Tennessee Administrative Office of the Courts

Appellate Court Opinions

Format: 07/20/2019
Format: 07/20/2019
State of Tennessee v. Joshua Michael Ward
E2018-01781-CCA-R3-CD

The Defendant, Joshua Michael Ward, entered a guilty plea to reckless homicide, a Class D felony, after the all-terrain vehicle (“ATV”) he was driving ran down an embankment, killing his passenger. The trial court denied the Defendant judicial diversion and sentenced him to three years, with ninety days to be served in confinement and the remainder on unsupervised probation. The Defendant appeals the denial of judicial diversion and the denial of full probation. We conclude that the trial court did not abuse its discretion in sentencing, and we affirm the judgment.

Scott County Court of Criminal Appeals 07/19/19
State of Tennessee v. Michael Ray Howser
M2018-00603-CCA-R3-CD

Defendant, Michael Ray Howser, pled guilty to aggravated assault, reckless endangerment with a deadly weapon, and possession of a weapon by a convicted felon with an agreed effective sentence of ten years as a Range II multiple offender with the trial court to determine the manner of service. A sentencing hearing was held, and the trial court ordered Defendant’s ten-year sentence to be served in confinement. On appeal, Defendant argues that the trial court erred by denying alternative sentencing. After a careful review of the record, we affirm the judgments of the trial court.

Sumner County Court of Criminal Appeals 07/19/19
Paul Hayes v. State of Tennessee
W2018-01555-CCA-R3-ECN

Petitioner, Paul Hayes, filed a petition for writ of error coram nobis based on a victim recanting her identification of him as one of the perpetrators of a home invasion that took place over two decades ago. The petition was denied by the trial court both for having been untimely filed and because the new evidence was neither credible nor was likely to have changed the outcome of the trial. On appeal, we affirm the judgment of the trial court that the petition should be denied on the merits.

Shelby County Court of Criminal Appeals 07/19/19
Adrian Delk v. State of Tennessee
W2019-00224-COA-R3-CV

Appellant inmate filed a petition for a writ of mandamus in the chancery court seeking redress for various errors involving the sentence he ultimately received following a plea of guilty to two felonies. Because we conclude that Appellant failed to show he had no other equally effective means to redress these alleged errors, we affirm the trial court’s dismissal of Appellant’s petition.

Hardeman County Court of Appeals 07/18/19
Tennessee Farmers Cooperative, Et Al. v. Ted D. Rains
M2018-01097-COA-R3-CV

Defendant in a debt collection case appeals the entry of judgment against him, contending that the court erred in setting the case for trial with only two days’ notice, in granting a motion in limine on the day of trial, and in its award of attorney’s fees to the Plaintiff. We modify the judgment to reduce the amount of attorney’s fees awarded; in all other respects, we affirm the judgment.  

Perry County Court of Appeals 07/18/19
Noah Ryan Et Al. v. Laverna Soucie
E2018-01121-COA-R3-CV

This appeal arises from a dispute concerning the defendant’s conduct, which impeded the plaintiffs’ use of a state right of way for ingress to and egress from the plaintiffs’ commercial property. The trial court entered a judgment in favor of the plaintiffs following its determination that the defendant had created a nuisance and had intentionally interfered with the plaintiffs’ business relationships. The defendant has appealed. Discerning no reversible error, we affirm.

Hamilton County Court of Appeals 07/18/19
Save Our Fairgrounds Et Al. v. Metropolitan Government Of Nashville And Davidson County, Tennessee
M2019-00724-COA-R3-CV

Appellants filed a complaint for a declaratory judgment and injunctive relief against the Metropolitan Government of Nashville & Davidson County related to the city’s decision to allow a soccer stadium to be built at the fairgrounds. The complaint alleged that the action violated several provisions of the city’s charter intended to protect the fairgrounds for fair uses. The trial court granted summary judgment in favor of the city on the basis that the additional uses for the fairgrounds did not violate Metropolitan Charter section 11.602. Because the trial court’s order fails to adjudicate Appellants’ claims that the city’s action violated additional charter provisions, we dismiss this appeal for lack of subject matter jurisdiction.

