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In Re Ethan W. Et Al.

M2021-01116-COA-R3-PT

A mother appeals the termination of her parental rights to three of her children. The
juvenile court concluded that there was clear and convincing evidence of five statutory
grounds for termination. The court also concluded that there was clear and convincing
evidence that termination was in the children’s best interest. On appeal, we determine that
some grounds do not support termination of parental rights. Still, clear and convincing
evidence supports at least one statutory ground for termination and the best interest
determination. So we affirm.

Authoring Judge: Judge W. Neal McBrayer
Originating Judge:Judge Michael Hinson
Perry County Court of Appeals 01/26/23


E2022-00496-COA-R3-CV

The appellant, an insurance provider, sought a declaratory judgment against the policy
holder, his wife, and his grandson, relieving the insurance company of the duty to defend
and indemnify the policy holder, his wife, and his grandson against a complaint brought by
the conservator of the grandson’s girlfriend for varying claims of negligence. The
insurance provider filed a motion for summary judgment, asserting that the grandson
constituted a “covered person” under the grandfather’s policy as an authorized driver and
that the grandson’s girlfriend constituted a “person residing in the same household as a
covered person,” triggering the policy’s household exclusion. Pursuant to the household
exclusion, which excluded liability coverage for bodily injury to “any covered person or
any person residing in the same household as a covered person,” the insurance provider
claimed that it owed no duty to defend or indemnify the policy holder, his wife, and his
grandson. The trial court granted the insurance provider’s motion for summary judgment
in part and denied it in part.

Authoring Judge: Judge Thomas R. Frierson, II
Originating Judge:Chancellor Telford E. Forgety, Jr.
Sevier County Court of Appeals 01/25/23
Alexander Jackson v. State of Tennessee

W2022-00289-CCA-R3-PC

The Petitioner, Alexander Jackson, appeals the Shelby County Criminal Court’s denial of
his post-conviction petition, seeking relief from his convictions for two counts of rape and
his resulting sentence of nine years in confinement. On appeal, the Petitioner contends that
he received the ineffective assistance of trial counsel. Upon review, we affirm the
judgment of the post-conviction court.

Authoring Judge: Judge John W. Campbell
Originating Judge:Judge Jennifer Johnson Mitchell
Shelby County Court of Criminal Appeals 01/25/23


W2022-00048-CCA-R3-PC

The Petitioner, Darryl Robinson, appeals the Shelby County Criminal Court’s denial of his
post-conviction petition, seeking relief from his convictions of aggravated robbery and
convicted felon in possession of a handgun and his resulting effective sentence of sixteen
years in confinement. On appeal, the Petitioner contends that he received the ineffective
assistance of trial counsel. Upon review, we affirm the judgment of the post-conviction
court.

Authoring Judge: Judge John W. Campbell, Sr.
Originating Judge:Judge Glenn Ivy Wright
Shelby County Court of Criminal Appeals 01/25/23
State of Tennessee v. Charles Bradford Lampley

M2021-00636-CCA-R3-CD

Defendant, Charles Bradford Lampley, was convicted by a Maury County jury of first
degree premeditated murder and aggravated assault resulting in death, for which he
received an effective sentence of life. On appeal, Defendant contends that: (1) the trial
court erred in not granting his motion for judgment of acquittal; (2) the evidence is
insufficient as it relates to his conviction for first degree premediated murder; (3) the trial
court failed to exercise its mandatory function as the thirteenth juror as to his conviction
for first degree premeditated murder; (4) the trial court erred by failing to instruct the jury
on the issue of voluntary intoxication; (5) the prosecutor made numerous improper
references to his decision not to testify, shifted the burden of proof, and improperly offered
his opinion on the truth or falsity of evidence and on Defendant’s guilt during closing
argument; and (7) he is entitled to relief under the cumulative error doctrine. After a
thorough review of the facts and applicable case law, we affirm the judgments of the trial
court.

