Brandon Marquell Brown v. State of Tennessee
M2023-01194-CCA-R3-PC
Authoring Judge: Judge Kyle A. Hixson
Trial Court Judge: Judge Robert T. Bateman

The Petitioner, Brandon Marquell Brown, appeals the Robertson County Circuit Court’s denial of his petition for post-conviction relief, challenging his guilty-pleaded convictions for two counts of coercion of a witness and one count of aggravated assault. The Petitioner argues that the post-conviction court erred in denying his petition for post-conviction relief. Specifically, the Petitioner alleges that (1) his guilty pleas were not knowing, intelligent, and voluntary and (2) trial counsel was ineffective for failing to investigate and prepare the Petitioner’s cases by interviewing pertinent witnesses and for failing to meet with the Petitioner and review discovery with him. Following our review, we affirm the judgment of the post-conviction court.

Robertson Court of Criminal Appeals

State of Tennessee v. Jarvis Miller
W2023-01128-CCA-R3-CD
Authoring Judge: Judge Kyle A. Hixson
Trial Court Judge: Judge Lee V. Coffee

The Defendant, Jarvis Miller, appeals his twenty-five-year sentence at 100 percent in the Tennessee Department of Correction (“TDOC”) for his second degree murder conviction. Specifically, he challenges the length and manner of his sentence as excessive because the trial court (1) failed to mitigate the Defendant’s sentence based on “mistakenly recollected” facts from trial; (2) misapplied and gave improper weight to two enhancement factors; and (3) failed to give meaningful consideration to imposing an alternative sentence. After review, we affirm.

Shelby Court of Criminal Appeals

State of Tennessee v. Rickie Lumley
W2023-00622-CCA-R3-CD
Authoring Judge: Judge Robert W. Wedemeyer
Trial Court Judge: Judge Mark L. Hayes

After a 2022 bench trial, the trial court convicted the Defendant, Rickie Lumley, of felony evading arrest, and subsequently sentenced him as a Career Offender to twelve years of incarceration. On appeal, the Defendant contends that the evidence is insufficient to support his Class D felony conviction for felony evading arrest because his flight did not create a risk of death or injury to innocent bystanders or other third parties. He contends that his conviction should have only been for a Class E felony. After review, we affirm the trial court’s judgment.

Dyer Court of Criminal Appeals

State of Tennessee v. Willis Holloway
W2023-00787-CCA-R3-CD
Authoring Judge: Judge Robert W. Wedemeyer
Trial Court Judge: Judge Lee V. Coffee

A Shelby County jury convicted the Defendant, Willis Holloway, of two counts of aggravated robbery, two counts of aggravated kidnapping, and one count of aggravated burglary, and the trial court sentenced him to 135 years in the Tennessee Department of Correction. After an unsuccessful appeal, post-conviction filing, and extraordinary relief filing, in December 2022, the Defendant filed a Rule 36.1 motion challenging an unconstitutional jury instruction. He then filed a supplemental motion claiming “actual innocence.” The trial court denied his Rule 36.1 motion. The Defendant filed a motion to reconsider, which the trial court denied, and the Petitioner now appeals. The State asserts that, pursuant to Tennessee Rule of Appellate Procedure 4(a), the appeal is untimely. After review, we dismiss the appeal as untimely.

Shelby Court of Criminal Appeals

State of Tennessee v. Gardtrella Marie Day-Knowles
M2023-00644-CCA-R3-CD
Authoring Judge: Presiding Judge Camille R. McMullen
Trial Court Judge: Judge Jennifer Smith

The Appellant, Gardtrella Marie Day-Knowles, was convicted by a Davidson County jury of neglect of an impaired adult, for which she received a sentence of seven years’ supervised probation. See Tenn. Code Ann. § 71-6-117 (2017) (amended 2019, repealed 2020). On appeal, the Appellant argues that the trial court erred by: (1) allowing witnesses to describe conditions of animal neglect in her home; (2) refusing to redact an unfairly prejudicial comment from the victim’s medical records; and (3) allowing a witness to testify about her memory of the contents of a report under the public records hearsay exception. After review, we conclude there was no reversible error and affirm the judgment of the trial court.

