Baron Construction, LLC v. 4J Construction Company, Inc. et al.
M2022-00412-COA-R3-CV
Authoring Judge: Judge W. Neal McBrayer
Trial Court Judge: Chancellor Anne C. Martin

A general contractor sued two business entities and their sole owner for breach of contract. The defendants denied liability and filed a counter-complaint. Four years later, the contractor moved for sanctions under Tennessee Rule of Civil Procedure 16.06. The trial court entered a default judgment against the defendants and dismissed their counterclaims with prejudice due to their repeated failure to comply with pretrial orders. The defendants moved to set aside the final judgment. The trial court granted the owner relief from the judgment. But it refused to set aside the judgment against his two companies. And it granted the contractor summary judgment against the owner on the remaining claims. We affirm.

Davidson Court of Appeals

State of Tennessee v. Wayne Daryl Potee
M2023-00179-CCA-R3-CD
Authoring Judge: Judge Timothy L. Easter
Trial Court Judge: Judge Forest A. Durard, Jr.

Defendant, Wayne Daryl Potee, pleaded guilty in case numbers 2015-CR-185 and 2015- CR-186 to one count of selling 0.5 grams or more of methamphetamine in a Drug-Free School Zone (“DFSZ”) and one count of selling less than 0.5 grams of methamphetamine in a DFSZ. Defendant received an effective 15-year sentence to serve at 100 percent for his convictions. Defendant subsequently filed a motion for resentencing pursuant to Tennessee Code Annotated section 39-17-432(h)(1), which the trial court denied following two evidentiary hearings. Defendant appealed the trial court’s decision. In his brief to this Court, Defendant acknowledges that he has no right of appeal under Tennessee Rule of Appellate Procedure 3, see State v. Bobo, 672 S.W.3d 299, 302 (Tenn. Crim. App. 2023). He nonetheless asserts that the trial court’s ruling was fundamentally illegal and asks this Court to grant a writ of certiorari. Following a thorough review of the record and applicable law, we deny Defendant’s request for a writ of certiorari and affirm the judgment of the trial court.

Lincoln Court of Criminal Appeals

State of Tennessee v. Robert Bevis, Jr. a/k/a Butch Bevis
W2022-01740-CCA-R3-CD
Authoring Judge: Presiding Judge Camille R. McMullen
Trial Court Judge: Judge Mark L. Hayes

A Dyer County Circuit Court jury convicted the Defendant, Robert Bevis, Jr., of two counts
of attempted first degree premeditated murder and one count of employing a firearm during
the commission of a dangerous felony, and the trial court imposed concurrent sentences of
thirty-five years at eighty-five percent for the attempted murder convictions and a
consecutive ten-year sentence at one hundred percent for the firearm conviction. On
appeal, the Defendant argues: (1) the trial court failed to declare a mistrial in response to
numerous outbursts by the victims’ families; (2) the evidence is insufficient to sustain his
convictions; (3) the trial court erred in overruling the defense’s objection when the
prosecutor misrepresented evidence during closing argument; and (4) the trial court erred
in failing to instruct the jury on voluntary intoxication and attempted first degree murder
without serious bodily injury. After review, we affirm the judgments of the trial court but
remand the case for entry of a corrected judgment in Count 4 to reflect the accurate
conviction offense of employing a firearm during the commission of a dangerous felony.

Dyer Court of Criminal Appeals

State of Tennessee v. Frank James Hastings
M2023-00247-CCA-R3-CD
Authoring Judge: Judge Robert L. Holloway, Jr.
Trial Court Judge: Judge Forest A. Durard, Jr.

Defendant, Frank James Hastings, appeals his effective sentence of twenty-two years related to three cases in which he entered open best interest pleas. On appeal, Defendant argues that his sentence is excessive and that the trial court erred by imposing partial consecutive service and denying alternative sentencing. After a thorough review of the record, we affirm the judgments of the trial court.

Lincoln Court of Criminal Appeals

State of Tennessee v. Travis Haynes
W2022-01573-CCA-R3-CD
Authoring Judge: Judge J. Ross Dyer
Trial Court Judge: Judge James M. Lammey

A Shelby County jury convicted the defendant, Travis Haynes, of first-degree murder,
tampering with evidence, and convicted felon in possession of a firearm, for which he
received an effective sentence of life imprisonment plus twenty years. On appeal, the
defendant contends the evidence presented at trial was insufficient to support his
convictions for first-degree murder and tampering with evidence. The defendant also
argues the trial court erred in not allowing the introduction of autopsy photographs through
Ms. Dinkins, in failing to include an instruction on voluntary manslaughter, and in denying
the defendant’s motion to continue. After reviewing the record and considering the
applicable law, we affirm the judgments of the trial court.