Authoring Judge: Judge Robert L. Holloway, Jr.
Originating Judge:Judge J. Russell Parkes
Maury County Court of Criminal Appeals 01/24/23
In Re Jackson R. et al.

M2021-01545-COA-R3-PT

Mother appeals the termination of her parental rights to two children. Two years after the
children were removed and found to be dependent and neglected, the Department of
Children’s Services petitioned for the termination of her parental rights. The trial court
found the existence of four grounds for termination: abandonment by failure to provide a
suitable home, abandonment by an incarcerated parent/wanton disregard, persistence of
conditions, and failure to manifest an ability and willingness to assume custody with
custody posing a risk of substantial harm to the children. Finding it also to be in the best
interest of the children, the court terminated the mother’s parental rights. Mother contends
these findings were in error. Finding no error, we affirm.

Authoring Judge: Presiding Judge Frank G. Clement, Jr.
Originating Judge:Judge Branden Bellar
Smith County Court of Appeals 01/23/23
State of Tennessee v. Ambrus Gay

E2021-01418-CCA-R3-CD

Defendant, Ambrus Gay, was charged in a five-count indictment with two counts of
aggravated robbery, two counts of aggravated assault, and one count of robbery. The case
proceeded to a jury trial. At the conclusion of the proof, the trial court partially granted
Defendant’s motion for judgment of acquittal, reducing the robbery charge to the lesserincluded
charge of theft. The jury found Defendant guilty as charged on all counts, and
the trial court imposed an effective 10-year sentence. In this appeal as of right, Defendant
contends: 1) the trial court should have suppressed his confession based on a violation of
his Miranda rights; 2) the trial court should have suppressed his confession because it was
not voluntarily made; 3) the trial court erred by denying Defendant’s motion to sever the
offenses; and 4) the evidence was insufficient to support his aggravated robbery
convictions because he had completed the thefts prior to producing a weapon. Discerning
no reversible error, we affirm the judgments of the trial court.

Authoring Judge: Judge Timothy L. Easter
Originating Judge:Judge Kyle A. Hixson
Knox County Court of Criminal Appeals 01/23/23
State of Tennessee v. Derwin V. Thomas

W2022-00109-CCA-R3-CD

In 1998, a Shelby County jury convicted the Defendant, Derwin V. Thomas, of two counts
of especially aggravated kidnapping, one count of especially aggravated robbery, and two
counts of first degree murder. The trial court sentenced him to consecutive sentences of
life without the possibility of parole. The Defendant unsuccessfully sought review on
multiple occasions, by direct appeal, post-conviction petition, a petition for a writ of habeas
corpus, and a petition for a writ of error coram nobis. Most recently, the Defendant filed a
“Motion for Life Imprisonment,” alleging that the State failed to give him proper notice of
its intention to seek life imprisonment without the possibility of parole, and a Motion for
Rule 36.1 relief1, alleging that the trial court failed to charge the jury with relevant lesserincluded
offenses. The trial court summarily dismissed both the Defendant’s motions, and
the Defendant now appeals. On appeal, he contends that the trial court erred when it
dismissed his motions. After review, because the notice of appeal in this case was untimely
filed and because the Defendant has offered no facts supporting a waiver of this untimely
filing in the interests of justice, the appeal is hereby dismissed

Authoring Judge: Judge Robert W. Wedemeyer
Originating Judge:Judge Paula Skahan
Shelby County Court of Criminal Appeals 01/20/23
In Re Piper N.

