Court of Criminal Appeals Opinions

Format: 10/21/2021
Format: 10/21/2021
Winford Paul Wilhoite v. State of Tennessee
M2019-02198-CCA-R3-PC
Authoring Judge: Judge Camille R. McMullen
Trial Court Judge: Judge Stella L. Hargrove

In 2017, the Petitioner, Winford Paul Wilhoite, pleaded guilty as charged in case number 25743 to possession with intent to sell 0.5 grams or more of methamphetamine, simple possession of Lortab, possession of drug paraphernalia, criminal impersonation, and driving on a revoked license (second offense). See Tenn. Code Ann. §§ 39-17-434, 3917-418, 39-17-425, 39-16-301, 55-50-504. Following a sentencing hearing, the trial court imposed an effective sentence of ten years. Thereafter, the Petitioner filed a petition for post-conviction relief, alleging, in part, that he received ineffective assistance of counsel. Counsel for the Petitioner was appointed, and an amended petition was filed. The postconviction court denied relief, and the Petitioner appeals. After review, we affirm the postconviction court’s judgment.  

Maury County Court of Criminal Appeals 07/13/21
State of Tennessee v. Madaryl Dewayne Hampton
W2019-01551-CCA-R3-CD
Authoring Judge: Judge Camille R. McMullen
Trial Court Judge: Judge Donald H. Allen

The Defendant-Appellant, Madaryl Hampton, was indicted by the Madison County Grand Jury with multiple counts of drug and weapon related offenses, all stemming from a single encounter with the Jackson Police Department (JPD). These counts were severed into two trials, one dealing with the drug related offenses and the other the weapon related offenses. In the first trial, the Defendant was convicted of two counts of simple possession of marijuana. In his second trial, the Defendant was convicted of four counts of being a felon in possession of a weapon. The trial court merged each of these counts and sentenced the Defendant as a Range II offender to twenty years’ imprisonment for the weapon offenses to be served consecutively to eleven months and twenty-nine days’ imprisonment for the possession of marijuana convictions. While the issues presented in this appeal as of right involve facts from the Defendant’s first trial, the Defendant challenges only the felon in possession of a weapon convictions in arguing that: (1) the trial court committed plain error in allowing the State to admit evidence that the Defendant was in possession of marijuana, digital scales, and cash; (2) the trial court committed plain error in allowing the State to comment on the credibility of the Defendant and the witnesses during closing arguments; and (3) the evidence is insufficient to sustain the Defendant’s convictions. Following our review, we affirm the judgments of the trial court.

Madison County Court of Criminal Appeals 07/12/21
State of Tennessee v. Calvin M. Courter
M2020-00470-CCA-R3-CD
Authoring Judge: Judge Camilla R. McMullen
Trial Court Judge: Judge Steve Dozier

The Defendant-Appellant, Calvin M. Courter, pleaded guilty to reckless aggravated assault, see Tenn. Code Ann. § 39-13-102, for which he received a three-year probationary sentence, with an additional 30 days to be served on weekends. On appeal, the Defendant argues that the trial court erred in denying his request for judicial diversion. Upon our review, we affirm the judgment of the trial court.  

Davidson County Court of Criminal Appeals 07/12/21
Yangreek Tut Wal v. State of Tennessee
M2020-00646-CCA-R3-PC
Authoring Judge: Judge Norma McGee Ogle
Trial Court Judge: Judge Cheryl A. Blackburn

The Petitioner, Yangreek Tut Wal, appeals the Davidson County Criminal Court’s denial of his post-conviction petition, seeking relief from his guilty pleas to two counts of especially aggravated kidnapping and two counts of especially aggravated robbery and resulting effective sentence of forty years to be served at one hundred percent. On appeal, the Petitioner contends that he received the ineffective assistance of counsel, which resulted in his guilty pleas being unknowing and involuntary. Based upon the record and the parties’ briefs, we affirm the judgment of the post-conviction court.

Davidson County Court of Criminal Appeals 07/12/21
State of Tennessee v. Anthony Lebron Vance
E2020-00467-CCA-R3-CD
Authoring Judge: Judge Robert H. Montgomery, Jr.
Trial Court Judge: Judge Don W. Poole

The Defendant, Anthony Lebron Vance, was convicted by a Hamilton County Criminal Court jury of rape, a Class B felony. See T.C.A. § 39-13-503 (2018). The trial court sentenced him to twenty-five years at 100% and imposed the sentence consecutively to the Defendant’s ten-year sentence in another case. On appeal, the Defendant contends that (1) the evidence is insufficient to support his conviction and (2) the trial court erred in imposing consecutive sentencing. We affirm the judgment of the trial court.