Davidson County Court of Appeals 07/18/19
Albert J. Ahler v. Charles Steffan Scarborough Et Al.
E2018-01102-COA-R3-CV

Plaintiff filed a complaint for declaratory judgment seeking to declare Old Stage Road a public road. Plaintiff sought to use the disputed road to access his property; his property does not abut the road. The plaintiff, asserting that he was also there on behalf of the public, also sought to have the road declared public in order to access defendants’ private property for recreation. Defendants filed a counterclaim seeking a declaratory judgment. Defendants argued that absent a ruling related to defendants’ property rights, the plaintiff and those he represents were likely to interpret any ruling favorable to them as a declaration of their right to trespass upon defendants’ private property for recreational purposes, instead of a public road to gain access to some lawful destination. After a trial, the court held that defendants had shown that public use of the area in question had been abandoned. The disputed road was held to be the private property of defendants. Plaintiff appeals. We affirm.

Roane County Court of Appeals 07/17/19
State of Tennessee v. Tory Blackmon
W2018-01061-CCA-R3-CD

The Defendant, Tory Blackmon, was convicted by a Shelby County Criminal Court jury of attempted first degree murder, a Class A felony; employing a firearm during the commission or attempted commission of a dangerous felony, a Class C felony; and aggravated assault, a Class C felony. See T.C.A. §§ 39-12-101(a)(1)-(3) (2018) (criminal attempt), 39-13-202(a) (2014) (subsequently amended) (first degree murder), 39-13-102(a) (2014) (subsequently amended) (aggravated assault), 39-17-1324(b)(2) (2014) (subsequently amended) (armed dangerous felonies). The court imposed a twenty-year sentence for attempted first degree murder, a six-year sentence for the employing a firearm conviction, and a four-year sentence for aggravated assault. The court merged the aggravated assault conviction with the attempted first degree murder conviction, and it ordered the firearm conviction to be served consecutively to the attempted murder conviction as required by Tennessee Code Annotated section 39-17-1324(e)(1) (2014) (subsequently amended). On appeal, the Defendant contends that the court erred in sentencing. We affirm the judgments of the trial court.

Shelby County Court of Criminal Appeals 07/17/19
Sherita Michelle Polk v. Frank Edward Polk
W2018-02052-COA-R3-CV

This appeal arises from a divorce between parties with no minor children. The husband appealed raising numerous issues related to property division. He also challenges the trial court’s denial of his request for alimony. The appellate record contains no transcript or statement of evidence that complies with Rule 24 of the Tennessee Rules of Appellate Procedure. Further the husband’s brief is woefully deficient. Because of the husband’s failure to comply with the Tennessee Rules of Appellate Procedure and the Rules of this Court, there is no basis upon which to conclude that the evidence preponderates against the findings of the chancery court and the rulings based thereon. We affirm the judgment of the chancery court and remand the case for further proceedings consistent with this opinion.

Madison County Court of Appeals 07/16/19
State of Tennessee v. Billy Eugene Cook, Jr.
M2018-00246-CCA-R3-CD

The Appellant, Billy Eugene Cook, Jr., appeals the trial court’s revocation of his probation for aggravated burglary, contending that the trial court erred by denying a continuance of the revocation hearing and by revoking his probation on his first violation. Upon review, we affirm the judgment of the trial court.

DeKalb County Court of Criminal Appeals 07/16/19
State of Tennessee v. Ashton Montrell Jones
W2018-01845-CCA-R3-CD

Defendant, Ashton Montrell Jones, appeals from the trial court’s order denying Defendant’s Tennessee Rule of Criminal Procedure 36 motion (“Rule 36 motion”) to correct a clerical error in a community corrections revocation order. The trial court summarily denied the motion without an evidentiary hearing on the sole basis of “lack of jurisdiction.” Under the particular circumstances of this case, we reverse the trial court’s order and remand to the trial court for proper consideration of the motion.