W2021-01185-COA-R3-PT

This appeal arose from a termination of parental rights proceeding where a mother’s
parental rights were terminated on several statutory grounds. The original adoption petition
contained no grounds for termination of the parents’ rights, and therefore, the Trial Court
used the four months prior to the amended petition, which included grounds for
termination, for purposes of the abandonment grounds. We affirm the trial court’s use of
this time period before the amended petition. We hold that the record is insufficient for us
to conduct a meaningful appellate review in this case and that the trial court failed to make
sufficient findings of fact on the grounds of abandonment by failure to visit, abandonment
by failure to financially support, and mental incompetence based on the statutory authority
in effect at the time of the filing of the amended petition alleging grounds for termination.
These grounds are vacated and remanded to the trial court to allow the trial court to develop
a proper record from which this Court can conduct a meaningful appellate review and to
make sufficient findings of fact and conclusions of law, pursuant to Tenn. Code Ann. § 36-
1-113(k). The amended petition seeking termination of parental rights was filed prior to
the 2018 statutory amendments of the relevant termination statutes. Because the Child was
never adjudicated as dependent and neglected, we reverse the ground of persistent
conditions under the statute in effect when the amended petition was filed. Additionally,
the statutory ground located at Tenn. Code Ann. § 36-1-113(g)(14) was not pled in the
termination petition and was not tried by express or implied consent; therefore, we reverse
this ground as to the termination of the mother’s parental rights.

Authoring Judge: Chief Judge D. Michael Swiney
Originating Judge:Chancellor JoeDae L. Jenkins
Shelby County Court of Appeals 01/20/23
State of Tennessee v. George Burns, III

W2021-00939-CCA-R3-CD

Following his indictment for first degree murder, a Benton County jury convicted the Defendant, George E. Burns, III, of the lesser-included offense of second degree murder. The trial court imposed a sentence of 17 years. The trial court subsequently granted the Defendant’s motion for new trial. The Defendant later entered a best-interest plea to voluntary manslaughter, a Class C felony, where the agreed sentence would be eight-andone-half years at 60 percent, with the manner of service to be determined by the trial court. Following a sentencing hearing, the trial court ordered the Defendant to serve the sentence in confinement. On appeal, the Defendant contends that the trial court erred by denying his request for probation. We affirm the trial court’s judgment.

Authoring Judge: Judge Kyle A. Hixson
Originating Judge:Judge Charles Creed McGinley
Benton County Court of Criminal Appeals 01/20/23
State of Tennessee v. Derwin V. Thomas

W2022-00109-CCA-R3-CD

In 1998, a Shelby County jury convicted the Defendant, Derwin V. Thomas, of two counts
of especially aggravated kidnapping, one count of especially aggravated robbery, and two
counts of first degree murder. The trial court sentenced him to consecutive sentences of
life without the possibility of parole. The Defendant unsuccessfully sought review on
multiple occasions, by direct appeal, post-conviction petition, a petition for a writ of habeas
corpus, and a petition for a writ of error coram nobis. Most recently, the Defendant filed a
“Motion for Life Imprisonment,” alleging that the State failed to give him proper notice of
its intention to seek life imprisonment without the possibility of parole, and a Motion for
Rule 36.1 relief1, alleging that the trial court failed to charge the jury with relevant lesser included
offenses. The trial court summarily dismissed both the Defendant’s motions, and
the Defendant now appeals. On appeal, he contends that the trial court erred when it
dismissed his motions. After review, because the notice of appeal in this case was untimely
filed and because the Defendant has offered no facts supporting a waiver of this untimely
filing in the interests of justice, the appeal is hereby dismissed

Authoring Judge: Judge Robert W. Wedemeyer
Originating Judge:Judge Paula Skahan
Shelby County Court of Criminal Appeals 01/20/23
State of Tennessee v. Sidney Eugene Watkins

W2022-00274-CCA-R3-CD

The Defendant, Sidney Eugene Watkins, was convicted by a jury of alternative counts of
possession of marijuana with the intent to sell or deliver and possession of a firearm during
the commission of those dangerous felonies, as well as simple possession of
methamphetamine, simple possession of alprazolam, and possession of drug paraphernalia.
Following the jury verdict, the trial court granted the Defendant's motion for judgment of
acquittal on the firearm counts (counts 7 and 8). The State appealed, and we reversed,
concluding that the trial judge applied the wrong standard in ruling on the Defendant's
motion for judgment of aquittal. On remand, the trial court affirmed the jury's verdict in
its role as thirteenth juror and found the evidence sufficient to support the firearm counts.
The Defendant now appeals challenging the trial court's ruling. Following our review, we
affirm. We remand the case for entry of a corrected judgment in count 8 due to clerical
errors.

