Court of Criminal Appeals Opinions

Format: 01/16/2022
Format: 01/16/2022
State of Tennessee v. Terry Lee Gilbreath
E2020-00971-CCA-R3-CD
Authoring Judge: Judge Robert W. Wedemeyer
Trial Court Judge: Judge Andrew Mark Freiberg

A Monroe County jury convicted the Defendant of rape of a child, and the trial court sentenced him to forty years of incarceration. On appeal, the Defendant contends that: (1) the trial court erred when it did not suppress electronic evidence against him; (2) the evidence is insufficient to sustain his conviction; (3) the prosecutor’s closing argument was improper; and (4) the trial court erred when it denied his motion for a new trial. After review, we affirm the trial court’s judgment.

Monroe County Court of Criminal Appeals 09/28/21
State of Tennessee v. William C. Austin, Jr.
W2020-01428-CCA-R3-CD
Authoring Judge: Judge Timothy L. Easter
Trial Court Judge: Judge Donald H. Allen

Defendant, William C. Austin, Jr., appeals from his guilty plea and resulting conviction for driving as a motor vehicle habitual offender (“MVHO”), for which he received a sentence of four years and six months. Defendant does not challenge the other convictions or sentences he received as a result of his guilty plea. On appeal, Defendant argues that after his arrest, but before his guilty plea and sentencing, the Tennessee Legislature amended the Motor Vehicle Habitual Offenders Act and that as a result of the amendment he was entitled to the lesser penalty under the criminal savings statute of Tennessee Code Annotated section 39-11-112 with respect to his conviction for driving as a MVHO. After a review, we agree with Defendant. As a result, we reverse and remand the judgment of the trial court with respect to Defendant’s conviction for driving as a MVHO. We remand the matter for entry of sentences in Counts 2 and 3. The remaining convictions and sentences are affirmed.

Henderson County Court of Criminal Appeals 09/24/21
Kelvin DeWayne Golden v. State of Tennessee
W2020-01617-CCA-R3-PC
Authoring Judge: Judge Timothy L. Easter
Trial Court Judge: Judge Roy B. Morgan, Jr.

After being convicted of aggravated sexual battery, Kelvin Dewayne Golden, Petitioner, appealed his conviction and sentence. State v. Kelvin Dewayne Golden, No. W2018- 01477-CCA-R3-CD, 2019 WL 3412527, at *1 (Tenn. Crim. App. July 20, 2019), perm. app. denied (Tenn. Oct. 14, 2019). They were affirmed on appeal. Id. He subsequently sought post-conviction relief on the basis of ineffective assistance of counsel. The postconviction court denied relief after a hearing. Petitioner appeals. After a thorough review, we affirm the judgment of the post-conviction court.

Madison County Court of Criminal Appeals 09/24/21
State of Tennessee v. Ariana Elizabeth Major
M2020-01142-CCA-R3-CD
Authoring Judge: Judge Robert H. Montgomery Jr.
Trial Court Judge: Judge Jill Bartee Ayers

The State of Tennessee appeals the Montgomery County Circuit Court’s order granting the Defendant’s motion to suppress evidence recovered during the search of her car.  On appeal, the State contends that the trial court erred because the police dog performed a reliable “free air sniff,” which resulted in probable cause to search the Defendant’s car.  We dismiss the appeal because the State is not entitled to an appeal as of right pursuant to Tennessee Rule of Appellate Procedure 3(c) because the record fails to reflect that the trial court dismissed the relevant indictment counts. 

Montgomery County Court of Criminal Appeals 09/24/21
State of Tennessee v. Homer Alson Maddin, III
M2020-00795-CCA-R3-CD
Authoring Judge: Presiding Judge John Everett Williams
Trial Court Judge: Judge Steve R. Dozier

A jury convicted the Defendant, Homer Alson Maddin, III, of four counts of aggravated rape in 2004, and the trial court sentenced him to concurrent terms of twenty-five years in confinement. After discovering in 2020 that it mistakenly marked the Defendant as a violent offender rather than a multiple rapist on the judgment forms in counts two through four, the trial court entered an order amending the judgment forms under Tennessee Rule of Criminal Procedure 36. On appeal, the Defendant argues that the trial court failed to provide proper notice under Rule 36 and that his classification as a violent offender was not a clerical error. After review, we affirm the judgment of the trial court.