Hardeman County Court of Criminal Appeals 07/16/19
State of Tennessee v. Cedrick Dewayne Whiteside
W2018-01692-CCA-R3-CD

Defendant, Cedrick Dewayne Whiteside, was found guilty of driving under the influence of an intoxicant, criminal impersonation, driving on a cancelled, suspended, or revoked, license, and failure to exercise due care. On appeal, he argues that the evidence presented at trial was insufficient for the trier of fact to find him guilty of driving under the influence of an intoxicant and for failure to exercise due care. In light of the evidence presented, we uphold Defendant’s driving under the influence conviction but reverse and dismiss the jury’s finding of failure to exercise due care.

Henderson County Court of Criminal Appeals 07/16/19
State of Tennessee v. Roger F. Johnson
M2018-01216-CCA-R3-CD

Following a bench trial in the Grundy County Circuit Court, the Defendant, Roger F. Johnson, was convicted as charged of indecent exposure, a Class B misdemeanor. He was subsequently sentenced to a six-month sentence, with service of forty-five days in jail prior to serving the remainder of the sentence on supervised probation. On appeal, the Defendant argues: (1) the indictment fails to charge an offense because it does not include the correct mens rea; (2) the indictment is duplicitous; and (3) the evidence is insufficient to sustain his conviction. We affirm the judgment of the trial court.

Grundy County Court of Criminal Appeals 07/15/19
In Re Nicholas C. Et Al.
E2019-00165-COA-R3-PT

The trial court terminated the parental rights of Mother and Father to their four children on the grounds of abandonment by failure to visit, substantial noncompliance with the permanency plan, and failure to manifest the ability and willingness to assume custody of the children. On appeal, we conclude that there is clear and convincing evidence to support all three grounds as well as the trial court’s best interest determination. We, therefore, affirm the trial court’s decision.

Cocke County Court of Appeals 07/15/19
James M. Morris v. Tennessee Board of Probation & Parole
M2018-01998-COA-R3-CV

This appeal involves a petition for writ of certiorari filed in chancery court by a prisoner after he was denied parole. The chancery court concluded that the petition was timely filed but found that the issues presented were moot and lacked substantive merit. The prisoner appeals. For the following reasons, we affirm the trial court’s order of dismissal on other grounds.

Davidson County Court of Appeals 07/15/19
State of Tennessee v. Emmanuel Deshawn Bowley
M2018-00234-CCA-R3-CD

A Montgomery County jury convicted the Defendant, Emmanuel Deshawn Bowley, of conspiracy to distribute more than 300 grams of cocaine, possession of more than 300 grams of cocaine with the intent to sell, simple possession of marijuana, attempted possession of a deadly weapon during the commission of a dangerous felony, and attempted possession of illegal drug paraphernalia. The trial court ordered that the Defendant serve an effective sentence of sixteen years in the Tennessee Department of Correction. On appeal, the Defendant asserts that: (1) the trial court improperly denied his motion to sever; (2) the trial court erred when it denied his motion to suppress based on an invalid wiretap; (3) the trial court erred when it admitted evidence seized from a co-defendant; and (4) the evidence is insufficient to support his convictions. After a thorough review of the record and applicable law, we affirm the trial court’s judgments.

Montgomery County Court of Criminal Appeals 07/12/19
State of Tennessee v. Jerry Reginald Burkes
E2018-01713-CCA-R3-CD

Jerry Reginald Burkes, Defendant, appeals from the order of the trial court that was entered after the case was remanded for resentencing. Following the resentencing hearing, the trial court denied Defendant’s request to serve his sentence on community corrections and ordered Defendant to serve his eighteen-year sentence in incarceration. Defendant claims the trial court erred by not allowing him to introduce proof at the resentencing hearing concerning certain out-of-state convictions used by the trial court at the first sentencing hearing to establish that Defendant was a Range II offender. We affirm the trial court’s judgment.

