a police officer involuntarily after the officer threatened to obtain a search warrant for his residence when the officer did not have probable cause for a warrant. The trial court held an evidentiary hearing and granted the motion, and the State appeals. Based upon our review of the record and the parties’ briefs, we affirm the judgment of the trial court.

Davidson County Court of Criminal Appeals 07/29/21
State of Tennessee v. Dwaquille Raheem Jabal
M2020-01093-CCA-R3-CD
Authoring Judge: Judge J. Ross Dyer
Trial Court Judge: Judge Stella L. Hargrove

The defendant, Dwaquille Raheem Jabal, appeals the dismissal of his motion for sentence modification, arguing that he continued to serve his sentence beyond the date he was supposed to be placed on probation and that “[i]t would be inequitable for [him] not to be credited with the probation date that he was given.” Upon our review of the record and the applicable law, we affirm the judgment of the trial court.

Maury County Court of Criminal Appeals 07/28/21
Ernesto Perez Aguirre v. State of Tennessee
M2019-02209-CCA-R3-PC
Authoring Judge: Judge Timothy L. Easter
Trial Court Judge: Judge James G. Martin, III

Ernesto Perez Aguirre, Petitioner, appeals from the dismissal of his petition for post-conviction relief in which he alleged that his guilty plea was unknowingly and involuntarily entered. After a thorough review, we affirm the judgment of the post-conviction court.

Williamson County Court of Criminal Appeals 07/28/21
State of Tennessee v. Quinton Cage
M2020-00360-CCA-R3-CD
Authoring Judge: Judge James Curwood Witt, Jr.
Trial Court Judge: Judge Jill B. Ayers

The petitioner, Quinton Cage, appeals the Montgomery County Circuit Court’s summary dismissal of his motion to correct an illegal sentence, filed pursuant to Tennessee Rule of Criminal Procedure 36.1. Also before us is the petitioner’s motion, filed pursuant to Tennessee Rule of Appellate Procedure 14, to consider post-judgment facts. Because the petitioner’s claim of a double jeopardy violation is not cognizable in a Rule 36.1 motion, we affirm the trial court’s summary dismissal of the motion to correct an illegal sentence. Furthermore, because the post-judgment facts posited by the petitioner do not relate to actions that occurred after the judgment in this case, we deny the petitioner’s motion to consider post-judgment facts.

Montgomery County Court of Criminal Appeals 07/27/21
Sterling Lamarr Cooper v. Shawn Phillips, Warden
E2020-01568-CCA-R3-HC
Authoring Judge: Judge Camille R. McMullen
Trial Court Judge: Judge Jeffery Hill Wicks

The Petitioner, Sterling Lamarr Cooper, appeals the summary dismissal of his petition for writ of habeas corpus. Discerning no error, we affirm the judgment of the habeas corpus court.

Morgan County Court of Criminal Appeals 07/27/21
State of Tennessee v. Matthew Thomas Dotson
E2019-01614-CCA-R3-CD
Authoring Judge: Judge Robert L. Holloway, Jr.
Trial Court Judge: Judge Michael S. Pemberton

Matthew Thomas Dotson (“Defendant”) appeals his Roane County convictions for first degree felony murder in the perpetration of aggravated child abuse, first degree felony murder in the perpetration of aggravated child neglect, aggravated child abuse, and aggravated child neglect, for which he received an effective sentence of life without parole. Defendant contends that: (1) the trial court erred in denying his motion to suppress his May 3, 2012, statements to law enforcement; (2) the State improperly elicited testimony from a witness regarding Defendant’s prior drug usage and the trial court abused its discretion by denying Defendant’s request for a mistrial following such testimony; (3) the trial court abused its discretion by admitting photographs of the victim into evidence; and (4) the evidence was insufficient to support his convictions. Following a thorough review, we affirm the judgments of the trial court but remand for entry of amended judgments reflecting proper merger of offenses as outlined below and for the imposition of sentences in Counts 4 and 5.

Roane County Court of Criminal Appeals 07/27/21
Darrell Wayne Bumpas v. State of Tennessee
M2020-00948-CCA-R3-PC
Authoring Judge: Judge Jill Bartee Ayers
Trial Court Judge: Judge Steve R. Dozier

Petitioner, Darrell Wayne Bumpas, appeals the denial of his post-conviction petition, arguing that the post-conviction court erred in concluding that he received effective assistance of counsel. Following our review of the entire record and the briefs of the parties, we affirm the judgment of the post-conviction court.

Davidson County Court of Criminal Appeals 07/27/21
State of Tennessee v. Torijon Coplin - Concur in Part/Dissent in Part
W2019-01593-CCA-R3-CD
Authoring Judge: Judge J. Ross Dyer
Trial Court Judge: Judge Roy B. Morgan, Jr.

J. ROSS DYER, J., concurring in part and dissenting in part. While I agree with the majority’s conclusion that the criminal responsibility instruction in the instant matter was deficient, I respectfully dissent from the majority’s conclusion that the proof presented at trial is not sufficient to support a determination that the error was harmless beyond a reasonable doubt.

Madison County Court of Criminal Appeals 07/26/21
State of Tennessee v. Torijon Coplin
W2019-01593-CCA-R3-CD
Authoring Judge: Presiding Judge John Everett Williams
Trial Court Judge: Judge Roy B. Morgan, Jr.

