Appellate Court Opinions

Format: 12/09/2021
Format: 12/09/2021
State of Tennessee v. Clark Derrick Frazier
M2021-00172-CCA-R3-CD

The petitioner, Clark Derrick Frazier, appeals the Robertson County Circuit Court’s denial of his motion to correct an illegal sentence, filed pursuant to Tennessee Rule of Criminal Procedure 36.1. Discerning no error, we affirm.

Robertson County Court of Criminal Appeals 10/25/21
State of Tennessee v. Corey Paul Terry
E2020-01344-CCA-R3-CD

The Defendant, Corey Paul Terry, pleaded guilty to aggravated burglary in 2010, two counts of aggravated burglary in 2011, and tampering with evidence in 2018. Due to various prior probation violations, the Defendant was serving an effective six years on probation for all the offenses in 2019 when he was charged with violating his probation. Following a hearing, the trial court found that the Defendant violated the terms of his probation, revoked his probation, and ordered him to serve his sentences in confinement. On appeal, the Defendant contends that the trial court lacked substantial evidence to find that he violated the conditions of his probation and that the trial court abused its discretion in sentencing him to confinement. Following our review, we affirm the judgments of the trial court.

Knox County Court of Criminal Appeals 10/22/21
State of Tennessee v. Brandon Banks
W2020-01484-CCA-R3-CD

The Defendant, Brandon Banks, pleaded guilty to first degree murder and aggravated cruelty to animals, and he received an effective life sentence. He filed a motion to correct an illegal sentence under Tennessee Rule of Criminal Procedure 36.1, asserting that his life sentence is illegal because it is equivalent to a sentence of life without parole or a sentence of death. The trial court summarily denied relief, and the Defendant appeals. Because the Defendant did not raise a colorable claim for relief under Rule 36.1, we affirm the trial court’s judgment.

Shelby County Court of Criminal Appeals 10/22/21
State of Tennessee v. Zackari Tennant
M2019-02125-CCA-R3-CD

The Appellant, Zackari Tennant, was convicted by a Davidson County Criminal Court Jury of especially aggravated robbery, a Class A felony; carjacking, a Class B felony; and employing a firearm during the commission of a dangerous felony, a Class C felony, and was sentenced by the trial court to an effective term of twenty-three years at 100% in the Department of Correction.  The Appellant raises essentially three issues on appeal: (1) whether the trial court erred by precluding him from introducing evidence that he was only sixteen years old at the time of the offenses; (2) whether the evidence was sufficient to sustain his convictions; and (3) whether the trial court imposed an excessive sentence by not giving adequate weight to his youth as a factor in mitigation.  Based on our review of the record and the parties’ briefs, we affirm the judgments of the trial court. 

Davidson County Court of Criminal Appeals 10/22/21
State of Tennessee v. Terrance B. Smith
W2020-01596-CCA-R3-CD

The Defendant, Terrance B. Smith, appeals the trial court’s summary denial of his motion to correct an illegal sentence pursuant to Tennessee Rule of Criminal Procedure 36.1 in which he challenged his life sentence resulting from his first degree murder conviction for an offense that occurred in 1998. After review, we affirm the trial court’s judgment.

Tipton County Court of Criminal Appeals 10/22/21
State of Tennessee v. David Herl
W2020-01671-CCA-R3-CD

In 2012, the Defendant, David Herl, entered a guilty plea to theft of property valued over $1,000, and he received a sentence of four years, suspended to probation. On July 2, 2013, a warrant was issued, alleging that the Defendant violated the terms of his probation. The warrant was not served on the Defendant until September 18, 2020. The Defendant moved to dismiss the prosecution, asserting that his right to a speedy trial had been violated. The trial court refused to dismiss the proceedings, found the Defendant to have violated the terms of his probation, and ordered the Defendant to serve his sentence in confinement. The Defendant appeals the trial court’s refusal to dismiss the charges. We conclude that the Defendant’s right to a speedy trial was not violated and affirm the trial court’s judgment.

Madison County Court of Criminal Appeals 10/22/21
State of Tennessee v. Robert Brooks
W2020-01026-CCA-R3-CD

Defendant, Robert Brooks, was convicted of reckless endangerment, aggravated robbery, two counts of aggravated assault, and one count of assault. The trial court imposed a sentence of eleven months and twenty-nine days for reckless endangerment to be served consecutively to Defendant’s effective ten-year sentence for aggravated robbery, two counts of aggravated assault, and assault. On appeal, Defendant argues that the evidence was insufficient to support his conviction for aggravated robbery and that the trial court erred by denying his peremptory challenge to strike Juror 7. Following our review of the entire record and the briefs of the parties, we affirm the judgments of the trial court.

