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State v. Shane

Court of Criminal Appeals of Tennessee, Jackson

May 19, 2017

STATE OF TENNESSEE
v.
JAMES COURTNEY SHANE

          Assigned on Briefs April 11, 2017

         Appeal from the Circuit Court for Weakley County No. 2016-CR-22 Jeffrey W. Parham, Judge

         The Defendant, James Courtney Shane, was convicted by a Weakley County Circuit Court jury of facilitation of robbery, a Class D felony, and was sentenced by the trial court as a Range II offender to five years in the Department of Correction, to be served consecutively to his sentence in a federal case. On appeal, the Defendant challenges the sufficiency of the evidence of his identity and argues that the trial court imposed an excessive sentence. Following our review, we affirm the judgment of the trial court.

         Tenn. R. App. P. 3 Appeal as of Right; Judgment of the Circuit Court Affirmed

          Joseph P. Atnip, District Public Defender; and William K. Randolph, Assistant Public Defender, for the appellant, James Courtney Shane.

          Herbert H. Slatery III, Attorney General and Reporter; Brent C. Cherry, Senior Counsel; Thomas A. Thomas, District Attorney General; and Kevin D. McAlpin, Assistant District Attorney General, for the appellee, State of Tennessee.

          Alan E. Glenn, J., delivered the opinion of the court, in which Timothy L. Easter and J. Ross Dyer, JJ., joined.

          OPINION

          ALAN E. GLENN, JUDGE

         FACTS

         According to the State's proof at trial, on the night of September 6, 2015, the victim, Jimmy Travis, was visiting with friends at a Martin home when the Defendant asked him to step outside with him. Outside, a group of men surrounded the victim, forced him to sit down, and took ten dollars from him. The Defendant and a co-defendant, Dalton Eric Crutchfield, Jr., were subsequently indicted for the robbery of the victim and were tried together before a Weakley County Circuit Court jury, which convicted the Defendant of the lesser-included offense of facilitation of robbery and acquitted Mr. Crutchfield.

         At trial, the victim testified that on the evening of September 6, 2015, he accompanied a friend named Brittany to the Martin home of one of her friends, Sarah, where "a bunch of people" he did not know were "hanging out." At some point that evening, a man asked him to go outside to talk. Once outside, the man kept telling him that he owed the man money from back in high school. The victim said he did not know the man, did not owe him any money, and told him so. The man, however, was insistent and appeared angry, so in an effort to appease him, the victim finally said, "Look, I've got ten dollars; that's all I got. I can give that to you and we'll call it even." At that point, "a bunch of people" surrounded him, which frightened him. A man behind him took him by the shirt and forced him to sit down, and "[t]hey" then took his boots and socks, telling him to "stay down and don't get up." The man who had asked him to come outside also took the ten dollars from him. Afterwards, the individuals returned his boots and he went back into the house briefly before driving to the police department to report the crime. The victim stated that he was unable to identify for the police either the man who took his money or the man who forced him to sit on the ground.

         On cross-examination, the victim acknowledged he had a 2012 conviction for theft of property under $500. He further acknowledged that he told the police that a man in dreadlocks robbed him and that he was unable to identify the Defendant from photographic lineups he was shown by the police. In fact, he believed that he had identified a man known as "D-Bone, " or something similar, instead of the Defendant. He insisted, however, that he recognized the Defendant and his co-defendant as the perpetrators when looking at them "face-to-face" in the courtroom.

         Elijah Tyreek Guiden, who lived with Sarah Mealer in the Martin home on September 6, 2015, testified that the Defendant, who was a frequent visitor to his home, was the individual who asked the victim to go outside with him. Mr. Guiden further testified that it was himself, Eric Denton, the Defendant, and the co-defendant, Dalton Crutchfield, who were standing outside with the victim behind the house when the victim was robbed. He denied, however, that he had anything to do with the robbery. He stated that the men "[g]rabbed [the victim] by his arm and sat him down" but did not force him to stay down. He testified that the victim removed his boots and gave them to Mr. Crutchfield, and that Mr. Denton instructed Mr. Crutchfield to give the boots back to the victim. He did not see who took the victim's cash.

         On cross-examination, Mr. Guiden testified that approximately ten minutes lapsed from the time the Defendant and the victim went outside before he joined them. He further testified that neither the Defendant nor Mr. Crutchfield had dreadlocks at that time. On redirect examination, he acknowledged that in his statement to police, he reported that the Defendant and Mr. Crutchfield "took [the victim's] ...


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