Shelby Court of Criminal Appeals

State of Tennessee v. Khalil Young
W2023-01139-CCA-R3-CD
Authoring Judge: Judge J. Ross Dyer
Trial Court Judge: Judge Chris Craft

The defendant, Khalil Young, pleaded guilty to attempted carjacking and kidnapping, and
the trial court imposed an effective sentence of eight years’ incarceration in the Tennessee
Department of Correction. On appeal, the defendant argues the trial court erred in denying
his request for diversion and alternative sentencing. After reviewing the record and
considering the applicable law, we affirm the judgments of the trial court.

Shelby Court of Criminal Appeals

Tut Mayal Tut v. State of Tennessee
M2023-01069-CCA-R3-PC
Authoring Judge: Judge James Curwood Witt, Jr.
Trial Court Judge: Judge Cheryl A. Blackburn

The pro se petitioner, Tut Mayal Tut, appeals the summary dismissal of his second petition for post-conviction relief, which petition challenged his guilty-pleaded convictions of especially aggravated kidnapping, especially aggravated robbery, and aggravated rape, alleging that his guilty pleas were unknowing and involuntary. Discerning no error, we affirm the summary dismissal of the post-conviction petition.

Davidson Court of Criminal Appeals

Debbie Lynn Simmons, et al. v. Deborah Matlock Bass, et al.
M2023-00275-COA-R3-CV
Authoring Judge: Judge Kenny Armstrong
Trial Court Judge: Judge Suzanne Lockert-Mash

Appellees, a married couple at the time, purchased two properties. Appellants, Husband’s adult daughters from a previous relationship, sought imposition of resulting trusts on the respective properties. Appellants, each of whom lived in one of the properties, maintained that they had agreements with their father whereby they would own the properties so long as they paid all expenses thereon. Appellee/Wife disputed such arrangement and maintained that the disputed properties were marital properties. Because of the suspect circumstances surrounding the purchases of the properties and the disputed testimony regarding any agreements by and between Husband and Appellants, Wife argued that the properties were not subject to the imposition of the equitable remedy of resulting trusts. The trial court denied Appellants’ respective petitions to establish resulting trusts, and they appeal. Because Appellants failed to meet the burden of proof to establish resulting trusts, we affirm the trial court’s decision.

Houston Court of Appeals

State of Tennessee v. Ralph Lee Atkins, Jr.
E2023-00368-CCA-R3-CD
Authoring Judge: Judge Robert H. Montgomery, Jr.
Trial Court Judge: Judge G. Scott Green

The Defendant, Ralph Lee Atkins, Jr., was convicted by a Knox County Criminal Court
jury of second degree murder, a Class A felony. See T.C.A. § 39-13-210 (2018). The
Defendant was sentenced to twenty-two years’ incarceration. On appeal, he contends that
the evidence is insufficient to support his conviction. We affirm the judgment of the trial
court

Knox Court of Criminal Appeals

State of Tennessee v. William Moquann Smith
M2023-00460-CCA-R3-CD
Authoring Judge: Judge Robert H. Montgomery, Jr.
Trial Court Judge: Judge James G. Martin, III

The Defendant, William Moquann Smith, was convicted by a Williamson County Circuit Court jury of two counts of aggravated robbery, a Class B felony, and one count of theft of property valued at $10,000 or more but less than $60,000, a Class C felony, for which he is serving an effective eleven-year sentence in confinement and three years of probation. See T.C.A. §§ 39-13-403 (2018) (especially aggravated robbery), 39-14-103 (2018) (theft of property), 39-14-105(a)(4) (2018) (grading of theft). On appeal, he contends that the trial court erred in admitting a video recording and several photographs depicting him with a handgun. We affirm the judgments of the trial court.

Williamson Court of Criminal Appeals

State of Tennessee v. Eric Deshawn Webb
M2022-01235-CCA-R3-CD
Authoring Judge: Judge James Curwood Witt, Jr.
Trial Court Judge: Judge Christopher V. Sockwell

The defendant, Eric DeShawn Webb, appeals the Maury County Circuit Court’s partial denial of his motion to reduce his sentence filed pursuant to Tennessee Rule of Criminal Procedure 35, and imposition of an effective 10-year sentence for his guilty-pleaded convictions of aggravated rioting and aggravated assault. Discerning no error, we affirm.

Maury Court of Criminal Appeals

Jaquan Gathing v. State of Tennessee
W2023-00596-CCA-R3-PC
Authoring Judge: Judge J. Ross Dyer
Trial Court Judge: Judge Lee V. Coffee

The petitioner, Jaquan Gathing, 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

State of Tennessee v. Chris M. Jones
W2023-00591-CCA-R3-CD
Authoring Judge: Judge J. Ross Dyer
Trial Court Judge: Judge Chris Craft

The petitioner, Chris M. Jones, appeals from the summary dismissal of his petition filed
pursuant to the Post-Conviction DNA Analysis Act of 2001, wherein he sought DNA
testing of evidence related to his convictions for second-degree murder and attempted
second-degree murder. After reviewing the record, the parties’ briefs, and the applicable
law, we affirm the judgment of the post-conviction court.