Davidson Court of Criminal Appeals

Andre Terry v. State of Tennessee
E2023-00684-CCA-R3-PC
Authoring Judge: Judge Timothy L. Easter
Trial Court Judge: Judge Hector Sanchez

Petitioner, Andre Terry, appeals the Knox County Criminal Court’s denial of his petition
for post-conviction relief. Petitioner asserts on appeal that the post-conviction court erred
in concluding that he received the effective assistance of trial counsel, specifically as it
related to his failure to procure a plea offer from the State. The State counters that the postconviction
court properly denied relief. We ordered supplemental briefing as to whether
the post-conviction court had jurisdiction to consider this petition. We hold that the postconviction
court did not have jurisdiction to consider the petition because the pro se postconviction
petition was deficient, and thus a nullity, and the amended petition was filed
outside of the statute of limitations. Accordingly, we vacate the judgment of the postconviction
court and dismiss the petition.

Knox Court of Criminal Appeals

Richard A. Petersen v. Margaret E. Georgiades et al.
M2023-00538-COA-R3-CV
Authoring Judge: Presiding Judge Frank G. Clement, Jr.
Trial Court Judge: Judge Joe H. Thompson

This is an action to rescind a quitclaim deed conveyed pursuant to a durable general power of attorney. On August 1, 2006, Richard Petersen (“Plaintiff”) appointed his sister, Margaret Georgiades (“Defendant”) as his attorney-in-fact. The power of attorney was recorded on July 8, 2009. In April 2010, Defendant conveyed, via quitclaim deed, one-half of Plaintiff’s undivided interest in his residence to herself for no consideration. Plaintiff contends that he did not discover the transfer until the fall of 2020, at which time he revoked Defendant’s power of attorney. Then, on February 4, 2021, he filed suit against Defendant to rescind the conveyance on the basis that the deed was void ab initio as the power of attorney did not authorize Defendant to make gifts or transfers “without consideration to anyone.” He also contended that the conveyance should be set aside because Defendant’s conduct “constitutes a clear breach of the fiduciary duty” she owed to Plaintiff as his attorney-in-fact. For her part, Defendant contends that the action is barred by the ten-year statute of limitations. She also contends that Plaintiff instructed her to make the conveyance and that he subsequently told others that he had consented to the conveyance. Following discovery, Plaintiff filed a motion for summary judgment on the basis that the deed was void ab initio. The trial court granted the motion, finding that the power of attorney did not grant Defendant “the authority to transfer [Plaintiff’s] property by gift to her or to any third party” and, on this basis, declared the deed “void ab initio and to have no effect whatsoever.” This appeal followed. As provided by Tennessee Code Annotated § 34-6- 110(a), because the power of attorney expressly authorized Defendant “[t]o exercise or perform any act, power, duty, right or obligation whatsoever that I now have,” Defendant had “the power and authority to make gifts, in any amount, of any of the principal’s property, to any individuals, . . . in accordance with the principal’s personal history of making or joining in the making of lifetime gifts.” See Tenn. Code Ann. § 34-6-110(a). Accordingly, we vacate the trial court’s grant of summary judgment. Because the trial court did not rule on other issues, including, inter alia, whether Plaintiff’s claim is time barred, whether Plaintiff approved of the conveyance, whether the gift was in accordance with Plaintiff’s history of making lifetime gifts, and/or whether the conveyance constitutes a breach of Defendant’s fiduciary duty to Plaintiff, we remand this case for further proceedings consistent with this opinion.

Sumner Court of Appeals

Orson E. Steward v. Regent Homes, LLC et al.
M2023-01059-COA-R3-CV
Authoring Judge: Judge Carma Dennis McGee
Trial Court Judge: Judge Lynne T. Ingram

This is an appeal by a pro se appellant. Due to the deficiencies in the appellant’s brief on appeal, we conclude that he waived consideration of any issues on appeal and hereby dismiss the appeal.

Davidson Court of Appeals

State of Tennessee v. Valerie Ann Dollar
E2023-00531-CCA-R3-CD
Authoring Judge: Judge Robert H. Montgomery, Jr.
Trial Court Judge: Judge Lisa N. Rice

The Defendant, Valerie Ann Dollar, was convicted by a Johnson County Criminal Court
jury of first degree felony murder in perpetration of kidnapping, especially aggravated
kidnapping, and conspiracy to commit especially aggravated kidnapping. See T.C.A. §§
39-13-202 (2018) (subsequently amended) (first degree murder), 39-13-305 (2018)
(especially aggravated kidnapping), 39-12-103 (2018) (conspiracy). The trial court
imposed an effective life plus twenty-year sentence. On appeal, the Defendant contends
(1) that the evidence is insufficient to support the convictions and (2) that the trial court
erred by excluding evidence of the State’s pretrial offer to dismiss the murder charge. We
affirm the judgments of the criminal court.