Authoring Judge: Judge Kyle A. Hixson
Originating Judge:Judge Kyle C. Atkins
Madison County Court of Criminal Appeals 01/20/23
In Re Conservatorship of Annette H. Cross

W2021-00835-COA-R3-CV

In a previous appeal, this Court affirmed the probate court’s order granting summary judgment to the defendants on two separate grounds – res judicata and the statute of limitations.  On remand, the appellant filed a Rule 60 motion seeking to set aside the same order granting summary judgment to the defendants on the basis that a recent order from a circuit court necessitated that the probate court’s summary judgment order be “voided and set aside.”  The probate court denied the motion.  The appellant appeals.  We affirm and remand.

Authoring Judge: Judge Carma Dennis McGee
Originating Judge:Judge Karen D. Webster
Shelby County Court of Appeals 01/19/23
Thomas D. Denney, ex rel. Doghouse Computers, Inc. v. Christopher Taylor Rather

M2022-01743-COA-T10B-CV

This is an accelerated interlocutory appeal as of right pursuant to Rule 10B of the Rules of
the Supreme Court of Tennessee from the chancery court’s denial of a motion to recuse.
A new chancellor, during the course of a judicial election and shortly after the election was
held, made extremely critical comments regarding the personal and professional character
of his opponent, the incumbent chancellor. The challenger won the election, and the former
chancellor, who has returned to practice, is now representing a party before the new
chancellor. The former chancellor moved for the new chancellor’s recusal in cases in
which the former chancellor is appearing as counsel as well as recusal from cases involving
the law firm which the former chancellor joined after losing the judicial election. The new
chancellor denied the motion. On appeal, we conclude that, even in the absence of actual
bias, based upon concern about the appearance of bias toward the former chancellor,
recusal is warranted. This concern does not extend to the law firm the former chancellor
has joined. Accordingly, we reverse the denial of recusal insofar as it concerns the former
chancellor but affirm the denial of recusal insofar as it concerns the law firm.

Authoring Judge: Judge Jeffrey Usman
Originating Judge:Chancellor Ben Dean
Montgomery County Court of Appeals 01/19/23
Tony R. Hearon v. State of Tennessee

E2022-00044-SC-R3-WC

Tony R. Hearon ("Employee') allegedly developed an occupational disease during the
course and scope of his employment with the State of Tennessee ("Employer"). Employee
gave notice of his injury to Employer but his claim was denied. The denial letter advised
Employee that he must file a petition for benefit determination within ninety days or risk
dismissal of his claim. Employee filed his petition several months after the expiration of
the ninety-day period. Upon receiving a dispute certification notice dismissing his claim,
Employee filed a workers' compensation complaint in the Claims Commission, which is
the agency responsible for handling disputed claims of state workers. Employer moved for
summary judgment, asserting Employee failed to meet the ninety-day statutory deadline.
The Commissioner granted summary judgment concluding that Employee failed to timely
file his petition for benefit determination and therefore failed to exhaust the benefit review
process as required by statute. Employee appealed. The appeal was referred to the Special
Workers' Compensation Appeals Panel ("Panel") for a hearing and a report of findings of
fact and conclusions of law pursuant to Tennessee Supreme Court Rule 51. We affirm the
judgment of the Commissioner.