Shelby County Court of Criminal Appeals 10/22/21
In Re William B.
M2020-01187-COA-R3-PT

Mother appeals the termination of her parental rights to one child. In addition to disputing the grounds for termination and best interest, Mother argues on appeal that she should have been appointed counsel in the termination proceeding and that the Tennessee Department of Children’s Services violated Tennessee Code Annotated section 33-6-401. We conclude that the record demonstrates that Mother expressly waived her right to counsel and failed to show that the waiver was ineffective. We further hold that section 33-6-401 was inapplicable in this case. Finally, we conclude that clear and convincing evidence was presented of both the grounds for termination and that termination is in the child’s best interest. As such, we affirm the decision of the trial court. 

Rutherford County Court of Appeals 10/22/21
Roger Dale Grice v. Dawn Marie Grice
M2020-00931-COA-R3-CV

Following a divorce, a husband appeals the trial court’s division of his military retirement benefit. Discerning no error, we affirm the trial court’s order.

Montgomery County Court of Appeals 10/20/21
Brian Coblentz v. Stanley Black & Decker, Inc., Et Al.
M2020-01622-SC-R3-WC

This appeal arises from a motion filed by Brian Coblentz (“Employee”) to compel Stanley Black & Decker, Inc. (“Employer”) to provide medical treatment under the terms of a consent order previously entered by the trial court. Following a hearing, the trial court denied Employee’s motion. Employee has appealed, and the appeal has been referred to the Special Workers’ Compensation Appeals 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.

Lincoln County Workers Compensation Panel 10/20/21
State of Tennessee v. Tarik Deshawn Newman
M2019-01986-CCA-R3-CD

The Davidson County Grand Jury indicted Defendant, Tarik Deshawn Newman, for one count each of aggravated robbery, especially aggravated kidnapping, evading arrest in a motor vehicle with risk of death or injury, and theft of property valued between $1,000 and $10,000.  Following a trial, a jury convicted Defendant as charged, and the trial court sentenced Defendant to an effective sentence of nineteen years’ incarceration with a 100 percent release eligibility.  On appeal, Defendant argues (1) that the State withheld evidence in violation of Brady v. Maryland, 373 U.S. 83 (1963), and in violation of Tennessee Rule of Criminal Procedure 16; (2) that the trial court erred in admitting evidence in violation of Tennessee Rules of Evidence 403 and 404(b); (3) that the evidence was insufficient to support his convictions; (4) that the trial court erred in denying Defendant’s Motion for Judgment of Acquittal; and (5) that the sentences were excessive.  Following a thorough review, we affirm the judgments of the trial court.

Davidson County Court of Criminal Appeals 10/19/21
State of Tennessee v. Curtis O. Shelton, Jr.
M2020-00072-CCA-R3-CD

The Defendant, Curtis O. Shelton, Jr., was convicted by a Montgomery County Circuit Court jury of felony murder in the perpetration of or attempt to perpetrate burglary, felony murder in the perpetration of or attempt to perpetrate theft, especially aggravated burglary, four counts of especially aggravated kidnapping, three counts of aggravated kidnapping, and seven counts of attempted aggravated robbery.  The trial court merged the felony murder convictions and imposed an effective sentence of life plus twenty years.  On appeal, the Defendant contends that (1) the trial court erred in denying his motion to suppress his pretrial statement, (2) the evidence is insufficient to support the felony murder convictions, and (3) the trial court erred in imposing consecutive sentencing.  We affirm the judgments of the trial court.

Montgomery County Court of Criminal Appeals 10/19/21
Frank E. Small v. State of Tennessee
E2020-00722-CCA-R3-PC

Petitioner, Frank E. Small, was convicted in 2016, after a jury trial, of robbery and home improvement fraud. This Court affirmed Petitioner’s convictions and sentences on direct appeal. State v. Frank E. Small, No. E2017-01266-CCA-R3-CD, 2018 WL 2383033, at *1 (Tenn. Crim. App. May 25, 2018), perm. app. denied (Tenn. Sept. 13, 2018). Petitioner appeals from the denial of his petition for post-conviction relief, in which he alleged that he received ineffective assistance of counsel at trial. Having reviewed the entire record and the briefs of the parties, we affirm the judgment of the post-conviction court.