Johnson Court of Criminal Appeals

State of Tennessee v. Renardo Dixon
W2023-00823-CCA-R3-CD
Authoring Judge: Judge John W. Campbell, Sr.
Trial Court Judge: Judge Paula L. Skahan

The Defendant, Renardo Dixon, pled guilty in the Shelby County Criminal Court to aggravated assault and kidnapping, both Class C felonies, in exchange for concurrent sentences of eight years at 30% release eligibility, with the service left to the trial court’s determination. At the conclusion of the sentencing hearing, the trial court denied the Defendant’s request for probation and ordered that he serve his sentences in the Tennessee Department of Correction consecutively to his sentence in a prior case in which his probation had been violated. On appeal, the Defendant argues that the trial court erred by denying his request for probation. Based on our review, we affirm the judgments of the trial court.

Shelby Court of Criminal Appeals

In Re Rayden R. et al.
M2024-00618-COA-R3-PT
Authoring Judge: PER CURIAM
Trial Court Judge: Judge Sharon Guffee

A mother appeals the termination of her parental rights. Because the mother did not file her notice of appeal within thirty days after entry of the final judgment as required by Tennessee Rule of Appellate Procedure 4(a), we dismiss the appeal.

Williamson Court of Appeals

State of Tennessee v. Keedrin Coppage
W2023-00205-CCA-R3-CD
Authoring Judge: Judge Jill Bartee Ayers
Trial Court Judge: Judge James M. Lammey

Defendant, Keedrin Coppage, was convicted by a Shelby County jury of first degree premeditated murder and tampering with evidence. The trial court imposed a life sentence for count one, and a consecutive sentence of six years for count two. Defendant raises twelve issues on appeal: (1) sufficiency of the evidence to support his first degree premeditated murder conviction; (2) admission of the Defendant’s prior bad acts against the victim under Tennessee Rule of Evidence 404(b); (3) admission of the victim’s statements under Tennessee Rule of Evidence 804(b)(6); (4) denial of his motion for a continuance of the trial date; (5) denial of his motion to admit recordings and photographs; (6) exclusion of portions of body camera footage; (7) denial of Defendant’s motion for mistrial; (8) exclusion of the victim’s family’s civil law suit; (9) allowing the jury to use transcripts of audio recordings; (10) not allowing defense counsel to question an officer regarding explicit recordings sent to him by Defendant; (11) not allowing defense counsel to question whether Defendant was charged for the prior bad acts admitted under Tennessee Rule of Evidence 404(b); and (12) that he is entitled to relief under the cumulative error doctrine. After a thorough review of the entire record, the briefs, oral arguments of the parties, and the applicable law, we affirm the judgments of the trial court.

Shelby Court of Criminal Appeals

State of Tennessee v. Deondre Raymon McClain
M2023-00761-CCA-R3-CD
Authoring Judge: Judge Kyle A. Hixson
Trial Court Judge: Judge J. Russell Parkes

The Defendant, Deondre Raymon McClain, appeals the trial court’s revocation of his effective six-year probationary sentence stemming from his guilty-pleaded convictions for unlawful possession of a weapon by a convicted felon and possession of a Schedule VI controlled substance with the intent to sell. On appeal, he argues that the trial court’s findings were insufficient to support its decision to fully revoke his probation and order him to serve the remainder of his sentence in confinement. Following our review, we affirm the judgment of the trial court.

Maury Court of Criminal Appeals

Kelly M. Et Al. v. Agness M.
E2024-00629-COA-T10B-CV
Authoring Judge: Judge Steven Stafford, Presiding Judge Western Section
Trial Court Judge: Judge Suzanne Cook

This case began with a March 14, 2024 petition to terminate the parental rights of
Respondent/Appellant Agness M. (“Mother”) filed by Petitioners Benjamin M. (“Father”)
and Kelly M. (together with Father, “Petitioners”) in the Washington County Chancery
Court (“the trial court”). The petition alleged as grounds abandonment by failure to visit
and support, mental incompetence to provide care, and failure to manifest an ability and
willingness to parent.

Washington Circuit, Criminal & Chancery Courts

In Re Jack C. L. et al.
E2022-01803-COA-R3-PT

The trial court terminated a father’s parental rights to two minor children on the grounds of abandonment and failure to manifest an ability and willingness to assume custody of or financial responsibility for the children. We reverse the trial court’s ruling as to abandonment but affirm the trial court’s ruling as to the father’s failure to manifest an ability and willingness. Because we also conclude that terminating the father’s parental rights is in the children’s best interests, we affirm the trial court’s ultimate ruling.