Authoring Judge: Justice Roger A. Page, C.J.
Originating Judge:William A. Young, Commissioner
Davidson County Workers Compensation Panel 01/19/23
Joe G. Manley v. State of Tennessee

W2022-00966-CCA-R3-PC

The Petitioner, Joe G. Manley, appeals from the Fayette County Circuit Court’s denial of
his petition for post-conviction relief challenging his guilty-pleaded convictions for
aggravated domestic assault, domestic assault, and false imprisonment. The Petitioner
contends that the post-conviction court erred by finding that he received effective
assistance of counsel and that his guilty pleas were knowingly and voluntarily entered.
Specifically, the Petitioner asserts that trial counsel was ineffective based upon trial
counsel’s failing to (1) communicate and maintain contact with the Petitioner; (2)
thoroughly investigate the case and speak with the victims prior to entry of the Petitioner’s
plea; (3) request a remand to general sessions court for a preliminary hearing; and (4)
explain that Corrections Management Corporation would supervise the Petitioner’s release.
Following our review, we affirm the judgment of post-conviction court denying relief.

Authoring Judge: Judge Kyle A. Hixson
Originating Judge:Judge J. Weber McCraw
Fayette County Court of Criminal Appeals 01/18/23


M2021-01257-CCA-R3-PC

The Petitioner-Appellant, Aaron Dodson, appeals the denial of post-conviction relief from his convictions of first-degree felony murder, especially aggravated robbery, and aggravated kidnapping. The Petitioner asserts that he received ineffective assistance of counsel and that the post-conviction court erred in limiting proof at the post-conviction hearing to only alleged errors of trial counsel.1 After review, we affirm the judgment of the post-conviction court.

Authoring Judge: Judge Camille R. McMullen
Originating Judge:Judge Steve R. Dozier
Davidson County Court of Criminal Appeals 01/17/23
Johnny Nesmith v. Samuel C. Clemmons et al.

M2021-01030-COA-R3-CV

Defendants appeal from the denial of their effort to invalidate a 2017 judgment on the basis that the trial judge harbored animosity against them at the time the judgment was rendered. Because these allegations were adjudicated in an earlier Rule 60.02 action, we conclude that res judicata bars the instant effort for relief from the judgment.

Authoring Judge: Presiding Judge J. Steven Stafford
Originating Judge:Judge Russell Parkes
Williamson County Court of Appeals 01/17/23
State of Tennessee v. Clinton D. Braden

M2022-00733-CCA-R3-CD

In February of 2021, Defendant, Clinton D. Braden, pleaded guilty to burglary and
identity theft. In exchange, he received a total effective sentence of 16 years suspended
to community corrections. On May 4, 2022, Defendant admitted he again violated the
terms of his community corrections program and offered no proof for the trial court to
make findings of what consequences to apply. Defendant now appeals, and we affirm,
the trial court’s judgment to impose his original sentence to serve in full.

Authoring Judge: Judge Timothy L. Easter
Originating Judge:Judge Jennifer Smith
Davidson County Court of Criminal Appeals 01/17/23
State of Tennessee v. Isiah J. Primm

M2021-00976-CCA-R3-CD

Defendant, Isiah J. Primm, was convicted after a jury trial of two counts of first degree felony murder; two counts of conspiracy to commit first degree murder, a Class A felony; and one count of conspiracy to commit voluntary manslaughter, a Class D felony; and sentenced to an effective life plus forty years in confinement. On appeal, Defendant argues that (1) the evidence was insufficient to support his convictions; (2) the jury should have been instructed on self-defense, facilitation, and attempt as lesser-included offenses of first degree murder; (3) the jury should have been instructed on the State’s duty to gather and preserve evidence; (4) the State committed a Brady violation by waiting until the morning of trial to provide Defendant with a copy of Mr. Tidwell’s cell phone report; (5) the State knew or should have known that one of the victims introduced false testimony; (6) the trial court should have excluded evidence of drugs found in the apartment where Defendant was staying; (7) Defendant’s Fourteenth Amendment right was violated because the jury venire contained no African American jurors; and (8) the trial court erred by imposing partial consecutive sentencing. After a thorough review of the record, we affirm the judgments of the trial court; however, because the trial court did not sign three of the judgments, we remand the case for entry of amended judgments.