Shelby Court of Criminal Appeals

State of Tennessee v. Kevin Scott Pendleton
W2023-00697-CCA-R3-CD
Authoring Judge: Judge J. Ross Dyer
Trial Court Judge: Judge A. Blake Neill

A Tipton County jury found the defendant, Kevin Scott Pendleton, guilty of possession of
a firearm by a convicted felon for which he received a sentence of ten years in confinement.
On appeal, the defendant contends that the evidence presented at trial was insufficient to
support his conviction. Following our review, we affirm the defendant’s conviction.

Tipton Court of Criminal Appeals

State of Tennessee v. Ralph Edward Overstreet, Jr.
M2023-00260-CCA-R3-CD
Authoring Judge: Judge Timothy L. Easter
Trial Court Judge: Judge Brody N. Kane

The Smith County Grand Jury indicted Defendant, Ralph Edward Overstreet, Jr., for burglary, attempted first degree murder, aggravated assault, and resisting arrest. A jury convicted Defendant as charged, and the trial court merged the aggravated assault conviction into the attempted first degree murder conviction. Defendant argues on appeal that: (1) the prosecutor’s previous representation of Defendant created an actual conflict of interest that required disqualification and a new trial; (2) the State violated its discovery obligations by introducing evidence that the State allegedly did not disclose of a prior domestic incident between Defendant and his girlfriend; and (3) the evidence was insufficient to support his conviction for attempted first degree murder. Defendant does not challenge the sufficiency of any other conviction. After hearing oral arguments and reviewing the record, the parties’ briefs, and the applicable law, we affirm the judgments of the trial court.

Smith Court of Criminal Appeals

In Re Kamdyn H. et al.
E2023-00497-COA-R3-PT
Authoring Judge: Judge D. Michael Swiney
Trial Court Judge: Judge Mark H. Tooey

This is an appeal of a termination of a mother’s parental rights. The Juvenile Court for Sullivan County (“the Juvenile Court”) terminated the parental rights of Tara C. (“Mother”)to two of her children, Kamdyn H. and Bentyn H. upon finding that the Tennessee Department of Children’s Services (“DCS”) proved by clear and convincing evidence that Mother was mentally incompetent and that it was in the best interest of Kamdyn and Bentyn for Mother’s parental rights to be terminated. Mother has appealed. Upon our review, we affirm the Juvenile Court’s judgment.

Sullivan Court of Appeals

Estate of Ella Mae Haire et al. v. Shelby J. Webster et al.
E2022-01657-COA-R3-CV
Authoring Judge: Judge Kristi Davis
Trial Court Judge: Chancellor Richard B. Armstrong

Decedent’s son, individually and as personal representative of his mother’s estate, sued several of his siblings and decedent mother’s bank. Among other things, the son alleged that the bank breached its duties to the decedent by disbursing funds out of her checking and savings accounts following her death. Eventually, the bank moved for summary judgment, arguing that it was not negligent in its handling of the decedent’s accounts, nor did it breach any contractual duty to either the decedent or her son. The son appeals and, discerning no error by the trial court, we affirm.

Court of Appeals

Anika Berryhill v. Shelby County Government Civil Service Merit Board
W2022-01814-COA-R3-CV
Authoring Judge: Judge Jeffrey Usman
Trial Court Judge: Chancellor Jim Kyle

A former Shelby County employee alleges that she was wrongfully terminated by the
County and that the Shelby County Government Civil Service Merit Board (CSMB)
improperly declined to consider her appeal. The CSMB’s decision not to consider her
appeal was based upon its determination that the former employee was administratively
removed from her position, not punitively terminated, and, accordingly, the matter was
beyond its authority. The former employee sought judicial review of the CSMB’s decision
in the Shelby County Chancery Court. The Chancery Court dismissed, concluding that the
CSMB did not err on the merits and that the Chancery Court lacked subject matter
jurisdiction. The former employee appeals to this court. Based upon a lack of subject
matter jurisdiction, we affirm the Chancery Court’s dismissal of the former employee’s
petition for judicial review.

Shelby Court of Appeals

Catina Hope Kestner Lusk v. Brandon Burl Lusk
E2024-00226-COA-T10B-CV
Authoring Judge: Judge Jeffrey Usman
Trial Court Judge: Judge Suzanne Cook

This is an accelerated interlocutory appeal as of right pursuant to Rule 10B of the Rules of the Supreme Court of Tennessee from a circuit court judge’s denial of a motion to recuse. The Appellant moved for recusal based on the judge’s setting a trial date, based on the judge’s having filed a complaint with the Board of Professional Responsibility against the Appellant’s attorney in an unrelated case, and based on criticism of the attorney in an
unrelated case. The judge denied the recusal on the merits and also due to a failure to follow the procedural requirements of Rule 10B. We affirm the trial court’s denial of the motion to recuse.