Cumberland Court of Appeals

State of Tennessee v. Landon Hank Black
E2022-01741-CCA-R3-CD
Authoring Judge: Judge John W. Campbell, Sr.
Trial Court Judge: Judge Steven Wayne Sword

The Defendant, Landon Hank Black, was convicted in the Knox County Criminal Court of
second degree murder and unlawful possession of a firearm by a convicted felon and
received an effective sentence of twenty-five years in confinement. On appeal, the
Defendant contends that the State infringed on his right to remain silent; the trial court
erred by allowing a State witness to give opinion testimony but then prohibiting a defense
witness from doing the same; the trial court erred by allowing a State witness to testify that
she had sex with the Defendant just days after the victim’s death; the State was allowed to
attack the integrity of the defense during the presentation of the evidence; the State’s
closing arguments were improper; the trial court erred by instructing the jury that the
Defendant had a duty to retreat before acting in self-defense; the trial court erred by
refusing to give a modified sequential jury instruction; the trial court incorrectly instructed
the jury on voluntary manslaughter; and the cumulative effect of the errors requires a new
trial. Based upon the oral arguments, the record, and the parties’ briefs, we affirm the
judgments of the trial court.

Knox Court of Criminal Appeals

State of Tennessee v. Landon Allen Turner
M2023-01254-CCA-R3-CD
Authoring Judge: Judge Timothy L. Easter
Trial Court Judge: Judge Thomas W. Graham

A Marion County jury convicted Landon Allen Turner, Defendant, of reckless homicide and aggravated child abuse for the death of Z.H.,[1] Defendant’s girlfriend’s two-year-old son.  He argues on appeal that: (1) the juvenile court erred in transferring his case to circuit court; (2) the State violated its Brady obligations by failing to provide defense counsel with a copy of Defendant’s statements prior to the juvenile transfer hearing; (3) the evidence was insufficient to support his convictions; (4) his conviction for aggravated child abuse should be barred under the doctrine of “mutually exclusive verdicts”; and (5) his sentence is excessive.  After review, we affirm the judgments.[1] It is the policy of this Court to protect the identities of minor victims by using their initials. 

 

Marion Court of Criminal Appeals

Zachary C. Crouch v. The University of Tennessee
E2023-00023-COA-R3-CV
Authoring Judge: Judge Thomas R. Frierson, II
Trial Court Judge: Judge Christopher D. Heagerty

This appeal involves claims of breach of contract and employment discrimination filed by a graduate student/teaching assistant at the University of Tennessee in Knoxville. The plaintiff claimed that he was fired for discriminatory reasons and that the University of Tennessee had breached its employment contract with him. The trial court dismissed the breach of contract claim based on sovereign immunity and lack of subject matter jurisdiction. The court dismissed the employment discrimination claims by reason of the applicable statute of limitations. The plaintiff has appealed. Discerning no reversible error, we affirm.

Knox Court of Appeals

State of Tennessee v. Lamiracle Scott
W2022-01145-CCA-R3-CD
Authoring Judge: Judge Robert L. Holloway, Jr.
Trial Court Judge: Judge James M. Lammey

Defendant, Lamiracle Scott, appeals from her Shelby County conviction for first degree premediated murder, for which she received a life sentence. Defendant contends: (1) that the evidence is insufficient to support her conviction; (2) that the trial court abused its discretion by denying her request for a continuance; and (3) that she is entitled to plain error relief due to a juror allegedly sleeping during trial. Following a thorough review, we affirm the judgment of the trial court.

Shelby Court of Criminal Appeals

John B. Jones v. Samantha Rose Jones
M2023-00767-COA-R3-CV
Authoring Judge: Presiding Judge J. Steven Stafford
Trial Court Judge: Chancellor Christopher V. Sockwell

In the first appeal in this case, we reversed the decision of the trial court to award custody of the minor children to Grandparents and remanded for Grandparents to prove substantial harm. While the appeal was pending, Mother and Grandparents filed a joint petition for custody to be returned to Mother. The trial court held a trial on both issues following the remand from this Court. Ultimately, the trial court granted Mother’s petition and entered a parenting plan naming Mother primary residential parent and awarding Father weekend visitation; Grandparents were not awarded any visitation. Discerning no reversible error, we affirm.