Davidson County Court of Criminal Appeals 09/23/21
James Dominic Stevenson v. State of Tennessee
M2020-00134-CCA-R3-PC
Authoring Judge: Presiding Judge John Everett Williams
Trial Court Judge: Judge M. Wyatt Burk

The Petitioner, James Dominic Stevenson, was convicted by a jury of attempted first degree murder, three counts of aggravated assault, and reckless endangerment with a deadly weapon after he shot his ex-girlfriend in her car in the presence of her child. His aggravated assault convictions were merged into the attempted first degree murder conviction, and he received an effective twenty-seven-year sentence. The Petitioner filed for post-conviction relief, asserting that he received ineffective assistance from his trial counsel, and his petition was denied after a hearing. On appeal, we affirm the denial of post-conviction relief.  

Marshall County Court of Criminal Appeals 09/23/21
Jeffrey Wayne Hughes v. State of Tennessee
M2020-00531-CCA-R3-PC
Authoring Judge: Presiding Judge John Everett Williams
Trial Court Judge: Judge Russell Parkes

The Petitioner, Jeffrey Wayne Hughes, entered open guilty pleas to one count of theft of $250,000 or more, one count of theft of $10,000 or more but less than $60,000, and six counts of money laundering, and he received an effective twenty-seven-year sentence. He filed a petition for post-conviction relief, asserting that his pleas were involuntary because the aggregation of the theft offenses violated the prohibition on ex post facto laws and asserting that he received ineffective assistance of counsel. The post-conviction court denied relief, and he appeals. We conclude that the Petitioner’s pleas were not involuntary because there was no ex post facto violation and that he has not established that he received ineffective assistance of counsel. Accordingly, we affirm the denial of relief.  

Lawrence County Court of Criminal Appeals 09/23/21
State of Tennessee v. Rodger Dale Prince and Amanda Beaty
E2019-02058-CCA-R3-CD
Authoring Judge: Judge Robert W. Wedemeyer
Trial Court Judge: Judge Jeffery Hill Wicks

A Morgan County jury convicted Defendant Rodger Dale Prince (“Defendant Prince”) and Defendant Amanda Beaty (“Defendant Beaty”) of first degree felony murder in the perpetration of aggravated child abuse and first degree felony murder in the perpetration of aggravated child neglect. Additionally, the jury convicted Defendant Beaty of aggravated child endangerment. The trial court imposed an effective life sentence with the possibility of parole for Defendant Prince’s convictions and an effective life sentence with the possibility of parole plus fifteen years for Defendant Beaty’s convictions. On appeal, the defendants assert that: (1) the trial court erred when it allowed the State to amend the indictment; (2) the evidence was insufficient to support their felony murder convictions; and (4) the trial court erred when it failed to grant a mistrial based upon improper testimony. Defendant Beaty also asserts that the trial court erred when it admitted into evidence instances of prior abuse. After review, we affirm the trial court’s judgments and remand for correction of the judgments consistent with this opinion.

Morgan County Court of Criminal Appeals 09/23/21
State of Tennessee v. Brandon Deshun McAlister
W2020-00651-CCA-R3-CD
Authoring Judge: Judge James Curwood Witt, Jr.
Trial Court Judge: Judge Kyle Atkins

Aggrieved of his Madison County Circuit Court jury convictions of aggravated assault and unlawful possession of a firearm, the defendant, Brandon Deshun McAlister, appeals, challenging the sufficiency of the convicting evidence. Discerning no error, we affirm.