Hamilton County Court of Criminal Appeals 07/12/21
Gabriel Buchanon v. State of Tennessee
E2019-01989-CCA-R3-PC
Authoring Judge: Judge John Everett Williams
Trial Court Judge: Judge Don W. Poole

The Petitioner, Gabriel Buchanon, was found guilty by a jury of three counts of aggravated rape and one count of aggravated burglary, and he received an effective twenty-three-year sentence. After this court affirmed the Petitioner’s convictions on direct appeal, he filed a petition for post-conviction relief contending that trial counsel was ineffective. Following a hearing, the post-conviction court denied the petition, and the Petitioner appeals. We affirm the judgment of the post-conviction court.

Hamilton County Court of Criminal Appeals 07/12/21
Delshun Jones v. State of Tennessee
W2020-00994-CCA-R3-PC
Authoring Judge: Judge Timothy L. Easter
Trial Court Judge: Judge Glenn Ivy Wright

Petitioner, Delshun Jones, appeals from the denial of his petition for post-conviction relief, in which he alleged that he received ineffective assistance of counsel at trial. Following an evidentiary hearing, the post-conviction court denied the petition. Having reviewed the entire record and the briefs of the parties, we affirm the judgment of the post-conviction court.

Shelby County Court of Criminal Appeals 07/09/21
State of Tennessee v. Santos Morales
W2019-02019-CCA-R3-CD
Authoring Judge: Judge Robert H. Montgomery, Jr.
Trial Court Judge: Judge Carolyn W. Blackett

The Defendant, Santos Morales, was convicted by a Shelby County Criminal Court jury of aggravated sexual battery, a Class B Felony. See T.C.A § 39-13-504 (2018). The trial court sentenced the Defendant to ten years at 100% service and ordered the Defendant to register as a sexual offender. See T.C.A § 40-39-201 (2019). On appeal, the Defendant contends that the evidence is insufficient to support his conviction. We affirm the judgment of the trial court.

Shelby County Court of Criminal Appeals 07/09/21
Lamar Hudson v. State of Tennessee
W2020-00330-CCA-R3-PC
Authoring Judge: Judge D. Kelly Thomas, Jr.
Trial Court Judge: Judge J. Robert Carter, Jr.

The Petitioner, Lamar Hudson, filed a petition for post-conviction relief challenging his guilty plea for attempted second degree murder and the resulting ten-year sentence. The post-conviction court denied relief, and the Petitioner appeals. On appeal, the Petitioner alleges that he received ineffective assistance of counsel because trial counsel failed to obtain body camera footage and that the resulting guilty plea was, therefore, entered involuntarily. After our review, we affirm the judgment of the post-conviction court denying the Petitioner relief.

Shelby County Court of Criminal Appeals 07/09/21
Curtis Keller v. State of Tennessee
W2020-00590-CCA-R3-PC
Authoring Judge: Judge James Curwood Witt, Jr.
Trial Court Judge: Judge J. Robert Carter, Jr.

The petitioner, Curtis Keller, appeals the denial of his petition for post-conviction relief, which petition challenged his convictions of especially aggravated kidnapping, aggravated robbery, attempted aggravated robbery, aggravated burglary, and evading arrest. In this appeal, the petitioner alleges that he was deprived of the effective assistance of trial and appellate counsel and that the
post-conviction court erred by denying his motions for a continuance and to inspect grand jury materials. Discerning no error, we affirm the denial of post-conviction relief.

Shelby County Court of Criminal Appeals 07/09/21
State of Tennessee v. Bobby Joe Young, Jr.
M2019-01965-CCA-R3-CD
Authoring Judge: Judge James Curwood Witt, Jr.
Trial Court Judge: Judge William R. Goodman, III

The defendant, Bobby Joe Young, Jr., appeals the revocation of the sentences of probation imposed for his convictions of aggravated assault, robbery, and escape, arguing that the trial court erred by ordering that he serve the balance of the total effective sentence in confinement and that the trial court miscalculated the remaining balance of the total effective sentence. Discerning no error, we affirm.