A jury convicted the Defendant, Torijon Coplin, of aggravated assault and tampering with evidence, and he received an effective sentence of four years suspended to supervised probation after eleven months and twenty-nine days of service. On appeal, the Defendant challenges the sufficiency of the evidence supporting his convictions and argues the trial court erred in charging the jury as to criminal responsibility. Because the criminal responsibility charge did not include the natural and probable consequences requirement and because the error was not harmless beyond a reasonable doubt as to the tampering with evidence conviction, we reverse the conviction for tampering with evidence and remand for further proceedings. The judgments are otherwise affirmed.

Madison County Court of Criminal Appeals 07/26/21
Terrence Lewis v. State of Tennessee
W2020-00653-CCA-R3-PC
Authoring Judge: Judge Timothy L. Easter
Trial Court Judge: Judge Chris Craft

Terrence Lewis, Petitioner, appeals after the trial court denied post-conviction relief and dismissed his post-conviction petition in which he alleged that he received ineffective assistance of counsel at trial. Because Petitioner failed to prove his allegations by clear and convincing evidence, we affirm the judgment of the post-conviction court.

Shelby County Court of Criminal Appeals 07/26/21
State of Tennessee v. Terry Newsom
W2020-00695-CCA-R3-CD
Authoring Judge: Judge Robert W. Wedemeyer
Trial Court Judge: Judge Roy B. Morgan, Jr.

A Madison County jury convicted the Defendant, Terry Newsom, of evading arrest, reckless endangerment, and driving with a suspended license. The trial court imposed an effective three-year sentence to be served in the Tennessee Department of Correction and ordered the Defendant to pay the fines imposed by the jury. On appeal, the Defendant argues that the evidence was insufficient to support his conviction for reckless endangerment, that the trial court erred when it sentenced him, and that the fines were improperly imposed. After a thorough review of the record and applicable law, we affirm the trial court’s judgments.

Madison County Court of Criminal Appeals 07/26/21
State of Tennessee v. Maurice "Ricky" Blocker
W2020-00543-CCA-R3-PC
Authoring Judge: Judge Jill Bartee Ayers
Trial Court Judge: Judge W. Mark Ward

Petitioner, Maurice “Ricky” Blocker, appeals the denial of his post-conviction petition, arguing that the post-conviction court erred in finding effective assistance of counsel at both trial and on appeal. Following our review of the entire record and the briefs of the parties, we affirm the judgment of the post-conviction court.

Shelby County Court of Criminal Appeals 07/26/21
State of Tennessee v. Sharod Winford Moore
M2020-00879-CCA-R3-CD
Authoring Judge: Presiding Judge John Everett Williams
Trial Court Judge: Judge M. Wyatt Burk

The Defendant, Sharod Winford Moore, was convicted by a jury of first degree premeditated murder and sentenced to life imprisonment. In the first direct appeal, this court found that the evidence was sufficient to sustain the conviction but that the Defendant waived all other issues for failure to file a timely motion for new trial. The Defendant was subsequently granted a delayed appeal. He now argues that (1) the trial court erred in allowing the State to present unfairly prejudicial evidence of his alleged gang membership, (2) the State engaged in prosecutorial misconduct by making inflammatory and prejudicial remarks about his alleged gang membership in closing argument, (3) the trial court erred in not allowing evidence of the victim’s propensity for intoxication and violence, and (4) the trial court erred in determining that a State’s intellectually disabled witness was competent to testify. We affirm the conviction.

Marshall County Court of Criminal Appeals 07/26/21
State of Tennessee v. Tracy Lynn Harris
W2020-01564-CCA-R3-CD
Authoring Judge: Judge Jill Bartee Ayers
Trial Court Judge: Judge Donald E. Parish

Pro-se petitioner, Tracy Lynn Harris, appeals from the Carroll County Circuit Court’s summary dismissal of his motion to correct an illegal sentence pursuant to Tennessee Rule of Criminal Procedure 36.1. Following our review of the entire record and the briefs of the parties, we affirm the judgment of the trial court.

Carroll County Court of Criminal Appeals 07/23/21
State of Tennessee v. Angela Kilgore
M2020-00121-CCA-R3-CD
Authoring Judge: Presiding Judge John Everett Williams
Trial Court Judge: Senior Judge Don R. Ash

The Defendant, Angela Kilgore, was convicted by a jury of first degree premeditated murder, first degree felony murder, especially aggravated robbery, aggravated arson, and theft of property valued $2,500 or more but less than $10,000. After merging the felony murder conviction into the premeditated murder conviction, the trial court sentenced the Defendant to an effective term of life plus eighty years in the Department of Correction. On appeal, the Defendant argues that the trial court erred by overruling her motion to suppress the results of the search of her pickup truck, the evidence was insufficient to sustain her convictions for first degree murder, aggravated arson and especially aggravated robbery, her dual convictions for especially aggravated robbery and theft violate principles of double jeopardy, and the trial court erred in ordering consecutive sentences. We affirm the judgments of the trial court but remand for a corrected judgment in count six to reflect that the theft conviction merges into the conviction for especially aggravated robbery.

Marion County Court of Criminal Appeals 07/23/21
State of Tennessee v. Justin Case Jenkins
W2020-00577-CCA-R3-CD
Authoring Judge: Judge James Curwood Witt, Jr.
Trial Court Judge: Judge Donald H. Allen

The defendant, Justin Case Jenkins, appeals the Madison County Circuit Court’s imposition of an effective 16-year sentence and $9,820.35 in restitution for his guiltypleaded convictions of burglary, theft, vandalism, identity theft, felony evading arrest, and various driving offenses. We affirm the imposition of consecutive sentences but, because the trial court failed to comply with the statutory requirements in ordering restitution, we reverse the restitution orders and remand for a new restitution hearing.

Madison County Court of Criminal Appeals 07/22/21