Madison County Court of Criminal Appeals 09/22/21
Angela Montgomery v. State of Tennessee
M2020-00427-CCA-R3-PC
Authoring Judge: Judge Norma McGee Ogle
Trial Court Judge: Judge Royce Taylor

The Petitioner, Angela Montgomery, was convicted in the Rutherford County Circuit Court of six counts of rape of a child and received an effective sentence of forty years in confinement to be served at one hundred percent. After this court affirmed the Petitioner’s convictions, she filed a petition for post-conviction relief, claiming that she received the ineffective assistance of trial counsel. The post-conviction court held an evidentiary hearing and granted relief. In this appeal by the State, the State contends for the first time that the post-conviction court lacked jurisdiction to consider the petition on its merits because the petition was untimely and that the post-conviction court incorrectly determined that the Petitioner received the ineffective assistance of trial counsel. Based upon the oral arguments, the record, and the parties’ briefs, we conclude that the case should be remanded to the post-conviction court to afford the Petitioner an opportunity to show whether the limitations period for filing the petition should be tolled based on due process concerns. Accordingly, the case is remanded to the post-conviction court for an evidentiary hearing on that issue.

Rutherford County Court of Criminal Appeals 09/22/21
State of Tennessee v. Jalean Robert Williams and Markeil Linskey Williams
M2019-02307-CCA-R3-CD
Authoring Judge: Judge J. Ross Dyer
Trial Court Judge: Judge Cheryl A. Blackburn

After a jury trial and subsequent retrial on two of the charges, the defendants, Jalean Robert Williams and Markeil Linskey Williams, were convicted of first-degree premeditated murder, felony murder, possession of marijuana with intent to sell or deliver, possession of Alprazolam with intent to sell or deliver, and two counts of possession of a firearm during the commission of a dangerous felony. The trial court imposed an effective sentence of life imprisonment plus fourteen years on each defendant. On appeal, both defendants assert the evidence is insufficient to sustain their convictions. In addition, Defendant Markeil argues the trial court erred in allowing the State to ask leading questions, and the trial court’s imposition of consecutive sentences violates the prohibition against double jeopardy. Upon our review of the record and the applicable law, we affirm the judgments of the trial court.

Davidson County Court of Criminal Appeals 09/22/21
Carl Prince v. Warden, Trousdale Turner Correctional Center
E2021-00180-CCA-R3-HC
Authoring Judge: Judge John Everett Williams
Trial Court Judge: Judge Lisa Rice

The Petitioner, Carl Prince, appeals the summary dismissal of his petition for writ of habeas corpus. After review, we affirm the judgment of the habeas corpus court pursuant to Rule 20 of the Rules of the Court of Criminal Appeals.

Johnson County Court of Criminal Appeals 09/22/21
State of Tennessee v. Jeffrey Allen McNew
M2020-01227-CCA-R3-CD
Authoring Judge: Judge Robert L. Holloway, Jr.
Trial Court Judge: Judge Cheryl A. Blackburn

Jeffrey Allen McNew, Defendant, entered a negotiated guilty plea to one count of aggravated burglary, one count of being a felon in possession of a firearm, two counts of aggravated robbery, one count of aggravated kidnapping, one count of carjacking, and four counts of aggravated assault. Pursuant to the plea agreement, Defendant was sentenced as a Range III, Persistent Offender, and the trial court determined the length and alignment of the sentences. Following a sentencing hearing, the trial court imposed an effective sentence of 135 years. After a thorough review of the record and applicable law, we determine that the trial court did not abuse its discretion in sentencing Defendant and affirm the judgments of the trial court. However, we remand for entry of corrected judgments merging the aggravated assault conviction in Count 7 into the aggravated robbery conviction in Count 3 and merging the aggravated assault conviction in Count 8 into the aggravated robbery conviction in Count 4.