Maury Court of Appeals

Sarah Elizabeth Woodruff v. Ford Motor Company
E2023-00889-COA-R9-CV
Authoring Judge: Judge John McClarty
Trial Court Judge: Judge William T. Ailor

After a tragic motor vehicle accident caused her husband’s death and her minor child’s serious injuries, the plaintiff filed this products liability action against several manufacturers and sellers. We granted the instant interlocutory appeal in which the defendant requests review — based on the Tennessee Supreme Court’s majority opinion in Carolyn Coffman, et al. v. Armstrong International, Inc., et al., 615 S.W.3d 888 (Tenn. 2021) — of the
trial court’s denial of its motion for relief from unfavorable summary judgment orders. We reverse the trial court.

Knox Court of Appeals

State of Tennessee v. Nathaniel Isaac Herrick
E2023-00984-CCA-R3-CD
Authoring Judge: Judge Robert H. Montgomery, Jr.
Trial Court Judge: Judge James F. Goodwin, Jr.

The Defendant, Nathaniel Isaac Herrick, appeals from the Sullivan County Criminal
Court’s probation revocation of his two-year sentence for drug-related convictions. On
appeal, the Defendant contends that the trial court abused its discretion by revoking his
probation and ordering him to serve the remainder of his sentence in confinement. We
affirm the judgment of the trial court.

Sullivan Court of Criminal Appeals

State of Tennessee v. Jonathan Keith Hughes, Jr.
M2023-00732-CCA-R3-CD
Authoring Judge: Judge James Curwood Witt, Jr.
Trial Court Judge: Judge Larry J. Wallace

The defendant, Jonathan Keith Hughes, Jr., was convicted by a Dickson County Circuit Court jury of one count of first degree murder, one count of criminally negligent homicide, and three counts of conspiracy to commit murder. On appeal, the defendant challenges the trial court’s admission of evidence of his gang affiliation, the trial court’s failure to provide an accomplice instruction to the jury, and the sufficiency of the convicting evidence. Upon review of the record, we remand the case to the trial court for entry of corrected judgments reflecting the defendant’s convictions for conspiracy to commit first degree murder under the proper statute. We otherwise affirm the judgments of the trial court.

Dickson Court of Criminal Appeals

King Construction Group, Inc. v. Highlands Residential Services
M2023-00928-COA-R3-CV
Authoring Judge: Chief Judge D. Michael Swiney
Trial Court Judge: Chancellor Ronald Thurman

This appeal concerns the Tennessee Prompt Pay Act, Tenn. Code Ann. § 66-34-101, et seq. (“the PPA”). King Construction Group, Inc. (“King”) sued Highlands Residential Services (“HRS”) in the Chancery Court for Putnam County (“the Trial Court”) for violating the PPA. The parties filed competing motions for summary judgment. The Trial Court ruled in King’s favor, granting an award to King for HRS’s failure to place retained funds in a separate, interest-bearing escrow account as required by the PPA. The Trial Court further awarded King statutory interest and attorney’s fees. HRS appeals, arguing that an amendment to the PPA, which became effective in July 2020 after the parties had entered into their agreement, means that HRS, a public housing agency, did not have to place retainage in an escrow account. We hold that, as HRS first failed to place retained funds in an escrow account before the amendment became effective, the pre-July 2020 version of the PPA applies to this action. We affirm the Trial Court’s award of a penalty to King for HRS’s failure to place retainage in an escrow account. However, we reverse the Trial Court’s award of attorney’s fees to King because the Trial Court made no supporting findings nor is there any evidence of bad faith by HRS. In addition, we vacate the Trial Court in its award of statutory interest to King and remand for the Trial Court to calculate a new award of statutory interest to King at the interest rate specified in the pre-July 2020 version of the PPA. We thus affirm, in part, reverse, in part, and vacate, in part, and this cause is remanded to the Trial Court for further proceedings consistent with this Opinion.

Putnam Court of Appeals

Deborah Russell v. Household Mortgage Services, Inc. et al.
M2023-00696-COA-R3-CV
Authoring Judge: Presiding Judge J. Steven Stafford
Trial Court Judge: Senior Judge Don R. Ash

In this appeal, Appellant does not offer any argument as to the trial court’s final order, and among other technical issues, fails to properly cite to her appendix or to the record. Because Appellant has failed to comply with the requirements set out in Rules 27 and 28 of the Tennessee Rules of Appellate Procedure and Rule 6 of the Rules of the Court of Appeals of Tennessee, we dismiss the appeal.

Davidson Court of Appeals