Sullivan County Court of Criminal Appeals 10/18/21
State of Tennessee v. Jerry Carter, Sr.
W2020-00478-CCA-R3-CD

The Defendant, Jerry Carter, Sr., appeals from his jury convictions for three counts of rape of a child, three counts of incest, three counts of soliciting the sexual exploitation of a minor, and one count of child abuse and his resulting sentence of 168 years, 11 months, and 29 days. On appeal, the Defendant argues that (1) the trial court erred when it ruled that the Defendant’s prior 2003 convictions for statutory rape and sexual battery were relevant and admissible; (2) the trial court’s rulings regarding the defense’s ability to cross-examine witnesses impermissibly restricted the Defendant’s right to put on a defense; (3) the trial court erred when it characterized the text messages between the Defendant and one of the victims as a confession or admission against interest and gave the jury the corresponding instruction; and (4) the cumulative effect of the errors entitle him to a new trial. Though we do not find that any of the issues raised by the Defendant entitle him to relief, we remand this case due to errors with the judgment forms—there was no judgment form entered for Count 8 (aggravated sexual battery), which was dismissed, and the trial court’s imposed sentences of twelve years for both Counts 9 and 10, but the judgment forms incorrectly reflect sentences of eight years. In all other respects, the judgments are affirmed.

Shelby County Court of Criminal Appeals 10/15/21
Pamela Estelle Harrison Et Al. v. Shannon Nicole Harrison
M2020-01140-COA-R3-CV

This case involves a same-sex divorce and the resultant child custody issues regarding two children born during the marriage through artificial insemination. The sperm donor intervened in the divorce proceeding requesting the court establish him as the children’s legal father and award him parenting time. The trial court denied his request to be named the children’s legal father based on its interpretation and application of Tenn. Code Ann. § 68-3-306, Tennessee’s artificial insemination statute. The sperm donor appeals, challenging the court’s refusal to name him as a parent or award him visitation. We affirm the trial court in all respects.

Montgomery County Court of Appeals 10/15/21
Calvin Banks v. State of Tennessee
W2020-01164-CCA-R3-PC

Petitioner, Calvin Banks, was convicted by a Shelby County jury of first degree premeditated murder and being a convicted felon in possession of a weapon. The trial court imposed an effective life sentence. Petitioner’s convictions were affirmed on direct appeal. Petitioner sought post-conviction relief, claiming that he received ineffective assistance of counsel at trial. Following an evidentiary hearing, the post-conviction court denied relief. Upon our review, we affirm the judgment of the post-conviction court.

Shelby County Court of Criminal Appeals 10/14/21
State of Tennessee v. Calvin Scott
W2020-01574-CCA-R3-CD

The Appellant, Calvin Scott, appeals the Shelby County Criminal Court’s denial of his motion to correct an illegal sentence pursuant to Tennessee Rule of Criminal Procedure 36.1. The Appellant also contends that the trial court had jurisdiction to address an issue regarding his pretrial jail credits and that the trial court should have recused itself from his case. Based upon our review of the record and the parties’ briefs, we affirm the judgment of the trial court.

Shelby County Court of Criminal Appeals 10/14/21
Paul Zachary Moss v. Shelby County Civil Service Merit Board
W2017-01813-COA-R3-CV

This appeal arises from a petition for judicial review of a decision of the Shelby County Civil Service Merit Board. The appellant was a firefighter and paramedic and was terminated from his employment after he was involved in a physical altercation at a political rally. After a hearing, the Board upheld his termination. The appellant then sought judicial review in chancery court. After reviewing the administrative record, the chancery court likewise upheld termination. On appeal, this Court concluded that the decision upholding the appellant’s termination should be reversed due to a violation of his due process rights. The Tennessee Supreme Court found no due process violation and reversed the decision of this Court, remanding for consideration of alternative arguments raised by the appellant that were deemed pretermitted in our previous opinion. Having carefully considered the appellant’s alternative arguments, we affirm the chancery court’s rulings on some issues but ultimately must vacate in part the decision upholding termination and remand for further proceedings before the Board.