Davidson County Court of Criminal Appeals 09/22/21
State of Tennessee v. Jerry Dale Baker
M2020-01387-CCA-R3-CD
Authoring Judge: Judge Camille R. McMullen
Trial Court Judge: Judge Stella L. Hargrove

The Defendant-Appellant, Jerry Dale Baker, appeals from the revocation of his probationary sentence for possession of methamphetamine with intent to sell. The sole issue raised on appeal is whether the trial court erred by fully revoking Defendant’s probation and ordering him to serve the remainder of his sentence in confinement. Upon review, we affirm the judgment of the trial court.  

Maury County Court of Criminal Appeals 09/22/21
Maurico Grandberry v. State of Tennessee
W2020-00734-CCA-R3-PC
Authoring Judge: Judge J. Ross Dyer
Trial Court Judge: Judge Jennifer Johnson Mitchell

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

Shelby County Court of Criminal Appeals 09/21/21
William Scott Hunley v. State of Tennessee
W2020-01695-CCA-R3-PC
Authoring Judge: Judge J. Ross Dyer
Trial Court Judge: Judge Roy B. Morgan, Jr.

The petitioner, William Scott Hunley, appeals the denial of his post-conviction petition, arguing the post-conviction court erred in finding he received the effective assistance of counsel at trial and on appeal. After our review of the record, briefs, and applicable law, we affirm the denial of the petition.

Madison County Court of Criminal Appeals 09/21/21
Roosevelt Bigbee v. Johnny Fitz, Warden
W2021-00131-CCA-R3-HC
Authoring Judge: Judge J. Ross Dyer
Trial Court Judge: Judge Joe H. Walker, III

The pro se petitioner, Roosevelt Bigbee, appeals the denial of his petition for writ of habeas corpus by the Circuit Court for Lauderdale County, arguing the trial court erred in summarily dismissing the petition as the evidence was not sufficient to sustain his conviction. After our review, we affirm the summary dismissal of the petition pursuant to Rule 20 of the Rules of the Court of Criminal Appeals.

Lauderdale County Court of Criminal Appeals 09/21/21
Matthew Sealey v. State of Tennessee
W2021-00129-CCA-R3-PC
Authoring Judge: Judge J. Ross Dyer
Trial Court Judge: Judge Donald H. Allen

The petitioner, Matthew Sealey, appeals the denial of his post-conviction petition, arguing the post-conviction court erred in finding he received the effective assistance of counsel prior to and during his guilty plea hearing. Upon our review of the record, briefs, and applicable law, we affirm the denial of the petition.

Court of Criminal Appeals 09/21/21
Marc Baechtle v. State of Tennessee
W2020-01429-CCA-R3-PC
Authoring Judge: Judge Camille R. McMullen
Trial Court Judge: Judge J. Robert Carter, Jr.

The Petitioner, Marc Baechtle, was convicted of rape of a child, aggravated sexual battery, and rape. The trial court dismissed the aggravated sexual battery and rape convictions due to statute of limitations and ultimately imposed a 25-year sentence for the rape of a child conviction. On appeal, the Petitioner asserts that he received ineffective assistance of counsel, alleging that trial counsel advised him not to testify and failed to impeach a witness. Upon our review, we affirm the judgment of the post-conviction court.

Shelby County Court of Criminal Appeals 09/21/21
State of Tennessee v. Khamphonh Xayyasith
M2020-00379-CCA-R3-CD
Authoring Judge: Judge Robert H. Montgomery, Jr.
Trial Court Judge: Judge Steve Dozier

The Defendant, Khamphonh Xayyasith, was convicted by a Davidson County Criminal Court jury of three counts of aggravated assault, a Class C felony, and domestic assault, a Class A misdemeanor. See T.C.A. §§ 39-13-102 (2018) (subsequently amended) (aggravated assault); 39-13-111 (2018) (domestic assault). The trial court merged the aggravated assault convictions and imposed concurrent sentences of fifteen years for aggravated assault and eleven months, twenty-nine days for domestic assault. On appeal, the Defendant contends that (1) the evidence is insufficient to support his aggravated assault convictions, (2) the trial court erred by admitting a recorded jail telephone call, and (3) his sentence is excessive. We affirm the judgments of the trial court.