Authoring Judge: Judge Robert L. Holloway, Jr.
Originating Judge:Judge Larry J. Wallace
Dickson County Court of Criminal Appeals 01/13/23
Charles Claybrooks v. State of Tennessee

M2022-00579-CCA-R3-PC

Petitioner, Charles Claybrooks,1 appeals the dismissal of his 2021 petition seeking postconviction
relief from his 2010 convictions for one count aggravated robbery and two
counts of aggravated assault. Following a hearing, the post-conviction court concluded
that Petitioner “failed to demonstrate entitlement to the tolling of the statute of limitations”
and dismissed the Petition. Discerning no error, we affirm.

Authoring Judge: Judge Robert L. Holloway, Jr.
Originating Judge:Judge Jennifer Smith
Davidson County Court of Criminal Appeals 01/13/23
In Re Emberley W. et al.

M2022-00157-COA-R3-PT

Father appeals the termination of his parental rights on the grounds of persistent conditions
and failure to manifest an ability and willingness to personally assume custody of the child.
Father also appeals the trial court’s finding that termination of his parental rights was in
the best interest of the child. We affirm the trial court in all respects.

Authoring Judge: Judge Andy D. Bennett
Originating Judge:Judge Charles B. Tatum
Wilson County Court of Appeals 01/13/23
Wayne Haddix d/b/a 385 Ventures v. Jayton Stinson, et al.

W2022-01813-COA-T10B-CV

This accelerated interlocutory appeal is taken from the trial court’s order denying
Appellant’s motion for recusal. Because there is no evidence of bias that would require
recusal under Tennessee Supreme Court Rule 10B, we affirm the judgment of the trial
court.

Authoring Judge: Judge Kenny Armstrong
Originating Judge:Chancellor JoeDae L. Jenkins
Shelby County Court of Appeals 01/13/23
Alexander Carino v. State of Tennessee

M2022-01036-CCA-R3-HC

Petitioner, Alexander Carino, appeals from the Trousdale County Circuit Court’s dismissal of his second petition for writ of habeas corpus.  He alleges that the habeas corpus court erred by summarily denying his petition without advising him of his right to counsel or  appointing counsel and that his judgments for second-degree murder are void because the affidavits of complaint were not “properly authenticated” because they did not contain a court seal.  Petitioner further alleges for the first time on appeal that the affidavits of complaint contain an insufficient factual basis to support a finding of probable cause.  Following our review of the entire record and the briefs of the parties, we affirm the judgment of the habeas corpus court. 

Authoring Judge: Judge Jill Bartee Ayers
Originating Judge:Judge Michael Wayne Collins
Trousdale County Court of Criminal Appeals 01/13/23
Joey Sampson v. Aircraft Maintenance, Inc. et al.

M2021-01277-COA-R3-CV

This appeals centers upon a challenge to a chancery court’s findings of fact that proved
determinative as to multiple legal issues arising in litigation related to unpaid repair costs
for rendering a private plane airworthy. The chancery court made the factual determination
that the plane owner did not agree to pay for the repairs performed by a mechanic. In
reaching this conclusion, the chancery court resolved the case based upon documentary
evidence in the form of deposition transcripts and exhibits rather than live witness
testimony. Given the documentary nature of the trial court proceedings, we conducted a
de novo review of the evidence presented without affording deference to the trial court’s
factual findings. We find the trial court erred in its factual finding that the owner did not
agree to pay for the repairs. Accordingly, we reverse the chancery court’s legal conclusions
for which the trial court’s contrary factual determinations had been determinative. We
conclude that the plane owner breached his contract with the mechanic and is responsible
for storage costs for the plane pursuant to the possessory lien thereupon. We remand for
further proceedings including a determination of the applicability of prejudgment interest
to the repair costs.

Authoring Judge: Judge Jeffrey Usman
Originating Judge:Chancellor Laurence M. McMillan, Jr.
Montgomery County Court of Appeals 01/12/23