Shelby County Court of Appeals 10/14/21
Shahnaz Poursaied v. Tennessee Board of Nursing
M2020-01235-COA-R3-CV

Tennessee’s Department of Health (“TDH” or “the Department”) sought reciprocal revocation of a registered nurse’s Tennessee license after her registered nurse license was revoked in California.  After a hearing on the matter, which the nurse did not attend, the Tennessee Board of Nursing (“Board”) entered a default judgment against the nurse and revoked her Tennessee license.  The nurse appealed to the chancery court and brought an action for damages against the Board.  The chancery court affirmed the Board’s decision and dismissed the nurse’s action for damages.  The nurse then appealed to this Court. We affirm the chancery court in all respects.

Lincoln County Court of Appeals 10/14/21
State of Tennessee v. Damian McGlown a/k/a Damion McGlown
W2020-01327-CCA-R3-CD

Following a jury trial, Damian McGlown, Defendant, was convicted of one count of aggravated rape for “unlawfully, knowingly, or recklessly sexually penetrat[ing] and caus[ing] bodily injury” to his adult niece, and he was sentenced to seventeen years’ incarceration. On appeal, Defendant claims that the evidence failed to show that Defendant caused bodily injury to the victim and, therefore, was insufficient to support his conviction of aggravated rape. Discerning no error, we affirm the judgment of conviction.

Shelby County Court of Criminal Appeals 10/14/21
Udo R. Liell v. Paul Stich
M2020-01071-COA-R3-CV

When negotiations over the sale of a boat broke down, the prospective seller and buyer sued each other. Before their claims came to trial, the parties agreed to voluntarily dismiss their claims without prejudice and to try mediation. The agreement provided that, if mediation failed, claims must be refiled within one year of the effective date of the agreement. The buyer refiled his claims against the seller just over one year after the effective date of the agreement but within one year of the dismissal of the original case. The trial court granted the seller’s motion to dismiss, concluding the buyer’s claims were time-barred under the parties’ agreement. We affirm. 

Davidson County Court of Appeals 10/14/21
Shaun Rondale Cross v. State of Tennessee
M2021-00183-CCA-R3-ECN

Petitioner, Shaun Rondale Cross, pled guilty to possession with the intent to sell twenty-six grams or more of cocaine and was sentenced to twenty-five years as a Range III, persistent offender. After an unsuccessful post-conviction petition, Petitioner filed a second post-conviction petition along with an untimely petition for writ of error coram nobis based on a claim of newly discovered evidence of actual innocence. Following an evidentiary hearing, the coram nobis court dismissed the motion to reopen post-conviction and denied the error coram nobis petition. On appeal, Petitioner claims the coram nobis court erred by denying him error coram nobis relief. Following review of the record, the briefs of the parties, and applicable law, we affirm the judgment of the coram nobis court in accordance with Rule 20 of the Rules of the Tennessee Court of Criminal Appeals.

Marshall County Court of Criminal Appeals 10/14/21
Stevie Michael Irwin v. State of Tennessee
E2020-01598-CCA-R3-PC

The petitioner, Stevie Michael Irwin, 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 and on appeal. After our review of the record, briefs, and applicable law, we affirm the denial of the petition.

Knox County Court of Criminal Appeals 10/13/21
State of Tennessee v. Bryant Christopher Mitchell
E2020-01689-CCA-R3-CD

Bryant Christopher Mitchell, Defendant, appeals from his conviction of first degree murder, for which he received a life sentence. On appeal, Defendant challenges the sufficiency of the evidence. After a complete review, we determine that the evidence was sufficient to support Defendant’s conviction. Accordingly, the judgment of the trial court is affirmed.

Knox County Court of Criminal Appeals 10/13/21
State of Tennessee v. Jaquarius D. Carpenter
W2020-00896-CCA-R3-CD

Defendant, Jaquarius D. Carpenter, was convicted by a jury of possession with the intent to sell 0.5 grams or more of cocaine, possession with the intent to deliver 0.5 grams or more of cocaine, simple possession of marijuana, and possession of drug paraphernalia. The trial court imposed an effective eighteen-year sentence, as a Range II multiple offender, to be served in the Department of Correction. On appeal, Defendant contends that the evidence is insufficient to support his convictions for possession with the intent to sell or deliver cocaine and simple possession of marijuana. Following our review of the entire record and the briefs of the parties, we affirm the judgments of the trial court.

Madison County Court of Criminal Appeals 10/13/21