Montgomery County Court of Criminal Appeals 07/09/21
State of Tennessee v. Joshua Travis Griffith
M2020-00521-CCA-R3-CD
Authoring Judge: Judge Robert W. Wedemeyer
Trial Court Judge: Judge Larry B. Stanley

A Warren County jury convicted the Defendant, Joshua Travis Griffith, of three counts of aggravated statutory rape, and the trial court sentenced him to a total effective sentence of three years. On appeal, the Defendant contends that the trial court: (1) erroneously allowed the State to present evidence outside the scope of the indictment, as well as evidence of his transmission of hepatitis B to the victim, which should have been excluded pursuant to Tenn. R. Evid. 404(b); (2) erroneously failed to declare a mistrial after the State’s motion to amend the indictment in the presence of the jury; and (3) erroneously failed to grant his motion for judgments of acquittal. He lastly contends that the cumulative effect of the errors violated his right to a fair trial. After review, we conclude that errors occurred during trial; however, consistent with our conclusion that those errors were harmless, the trial court’s judgments are affirmed.

Warren County Court of Criminal Appeals 07/08/21
State of Tennessee v. Ralpheal Cameron Coffey
E2019-01764-CCA-R3-CD
Authoring Judge: Judge Norma McGee Ogle
Trial Court Judge: Judge G. Scott Green

The Appellant, Ralpheal Cameron Coffey, was convicted in the Knox County Criminal Court of various offenses, including four counts of possession of more than one-half gram of cocaine with intent to sell and deliver within one thousand feet of a school, Class A and B felonies, and two counts of vehicular homicide, Class C felonies. After a sentencing hearing, the trial court merged some of the convictions and ordered that the Appellant serve an effective forty-eight-year sentence in confinement. On appeal, the Appellant contends that the evidence is insufficient to support some of the convictions, that the trial court erred by admitting the cocaine into evidence because there was a “break” in the chain of custody, and that his effective forty-eight-year sentence is excessive. Based upon the oral arguments, the record, and the parties’ briefs, we affirm the judgments of the trial court.

Knox County Court of Criminal Appeals 07/08/21
State of Tennessee v. Randy Massey
M2020-00893-CCA-R3-CD
Authoring Judge: Judge James Curwood Witt, Jr.
Trial Court Judge: Judge Stella L. Hargrove

The defendant, Randy Massey, appeals the Giles County Circuit Court’s order revoking his probation and ordering him to serve the balance of his six-year sentence for aggravated assault in confinement. Discerning no error, we affirm.

Giles County Court of Criminal Appeals 07/08/21
State of Tennessee v. James Yates
W2020-00706-CCA-R3-CD
Authoring Judge: Judge J. Ross Dyer
Trial Court Judge: Judge Chris Craft

A Shelby County jury convicted the defendant, James Yates, of aggravated robbery and assault. Following a sentencing hearing, the trial court imposed an effective sentence of thirty years in confinement. On appeal, the defendant challenges the sufficiency of the evidence to support his convictions and argues the trial court erred in denying his motion to suppress. After reviewing the record and considering the applicable law, we affirm the judgments of the trial court. However, we remand the case for entry of a judgment form in count 2.

Shelby County Court of Criminal Appeals 07/07/21
Mario Norfleet v. State of Tennessee
W2020-00694-CCA-R3-PC
Authoring Judge: Judge J. Ross Dyer
Trial Court Judge: Judge Chris Craft

The petitioner, Mario Norfleet, 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 07/07/21
Casey L. Redmon v. State of Tennessee
W2020-00888-CCA-R3-PC
Authoring Judge: Judge D. Kelly Thomas, Jr.
Trial Court Judge: Judge J. Weber McCraw

The Petitioner, Casey L. Redmon, appeals from the McNairy County Circuit Court’s summary dismissal of his petition for post-conviction relief, wherein he challenged his 2014 guilty-pleaded conviction of burglary. The Petitioner contends that the post-conviction court erred in summarily denying his petition for being untimely filed. Specifically, he argues that he is serving an illegal sentence based upon the Tennessee Department of Correction’s (TDOC) incorrect calculation of his sentence and that an illegal sentence can be remedied at any time. Discerning no error, we affirm the judgment of the post-conviction court.

McNairy County Court of Criminal Appeals 07/07/21
State of Tennessee v. Derious Grandberry
W2019-01872-CCA-R3-CD
Authoring Judge: Presiding Judge John Everett Williams
Trial Court Judge: Judge John Wheeler Campbell

The Defendant, Derious Grandberry, was convicted at trial of carjacking and aggravated robbery. He received an effective sentence of twenty years in confinement. On appeal, the Defendant argues that the evidence was insufficient to convict him of the offenses, that the trial court erred by failing to weigh the evidence itself as the thirteenth juror, that the trial court erred in allowing the State to admit the victim’s photographic lineup identification of him into evidence, and that the trial court abused its discretion by imposing the maximum sentence. After review, we affirm the trial court’s judgments.