Greene County Court of Criminal Appeals 07/12/19
State of Tennessee v. David Keith Walker
E2018-00795-CCA-R3-CD

The Defendant, David Keith Walker, pled guilty to aggravated burglary, theft of property valued at $500 or less, burglary, vandalism, and two counts of theft of property valued at $1,000 or more. The trial court imposed a total effective sentence of fifteen years’ incarceration. On appeal, the Defendant contends that he is a suitable candidate for alternative sentencing pursuant to the statutory considerations outlined in Tennessee Code Annotated section 40-35-103. Following our review, we affirm the trial court’s denial of alternative sentencing.

Hamilton County Court of Criminal Appeals 07/12/19
State of Tennessee v. Christopher Colligan
M2018-01443-CCA-R3-CD

Defendant, Christopher Colligan, appeals following the trial court’s revocation of his eight-year community corrections sentence. Defendant contends that the trial court erred by failing to award sentencing credit for his time served in the community corrections program from June 27, 2014, to March 29, 2017, and from October 4, 2017, to April 27, 2018. Following a thorough review, we affirm the judgment of the trial court, as modified, and remand for entry of an amended judgment awarding sentencing credits from October 4, 2017, to April 27, 2018.

Davidson County Court of Criminal Appeals 07/12/19
State of Tennessee v. Eddie Readus
M2017-02339-CCA-R3-CD

Defendant, Eddie Readus, appeals the length of his effective sentence following a resentencing hearing that was granted by the trial court in response to Defendant’s motion to correct an illegal sentence pursuant to Rule 36.1 of the Tennessee Rules of Criminal Procedure (Rule 36.1). The State responds that Defendant failed to state a colorable claim for relief in his Rule 36.1 motion, and therefore, the trial court should have dismissed the motion, rather than granting a new sentencing hearing. We agree with the State. Accordingly, we reverse the judgment of the trial court granting relief pursuant to Rule 36.1, vacate the amended judgment as to the Class C felony conviction, and reinstate the original judgment.

Bedford County Court of Criminal Appeals 07/12/19
Maurice McAllister v. State of Tennessee
M2018-01430-CCA-R3-PC

The petitioner, Maurice McAllister, appeals the denial of his petition for post-conviction relief, which petition challenged his 2013 conviction of rape, alleging that he was deprived of the effective assistance of counsel. Discerning no error, we affirm the denial of post-conviction relief.

Giles County Court of Criminal Appeals 07/12/19
State of Tennessee v. Ricky Jordan
W2018-01190-CCA-R3-CD

Defendant, Ricky Jordan, was convicted after a jury trial of aggravated sexual battery of a victim less than thirteen years of age and was sentenced to serve eleven years at 100 percent. On appeal, Defendant claims that the trial court committed plain error when it did not exclude evidence of other incidents of sexual contact between Defendant and the victim that occurred during the time period set forth in the indictment and that the evidence was insufficient to support his conviction. After a thorough review, we affirm the judgment of the trial court.

Shelby County Court of Criminal Appeals 07/12/19
State of Tennessee v. Quadarious Devonta Bufford
W2018-00548-CCA-R3-CD

The Defendant, Quadarious Devonta Bufford, was convicted by a Gibson County Circuit Court jury of first degree felony murder during the perpetration of aggravated child abuse and sentenced by the trial court to life imprisonment. On appeal, he argues that the evidence was insufficient to sustain his conviction, and the State committed reversible error by failing to make an election of offenses. Following our review, we affirm the judgment of the trial court.

Gibson County Court of Criminal Appeals 07/12/19
State of Tennessee v. Brandon Garrard
W2018-01026-CCA-R3-CD

On April 2, 2018, the Defendant, Brandon Garrard, was found guilty of delivery of more than 0.5 grams of methamphetamine within 1,000 feet of a park and conspiring to introduce contraband into a penal facility. The trial court sentenced the Defendant as a Range III, career offender to concurrent terms of 60 years for the delivery charge and 12 years for the conspiracy charge. On appeal, the Defendant argues that the evidence is insufficient to sustain the delivery charge based on the jury verdict form and that the trial court erred in imposing a 60-year sentence. The State concedes that the Defendant was improperly sentenced. After thorough review, we remand for resentencing and affirm the trial court’s judgments in all other aspects.

Hardin County Court of Criminal Appeals 07/12/19