Davidson County Court of Criminal Appeals 09/20/21
Dennis Allen Rayfield v. State of Tennessee
M2020-00546-CCA-R3-PC
Authoring Judge: Judge James Curwood Witt, Jr.
Trial Court Judge: Judge David L. Allen

The petitioner, Dennis Allen Rayfield, appeals the denial of his petition for post-conviction relief, which petition challenged his conviction of first degree murder, alleging that the trial court committed errors which deprived him of his constitutional rights to due process and a fair trial and that he was deprived of the effective assistance of counsel. Discerning no error, we affirm the denial of post-conviction relief.

Wayne County Court of Criminal Appeals 09/16/21
State of Tennessee v. Reginald Bond
W2020-01455-CCA-R3-CD
Authoring Judge: Judge James Curwood Witt, Jr.
Trial Court Judge: Judge Donald H. Allen

The defendant, Reginald Bond, appeals the Madison County Circuit Court’s order revoking his probation and ordering him to serve the balance of his six-year sentence in confinement. Discerning no error, we affirm.

Madison County Court of Criminal Appeals 09/16/21
State of Tennessee v. Emmanuel Wallace
M2020-00484-CCA-R3-CD
Authoring Judge: Judge Timothy L. Easter
Trial Court Judge: Judge Jill Bartee Ayers

Emmanuel Wallace, Defendant, and co-defendant Joshua Aretz were indicted for their roles in the shooting death of Savon Easterling in Clarksville in August of 2015.  Defendant was indicted for premeditated murder, felony murder, and aggravated robbery.  Defendant elected to proceed to trial.  After the presentation of the proof, the trial court granted a motion for judgment of acquittal with respect to the offense of aggravated robbery.  The trial court submitted the lesser-included offenses of attempted aggravated robbery, attempted robbery, and attempted theft of property for the jury’s consideration.  After deliberating, the jury found Defendant guilty of second degree murder and felony murder but not guilty of attempted aggravated robbery and all lesser included offenses.  The trial court sentenced Defendant to an effective life sentence after merging the convictions.  After the denial of a motion for new trial, Defendant appealed to this Court.  On appeal, Defendant argues that the jury’s verdict was inconsistent because he was found guilty of felony murder and not guilty of the underlying felony.  He also argues that the trial court improperly responded to a jury question in violation of Tennessee Rule of Criminal Procedure 30(c).  After a thorough review of the record and the briefs, we determine that Defendant is not entitled to relief.  Consequently, the judgments of the trial court are affirmed.

Montgomery County Court of Criminal Appeals 09/15/21
State of Tennessee v. Courtney Perry
W2020-01682-CCA-R3-CD
Authoring Judge: Judge Camille R. McMullen
Trial Court Judge: Judge Jennifer Johnson Mitchell

The Petitioner, Courtney Perry, appeals the summary dismissal of his “Motion to Correct Illegal Sentence” pursuant to Tennessee Rule of Criminal Procedure 36.1. Upon our review, we affirm the summary dismissal of the motion.

Shelby County Court of Criminal Appeals 09/15/21
Johnny Lee Jenkins v. State of Tennessee
W2021-00032-CCA-R3-PC
Authoring Judge: Judge Camille R. McMullen
Trial Court Judge: Judge Glenn Ivy Wright

The Petitioner, Johnny Lee Jenkins, was convicted of voluntary manslaughter, attempted voluntary manslaughter, and two counts of employing a firearm during the commission of a dangerous felony. One of the counts of employing a firearm during the commission of a dangerous felony was dismissed after the Petitioner filed a motion for new trial, and this court reversed and vacated the voluntary manslaughter conviction on direct appeal and remanded the case for entry of corrected judgments to reflect a conviction for reckless homicide. On appeal, the Petitioner asserts that he received ineffective assistance of counsel, specifically contending that trial counsel failed to argue the inclusion of lesser-included offenses. Upon our review, we affirm the judgment of the post-conviction court.

Shelby County Court of Criminal Appeals 09/15/21