Unicoi Court of Appeals

Wendy C. Coram Et Al v. Jimmy C. Brasfield, M.D. Et Al
E2022-01619-COA-R3-CV
Authoring Judge: Judge Kristi M. Davis
Trial Court Judge: Judge John S. McLellan, III

Plaintiffs filed a health care liability action against several defendants. Following a hearing on the defendants’ motions to dismiss, the trial court determined that the plaintiffs failed to substantially comply with Tennessee Code Annotated section 29-26-121(a)(2)(E) and that the action was untimely. The plaintiffs appealed to this Court and, following our review, we reverse.

Sullivan Court of Appeals

In Re Pandora G.
M2023-01223-COA-R3-PT
Authoring Judge: Judge Kenny Armstrong
Trial Court Judge: Judge Sheila Calloway

This is a termination of parental rights case. The trial court terminated Appellant/Father’s parental rights on the grounds of abandonment by failure to support, substantial noncompliance with the permanency plan, and failure to manifest an ability and willingness to assume custody, and on its finding that termination of parental rights was in the child’s best interest. Father appeals. Because Appellee abandoned the ground of substantial noncompliance with the permanency plan, we reverse the trial court’s termination of Appellant’s parental rights on that ground. We affirm the trial court’s termination of Appellant’s parental rights on all remaining grounds and on its finding that termination of Appellant’s parental rights is in the child’s best interest.

Davidson Court of Appeals

Farris Lamont Kidd v. State of Tennessee
W2023-00601-CCA-R3-PC
Authoring Judge: Judge Matthew J. Wilson
Trial Court Judge: Judge Donald H. Allen

Petitioner, Farris Lamont Kidd, pleaded guilty to five separate charges, and received an effective fourteen-year sentence. Thereafter, Petitioner filed a pro se petition for post-conviction relief, which the post-conviction court denied after a hearing. On appeal, Petitioner argues he received ineffective assistance of counsel. After review, we affirm the judgment of the post-conviction court.

Madison Court of Criminal Appeals

State of Tennessee v. Justin Daniel Barker
W2022-01631-CCA-R3-CD
Authoring Judge: Judge Matthew J. Wilson
Trial Court Judge: Judge Donald E. Parish

A Henry County jury found Defendant, Justin Daniel Barker, guilty of two counts of rape (under alternate theories) and one count of aggravated statutory rape. The trial court imposed an effective sentence of eight and a half years in the Tennessee Department of Correction. On appeal, Defendant argues the trial court erred in admitting testimony related to Defendant’s pending criminal proceedings in another jurisdiction, and he contends the evidence was insufficient to sustain the jury’s verdicts. After review, we conclude the trial court erred in admitting evidence related to the pending criminal proceedings, but such error was harmless. We also conclude the evidence was sufficient to support Defendant’s convictions. Accordingly, we affirm the judgments of the trial court.

Henry Court of Criminal Appeals

Ben Smith et al. v. William A. White et al.
M2023-00030-COA-R3-CV
Authoring Judge: Judge Andy D. Bennett
Trial Court Judge: Judge Michael Wayne Collins

The appellees sold a portion of their property to the appellants. The appellees sued the appellants seeking an easement by necessity. The appellants maintained that Tenn. Code Ann § 54-14-102 and its associated statutes prohibited such an easement. The trial court granted a common law easement by necessity. We agree with the trial court’s determination that the 2020 amendments to Tenn. Code Ann § 54-14-102 and its associated statutes did not change the common law regarding easements by necessity. However, due to the lack of a hearing and the corresponding lack of evidence, the improper use of the trial judge’s visit to the property as a fact-finding mission, and the uncertain procedures used to decide the case, we vacate the trial court’s order and remand this matter to the trial court for further proceedings.

Jackson Court of Appeals

Michael White v. Vincent Vantell, Warden
M2023-00967-CCA-R3-HC
Authoring Judge: Judge Tom Greenholtz
Trial Court Judge: Judge Michael Wayne Collins

A Marshall County jury convicted the Petitioner, Michael White, of five counts of rape in 2005, and the trial court sentenced him to an effective sentence of fifty-five years. Thereafter, the Petitioner filed an application for a writ of habeas corpus. He alleged that the trial court lacked jurisdiction to hear his case because, among other things, the original affidavit of complaint was invalid and that his charges were not supported by probable cause. The habeas corpus court summarily denied the application, finding that the Petitioner failed to state a colorable claim for relief and that he failed to comply with the statutory requirements for requesting the writ. Upon our review, we respectfully affirm the judgment of the habeas corpus court.

Trousdale Court of Criminal Appeals