Shelby County Court of Criminal Appeals 07/07/21
State of Tennessee v. Nathan Craig
M2020-01124-CCA-R3-CD
Authoring Judge: Judge Jill Bartee Ayers
Trial Court Judge: Judge Stella L. Hargrove

Defendant, Nathan Craig, pled guilty to robbery and was sentenced to four years, suspended to a ten-year sentence of supervised probation. Defendant’s probation officer filed a probation violation warrant alleging that Defendant had violated the terms of his probation. Following a hearing, the trial court revoked Defendant’s probation and ordered him to serve the remainder of the four-year sentence in confinement. On appeal, Defendant argues that the trial court abused its discretion in revoking his probation. Following our review of the entire record and the briefs of the parties, we affirm the judgment of the trial court. 

Maury County Court of Criminal Appeals 07/07/21
State of Tennessee v. Gary Bush
M2020-00940-CCA-R3-CD
Authoring Judge: Presiding Judge John Everett Williams
Trial Court Judge: Judge Barry R. Tidwell

The Defendant, Gary Bush, appeals the trial court’s summary denial of his motion to correct an illegal sentence filed pursuant to Tennessee Rule of Criminal Procedure 36.1 in which he challenged his life sentence resulting from his first degree murder conviction in 2008 for an offense that occurred in 1982. On appeal, the Defendant argues that he was sentenced under the 1989 Criminal Sentencing Reform Act rather than the law in effect when he committed the offense. We affirm the judgment of the trial court.  

Rutherford County Court of Criminal Appeals 07/06/21
State of Tennessee v. Marcel Holbrook
W2019-02202-CCA-R3-CD
Authoring Judge: Judge Robert W. Wedemeyer
Trial Court Judge: Judge James M. Lammey, Jr.

A Shelby County jury convicted the Defendant, Marcel Holbrook, of first degree premeditated murder, attempted first degree murder, and possession of a firearm during the commission of or attempt to commit a dangerous felony. The trial court imposed an effective sentence of life plus twenty-seven years. On appeal, the Defendant asserts that the trial court erred when it admitted into evidence a photograph of an SKS rifle and that the evidence was insufficient to support his convictions for first degree murder and attempted first degree murder. After a thorough review of the record and applicable law, we affirm the trial court’s judgments.

Shelby County Court of Criminal Appeals 07/02/21
State of Tennessee v. Chad M. Varnell
E2020-01352-CCA-R3-CD
Authoring Judge: Judge J. Ross Dyer
Trial Court Judge: Judge Steven Wayne Sword

The defendant, Chad M. Varnell, appeals the order of the trial court revoking his probation and ordering him to serve his original
eight-year sentence in confinement. Upon our review of the record and the parties’ briefs, we reverse the judgment of the trial court and remand for a new hearing.

Knox County Court of Criminal Appeals 07/01/21
State of Tennessee v. Jasper Lee Vick
W2020-00772-CCA-R3-CD
Authoring Judge: Judge Camille R. McMullen
Trial Court Judge: Judge Chris Craft

The pro se Petitioner, Jasper Lee Vick, appeals the summary dismissal of his fourth “Motion to Correct Illegal Sentence.” Upon our review, we affirm the summary dismissal of the motion.

Shelby County Court of Criminal Appeals 07/01/21
State of Tennessee v. Sergio Lara, In re: Debo's Bail Bond Company, LLC
M2020-00263-CCA-R3-CO
Authoring Judge: Judge Alan E. Glenn
Trial Court Judge: Judge Barry R. Tidwell

This is an appeal by Debo’s Bail Bond Company, LLC, (“Debo’s”) of an order issued by the Circuit Court for Rutherford County denying Debo’s Petition for Relief from Bond. The sole issue on appeal is whether the trial court erred in its application of Tennessee Code Annotated section 40-11-201(c) because the State declined to commence extradition proceedings. Following our review, we affirm the denial of the petition.

Rutherford County Court of Criminal Appeals 06/30/21
State of Tennessee v. Frederick J. Robinson
M2020-01004-CCA-R3-CD
Authoring Judge: Judge James Curwood Witt, Jr.
Trial Court Judge: Judge Cheryl Blackburn

The pro se petitioner, Frederick Robinson, Jr., appeals the Davidson 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.

Davidson County Court of Criminal Appeals 06/30/21